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Antinous, and a new-old religion based on him

Antinous was the young man beloved by the emperor Hadrian. In my humble opinion, His name should be related to the two Greek words αντί (against) and νοῦς (mind, reason, understanding), and should mean “the nonconformist, the one who was born to oppose banality and conventions”. According to the history, He died falling into the Nile river, amid mysterious circumstances; in the version welcomed and purposed by Marguerite de Yourcenar, He is reported as a voluntary suicide in a ritual that was supposed to lengthen the life of the Emperor Hadrian.
Deified by Hadrian after His death, Antinous was sometimes identified with Bacchus or other Gods, and was actually preferred to Ganymede in a specific constellation, normally considered in astronomy until the International Astronomical Union formalized the map of the sky, in 1930. As for literature, Antinous was considered by Oscar Wilde, Fernando Pessoa and, as already mentioned, Marguerite de Yourcenar. In Victor Hugo’s famous novel ‘Les Misérables’, the character Enjolras is likened to Antinous: “A charming young man who was capable of being a terror. He was angelically good-looking, an untamed Antinous.”

Today, in Hollywood, something new and interesting will happen: after being deified in antiquity, Antinous will be deified again, as a new God truly worthy of being venerated as a symbol of Peace and Tolerance. And a new – old religion will arise.



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