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Antinous shown as Bacchus

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Antinous shown as Bacchus
Antinous shown as Bacchus

Roman sculpture of Antinous, depicted as Bacchus. The object dates back to the 2nd century CE. The artifact is located in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples.

Antinous was a Greek youth from Bithynia who, when he turned 12, was taken in by Hadrian’s court. Emperor Hadrian met him during his numerous travels and, delighted with his beauty, made him his lover. In 130 CE, while traveling on the Nile with a fleet, Antinous unexpectedly died in mysterious circumstances.

The loss of his lover hurt Hadrian greatly. The emperor declared Antinous a hero, built huge temples and organized games in his honor. Moreover, he ordered huge numbers of sculptures and portraits of his lover to be made. The cult of Antinous survived until the fall of Rome, but it was often criticized by both Christians and people who believed in traditional Roman deities.

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