Antinoüs or Antinoös (Greek: Ἀντίνοος) (November 27, c.111–October before 30th, 130) was a member of the entourage of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, to whom he was beloved. Antinous was deified after his death.
Antinous was born to a Greek family in Bithynion-Claudiopolis, in the Roman province of Bithynia in what is now north-west Turkey. One version is that Antinous joined the entourage of the Emperor when Hadrian passed through Bithynia in about 124, and soon became his beloved companion who accompanied him on his many journeys through the empire. Another version has it that Hadrian had the empire searched for the most beautiful youth, and chose Antinous. Although some have suggested the two might have had a romantic relationship, it is uncertain if this was true.
In October 130, according to Hadrian, cited by Dio Cassius, "Antinous was drowned in the Nilus". (D.C. 69.11) It is not known for certain whether his death was the result of accident, suicide, murder, or (voluntary) religious sacrifice, but the last is best supported by the surviving evidence.
At Antinous's death the emperor decreed his deification, and the 2nd century Christian writer Tatian mentions a belief that his likeness was placed over the face of the Moon, though this may be exaggerated due to his anti-pagan polemical style.
After his death
The grief of the emperor knew no bounds, causing the most extravagant veneration to be paid to his memory. Cities were founded in his name, medals struck with his effigy, and statues erected to him in all parts of the empire. Following the example of Alexander (who sought divine honours for his beloved general, Hephaistion, when he died) Hadrian had Antinous proclaimed a god. Temples were built for his worship in Bithynia, Mantineia in Arcadia, and Athens, festivals celebrated in his honour and oracles delivered in his name. The city of Antinopolis or Antinoe was founded on the site of Hir-wer where he died (Dio Cassius lix.11; Spartianus, "Hadrian"). One of Hadrian's attempts at extravagant remembrance failed, when the proposal to create a constellation of Antinous being lifted to heaven by an eagle (the constellation Aquila) failed of adoption.
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