Or, you mean, when did the British lose their American accents? ;]
Ladies and gentlemen, but mostly gentlemen, nah just gentlemen; This curly haired cherub is Antinous. He was known as one of the most beautiful men of the Classical world by contemporary scholars and our sources. Whether or not this was the widespread case or the desperate attempt of a certain Emperor to justify the deification of Antinous in his grief, I suppose we’ll leave to the Classical Antiquity Beauty Pageant. But, honestly, not really anything is known about this guy. Except that Cassius Dio managed to find out that he was from Bithynium. And, uh. Yep.
Anyway, the reason this guy is famous and why you can pretty much find his bust/image in quite a few museums across Europe is because he was the “boy favorite” of Emperor Hadrian of wall-building-in-Britain fame. If you don’t know what is meant by ‘boy favorite’, then I’ll tell you that after Antinous’ death in 130AD, a notorious tabloid-like and frequently debunked historical source The Historia Augusta was talking some smack:
While sailing on the Nile he [Hadrian] lost his Antinous, for whom he wept like a woman.
And while you SHOULD generally take whatever this source says with a grain of salt, it is believed by most scholars that their relationship was fairly sexual. I mean, unless you’re that one lone denier who thinks it is completely platonic for a guy to venerate and order the people under his will to erect statues in honor of Antinous’ beauty and worship him in a cult fashion. Mhm. Yeah. “Just friends”.
What I find most curious about the story between Hadrian and Antinous is what information we have concerning his death, drowning in the river Nile.
Some sources say that he was sacrificed, either by himself or others, because of his beauty.
In the case with Cassius Dio’s writing he seems to suggest:
…and he died in Egypt, either by falling into the Nile, as Hadrian writes [lost], or, as the truth is, having been offered in sacrifice (hierourgethesis). For Hadrian was in any case, as I have said, very keen on the curious arts, and made use of divinations and incantations of all kinds. Thus Hadrian honoured Antinous – either on account of his love for him, or because the youth had voluntarily undertaken to die for him
Sounds like something a Shakespearean character in love would do.
So, what do you all think? Hot or NOT?
On Christmas Eve of 820, the Emperor Leo V condemned the pretender Michael II to death by the rather bizarre method of having him tied to an ape and thrown into the furnaces that heated the imperial baths. Before the execution could take place, Michael’s supporters dressed up as monks and crept into the imperial palace to attack the emperor. Leo reportedly defended himself for more than an hour armed with nothing but a heavy metal cross that he swung around wildly before succumbing to the blades of his assailants. In what was surely the most undignified coronation in Byzantine history, Michael II was hastily brought up from the dungeons and crowned with the chains of his captivity still around his legs.
Found in Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western Civilization written by Lars Brownworth.
So, I’m a little preemptive in saying that I’ve had this blog for about a year now. But, let’s be honest, what work was I really going to do from now to April?
My main goal in starting this blog was the hope that I would learn something about History that I couldn’t ordinarily do on my own. I was hoping to update frequently and cultivate an audience that would be able to teach me something new about whatever topic I was covering. I secretly wished someone would correct me and not just treat me like a Wookiee. I was hoping I wouldn’t win all the time and that whatever bias I was harboring would stand corrected.
But that didn’t really happen. At all actually.
I wasn’t really all that into updating either. I learned A LOT of crazy cool history stuff in preparations of many unpublished entries. I just never felt like sharing it with the rest of you and that’s a real shame. A real dick move. A real Commodus move. I even went as far one point in contacting my old professor and discussing the merits of the Lead poisoning in Rome theories and how it related to wine consumption, which basically ended up being a total annihilation of this one scholar’s ideas and we left it at that and I never published a word but learned a lot. I even got caught in a mistake like I always wanted. I was using Pliny the Elder as a source without the forethought in realizing the time difference between his lifetime and another sources. I was like, “Duh! Pompeii and Pliny would have been far gone and scorched by then making this source entirely irrelevant to the argument!” The main thing is, I didn’t bother sharing any of the amazing things I dug up and that defeats the entire purpose of keeping this blog.
One of the coolest things I looked into was the accuracy of Prima Nocta and I would say that I get a couple hits on that one daily. And that’s just from people being curious and searching for themselves on whether or not it was a real thing and stumbling across my page for answers. I want to see more of that stuff. I want to be that go to informant for the casual historian. And there was even one incident where one of my posts circulated around Reddit’s TodayIlearned which left me feeling frightened at the sudden and enormous site traffic that happened over night and really quite honored.
So instead of being a lazy asshole, which has become my new life statement as some of you who follow other deeds of mine know by now, I’m going to attempt to follow a more strict updating schedule on this blog. Once a week I want to squeeze in a full-fledged research project, one historical figure profile, and the rest different forms of interesting things in history. I’ve got my days planned but I’ll leave them a surprise for now.
My new goal now is just to finish what I say that I’m going to do. Which for now is update Monday-Friday. So if I don’t, call me out because dang I can’t keep getting away with this anymore.
See you tomorrow.