Antinous' death by accidental drowning in the Nile in October AD 130 was a severe blow to Hadrian, for the youth had been his close companion and confidant for nearly five years, and had accompanied the emperor throughout his great tour of the empire beginning in March 127 ad. Hadrian's marriage to Sabina was an unhappy one, and Antinous has been described as the one person who seems to have connected most profoundly with Hadrian throughout the latter's life. It is unsurprising therefore that Hadrian decreed that Antinous should be elevated to the Roman pantheon as a god, and that a city should be built at the site of his death. What was most unexpected however was that he deified the young man without consulting the Senate, and that he ordered Antinous' image to be placed on coinage across the empire.
Hadrian turned to Greek sculptors to perpetuate the melancholic beauty and diffident manner of Antinous, in the process creating what Caroline Vout (Power and Eroticism in Imperial Rome, 2007) described as "the last independent creation of Greco-Roman art". All of his images share certain distinct features, including tousled curls, a perfect Hellenic nasion, and a downcast gaze – that allow him to be instantly recognized." Although both associated with Osiris and more widely with Dionysus, Hadrian preferred the association with Hermes / Mercury – as on this coin.
T86... Antinous Æ Hemidrachm of Alexandria, Egypt. Dated year 21 = AD 136/7. ANTINOOV HPѠOC – Antinous hero - draped bust left, wearing hem-hem crown
/ Antinous (as Hermes) on horseback to right, wearing chlamys, holding caduceus with his right hand; L below horse, [KA] (date) before.. 13.01g, 27mm, 11h... Near Very Fine. Rare...POA
ref:- Köln 1278 var. (placement of date); Dattari (Savio) 2090 & 8015; K&G 34a.6; RPC III 6235; Emmett 1347.21.
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