Happy birthday, Antinous!
In the snippet below, we have a wee nod to Antinous, Hadrian’s beloved companion who drowned in the Nile in AD 130 and was subsequently elevated through apotheosis to a divinity by Hadrian. For a bit more of the basic information about this enigmatic and fascinating historical figure, here’s the Wikipedia page for Antinous.
Antinous as Bacchus in the Vatican Museum (photo: Jastrow, 2006)
In Dominus Book 3, there’s only one (so far) and admittedly rather oblique reference to Antinous, who in AD 107 was not yet born in the distant eastern province of Bithynia. As readers of the first two novels in the Dominus saga have already discovered, Hadrian (our dear Publius, i.e. the Greekling) is Gaius Fabius’s younger ward brother in this mad fictional romp. The POV for this scene is our dearest freedman, Maximus, who’s still having trouble not referring to his former master as Dom. Unedited and subject to change.
While Dom led Alexandros farther down the portico to speak to him privately, Dom’s brother meandered over and sat on the bench beside Max. “I envy Gaius, you know. All my life I’ve dreamt of falling madly in love with a boy as beautiful and talented as his Dacian lad.”
Heartbreak choking his words, Max replied, “I hope you find that boy someday, sir. Finding true love is a rare and precious gift.”
“You are wise beyond your station, Maximus. Sadly, I fear Gaius’s love for that Dacian will be his greatest weakness. I’m not convinced the emperor of Rome can afford to be in love, especially with a barbarian catamite.”
“The Commander has been known to break rules, sir.”