Ancient Antinous Documents


Book VIII, Archadia

On Antinous

"Antinous too was deified by them; his temple is the newest in Mantineia. He was a great favorite of the Emperor Hadrian. I never saw him in the flesh, but I have seen images and pictures of him. He has honors in other places also, and on the Nile is an Egyptian city named after Antinous. He has won worship in Mantineia for the following reason. Antinous was by birth from Bithynium beyond the river Sangarius, and the Bithynians are by descent Arcadians of Mantineia. For this reason the Emperor established his worship in Mantineia also; mystic rites are celebrated in his honor each year, and games every four years. There is a building in the gymnasium of Mantineia containing statues of Antinous, and remarkable for the stones with which it is adorned, and especially so for its pictures. Most of them are portraits of Antinous, who is made to look like Dionysus" VIII, 9, 7-8

"On the left of the highway leading to Tegea there is, beside the walls of Mantineia, a place where horses race, and not far from it is a race-course, where they celebrate the games in honor of Antinous." VIII, 10, 1


On Queen Antinoe

"Now there are plain indications that it was in another place that Mantineus the son of Lycaon founded his city, which even today is called Ptolis (City ) by the Arcadians. From here, in obedience to an oracle, Antinoe, the daughter of Cepheus, the son of Aleus, removed the inhabitants to the modern site, accepting as a guide for the pilgrimage a snake; the breed of snake is not recorded. It is for this reason that the river, which flows by the modern city, has received the name Ophis (Snake ). If we may base a conjecture on the verses of Homer, we are led to believe that this snake was a dragon. When in the list of ships he tells how the Greeks abandoned Philoctetes in Lemnos suffering from his wound, he does not style the water-serpent a snake. But the dragon that the eagle dropped among the Trojans he does call a snake. So it is likely that Antinoe's guide also was a dragon." VIII, 8, 4-5


How Hadrian changed the name of the City

"Antigonus of Macedonia, who was guardian of Philip, the father of Perseus, before he came of age, was an ardent supporter of the Achaeans, and so the Mantineans, among other honors, changed the name of their city to Antigoneia. [12] Afterwards, when Augustus was about to fight the naval engagement off the cape of Actian Apollo, the Mantineans fought on the side of the Romans, while the rest of Arcadia joined the ranks of Antonius, for no other reason, so it seems to me, except that the Lacedaemonians favoured the cause of Augustus. Ten generations afterwards, when Hadrian became Emperor, he took away from the Mantineans the name imported from Macedonia, and gave back to their city its old name of Mantineia." VIII, 8, 11-12