Monday, November 3, 2008

Antinous as Osiris

These images are from the catalog of a recent show at the British Museum called HADRIAN : EMPIRE AND CONFLICT. They represent Antinous, the Emperor's young Greek companion on a journey to Egypt in AD 130. In some way or another that nobody has ever been sure of, Antinous drowned in the Nile. And the Emperor's grief caused whole new Antinous cities to be built, and temples everywhere, and statues, imprinting the distinctive heavy features of Antinous over the top of any number of local gods, including this representation of Antinous as the ancient Egyptian deity Osiris. The show catalog tells us that Antinous, aged about 20 at his death, is one of the three best documented individual faces to survive from the ancient world.

Catalog of the British Museum show.