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January 24, 2013


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After Antinous drowned in the Nile at nineteen, Hadrian's tributes were unparalleled: He had him deified, founded the city of Antinopolis, commissioned dozens of busts and statues of him, built a temple to him at his villa in Tivoli, and put his likeness on money, the only non-Emperor ever honored with a coin.


Hadrian adopted Antoninus Pius so that he could make that nobleman's own son emperor after him. He recognized the boy's virtue. The novel by Yourcenar is actually written in the form of a long letter to that boy.

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