O: laureate draped bust right R: Spes walking left holding flower and hem of robe

Did you know…There are well-documented tales of same-sex love among the Roman elite.
It was not uncommon for emperors, and common men, to have taken male companions alongside a female spouse. However, scholars are agreed that Hadrian was unique in making his love/relationship "official" in a way that no other emperor had before him.
Hadrian has a male consort called Antinous who accompanied Hadrian on his many travels around the empire. Unfortunately, Antinous drowned in mysterious circumstances in the Nile AD130.
Hadrian was so distraught that he chose to commemorate him by naming an Egyptian city in his honour. When a city was founded close to the spot where Antinous drowned, he named it Antinopolis.
Hadrian founded games in commemoration of Antinous to take place in both the new city Antinopolis and in Athens, and also identified a star in the sky between the Eagle and the Zodiac to be Antinous. Hadrian also made Antinous into a hero God. At least 28 temples were built for the cult of Antonius across the ancient world, where he was revered.
It is the intensity of the emperor’s grief when Antinous died that has always been striking to historians, illustrating for many that Hadrian had been deeply in love with Antonius.
(Based on research completed by Stephanie Eastoe, 2017)
sestertius of Hadrian
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121 AD-122 AD
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