"And such a one is the god Antinous, that was the emperor Hadrian's minion and the slave of his unlawful pleasure. A wretch that when worshipped in obedience to the Emperor's command, and to fear of his vengeance, knew and confessed to be a man, and not a good deserving man neither, but a sordid and loathsome instrument of his master's lust. This shameless and scandalous boy died in Egypt when the court was there; and forthwith his Imperial majesty issued out an order or edict strictly requiring and commanding his loving subjects to acknowledge his departed page a deity and to pay him his quota of of divine reverences and honours as such; a resolution and act which did more effectually publish and testify to the world how entirely the Emperor's unnatural passion survived the foul object of it; and how much his master was devoted to memory, than it recorded his own crime and condemnation, immortalized his infamy and shame, and bequeathed to mankind a lasting and notorious specimen of the true origin and extraction of all idolatry." St. Athanasius 350 A.D.
At the first Council of Nicea in 325 A.D., Athanasius argued against Arius and his doctrine that Christ is of a distict substance from the Father. He is revered as a saint by the Oriental Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches.
Next we go to the famous historian Edward Gibbons, from his The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: "The deification of Antinous, his medals, medals, statues, city, oracles and constellation are well known, and still dishonor the memory of Hadrian. Yet we may remark that of the first fifteen emperors, Claudius was the only one whose taste in love was entirely correct."
As we can see the relationship between Antinous and Hadrian has had many detractors down through the centuries. I hope to refute many of their claims in the next set of posts. I just wanted to give a little background to how their relationship was viewed by the early Christian church, pagans and other historians. Much of the claims against Hadrian and Antinous were entirely false -at least I hope I can get you to agree with me with the evidence I will provide. You will have to make up your own mind ,as to whether you agree with me that there was much beauty and mystery in their relationship also. The next post about Antinous and the refutation of a particular charge against him is largely done and I hope to have it here tomorrow unless other issues prevent me from posting it.