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Head of Antinous

Antinous, lover of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, drowned in the Nile in mysterious circumstances while accompanying Hadrian on a visit to Egypt. Near the site of the drowning (was it murder? accident? or suicide?) the Emperor founded a new city, Antinoopolis. Antinous himself was declared a god, and numerous cult statues were erected about the Empire. Often he appears in Egyptian guise, but here he has adopted the features and ivy wreath of the Greek god Dionysos. This head was found in 1769 on the site of Hadrian’s vast ‘villa’ complex at Tivoli, north of Rome.

Collection