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(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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ANTIQUE STATUES. 1
89
same, at the first glance recognizable, in changing forms,
as hero or as god—now he is Agathodaemon, or Gany-
mede, or Hercules; now Dionysus, Hermes or Apollo;
so that beneath his exterior, we might imagine the spirit
of the universe, effulgence of the first-created light, that
reveals itself in varying divine phenomena, but in them
all, bears with it sorrow at having forsaken life in the in-
finite for life in the finite world. And notwithstanding
all this, he is a human being of flesh and blood, that art
has made its subject—a boy, and nothing else, who was
cut off in his bloom, by death. He is in a word, from
head to foot, a web of contradictions, resolving itself into
a whole of touching beauty.
Who was this Antinous ? Perhaps in life the same
riddle as in the marble ? We know of the circumstances
of his life very little, and his death is enveloped in
mystery.
Emperor Hadrian, then fifty years old, was sojourning
in Greece, when he saw the youth of eighteen, and made
him one of his court. The boy’s native land contained
a mixture of Thracian, Gallic, Syrian and Hellenic blood ;
but Claudiopolis, the city of his birth, was according to
tradition a Hellenic colony, and Antinous reckoned his
ancestry from that idyllic land celebrated by the poets,
Arcadia. What chance brought them together, is not
mentioned ; but soon Antinous belonged to the circle of
the emperor’s nearest confidants, and was his constant
companion.
Hadrian spent a longtime in that land, the memories,
art and literature of which had been from youth his
delight, as its regeneration was the dream of his riper
years. These years were his happiest. Behind him
he had a course of grandly successful activity. The

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