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200

(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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200 ROMAN DAYS.
position of the eyebrows, the forehead shaded by curls,
and the hair itself, are exactly as in the portraits of An-
tinous. With regard to Antinous’ companion, it is harder
to come to any conclusion. He is engaged in a sacrifice,
and therefore crowned, like Antinous himself. With the
torch, he lights the altar fire, which is the sign that the
sacrifice begins. That he holds in the right hand another
torch, may seem singular, but may correspond with a
more solemn rite : on " Homer’s Apotheosis," (a relief
in the British Museum,) we also find a figure engaged in
the sacrifice, with two torches. But for whom is the
victim he is about to offer? Manifestly for the little
goddess, by his side. She is rightly explained as Perse-
phone, since she has on her head a modius and in her
hand an attribute, which appears to be the pomegranate.
A victim, then, is brought the goddess of death by the
torch-bearer, in whom, to all appearance, we have to im-
agine a divine or allegorical being ; and the sacrificial
victim is no other than Antinous, who in the attitude of
sorrowful devotion leans upon the other. If we remind
ourselves, then, that the most trustworthy tradition of
Antinous’ end is that he voluntarily killed himself to
prolong the life of his benefactor Hadrian, it cannot be
denied that this group tellingly expresses the situation :
Antinous gives himself up to the genius who is to offer
him to the goddess of the world below.
So far, Friederichs. His explanation differs from that
of Tieck only in this : that he does not venture upon the
certainly rather bold interpretation of the "demon" as
Hadrian’s genius. But just on that account, his concep-
tion of the work has something hard and stern, which
conflicts with its character. The handsome and melan-
choly torch-bearer has no likeness whatever to a spirit

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