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201

(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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ANTIQUE STATUES. 201
offering a human victim, but to a loving and beloved
friend, who with deep fellow-suffering fulfills a duty im-
posed on him by fate.
Carl Botticher has recently devised another interpre-
tation. He agrees with Tieck, that the torch-bearer is
Hadrian’s genius, the other youth Antinous, and the
small puppet-like archaic figure, Persephone. But of
Antinous’ dedication to death there can, in his judgment,
be no question. For as Antinous gave himself up to the
waves of the Nile, he should then have worn a wreath of
the sacred flower of the Nile, the lotus, in his hair. The
old ritual of sacrifice was in such points precise, and the
artists observed it faithfully. Farther, if the premises of
Tieck and Friederichs were correct, we should have ex-
pected to see the statue of Isis the Egyptian goddess,
and not Persephone’s, as marking the divine power to
whom the victim was consecrated. The matter must
have another explanation, then, and Botticher gives the
following.
The two friends, Hadrian, as a youthful genius, and
Antinous, stand in the sanctuary of Persephone. To this,
not only the little idol points, which is modelled in the
old style of figures for the temple, but the altar, too,
which is adorned, not with Nile plants, but with fruits of
the earth and other symbols of Persephone. The genius
and Antinous are crowned, not with Nile flowers, but
with myrtle, of the noble large-leaved kind the Hel-
lenes called stephanitis, and which was sacred to the god-
dess of the world below, ever since Dionysus, with a gift
of this plant, had ransomed the soul of his mother Semele
from Hades. They are performing a sacrifice, doubtless,
but not a sacrifice of death. Hadrian’s genius has
brought Antinous to Persephone’s shrine, that there, be-
9*

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