Well, now we have to speak of another element of the garden’s decoration, which, also if it is another of the ones on which we don’t know very much, surely belonged to the tomb. It was not excavated at Villa Adriana. It was found broken in three parts at Rome near “ Porta Maggiore”. I am speaking of Antinous’s obelisk that, after many peregrinations is now placed in front of the “Casina Valadier” near the “Pincio” terrace. The obelisk has been sculpted in pink granite that Hadrian imported from Egypt and in Rome it had all inscribed in hieroglyphic symbols.In the higher part of one of its four sides - the principal one, turned south - Antinous is represented standing in front of the god Ra-Harakte, and, under his scene, there is a long prayer with which the boy, now deified, after having praised at length Hadrian and his august wife Sabina , asks the god - who at this point he recognizes as his father - to protect them. In the higher part of the obelisk’s other three sides Antinous meet three other Egyptian deities. On the eastern side he stays in front of Thot, the god who gives happiness and life and it is this happiness that the god promises to the young man “I’ll give you feasts for thousands of years”And after this the hieroglyphs proclaims the after his death deifying of Antinous, and hints that centered around him is now starting a mystery religion.On the northern side Antinous stay in front of Horus, the god with the falcon head, and in the writings he speaks about games, the ones that were really instituted in honor of the young man and in which crowns of red flowers called Antinoeios were given as prizes to the winners. On this side the god also speaks of Antinous as a medicine divinity who cures people who in their dreams pray to him.The higher part of the western side is ruined in such a way that here we don’t see neither Antinous nor the divinity with whom he is talking, but here we can still read a very important assertion. Here we read“ The god we find (Antinous represented in the higher part of the obelisk) rests in this place that is hidden in the property of “the Lord of prosperity” (princeps) of Rome (then Hadrian).And that translated in simple words means“Antinous rests in this tomb placed inside the gardens of the prince of Rome”.Going on, the writing speaks of Antinoopolis’ foundation and invites all the Greeks of the Two Lands (the Egypt) to go there promising to them fields to cultivate and describing also the beautiful white stone temple all adorned by gods’ statues, a shrine that Hadrian had built there in honor of the new god. However at this moment the only thing that attracts our attention is the fact that here is declared“ Antinous rests in this tomb”This is certainly a categorical assertion. On my assertion that this was Antinous’ tomb essays were made and proved I was right. and as it has been found in Villa Adriana, just in the “gardens of the Prince of Rome”, also the obelisk had to be here, that obelisk which substituted the normal epitaph which, with the deceased’s name, was always put on the tomb of someone, but an epitaph was surely not good enough for a god and moreover for an Egyptian one. Thus an obelisk.The right place for the obelisk was soon found. I was sure that it had to be at the centre of the garden, just where the alley that led to the exedra crossed the one joining the two temples. At this moment the garden’s reconstruction was completed. We can say that here stopped my research and with it I closed my thirty years’ long relation with Hadrian, but it is not so.Why not? Because in this garden I was seeing something that needed explanations, and first of all the inscription on the obelisk which affirmed that here Antinous was buried. This is not what you expect to find on a cenotaph or on an empty tomb. If Antinous rested in this tomb that meant that either he had been really buried here, or, at least, that the tomb had been prepared to inter him as soon as it would have been completed. The assertion also meant that Hadrian had no intention to let Antinous lye in the desert sands and sets clear that either the emperor had come back bringing with him he rests of his loved one, or he thought that he could receive them back later on.But under what form? Antinous could have been incinerated as was the normal way of the classical world and in this case his ashes would have been set in an urn that Hadrian could have brought back with him. But following the Egyptian tradition he could also have been mummified.This was one of the question. The other came from the fact that in this tomb there was something which did not correspond with Hadrian’s personality, a personality I had the opportunity to study thoroughly during the long time of researches of his Villa Adriana. A change that could only be explained as a consequence of Antinous’ death. That thing that attracted my attention were the presence of the two temples set one in front of the other and that, as all that was there, were Egyptians. Now as I have many time told, written and repeated, in all this Villa Adriana that I had crossed in the length and in the breadth and surveyed stone after stone I never found, not only a temple, but not even a little shrine where to burn some incense’s grains; not even a small altar to Diana the Huntress, that at least to him, passionate hunter as he was, must have looked a divinity along his liking. Of course at the entrance of Villa Adriana there had been a Lararium, but this was obligatory. It was in all the houses like a hat-stand in our modern ones.I had already said that neither the Canopus nor the Venus of Cnido’s could be considered shrines. The Canopus has proved to be a “coenatio” and the temple of Venus, chosen because, as it didn’t have any walls, it didn’t disturb the view, was the decoration of a belvedere. The only thing remotely connected with the religion was the Pluto’s edifice at the side of the Inferi Valley in which the big building and the Grotto, (that was certainly a reminder of the Plutonium), were somehow connected with he Eleusinian Mysteries to which not only had Hadrian been initiated, but had also became an “epopta” (the maximum level). In all those occasions I had always underlined what Spartianus said of Hadrian, to wit that he spurned and condemned all the foreign religions that were little by little invading the empire,Then how came that at a certain point of his life this same agnostic Hadrian all of a sudden decided not only to become religious but, as if he had been struck by an abrupt illumination, new Paul on Damascus’ route, builds two temples and, forgetting Zeus, Hera and all the Olympus’ gods, dedicates them to divinities of the until then despised Egyptian Pantheon?The only thing that could have pressed him to do such a thing could have been one and only one. Antinous’ death and his love for him. The tragic death of the young boy with whom he shared the last seven years and whom he very dearly loved had plunged him in the most deep despair. I don’t know if , as Spartianus wrote, he mourned for him with feminine wails, and I highly doubt that he did such a thing. At those times women not only wept but did it with very high and shrill moans while with their nails they scratched their cheeks and their breasts until they bled. Hadrian, an emperor would never do such scenes. He was always a jealous guardian of the imperial dignity and would never exposes himself in such a demeaning way. He was certainly deeply wounded and in his suffering the only idea to which he could cling was what he could do something for his deceased boy. A gift, but an exceptional one and what could be more exceptional than making him a god?A God? But which one? Antinous could never enter the Greek Roman Pantheon to which at the most only emperors could be elevated. But he had already been made a god by the Egyptians because for them whoever drowned in the Nile became a god, a minor gods it is true, but a god all the same. Anyway the Egyptians did not lose any time in proclaiming him so. They were just emerging from two years of scarce inundations and were in a grave famine. The death of Antinous, who as a victim died drowning in the Nile, looked to them as a sacrifice that would save them and that would have given rich harvests. Thus they didn’t lose time for deifying him.A minor god, so we have said, but that was of no importance. Hadrian would have provided to made him a first category one. Thus also if to obtain all this he had to embrace a religion that he had always despised, he accepted the cost. He loved Antinous to much, and thus for him it was an Egyptian tomb-shrine that he built at Villa Adriana. It was always for him that he filled of Egyptian statues his residence, and always for him to sign his tomb he didn’t put a marble slab inscribed with his name but an obelisk, and he worked on the cult of the new god creating around him a series of legends which were liked and inserted them in the common people’s hearts.It is also clear that, apart of any other consideration, at the roots of his urgent wish to deify Antinous, there was a more practical reason, even more important than the sentimental one, and this reason was the tomb. If Hadrian had decided to bring with him Antinous’ corpse and put him in the magnificent mausoleum he had in mind, such a thing would not be so pacifically accepted by his subjects, Antinous was an extremely beautiful young man, the emperor’s favorite, but he was always only a boy lover and it would have caused a sensation. Hadrian that in all his life had always looked after the form and the dignity of the empire, knew that he shouldn’t do such a thing, but he also knew that what he couldn’t do for a lover he could very well do for a god. To sum it up Antinous had to become a god to whom he would offered not only a tomb, but a temple.Thus one of the first things that Hadrian did was to proclaim that a new star had appeared in the sky; he himself saw it in the Eagle constellation, and this star was surely Antinous who from the height of the sky protected all his believers. Coins with Antinous and a star hovering over his head were minted. His cult assumed mystery aspects and, as Antinous resurrected after his death, he was connected with resurrection an as a consequence also with medicine.After the Egyptians also the Greeks, maybe to flatter Hadrian, did what they could to honor this new god. Some of them assimilated him to Dyonisus and some others to Hermes. Little by little the religion grew up. It was never one of richer and important one, but it was certainly one of the more widespread. We find traces of its temples in 70 towns of the Roman Empire, In Egypt temples for him were in Antinoopolis, Alexandria and in Hermopolis. In Greece we find ruins of his shrines in Manthineia, the citizens of which did colonize Bithinion, the place where the boy was born, Of course other temples were at Athens, at Delphi, at Olympia and of course at Adrianipolis (Edirne today). In the Middle East there were, besides his own town Bythinion we find his cult in twenty towns included Nikomedia. Traces of Antinous’ cult have also emerged on the Danubius and then also in Nederland, France, Portugal and Malta: there were temples also in Lebanon and on the Black Sea coasts, A much spread religion it was also if its temples were always modest. However they were much frequented and the religion lasted up to the IV cent. A.D. It was probably for this reason and for the fact that groups of Christian had began to syncretize Antinous with Christ and began to circulate images in which a naked Antinous was represented with a bunch of the grapes of Dionysus in one hand and a cross in the other, that the Church began to attack him with all its strength. Typical is St. Attanasius letter (356 A.D.) that so begun.“Is it him this new god Antinous, him who was the servant of the emperor and slave of his unnatural pleasures? A wretch who was always in adoring wait of any call from his master, and for fear of his vengeance avowed to be a man and not a good one, but a dirty and hateful pawn of the illicit wish of sex of his master............................”And the angry Bishop went on with the worst outrages always more angry and bloody, and from them it was easy to understand that to raise this attack had been the view of Antinous’ temples still in function and still full of people. It is evident that the young and too beautiful god with his throng of believers was considered a dangerous rival o the Christian religion. Obviously in the long run, the Church won, and Antinous vanished in the distance. He disappeared as a god, but not as a personage. Antinous was and is still here. His beauty and its sad look are still admired and pitied in the Museums of all our world. Hadrian had reached his aim. He had succeeded to give immortality to his young lover,.Let’s say that up now we have succeeded to explain the reason of the Egyptian temples, but then there is still the obelisk and this is another question that disturbs our minds,“Antinous rests in this tomb placed inside the gardens of the prince of Rome”.That as we have already said doesn’t seem to indicate a cenotaph.“Antinous rests in this tomb”Is an assertion that regards the mortal remains of the poor boy and it seems to indicate that in this tomb-shrine his body would really be buried. But under which form as an urn of ashes or a mummy?A Roman would certainly have incinerated the body, but the Egyptians would never consent that the body of one of their god could be reduced to ashes. The body had to be mummified and probably mummified was.That means that for what had been written on the obelisk the mummy had to be brought back in Villa Adriana. This is what is written on the obelisk and as the obelisk is Hadrian’s voice we must believe him.However the monumental part of the tomb, the part where the mummy must have rested, was never completed. Then Antinous could not be there. It is evident that Hadrian, waiting to translate there his mummy, left it in Antinoopolis’ temple. When Villa Adriana’s shrine would be ready Antinous would come with a great procession, clouds of incense, priests chanting and masses of people crowding the street. Miracles would happen all along the way and more and more people would believe in this new god.But Hadrian died when the building of the monument had not even begun.Today at Villa Adriana we have only the hemicycles traced on the soil to point where the monument had to be erected, the traces of the garden, but also the triumphant and never ending remembrance of Antinous’ beauty.