Tragic love story behind city’s name


In the last week of October, 130AD, a man died and a god was born.Under the slanting sunlight of late summer, a body was found in the floodwaters of the River Nile, near the little town of Hir-wer.

It was that of a young man — aged 18 to 20, athletic in build and with hair clustered down his neck in thick curls.There were no signs of violence on his body.Thus, rumours started circulating around the circumstances that led to the fatal event.

Murder? Suicide? Accident? Sacrifice? Conspiracy?

There was endless speculation, but not a clue as to why such a vigorous and healthy-looking young man had met such a premature death — apart from the evident fact that he had drowned.

His name was Antinous. And he was the Greek boy from Bithynia (now Turkey) — the great love of the 54-year-old Roman Emperor himself, Hadrian — who, at the time, was the most powerful man in the world.

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