When Emperor Hadrian took the throne of Rome in 117 AD, he had already been ceremonially married to a 13-year-old girl for political purposes.
But his heart went to the younger Antinous, who entered the emperor’s circle around 123 and by 128 was accompanying Hadrian as his closest confidant.
At the time, sexual relationships between older and younger men were common but the elder man was generally expected to parted ways when his young lover reached manhood.
Hadrian was so taken with Antinous that he maintained the relationship until 130, when Antinous drowned under mysterious circumstances.
The emperor was so devastated, he remained in official mourning for eight years and deified his young paramour, filling his home with statues in Antinous’ likeness and naming stars and flowers after him.