Posted by: aediculaantinoi | May 11, 2014

Mantinoe’s Day 2014



Hermogenes was a son of a noble family,
and you the daughter of an ancient line.

Your people came to Bithynia as colonists
and his likewise, though of native nobles he was sprung, too.

When your marriage match was made and the feast
of Hymenaios was finished, you lay together.

In your sleep that night, you saw your husband
change in form to the dragon of Mantineia.

You fled in terror from him, but he changed again
to a hound, and then a wolf, then a goat.

As a tangle of serpents he twined around your legs,
tripping you up, heralding your demise…

but no, for his aspect changed again to a god’s.
“Will you have the gift I will give you?”

It was Hermes, cadeuceus in hand,
offering you something he did not wish to speak.

“I will!” was the reply that sprang to your lips,
and gently he laid down with you, entering…

You awoke in ecstasy to your husband’s smile.
Nine months later, your son Antinous was born.

Praise to his mother, Mantinoë of Bithynia:
his mother’s whole body heals.


  1. Lovely poem and picture. Khaire Mantinoe!

    • Many thanks! The internet calls this picture “Gaia,” but I thought it worked pretty well for my purposes here.

      • It looks much more like a portrait of a specific mother with a specific baby than a generic “Gaia”. It was very comforting to me yesterday–Mothers’ Day is pretty fraught for me.

      • Yes, that’s what I thought, too…

        I’m sorry to hear the day is so fraught for you.

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