"In his dread of degradation, that is to say, of growing old, he must have promised himself long ago to die at the first sign of decline"

The death of Antinous, during the course of his Egyptian journey with Hadrian, remains one of the great mysteries of the ancient world. It may have been a tragic accident, or he may have committed suicide, or he might have been murdered by someone in their entourage who was jealous of the favours granted to him by Hadrian. Yourcenar here adopts the suicide explanation.