Antinous was a member of the entourage of the Roman emperor Hadrian. In one version of the story, Antinous is said to have been chosen by the emperor after a search to find the most beautiful youth in his domain. The two may have had a romantic relationship. After his death, Antinous was deified (declared to be a God).
Apollo was a Greek God. The son of Zeus and Leto, he was held to be the ideal example of youth. He is commonly depicted with a lyre, created for him by Hermes.
By comparing Angel to these two figures of youthful perfection, Hardy reflects once more the idea that Tess and her story are timeless archetypes; patterns which are played out again and again over the centuries.