Friday, November 28, 2014

JEAN-BAPTISTE de LULLY
SAINT OF ANTINOUS


ON November 28th the Religion of Antinous honors Saint Jean-Baptiste de Lully, who was born on this day in 1632 in Florence, Italy. 

Parlaying his looks, his dancing and his musical genius into an erotic/artistic career, he rose from being a scullery knave to becoming director of music in the Court of French King Louis XIV. 

By the time he died on March 22, 1687, he had created a new art form and had changed the course of the performing arts forever.

Lully's story has some parallels to the story of Hadrian and Antinous. The parallels are not exact. It is more as though Lully and Louis XIV were a "parallel universe" story of Antinous and Hadrian with bizarre twists thrown in to the plot of the story.

Lully was totally dependent upon the Sun King and was totally devoted to him. When the king expressed a whim to learn to dance, Lully became his dance instructor, creating a whole new art form involving dance and song.

Quite aside from his infamous carousing with boys, Lully was desperately in love with Louis XIV. It was an impossible love, of course. It could never be consummated.

The king viewed Lully as his artistic mentor, but nothing more. Lully viewed the king as the love of his life, and his art was merely an expression of that love.

Unwittingly, Lully planted the seeds for his own doom. Others took his idea and developed it further: And Opera was born.

The king became infatuated with Opera and totally lost interest in Lully's Baroque stage productions. He forgot all about Lully.

For Lully, that was tantamount to death, and he soon died as the result of a tragic "accident" -- he plunged a sharp baton-sceptre through his foot in a rage of despair after the king failed to appear at the debut of his latest masterpiece.

The wound became gangrenous, but when physicians advised that the foot must be amputated, St. Jean-Baptiste refused, saying that if he could never dance again, then he would prefer to be dead.

Yes, his life was like some nightmare, parallel-universe version of the Hadrian and Antinous story, set against the backdrop of men in silk brocade costumes and in four-inch heels and wearing ornate wigs. It is a story of a man's unconditional love and self-sacrifice for his Sun King.

St. Jean-Baptiste de Lully had a deep fondness for the Roman Gods, and he portrayed them with the gay flourish of the the court of the Sun King. It remains a style all its own, completely out of fashion...even among classical music weirdos.

We adore St. Lully's music...we adore the grace and profound emotions that pour from his chords. We love the beauty of his style of dance.


No doubt when Monsieur St. de Lully arrived at the Divine court of Hadrian the God, he immediately set about rearranging the Imperial Orchestra, replacing the Ney Flutes with Bassoons and Oboes, dismissing the Cythara in favor of Violas de Gamba.

Perhaps the old Greek musicians might have taken insult at being swept aside, but with a wave of his hand...Antinous calmed them.

So it was that the celestial Imperial Orchestra performed the new opera Of Saint Jean-Baptiste de Lully. The Imperial Court was astonished to hear the new sound. Even the Greeks were amazed (and the Greeks had heard everything). And With a wreathed nod of his illuminated head, Hadrian enthroned commanded his beloved Antinous to dance.

When we join the court of Hadrian in the heavens, we will see Antinous dance to the new music of Saint Jean-Baptiste de Lully.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

ANTINOUS WAS BORN ON THIS DAY
1,903 YEARS AGO


ANTINOUS was born on this day, November 27th in the year 111 AD — 1,903 years ago!

Festive celebrations are being held by worshipers all over the world, with special rites being conducted at the HOLLYWOOD TEMPLE OF ANTINOUS.

Antinous was born in the Bithynian city of Claudiopolis, modern-day Bolu in Turkey.

It was a major city in those days with a Hellenistic/Roman heritage dating back centuries. It was nestled among snow-capped peaks and woodlands full of wild beasts and full of mythical magic.

The portrait of the newborn baby Antinous and his mother against the backdrop of a Bithynian conifer forest is by PRIEST UENDI, a New York artist who now lives in Hollywood.

Modern Claudiopolis/Bolu is a sleepy health resort. Not too many foreign tourists go there, but the area is a popular with Turkish vacationers because of its pine-covered mountains and its sparkling lakes and spa waters.


The altitude makes it refreshingly cooler than lower-lying regions, so Turks go there to get away from the heat and noise of places like Istanbul and Ankara.

Wikipedia says: "Local specialities include a sweet made of hazelnuts (which grow in abundance here) and an eau-de-cologne with the scent of grass. One feature of Bolu dear to the local people is the soft spring water obtained from fountains in the town."
 

Hazelnut candy? Grass-scented cologne? Amazingly soft spring water? Somehow that one little paragraph makes it sound like a place where Antinous would have to have been born.

The area where Antinous was born is a beautiful place, nestled high in piney forests and yet only a short distance from the sparkling Black Sea coast about halfway between Istanbul and Ankara.

The region is teeming with bountiful wildlife and so Hadrian and Antinous went on hunting forays while in Bithynium. As a boy, Antinous must have played in these forests and bathed in these sparkling lakes.

He would have remembered these boyhood days during his travels with Hadrian to the far corners of the Empire. We often forget that Antinous had a family who must have loved him and missed him. They were no doubt proud of him, but they missed him.

And he missed them as he also missed his lovely Bithynia with its mountains and lakes and deep forests which, in winter, are covered in deep snow.

The first snows may have already fallen "back home" at the end of October in 130 AD when Antinous stood on the banks of the Nile in Upper Egypt. Perhaps he had received a letter from home with the latest family gossip and news of the first snowfall. He would have remembered the scent of pine forests and fresh-fallen snow.

As he looked into the green waters of the Nile in far-away Egypt at the end of his brief life, perhaps he thought of "home" and lakes and dark forests and pine cones and the scent of hazelnuts being roasted and mixed with rose water and honey to make candy.

November 27th is an introspective moment ... an evaluation of things past ... and things to come. And above all, it is birthday party time. Let the Festive Season Begin with an Antinous Birthday Party!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

HOW TO PLAN YOUR OWN
FESTIVE ANTINOUS BIRTHDAY PARTY



ANTINOUS was born on November 27 and worshipers around the world are busy planning their own festivities ... from Chile to Canada and from New England in the US to New South Wales in Australia.

November marks the start of the ancient pagan Festive Season, a season which is still full of fabulous party dates ... including Christmas, New Year's Eve, Twelfth Night and of course American Thanksgiving. Dia de los Muertos and Halloween/Samhain usher in this Festive Season of twinkly lights and over-eating and drinking way too much. 

The images on this page offer inspiration for Antinous Birthday festivities. Above is "Das Gastmahl" (The Symposion Feast) by Anton von Werner (1877) - preliminary color sketch as part of a series of wall murals on the theme of "Roman Life" for the Caf√© Bauer (53 x 89 cm) (Privately Owned).

The other images are courtesy of the gifted artist FELIX D'EON and serve as an inspiration for Antinous Birthday festivities in the open air.

These ancient festivities go back WAAAAY before Christianity, of course. So it's a safe bet that Hadrian and Antinous would recognize many of the features of these festivities

So when you plan your Antinous Birthday Party, you can mix-and-match customs from all sorts of pagan Festive Season holidays, in full knowledge that Hadrian and Antinous would nod in approval.

It should be celebrated with feasting and drinking and singing and carousing. Green boughs (palm fronds, holly, pine boughs or whatever is native to your climate) should decorate the feast room in honour of the forests of Bithynia, the highlands of modern-day Turkey where Antinous was born.


Electric lights should be turned off in favor of candlelight or at the very least those strings of tiny "fairy lights" which Moslems use during Ramadan and Hindus during Divali and Christians at Christmas.

The one really bright spot in the room should be a bust or image of Antinous, which is spotlighted, signifying our belief that Antinous brings light into the world.

The Antinous Rosy Lotus would be perfect. But since not everyone has access to lotus blossoms in late November, orchids would also be fine. Bithynia was well known evenin Ancient Times for its forest orchids and the Romans loved orchids -- even orchid root beverages!

Orchids would be lovely as well as being a Hellenistic conversation piece. If they are too pricey, then your favorite seasonal flower will do. Look around and find something that is beautiful and unique to your own locale which you think would be very nice.

The Birthday of Antinous would be a wonderful opportunity for a costume party, also in keeping with the Halloween/Carnaval/Christmas flavor of these ancient pagan holidays. Guests might be encouraged to come as Greco-Romans or Egyptian priests.

The menu could be Mediterranean, with lots of finger foods such as tahini and couscous and humous and pita bread, stuffed olives, eggplant/aubergine, goat's cheese and so on. Refried beans (which the Egyptians call "fuul" and eat for breakfast) would be ideal since the theory goes that the Moors introduced "fuul" to the Spaniards, who introduced it to the New World, where it became refritos -- Mexican refried beans.

But you should feel free to go local with favorite regional dishes of your home area. There must be lots of good South American dishes which would be perfect, or Scottish specialties, or Aussie barbecued prawns or New England pot pies -- good simple "plebeian" food which is festive and spicy and filling.

In keeping with these pagan festivals, foods should represent birth and regeneration: beans, peas, black-eyed peas, pumpkins, squash, nuts, berries.

It doesn't really matter what food is served, of course, as long as it's delicious and plentiful, and as long as there is plenty of drink to wash it down, wine or beer or just good old iced tea.

Beer is quite appropriate, since the Ancient Egyptians were brewing beer thousands of years before Antinous was born.

Just imagine: Antinous' last meal may have been refried beans and beer and flat bread.

In a change from holiday cakes and cookies, how about baking Antinous cookies? Bake simple sugar cookies which have been cut out to resemble stars, comets, an imperial crown and Bithynian fir trees and lions and so on and decorate them with Antinoian lettering or symbols.

Instead of gingerbread men, make gingerbread Antinouses. The gingerbread man, after all, is thought to come from pagan rituals for honoring Thor or other gods. Generally, they are sweet dough which is filled with a nut-date-spice filling representing rebirth and spiritual sustenance. You still find them today on St. Nicholas' feast day throughout Europe.

Whatever you bake, make sure to include a small "surprise" somewhere in the cake or muffin or cookes for some lucky guest to chomp down on. It doesn't have to be a diamond ring, but a trinket of some sort is always fun. 


If that is too challenging for your skills as a confectioner, then just an ordinary cake with the letters "A-N-T-I-N-O-U-S" in store-bought candy lettering would do the job just as nicely. 

Or just a large "A" in icing in the middle of the cake.

Another tradition should be oracle games. This is the first major festival of the New Year in the Antinoian liturgical calendar, so oracles are appropriate.

And when your guests suggest you are robbing traditions from Christian festivals, just look them square in the eye and insist that the Christians stole these wonderful traditions from us pagans because the Christians didn't have any of their own. Where would Christian holidays be without pagan traditions?

Who knows? Perhaps Hadrian and Antinous enjoyed these very same pagan traditions in their Saturnalia revelries.

One more thing: Mistletoe. Mistletoe is plentiful in the forests of Bithynia. Antinous would be well familiar with mistletoe. I'm sure he would like it as a reminder of his boyhood hikes through the woods of home.

Use your imagination and you'll come up with lots of ideas.

Let the Festive Season Begin with an Antinous Birthday Party!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

YOU CAN COPY BRITISH MUSEUM
TREASURES THROUGH 3-D PRINTING



FOLLOWING in the footsteps of New York's Metropolitan Museum, London's British Museum is about to revolutionize the gift shop experience by allowing visitors to download and 3-D print replicas of its priceless antiques and artifacts.

Given the size of the museum's collection it will hopefully be posting hundreds of artifacts for visitors to download and 3D print. 


But for now there are just 14 3D models available on Sketchfab, including everything from a bust of Amenemhat III, an iconic Hoa Hakananai'a statue from Easter Island, and even an Egyptian granite sarcophagus—although you'll have to settle for a plastic version if you're making a copy at home with your 3D printer. [Sketchfab via SlashGear]

Monday, November 24, 2014

HOW THE ROMANS WORKED SILVER
ON VIEW AT THE GETTY VILLA



ANCIENT Roman silversmiths developed their craft to the highest levels of refinement and beauty. 

Applying fire and basic tools to the shaping of precious metals, many of their sophisticated techniques are still used today. 


This video illustrates the making of a stunning silver cup that has survived from the 1st Century AD.

This cup is on view at the GETTY VILLA in Malibu, California, from November 19, 2014, to August 17, 2015, in the exhibition "Ancient Luxury and the Roman Silver Treasure from Berthouville": http://bit.ly/13Oxl7s

Subscribe NOW to the Getty Museum channel: http://bit.ly/gettymuseumyoutube

Love art? Follow the Getty Villa on Google+ to stay in touch: http://bit.ly/gettygoogleplus

Sunday, November 23, 2014

EXPERTS DECIPHER MAGICAL SPELL BOOK
FOUND NEAR ANTINOOPOLIS IN EGYPT



AN ancient Egyptian handbook containing magic spells in use in or near Antinoopolis has been deciphered by Australian scientists.

The Handbook of Ritual Power – as named by the researchers – explains how to cast love spells, exorcise evil spirits and treat 'black jaundice', a fatal infection still present today.

According to Live Science, the text is written in Coptic and the book is made of bound parchmentpapers. It is about 1,300 years old and was first acquired by Macquarie University in 1981 from antiques dealer Michael Fackelmann.

However, where Fackelmann first got the handbook from is unknown.

"The dialect suggests an origin in Upper Egypt, perhaps in the vicinity of Ashmunein/Hermopolis," which is directly across the Nile from Antinoopolis, researchers Malcolm Choat and Iain Gardner wrote in their book A Coptic Handbook of Ritual Power.

Antinoopolis was always a place of "magic, sorcery and strange religious fervor " according to Royston Lambert in his authoritative book about Antinous, BELOVED AND GOD

We know that the priests of Antinous wrote a LOVE SPELL. Lambert notes that even to this day local villagers believe the place to be haunted.

The ancient Egyptian magic spell book starts with a long series of invocations, annotated with drawings and "words of power", they say.

"These are followed by a number of prescriptions or spells to cure possession by spirits and various ailments, or to bring success in love and business."

The book, which is 20 pages long, includes a spell about how to control someone. To do this, people must say a magical formula over two nails, then drive them into his doorstop: "One on the right side (and) one on the left."

At the time the book was written, Egyptians had become Christians and it contains several references to Jesus. However, there are also mentions of the Sethians – a group that held the third son of Adam and Eve (Seth) in high regard.

Church leaders thought Sethians to be heretics and by the time the book was written, they had been all but wiped out.

The authors believe the handbook could be a transitional text created before all the Sethian spells had been purged. They told LiveScience they believe the spells were originally from separate books, but were later combined to create a "single instrument of ritual power".

Discussing who might have used the book, Choat said: "It is my sense that there were ritual practitioners outside the ranks of the clergy and monks, but exactly who they were is shielded from us by the fact that people didn't really want to be labeled as a 'magician'."

Saturday, November 22, 2014

SORROWING HADRIAN WAITS
FOR THE COLOSSI OF MEMNON TO SING



WE commemorate the solemn visit of a very grief-stricken Emperor Hadrian to Thebes and the Colossi of Memnon less than a month after the demise of his Beloved Antinous.

Antinous had drowned at the end of October and Hadrian had issued decrees establishing the CITY OF ANTINOOPOLIS at the spot on the shores of the Nile where his Beloved had died. 


Hadrian probably left the body with priests before the Imperial Entourage continued its scheduled tour up the Nile to the historic city of Thebes.

The Colossi of Memnon stand at the entrance of what was a great temple for Amenophis III.

The Colossi of Memnon at Thebes were mistakenly identified as such by the Greeks. They were the giant statues of Amenhotep III at the entrance of his now destroyed Temple. 


Memnon (left above) was actually the "brazen-crested Memnon, a comely man" according to Odysseus, King of the Ethiopians (Susa in the East not Africa) who came with a great force to help Troy against the Achaean invaders, and was killed by Achilles. At his death his soldiers turned into birds.

By the time Emperor Hadrian arrived, the statues were in a ruinous state and emitted a wailing sound at dawn when the rising sun heated the stone. Greeks and Romans traveled from afar to hear the statues "speak" to them. Hadrian left graffiti here.

Flamen ANTONIUS SUBIA writes:

"After the death of Antinous, the Imperial entourage visited the ancient city of Thebes in the Upper Nile, it was the furthest south that Hadrian ever journeyed. The court visited the two Colosoi of Memnon, which are monumental seated statues of Amenhotep III built in the 18th dynasty.

"It was said that a ringing sound was emitted by the statues in the early mourning, and that anyone who heard the statues speak was favored by the gods, as the belief was that the statues were of Memnon, the son of Aurora. Hadrian did not hear the sound, but the empress Sabina did.

"The God of Thebes was Amon, the ram-headed, who was equated with Jupiter. Julia Balbilla, poetess and companion of Sabina, who was with the court throughout the voyage and was present at the Death and Liberation of Antinous, wrote these words. These are the first words written after the death of Antinous. They were inscribed, like graffiti on the Colossus of Memnon.

"'I, Balbilla, when the rock spoke, heard the voice of the divine Memnon or Phamenoth. I came here with the lovely Empress Sabina. The course of the sun was in its first hour, in the fifteenth year of Hadrian's reign, on the twenty-fourth day of the month Hathor. I wrote this on the twenty-fifth day of the month Hathor'."

Rather more recently, in the 21st Century, while researching his novel about Antinous entitled THE LOVE GOD, author MARTIN CAMPBELL made a pilgrimage to the Colossi of Memnon in the footsteps of the Divine Hadrian. He filed this report via email from Thebes:

"The Nile is noiselessly rushing by my hotel only a hundred or so feet from where I am writing.

"I have stood at the Colossi of Memnon and seen where Sabina and Julia Balbilla wrote verses about Hadrian.

"I walked around Luxor temple where Hadrian would have officiated as pharaoh. I have looked at the ruins of the Roman barracks where he may have stayed while in Luxor (then Thebes). I have been to the Dendera temple where Trajan decorated a temple to childbirth which may later have been converted to a temple to Bes, possibly by Hadrian."

The truth is that we all follow in the footsteps of the Divine Hadrian as he attempts to work out his grief in the weeks following the death of his Beloved and just seven days before the Birthday of Antinous on November 27th.