Saturday, May 23, 2015

DO YOU WANT FRIES AND A SHAKE
WITH THAT ISICIA OMENTATA?



THERE's a theory that the Romans introduced the hamburger to Britain, and that theory will be put to the test on Hadrian’s Wall at the weekend.

Specialist group Taste of History will be using a 1,500-year-old Roman recipe for what very much looks like a modern burger.

Visitors to Birdoswald fort at Gilsland on the Northumberland-Cumbria border will be able to sample the result from 11am-2pm on Saturday. Roman Centurion Joe Jackson (photos courtesy THE CHRONICLE) will be on hand to help flip burgers.

English Heritage may be tempted to temporarily change the fort’s name to Burgoswald as the Roman group cooks up its Magnus Macus.

Food historian Dr Annie Gray, said: “We all know that the Romans left a huge mark on Britain, fundamentally altering the British diet forever.

“Street food became available en masse, including Isicia Omentata, what can be seen as the Roman forefather to today’s burger.

“This ‘burger’ was decidedly more upmarket than many of today’s offerings, and is richer and more complex than the plain beef version most common today.”

There would have been plenty of demand in Roman times with constant traffic along the Wall between forts, garrisons of up to 1,000 men at some of the bases and a cosmopolitan mix of people from across the empire.

There were also the civilian settlements outside some of the forts.

It has long been known that the Romans brought fast food joints ... or thermopolia as they called them ... to Britain.

A recipe from the surviving ancient Roman cookbook, Apicius, details an item called Isicia Omentata which comprises minced meat, pepper, wine, pine nuts, and a rich fish based sauce called GARUM, all formed into a patty.

This is what will be served up at Birdoswald for the first time in many centuries.

The pattie will be cooked over an open fire and served in a bun for visitors to decide for themselves whether the Roman burger beats its modern day counterparts.

Frances McIntosh, English Heritage curator based at Corbridge Roman site in Northumberland, said: “This weekend visitors to Birdoswald Roman Fort can have a taste and decide for themselves whether the Romans brought the first ‘burger’ to Britain.

“Having access to convenient food was vitally important as they patrolled the frontier.

“Garrisons in the fort did not have the mess halls we see in modern military bases and they would probably have taken the opportunity to save time cooking by buying fast food.

“At Corbridge there is evidence of open fronted shops which may have sold such food.

“We know that the Romans imported items like fish sauce and wine to Hadrian’s Wall.”

The sauce was made by fermenting fish, including innards. But Taste of History is playing safe with a pasteurised Vietnamese fish sauce with added vinegar.

Friday, May 22, 2015

HOME ALONE IN ROME
HADRIAN FACES LIFE WITHOUT ANTINOUS


TODAY the Religion of Antinous commemorates the day in the year 131 AD when Hadrian returned from the journey to the East alone ... without Antinous ... with only his circle of companions as comfort. 

He came back to Rome a grieving and broken man. The man who had spent his life traveling would never leave Rome or his Villa again. The remaining years of his reign would be marked by moodiness, capriciousness and a protracted conflict in the East.

But this sad ending was also a bright beginning ... the beginning of the new religion, a religion which was to incorporate all of Hadrian's hopes for a Hellenistic civilization based on love of art and beauty.

As Antonius Subia has written: "The Return of Hadrian to Rome is when the seed of the old religion of Antinous was delineated and implemented, and it is sacred as the occasion when the proliferation of images began. Hundreds of these images remain and are the guiding star of the New Religion of Antinous."

It was also at this time that the sacred precinct of the Villa of Tibur known as the Canopus with its long colonnaded pool was constructed, which is believed to be an architectural allegory of the Nile and the Divine Mystery of Antinous.

This day marks a turning point in the saga of Hadrian and Antinous. Hadrian returns to Rome a prematurely old and sick man. His active years died with Antinous. He sets about trying to cement his legacy.

A part of him died with Antinous. A new part was born.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

THE BIRTH OF PLATO
SAINT OF ANTINOUS



ON May 21st the Religion of Antinous honors Plato, Saint of Antinous, because May 21st is Plato's birthday, and no worshipper of Antinous could possibly forget HIS birthday.

The greatest of all western mystics and philosophers was born on this day in the year 427 BC. He was originally named Aristocles, but was called Plato by one of his teachers because of the breadth of his shoulders and of his speech, and we might also say because of the magnitude of his legacy of wisdom.

He was a follower of Socrates and the majority of his works are written as Dialogues of Socrates, wherein Plato elaborates his vision of the Universe, the inner workings of mankind, the complexities of human relationships, and the virtues of civilization.

All we know about Socrates is in reality only what Plato has told us of his teacher. Out of loyalty, Plato gave all personal credit to the wisdom of his divine teacher.

Plato founded the Academy in Athens that was dedicated to the love of wisdom and to the perfection of the minds and souls of young men. The image above is a mosaic from Pompeii showing Plato and his academy assembled under his famous olive tree.

Plato studied Pythagoreanism in Italy and made further speculation into the mathematical mysticism of the first philosopher thereby creating the model upon which western monotheism is based. The Platonic system was essentially a unification of the social inquiry of Socrates with the cosmic ramifications of the teachings of Pythagoras.

Here is how Flamen Antinoalis Antonius Subia explain's the significance of Saint Plato:

"In the vision of Love that Plato expounded, Venus Urania, Celestial Love, is glorified as highest form of human affection, above the earthly requirements of procreation. The love between two men, what is innocently called Platonic Love, was considered by Plato to be the most divine form of relationship.

"Hadrian, in all ways the most Platonic of all Emperors, the veritable manifestation of the Philosopher King as glorified by Plato in The Republic, was demonstrating the meaning of Venus Urania, for all the world to see, in his passion for Antinous.

"For the beautiful light in which Plato illuminated the inner nature of homosexual love, he is venerated as a divine Saint of the Religion of Antinous."

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

PALMYRA FALLS TO ISLAMIC MILITANTS
ITS TREASURES NOW IN SERIOUS DANGER



DAESH Islamic State militants swept into the desert city of Palmyra in central Syria on Wednesday, and by evening were in control of it, residents and Syrian state news media said.

The sad victory over this city which Hadrian and Antinous visited in its heyday gives DAESH another strategically important prize after the group devastated art treasures at Nimrud, Hatra and Nineveh in recent weeks.

PALMYRA, with its grand complex of 2,000-year-old colonnades and tombs, is one of the world’s most magnificent remnants of antiquity.

In the 3rd Century AD, Palmyra was so prosperous, that its queen Zenobia launched a revolt against Rome. She conquered Egypt before being defeated and taken as a hostage to Rome by Emperor Aurelian. 

But for the fighters on the ground, the city of 50,000 people is significant because it sits among gas fields and astride a network of roads across the country’s central desert. 

Palmyra’s vast unexcavated antiquities could also provide significant revenue through illegal trafficking.

Control of Palmyra gives the Islamic State command of roads leading from its strongholds in eastern Syria to Damascus and the other major cities of the populated west, as well as new links to western Iraq, the other half of its self-declared caliphate.

As they have swept across Syria and Iraq, Islamic State fighters havedestroyed or damaged numerous ancient sites and sculptures, condemning them as idolatry in slickly produced recruitment films, even as they pillage and sell off more portable items to finance their activities. 


That has raised fears both locally and internationally that Palmyra, a United Nations world heritage site, could also suffer irrevocable damage.

EXQUISITE APIS BULL STATUE OF HADRIAN
'SMASHED TO PIECES' BY CLUMSY MOVERS



THE magnificent life-size Apis Bull basalt statue commissioned by Hadrian reportedly was "smashed to pieces" in a botched effort by curators at a museum in Alexandria to shift it into a crate for shipment to an exhibition.

The Egypt Heritage Task Force group on Wednesday wrote on Facebook that the statue was broken to pieces while it was being transported from the Graeco-Roman museum storeroom to the Maritime Museum to prepare it for a European exhibition tour of Alexandria's underwater archaeology.

Hadrian and Antinous VISITED THE SERAPEUM, where hundreds of Sacred Apis Bulls were entombed, during their tour of Egypt in 130 AD. It was perhaps then that Hadrian commissioned the statue.

He commissioned a number of other fine statues, includiing several of Antinous as Osiris, of Ptah and a bust of Antinous merged with the Apis bull-god Serapis.

The Apis Bull statue is about 1.90 metres long, carved in basalt and dated to the reign of the Hadrian in the 2nd Century CE. 

It was discovered to the west of Pompey's Pillar in Alexandria and is considered the finest example of Hadrian's favored Greco-Roman style of sculpture.

The activists claim the masterpiece should have never been moved for the exhibition because, under the antiquities law, all unique heritage objects cannot travel to exhibitions abroad.

"The statue was moved to be packed to travel even before the official approval of the exhibition was taken," they claim in a statement, adding that the Ministry of Antiquities did not report the incident so that the company responsible for the exhibition would not have to pay the insurance. 

Instead, they claim, a foreign archaeologist who is also involved in the exhibition paid to get the statue restored.

"The statue was restored badly," one of the activists told Ahram Online but requested anonymity. She pointed out that the statue should not leave Egyptian soil.

"This is still being kept low profile, despite the fact that Ahmed Sharaf, the ex-chief of museums at the Ministry of Antiquities, has been imprisoned on other corruption charges since," she added.

However, the claims by activists have been disputed by the antiquities ministry.

"All that has been published on Facebook or said by the activists is completely untrue and unfounded," Nadia Khedre, head of Museums Section in Alexandria, told Ahram Online.


"The statue is safe and sound," she asserted, adding that it arrived safely at the Maritime Museum and was never broken. She describes what has circulated on the internet as an attempt to distort the reputation of Egyptian archaeologists and restorers.

CASTOR AND POLLUX
TWIN GODS OF HOMOSEXUALITY



TODAY the Sun enters the Sign of Gemini — the sign of the Twins Castor and Pollux, Gods of Homosexuality.  This is the zodiac sign which ushers in a special sacred time in the Religion of Antinous, for this is the time of year when the STAR OF ANTINOUS rises, after having been hidden below the horizon since the Death of Antinous at the end of October.

We honor the Dioscuri who were born as triplets with the beautiful Helen as their sister. The mother of the three was Leda who was seduced by Zeus who came to her in the form of a swan. Leda gave birth to an egg from which emerged Castor, Pollux and Helen. (Image by generous consent of ANDRÉ DURAND)

The identical brothers were inseparable, and had a deep affection for one another, for which reason they were often worshipped as gods of homosexuality. Helen was constantly being abducted and in need of rescue, which the brothers were usually successful in accomplishing, however, her beauty was eventually to lead to the Trojan War.


Castor was a skilled horseman, and Pollux was an unconquerable boxer. They took part in the voyage of the Argonauts, and with Orpheus they calmed a storm, for which reason they were worshipped as the protectors of sailors.

Later in the voyage, Castor was killed, and Pollux was so overwhelmed that he begged Zeus to accept his life in exchange for his brother's. 


Out of compassion, Zeus immortalized Castor and proclaimed that Pollux would spend half the year in the underworld and half the year in heaven with his brother. 

Together they were placed in the sky as the sign of Gemini.

The Divine Twins miraculously appeared in Rome to announce the victory of the Republic over the allies of the last king by watering their horses in the Fountain of Juturna in the Forum.

Flamen Antonius has this further insight into Castor and Pollux:

"The sacredness of the Twin Gods, with their third twin sister Helen is found in Norse Mythology as the Alcis and as the twins Frey and Skirnir with their third twin sister Freya.

"The symbolism of brotherly love, and of sacrificing one's life for the immortality of a brother is at the heart of the Religion of Antinous, and is an example of the sacrifice that Antinous is said to have committed for the prolongation of the life of Hadrian. The Dioscuri are Antinous and his "rival" Aelius Caesar, and they are also seen in the two brothers of Hadrian's court, Macedo and Statianus Caesernius, who were servants, protectors, confidants, lovers, friends, witnesses and first priests of Antinous.

"The Sacred Star of Antinous rises during the sign of the brothers Castor and Pollux."

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

PETER WILDEBLOOD
SAINT OF ANTINOUS


ON May 19th, the Religion of Antinous honors our Saint Peter Wildeblood, a British journalist, novelist, playwright and gay-rights campaigner, who was born on this day in 1923.

He became one of the first men in Britain to declare publicly that he was gay, when he was arrested and put on trial in a headline-making case in 1954. 

He was sent to prison on a conviction of "conspiring to incite acts of gross indecency and buggery." 

His case created such an uproar that it helped to lead to the 1960s reform of anti-gay laws in the UK.

In the uptight post-war years of the early '50s, Wildeblood had made something of a name for himself in the theatre and as a roving reporter for a major newspaper, London's Daily Mail, when he happened to meet a 23-year-old RAF corporal named Eddie McNally in Piccadilly Circus. 

Although Eddie McNally was not Peter Wildeblood's type, they developed a relationship over time. In the summer of 1952 they arranged to go on holiday together at Edward Montagu's beach hut on the English coast. John Reynolds, who was also an airman and a friend of Eddie McNally, also joined them.

About 18 months later, on Saturday, January 9, 1954, Peter Wildeblood was arrested at his home and his house was searched. He was charged with conspiring with Edward Montagu and Michael Pitt-Rivers to incite Eddie McNally and John Reynolds to commit indecent acts.

The police tipped off the press and the story was headlined in all the Sunday newspapers the next day. Eddie McNally and John Reynolds became witnesses for the prosecution.

The media went on a feeding frenzy and his picture was plastered all over the front pages for weeks. One paper retouched his photos to make it appear that he was wearing lipstick. He was vilified in public. He later described one incident when a woman recognized him being driven past in a vehicle.


"That night, a woman spat at me," Wildeblood wrote later. "She was a respectable looking, middle-aged, tweedy person wearing a sensible felt hat. She was standing on the pavement as the car went by. I saw her suck in her cheeks, and the next moment a big blob of spit was running down the windscreen.  

"This shocked me very much. The woman did not look eccentric or evil; in fact she looked very much like the country gentlewomen with whom my mother used to take coffee when she has finished her shopping on Saturday mornings. She looked thoroughly ordinary, to me. But what did I look like to her? Evidently, I was a monster."

What so troubled the decent people of the day was not that homosexual practices went on — everybody knew they always had and always would — but that anybody would openly declare himself to be "a homosexual." 

He was in the news constantly until his conviction and sentencing to 18 months in prison. Because he was (understandably) depressed, he was considered suicidal and was transferred to a dire hospital for the criminally insane where the squalid conditions affected not only his mental health but also his physical health.

He was released after 12 months and immediately launched a personal crusade to overturn anti-gay sex laws in Britain. He lobbied in Parliament and wrote articles and a book entitled Against the Law which outlined how gay people can be entrapped and harassed in their own homes for consensual activity among adults which does not affect anyone else.


His three main points were: homosexuality between consenting adults in private should not be illegal, that prison only encourages homosexuality, and that prison hospitals were inhumane.

While writing this he bought a small drinking club in Soho which attracted a mixture of types on the fringes of society. This provided material for his fictional autobiography about the club, A Way Of Life.

It was a surprise success and encouraged him to write more novels and plays which were hits on stage in London's West End in the late 1950s. In the '60s he became a well-known TV scriptwriter and producer. In the '70s he was lured by Canadian television with a lucrative contract, and emigrated to Canada, where he adopted Canadian citizenship and was responsible for numerous hit productions over the next 16 years.

When he retired in the 1980s, he went to live in a wooden Edwardian cottage in Victoria on the western coast of Canada which had a stunning view over the Juan de Fuca Straits to the Olympic Mountains above Seattle. He suffered a series of debilitating strokes in the mid-'90s which left him speechless and quadriplegic. He learned to communicate via a computer using movements of his chin. He suffered a final stroke and died November 13, 1999, at the age of 76.

In saluting Saint Peter Wildeblood, the Religion of Antinous honors the beacon of courage and hope which he represented in an age of darkness and despair for gay men everywhere. Everyone advised him to remain quiet, and yet he chose to speak out. He did not choose to be exposed but, placed at the mercy of events, he chose to become their master.

His book was a courageous act of defiance against the kind of injustice which the straight world called justice. 

"Very faintly," he wrote, "as though at the end of a tunnel, I could see what I must do. I would make a statement ... I would simply tell the truth about myself ... I would be the first homosexual to tell what it felt like to be an exile in one's own country. I might destroy myself, but perhaps I could help others."