Saturday, April 19, 2014

NICANTINOUS AND DEMETRIUS
WRESTLERS AT THE GAMES OF ANTINOUS


TWO names have surfaced of athletes who took part in the famous Games of Antinous in the mid-3rd Century AD ... two teenage wrestlers named Nicantinous and Demetrius.

The modern priests of Antinous rejoice at the discovery by pure chance of their names ... on a crumbling papyrus which had been found 100 years ago but which only now has been translated.

These two youths were rivals in life. The faced each other in a championship match in honor of Antinous.

And the bittersweet irony of it all is that their names were recorded for posterity because they cheated! They names are bound together for all eternity as if in a vice-like wrestler's grip ... because their managers rigged the match.

The remarkable thing is how few names have survived to this day. We know the names of only a handful of Ancient Priests of Antinous ... and even fewer names of his worshipers. 

We know for example that a man called Serapammon commissioned the priests to cast a love spell to win the heart of a woman he adored.

The Games of Antinous, formally called the Great Antinoeia, were held every four years in Antinoopolis which was founded by Emperor Hadrian on the site along the Nile where his beloved Antinous had died in 130 AD. The Games flourished for hundreds of years, but no record had ever been found listing any names connected with the Games.


Until now ... and now a papyrus document has been deciphered which lists two boy wrestlers who took part in the final wrestling championship match in at the 138th Great Antinoeia in the year 267 AD.

Ironically, the papyrus is a contract signed by trainers of the two boys to rig their match so that Nicantinous would win ... and Demetrius would be paid off to lose.

Details of this contract came to light this past week as the Modern Priests of Antinous were making plans for the 2014 Games of Antinous which will be held in August.

We shall never know who Nicantinous and Demetrius were during their lifetimes. Now, of course, they will be forever linked together ... grappling to the end of time ... bound together forever in connection with scandal and corruption involving the Games of Antinous.


We Modern Priests believe it is immaterial whether they were scoundrels or whether they were innocent pawns in the hands of unscrupulous agents ... they were boys in a big-time sport firmly in the hands of quick-talking professionals.

Let us honor both Demetrius and Nicantinous. Presumably Nicantinous won his medals and his prizes and his lifetime pension. But he paid a heavy price. 

Apparently, the bribery contract came to light, for it was found filed away at the Great Library in Oxyrhynchos Egypt. Presumably, a court case ensued.

Perhaps both youths were forced to stand trial. And even if their secret never came to light during their lifetimes, they lived with it and faced the threat of blackmail all their lives.

We think there is great Homotheosis in the image of Nicantinous and Demetrius wrestling in an "unfair" match in which the "winner" is the "loser" and the "loser" possibly should have been the "winner". 

And we are convinced that this ill-fated wrestling match is a metaphor for the way most gay people "wrestle" with spirituality in a homophobic society. We wrestle against religion.

Let us, as Priests of Antinous, acknowledge both the triumph and the humiliation of both Demetrius (who should have won) and Nicantinous (who unfairly won). 

May their names shine as a beacon to all generations of Antinoians … illuminating our way along the narrow path between triumph and folly. 

May we embrace Nicantinous and admire the gold medal hanging round his neck ... may we kiss the gold medal ... may we embrace Nicantinous and take him to our hearts ... for he is us ... and we are him.

And may we embrace Demetrius in the same spirit of forgiveness and compassion for a youthful transgression …which happened long ago … and which now taints his name for all time.

In the Religion of ANTINOUS THE GAY GOD, we do not wrestle against the divine spirit of gay sexuality ... we become one with it ... HOMOTHEOSIS ... Gay-Man-Godliness-Becoming-The-Same ... Demetrius and Nicantinous are two aspects of a gay person's "struggle" with religion. Both are inseparable ... both are victors ... both are the vanquished ... and in the end they merge into one single spiritual entity ... spiritually inseparable.

Images: The Wrestlers (also known as The Two WrestlersThe Uffizi Wrestlers or The Pancrastinae) is a Roman marble sculpture after a lost Greek original of the 3rd Century BC It is now in the Uffizi collection in Florence, Italy.

Friday, April 18, 2014

WRESTLING MATCH AT GAMES OF ANTINOUS
WAS RIGGED, PAPYRUS CONTRACT SHOWS


EXPERTS have deciphered a contract from the famous Games of Antinous in Egypt which ensured that the loser of a rigged wrestling match would at least walk away with his bribe ... rather than walking away empty-handed if he failed to win honestly.

The very odd document seems to raise more questions than it answers ... but it sheds new light on the most famous competition held at Antinoopolis every four years honoring the death and deification of Hadrian's lover Antinous.

The games were held in the city founded on the site where Antinous died mysteriously in the Nile. 


For centuries afterwards, competitions were held in his honor in the areas of poetry, art, music, rowing, athletic events and chariot racing at the city's hippodrome.

The winners of the various events received handsome prizes as well as a stipend allowing them to live in comfort the rest of their lives in Antinoopolis.

But there was no second or third place ... and so losers walked away empty-handed.


In the contract, the father of a wrestler named Nicantinous agrees to pay a bribe to the guarantors (likely the trainers) of another wrestler named Demetrius. 

Both wrestlers were set to compete in the final wrestling match of the 138th Great Antinoeia, the official name of the Games of Antinous. The Games were held in the year 267 AD, when the Games had been going on for more than a century.

They were in the boys' division, which was generally reserved for teenagers.

The contract stipulates that Demetrius "when competing in the competition for the boy [wrestlers], to fall three times and yield," and in return would receive "three thousand eight hundred drachmas of silver of old coinage …"

The contract includes a clause that Demetrius is still to be paid if the judges realize the match is fixed and refuse to reward Nicantinous the win. 

If "the crown is reserved as sacred, (we) are not to institute proceedings against him about these things," the contract reads. 

It also says that if Demetrius reneges on the deal, and wins the match anyway, then "you are of necessity to pay as penalty to my [same] son on account of wrongdoing three talents of silver of old coinage without any delay or inventive argument."

The translator of the text, Dominic Rathbone, a professor at King's College London, noted that 3,800 drachma was a relatively small amount of money — about enough to buy a donkey, according to another papyrus. 

Moreover, the large sum Demetrius would forfeit if he were to back out of the deal suggests his trainers would have been paid additional money Rathbone said.

The games had been going on for more than a century by the time this contract was created, and brought benefits for the people of Antinoopolis.

"You get the visitors; you get the crowd; you get the trade; you get the prestige," Rathbone told Live Science.

The contract was found at Oxyrhynchus, in Egypt, more than a century ago by an expedition led by archaeologists Bernard Grenfell and Arthur Hunt. 

It was translated for the first time by Rathbone and published in the most recent volume of The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, an ongoing series that publishes papyri from this site.

"In ancient competitions, coming first is the one and only thing — no silver, no bronze," Rathbone said. Additionally, the cost of training athletes was considerable. 

Athletes from wealthy families could pay their own way, but athletes from less-well-off backgrounds could find themselves in debt to their trainers.

The trainers were ever-present, even overseeing their wrestlers in the ring, as this scene from a drinking cup shows.

"The trainer is going to pay for your food, your accommodations and so on for your training, so you end up in debt to him," Rathbone said.

In this winner-takes-all situation, both sides may have decided to curb their risks by making a deal to fix the match, Rathbone said.

"If you were confident you would win, normally you would go for it," he said. 

"If you're not sure you would win, maybe you're cutting your risk by saying, 'At least I get the bribe,'" Rathbone said.

But researchers still wonder, why did the guarantors for the athletes put a clearly illicit agreement in writing on papyrus (pictured here)?

"That's the really bizarre thing; isn't it?" Rathbone said, noting that if either side reneged on the deal, it would be hard to take the matter to court.

He has also noted oddities in the way the contract was drawn up.

"It doesn't look as though they've actually gone as far as getting a scribe with legal knowledge to do this for them, which makes you wonder if it's a bit of an empty thing," Rathbone said.

"It's not really likely that either side is going to [seek recourse] if the other defaults."

Although this is the only known contract recording a bribe between ancient athletes, there are references in ancient sources indicating that bribery in athletic competitions was not unusual. 

By the time of the Roman Empire, bribery in athletic competitions was getting more prevalent as the events became more lucrative, Rathbone said.


Original article on Live Science.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

SAINT SOR JUANA INÉS DE LA CRUZ


ON April 17th the Religion of Antinous honors Saint Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, 17th Century Mexican nun, scholar, poet, scientist, playwright, musician and lesbian.

She was exceptional not only for her intelligence and beauty, but also because she wrote literature centered on intellectual and sexual freedom.

In the poem "Redondillas" she defends a woman's right to be respected as a human being. "Hombres necios" (Stubborn men) criticizes the sexism of the society of her time, and pokes fun at men who publicly condemn prostitutes, among other things, but privately hire them.

She also has a philosophical approach to the relative immorality of prostitution. This was exemplified when she posed the question, "Who sins more, she who sins for pay or he who pays for sin?"

In the romantic comedy entitled "Los empeños de una casa" about a brother and a sister entangled in a web of love, she writes using two of her most prominent themes, love and jealousy.

She did not moralize, but rather, in the spirit of her lifetime interests, inquired of how these deeply emotional matters shaped and carved a woman's pursuit of liberty, knowledge, education and freedom to live her life in self-sovereignty.

Her revolutionary writings brought down upon her the ire of the Roman Catholic Church at the end of the 17th Century. She was ordered to tone down the sexuality of her writings. She did not.

However, powerful representatives from the Spanish court were her mentors and she was widely read in Spain, being called "The Tenth Muse". She was lauded as the most prominent poet of the post-conquest American Continent. Her work was printed by the first printing press of the American Continent in Mexico City.

She is believed to have penned 4,000 works, but only a few have survived. They were rescued by the Spanish Viceroy's wife, who was rumored to be her female lover. In April 1695, after ministering to the other sisters struck down by a rampant plague, she is said to have died at four in the morning on April 17th.

For her love of learning and her devotion to the beauty of sexuality and for her courage to write about controversial things in the face of the Spanish Inquisition, we honor Saint Sor Juana as a Prophet of Homoeros.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

KENNETH WEISHUHN
SAINT OF ANTINOUS


WE honor Kenneth Weishuhn as a blessed Saint of Antinous because he killed himself at age 14 after bullies taunted him relentlessly for being gay.

April 14th, 2012, Kenneth James Weishuhn, of Primghar, Iowa, succumbed to the bullying he'd been receiving since coming out as a gay teen only a few short months earlier.  

He was a very happy young man.  Handsome and full of life.  He was loving to others.  More than that, he was loved by his friends and families.

Unfortunately, coming out of the closet cost him his young life.  The bullying was relentless and severe to the point where he couldn't take it any longer. 

Two of Kenneth's friends, Kristi and Brandi, made a YOUTUBE VIDEO TRIBUTE to their gone-too-soon friend.  


Antinous is the God of teens who suffer for being gay. Kenneth Weishuhn is in the embrace of Antinous the Gay God. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

JEAN GENET ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A SAINT
HE IS A SAINT OF ANTINOUS


ON April 15th the Religion of Antinous remembers Jean Genet as a Saint of Antinous.

Saint Jean Genet was one of the first and most modern gay poets, whose elegance and sordid love for the street life was unprecedented, and has never been matched.

Among his most fervent desires, expressed from the very beginning was that he should one day be elevated to Sainthood.


We of the Religion of Antinous, fully and faithfully, take faith in the spirit of Saint Jean Genet, through whom the eternal voice of Antinous spoke with the most voluptuousness and vain-glory. 

Saint Jean Genet died on this day in Paris in1986.

Monday, April 14, 2014

SIR JOHN GIELGUD
SAINT OF ANTINOUS


ON April 14th the Religion of Antinous honors one of our most blessed thespian saints and martyrs, St. John Gielgud, who was born on this day in 1904.

The most terrible moment in John Gielgud's life -- on which he maintained a public silence for 50 years -- was the subject of a critically acclaimed play in the London West End.

The play, entitled "Plague Over England", was about the scandal which swept across Britain in 1953 when John Gielgud was arrested by an undercover policeman in a public toilet in London.

But the 2008 play was concerned with much more than Gielgud's arrest in on the charge of "importuning for immoral purposes". The play showed the plight of gay men in the 1950s Cold War atmosphere when gays were associated with Communist espionage. 

Its characters include the producer who nearly ended his career, the virulently anti-homosexual Lord Chief Justice Rayner Goddard, an American fleeing his own country's anti-Communist paranoia, and a doctor who claims to "cure" same-sex attraction with "Clockwork Orange"-style electric shock therapy.

Homosexuals had long been feared and hated in England as men who, it was believed, preyed on the innocent young, and were thus unfit to lead normal, happy lives. Until 1967, they risked prosecution for what the law called "acts of gross indecency between male persons", even in private, and could be arrested for merely showing -- in a police spy's opinion -- an intent to commit them.

Police throughout England were alert for any hints of homosexual behaviour. Just before Gielgud was arrested, two prominent high-class gay men had been uncovered as KGB spies, resulting in a further crackdown on all gay activities. The officer who arrested Gielgud was part of a Metropolitan Police squad established in 1930 that regularly lurked in central London toilets.

The year in which Gielgud came to grief in a Chelsea public convenience was a particularly dangerous one for homosexuals, as the increased frankness of the period allowed politicians, the police, and the press to profit by inflaming public hysteria, warning that a "plague" or "epidemic" of sodomy and Communism was sweeping the land.

The climate of fear was chilling to gay men who paid even the slightest attention to the news.

Gielgud, however, was, in his own words a "silly gubbins" who took no notice of anything outside of acting. On October 21, following the rehearsal for the play "A Day By the Sea", this supremely unworldly man, then 49, had a few drinks at a party and then visited a public lavatory popular with "cottagers" -- English gay slang for men who cruise toilets.

Arrested, and aware that he should give a false identity, he said he was a clerk called Arthur (his real name) Gielgud. The next day he  appeared before a magistrate who did not know who he was, fined him 10 pounds, and ordered him, with the disdain and sexual ignorance of the period, to "see your doctor the moment you leave this court".

Unfortunately, a better-informed Evening Standard reporter was there, too. When that afternoon's paper hit the streets, he was on the front page.

You can imagine the shame and the terror with which Gielgud turned up at rehearsal (he had considered suicide) for the role of a bachelor diplomat whose mother worries that he is lonely and unloved.

But the company, led by his co-star, Dame Sybil Thorndike, in fact welcomed him with open arms. "Oh, John," she said, in one of the most magnificent double entendres of all time, "you HAVE been a silly bugger!"

The producer of "A Day By the Sea", however, the immensely powerful Binkie Beaumont, saw the newspaper articles and the hate mail, and worried that the public would stay away. Yet his thoughts of firing the star were thwarted by Gielgud's brother, Val, who applied a little judicious blackmail about Binkie's very own private life.

Although everyone was nervous that Gielgud might be greeted with silence, or even boos, on his first appearance at the play's opening, as the curtain came down he was cheered to the rafters.

Gielgud was known for having a penchant for anonymous bathroom sex -- It's one of the reasons his knighthood (just a few months before the arrest) was postponed for years. He even had a "cruising cap" for such forays, an attempt to disguise himself so as to avert detection by fans who might recognize him.

The arrest had important consequences, and not only for Gielgud, who was told by the British embassy in Washington to forget about a planned American production of "The Tempest". because he might prove "an embarrassment".

Afterwards, the floodgates opened as the public was confronted by the disturbing fact that an extremely distinguished and beloved artist was one of the people they, in theory, despised. The fuss contributed to the Wolfenden Commission, set up the following year to study prostitution, taking on homosexuality as well. Its recommendations eventually led to decriminalisation in Britain.

While the affair broke Gielgud emotionally, he put himself back together in a way that made him better suited to a theatre in a world of greater change and upheaval.

For his talent and for his courage, the Religion of Antinous honors Saint John Gielgud as a Prophet of Homoeros.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

EXHIBITION IN TÜBINGEN GERMANY
REVEALS COLORS OF ANCIENT SCULPTURE


GLEAMING white marble and limestone sculptures dominate our image of the Mediterranean world in classical antiquity.

However, it is not generally known that ancient architecture and sculptures were once painted in vivid colours.

But now, thanks to technology, experts are delving into the "archaeo-polychromy" of ancient reliefs and sculptures.


They use digital scanners to detect faint smidgens of pigment. And then they do computer projections of what the original must have looked like.

For over a decade now, the traveling exhibit GODS IN COLOR (original title in German: Bunte Götter – Die Farbigkeit antiker Skulptur) shows statues such as "Paris the Trojan Archer" (above), from the west pediment of the Aphaia Temple in Aegina, the way that scientists believe the Ancient Greeks intended them to look.

The traveling exhibition has been seen in major cities on every continent and is still heading to new cities. 


If you are heading to Germany this spring and summer you can catch this spectacular show in Hohentübingen Castle at the UNIVERSITY OF TÜBINGEN. It opened this week and runs through August 10.

The experts stress that these mock-ups are only "best guess scenarios" of what the originals must have looked like. And there are many, many possible variations. The result is very flat and uniform.


After all, the experts are going by only minute flakes of pigment on a chin or cheek to project the color of the entire face.

No doubt the Ancient artists used varying hues, so that this bust of Caligula (left) would look much, much more lifelike than it does here in this modern mock-up.

The experts claim that even bronze statuary was often gilded and painted. We think of bronze being beautiful when it has acquired a patina of greenish age. But the Ancients thought that was dreadful. 


They went to great pains to keep their bronze statues polished so that they gleamed in the sun. They put gemstones in the eyes and they gilded the lips and the brows and eyelashes.

Be sure to watch for this traveling exhibition at a museum near you!