Wednesday, December 19, 2012

TEMPLE TO POSEIDON/NEPTUNE FOUND

ON BULGARIA'S BLACK SEA COAST


EXPERTS working at a dig on the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria say they have found a well-preserved altar to Poseidon/Neptune which suggests the surrounding ruins were once a major temple to the god of the seas.

Archaeologists found the building in front of the medieval fortified wall of the seaside town of Sozopol, according to Bozhidar Dimitrov, director of Bulgaria’s National History Museum.


It is a little-known fact that Antinous was associated in a gay context with the classical god of the seas, called Poseidon by the Greeks and Neptune by the Romans.

Coins minted by a priest of Antinous at Corinth named Hostilius Marcellus (from whom our own Uendi Hostilia Marcella takes her priestly name) show Antinous as Neptune/Poseidon.

It is a reference to the myth that Poseidon became enthralled with another marine male deity, Nerites, who was said to be the handsomest of all males on Earth, in the Heavens or in the Seas.


The sexual union of Poseidon and Nerites produced Anteros, god of requited love.

In those days, few people could read or write, but everyone knew these myths. So anyone who held one of these Antinous/Poseidon coins could "read" the gay symbolism.


So any discovery concerning Neptune/Poseidon is of great interest to us, since the dig could ultimately reveal Antinous-related artefacts.


At the Sozopol site, Dimitrov said that the numerous pieces of marble found during excavations indicate that the temple was destroyed after the declaration of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman empire in 330 AD.

The structure was partially pulled down and partially reconfigured as a Christian house of worship dedicated to a Christian saint, whose iconography was similar to that of the ancient god Neptune.

Dimitrov said that in Sozopol, there was a simiar example of how a temple to the Thracian horseman in the centre of the old town was converted into a church dedicated to Saint George, riding a horse to slay a demon dragon.

He said, according to a report by local news agency Focus, that in the case of the temple to Neptune – the god of the sea – the time of its destruction saw the building of a Christian church a very short distance away, dedicated to Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of fishermen and sailors.

The statement about one of the latest archaeological finds in Sozopol is the town’s newest headline-maker on the archaeological front this year.

In the early summer archaeologists found a skeleton staked post-mortem to prevent the deceased from rising as a vampire at Sozopol.

In September, archaeologists made another unusual find in the skeleton of a man who appears to have been such an inveterate gambler that he took his knucklebones to the grave, perhaps in hopes of winning his freedom by challenging Hades to a game of chance.

The skeleton has been provisionally dated to the 5th Century BC. As part of the funeral rites, the deceased was buried with a Greek dish that had 80 astragaloi – roughly cubic-shaped ship ankle bones used for gambling in the ancient times.

In August, it emerged that an ancient incense vessel in the shape of a bull’s head, estimated to date from the 6th Century BC, had been found by archaeologists on St Kirik island off Sozopol. The discovery was made on the last hour of the last day of the 2012 summer archaeological season in Bulgaria.

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