Friday, January 31, 2014
ON January 31st the Religion of Antinous celebrates the life of Saint Derek Jarman.
St. Derek, born on this day in 1942, created eleven extraordinary feature films ... including "Sebastiane," "Jubilee," "The Tempest," "Caravaggio," "The Last Of England," and "Edward II" ... and over three dozen shorts.
This multi-talented artist is also acclaimed for his painting (several major exhibits), stage and film design (for director Ken Russell and for a glorious Pet Shop Boys concert tour), gay and human rights activism, literature (memoirs, social criticism, poetry), and, on a serene note, his exquisite gardens full of "found" art.
Most gay men have seen Sebastiane which, when it came out more than 30 years ago, was the first British film to feature positive images of gay sexuality, not to mention the first film entirely in Latin.
Edward II raised eyebrows among critics for its upfront depiction of the brutal assassination of England's openly gay monarch by means of rectal assault.
The exquisitely beautiful Caravaggio is Saint Derek's best-known film.
We Antinoians remember Saint Derek for his art and we honor him as well for his boundless courage. His death from AIDS was cruelly slow and agonizing. And yet, as AIDS robbed him of his mobility and even of his eyesight, he turned the tables on Death and Dying by turning Death and Dying into an art form.
His last feature-length film, Blue, consists of a single shot of saturated blue color filling the screen as Derek talks about his "vision" of life and art. How very typical of Derek Jarman.
Thumbing his nose at fate right up to the end. A dying man who is blind and yet who talks about his vision.
The light of his eyes faded until all he saw was the darkness where the Night Terrors feed on fear and doubt. And what did Derek do? He turned the darkness into vibrant color. He turned his fear and his worries into artistic energy. The dramatic lighting and brilliant colors of his films were so very dramatic and brilliant because they were always, always set against the inky darkness.
That is why we consecrate Derek Jarman a Saint of Antinous. Just like Saint Caravaggio, also one of our Blessed Saints, Martyrs and Exemplars, his "vision" lay in turning the Darkness into Light and Color. He died February 19, 1994.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
MOTORISTS driving the winding and hilly Via Tiburtina between Tivoli and Hadrian's Villa were shocked to learn this week that they must have snow tires or snow chains … or else face stiff fines.
Signs were posted along the road without any warning last week. Taken wholly unawares, drivers were pulled over by police and were told the were in violation of the law and would have to shell out money on the spot or else face a court date.
The signs state that, from 15 November to 15 April, only vehicles equipped with snow tires or chains are allowed on the road.
The outcry from local residents, tourist bus operators and other drivers was immediate and scathing.
The local newspaper called the move a thinly disguised attempt to rake in revenues from fines.
Critics pointed out that the road is hardly a treacherous mountain pass … lying only 200 meters (700 feet) above sea level.
"Maybe they bought too many signs and had to put them somewhere," one newspaper said. "Or else they thought it was a good Mardi Gras joke."
Hadrian's Villa issued a news release condemning the move and saying the money spent on the signs should have been invested in road repairs.
"Instead of filling pot holes all over the roadway that massacre tires and shock absorbers , they pull a stunt like this," the press release says.
"Rather than do something to secure a stretch of road where accidents are frequent, someone is pulling our leg and permitting law enforcement agencies to slap fines on us all."
The new release continues: "We we demand more respect for Tiburtini. After all, it only snows here once every two or three years, so what is the point of requiring everyone to buy snow tires or chains to travel two miles of road."
The villa pointed out that local authorities lack funds to spread sand and salt on icy roads but has money to put up needless signs.
"We cannot and will not put up with this most ridiculous situations! We want some dignity and respect for Tivoli and we ask the Special Commissioner to take immediate action to remove the absurd signs. "
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
We are still trying to figure out exactly what took place in the sky and when, and why it was so important that it confirmed the deification of Antinous, whether it was a comet or a new star, a Nova in what is now the constellation of Aquila. I lean towards the Nova possibility, because of the use of term "new star" by Dio Cassius, with no reference to a comet, or "long-haired" star...and also because some of the most dramatic known Novas have been located in the constellation Aquila, such as the Nova Aql of 1918
Two major novae have been observed in Aquila: the first one was in 389 BC and was recorded as being as bright as Venus; the other (Nova Aquilae 1918) briefly shone brighter than Altair, the brightest star in Aquila.
So it is possible that there was a Nova in the year 131...and by the way, our previous estimate of year 132 is most likely wrong...the year 131 would have been only a few months after Antinous died...and if this is so, then the appearance of the new star would have occurred about six months before the miraculous inundation of the Nile the following summer. I've always wondered about the timing issue, whether or not the constellation Aquila was actually visible in the sky at the time of year...but it seems that it is, for about one hour before sunrise. This is called a Heliacal rising, when the first appears above the horizon just before sunrise, and then on each succeeding night seems to rise higher and higher every night thereafter. This is what they mean by the Rise of the Dog Star, which signaled the beginning of the Egyptian calendar and which signaled the annual flooding of the Nile. The star Sirius and Altair (which is the brightest star in the constellation Aquila, the star traditionally located right above Antinous's head) are on almost exactly opposite of the night sky...yet strangely enough, they are the two brightest stars in relatively close proximity to our Sun, part of the local group.
As an argument for the comet: It was the Chinese who recorded what is said to have been a comet on January 29th 131. It is known that from the point of vie of China the tail of a comet might be visible, but in Europe, the the tail might be hidden...not sure if I understand why, but this is what I've read, so it may be that from Hadrian's point of view, for the brief hour or so before sunrise, all they saw was a single point of new light in the sky. I'm still not sure what I think about this...and also...I keep thinking that I recall reading in Beloved and God a brief mention by Royston Lambert that there had been a comet in the sky in the year 130 which had given rise to foreboding prophesies...but I keep trying to find this reference and come up with nothing...if any of you can take another look at Beloved and God and find this reference, I would be much ingratiated. And then there is the reference that in the year before Antinous died, that a Phoenix had been seen in Egypt, perhaps another allusion to a comet. If a comet did in fact occur in the months before Antinous died then it would indeed perhaps confirm the Chinese reports, though the dates would disagree but the ancients were terrible about recording dates so there is ever possibility that some confusion might have taken place. A comet before his death and a new star (nova) afterward would however be a significant narrative of spiritual significance.
The Star of Antinous was the proof that Antinous had indeed arisen to the heavenly sphere...that he had taken his place among the immortal gods...more than anything else..it was what all the disbelievers would have required to recognize that Antinous was more than just Hadrian's little pretty boy. It would have needed to be a very significant new star in order to make an impact upon the general populace...it would have needed to be an obvious sign in the sky that even an untrained astrologer could look up and seen for themselves..it would have needed to be as bright as Altair...there were a great many people all over the empire who were familiar with the stars...sailors and temple soothsayers...all of whom would have had enough familiarity with the constellations to know if a new star had actually appeared in the night sky for the first time. If there really had appeared a new star for the first time, as Dio Cassius skeptically reports, then the "experts" would have noticed it, and would have confirmed the official reports from Hadrian's court that Antinous had arisen to godliness...and the word of their confirmation would have spread, dispelling whatever doubts the general, uninformed populace might have felt when the Edict of Deification was announced.
The Star of Antinous was the most significant event in the formation of our religion...this is what separates Antinous from other gay demi-gods such as Achilles and Hephestion...they were deified in the same way and for similar reasons as Antinous, but their cults never assumed world-wide importance or longevity...they never crossed the line from heroism to godliness...for one basic reason...because there was no cosmic confirmation to solidify their deification. I just read a Spanish book about Antinous by De La Maza written in 1969 which emphatically states that the New Star of Antinous was the most important event that elevated Antinous to the immortal state that we recognize him to hold to this day.
The Star of Antinous represents the spirit of Antinous within our heart...the Fire of Homotheosis...this is what I feel when I consider the star of Antinous shining inside of me.
May my light shine upon you all,
May your light shine upon me.
~Antonyus Nicius Subia
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
IN Nazi Germany, on January 28th, 1935, the Ministry of Justice revived and amended "Paragraph 175", the old Prussian statute created in 1871 that made Homosexuality a crime punishable by imprisonment.
The law was increased in severity and became the legal basis for the systematic persecution of male Homosexuals.
The Nazis believed that homosexuality endangered to the purity of the German people, that gay men corrupted the youth, preventing them from living normal married lives, and were therefore a threat to the race.
Homosexuality was denounced as an unnatural lust, and accused of being intrinsically Un-German, a disease imported by Jews and supported by Communists, the enemy of the Aryan People.
Imprisonment and sterilization were the initial penalties, but Heinrich Himmler revealed his true design when he said that the "extermination of degenerates" was in keeping with ancient Nordic principles (an interesting idea considering that many of the Dying-Boy-Gods, to whom we compare Antinous, were killed as ritual human sacrifices.)
They were distinguished by the sign of the pink triangle, and subjected to extreme conditions of abuse.
The Men of the Pink Triangle were beaten regularly, subjected to hard labor, deprived of food and exposed to the elements.
They were abused by the Nazi guards and by other prisoners alike because everyone considered homosexuality the lowest of low, a sin and an aberration, even the homosexuals themselves.
An estimated 60,000 men were legally sentenced under "Paragraph 175," nearly all of them died, and this number only includes those documented in Germany. The number of unrecorded homosexuals, and those outside of German is impossible to know, but may be twice as many.
The Men of the Pink Triangle were so successfully persecuted that even after the Nazi defeat, Paragraph 175 remained law, and many gay inmates were sent to regular prison to complete their sentences. It was not until 1969 that the law was finally repealed.
We sorrowfully remember the legions of Men of the Pink Triangle who died cruel and vicious deaths under the Nazis.
We remember the evil that was perpetrated with the blessing of "Paragraph 175."
These men are our Martyrs, our Holocaust, our Guardian Saints, they suffered so that we would be Free.
We will never forget their painful and miserable deaths, and we pray to Antinous the God of Homosexuality, to watch over their immortal souls and give them rest. On this day we remember the horrors that were raised against us through the Amendment of "Paragraph 175."
Monday, January 27, 2014
PRIESTS of Antinous at the Great Temple at ANTINOOPOLIS in Egypt were familiar with leopard-skin priestly robes.
Whether they actually wore leopard skins in the Egyptian priestly manner is unknown, but it is certainly possible.
The Ancient Egyptian magical SEM priests always wore a leopard skin ... as do many African shamans even today.
Indeed, it is highly likely that the Ancient Egyptians got the idea from their southern neighbors — where else could they have got the idea, after all?
The Egyptians were accustomed to lions and we know that lions were a menace even in the 2nd Century AD when Hadrian and Antinous conducted the SACRED LION HUNT. But it is safe to say that leopards were very rare and highly prized species even in Ancient times — which made them even more magical.
The Egyptians said the leopard started out as a variety of sacred lion, the lion being associated with the sun god Ra and of pharaoh's power and rulership as an incarnation of the sun god.
The leopard lived in the desert like the lion and was indistinguishable from the lion because the leopard originally had no spots.
This is the cue for Anubis and Seth to enter the scene!
Anubis had a very odd love/hate relationship with Seth. Some said that Anubis was the son of Seth by Seth's consort Nephthys. Others said Anubis was the son of Osiris and Seth's consort Nephthys and that Nephthys placed the baby in the care of her sister Isis to avoid Seth's wrath.
At any rate, little Anubis was raised by the Osiris side of the divine family, not the Seth side. Anubis and Seth had a very strained relationship, to say the least, full of doubt and suspicion on both sides.
Not surprisingly, Anubis took sides with Isis (as his foster mother) and her son Horus (perhaps his biological half-brother? ) in seeking to avenge the death of Osiris (his own true father?) after Seth murdered Osiris by drowning and mutilating his body.
The struggle between Horus and Seth continues to this day, of course. Seth has the advantage of being able to transform himself into any creature, thus eluding his pursuers. Sometimes he is a hippo. Sometimes he is a crocodile. Sometimes he is a giant serpent. Often, he is a graceful antelope. He can be deceptively beautiful and entrancing.
The Lie takes many deceptive forms,
always posing as the Truth.
But Anubis was able, by means of his keen canine senses, to sniff out Seth in whatever form he takes.
Once, Seth assumed the form of a leopard and blended into the desert sand so well that Horus was unable to spot him from the air as he circled high in the sky upon his falcon wings, using his sharp falcon eyes to scan the Earth.
But Anubis sniffed out Seth and decided to brand him so that everyone would be able to see him. Anubis trotted over to the banks of the Nile and dunked his paws in rich black Nile mud. Then he leapt onto the leopard and left indelible muddy paw prints all over Seth's hide.
That is how the leopard got its spots, according to the Ancient Egyptians.
The highest caste of Egyptian magician/priests wore leopard skins to symbolize the never-ending struggle between the Truth and the Lie. The Lie persists. Seth the Deceiver was not killed by Anubis. But Anubis revealed Seth for the Lie that he is.
And that is why the Priests at the Great Temple of Antinoopolis may have worn leopard skins — to demonstrate that it is possible to see through the Lie to uncover the Truth that lies underneath.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
EXPERTS in Egypt digging through the ruins of a mansion near the Giza pyramids have discovered official seals on documents, the hind limbs of young cattle ... and mysterious leopard teeth suggesting the identity of the lavish home's owner.
The combination of findings suggests that the home belonged to an extremely high status member of Egyptian society at least 4,500 years ago … most likely a "SEM" magician-priest who wore leopard skins as part of his priestly regalia.
The large house, which contained more than 20 rooms, was found in an ancient city just 400 metres south of the Sphinx.
The city, which is currently undergoing excavation, dates to the time when the pyramid of Menkaure (the last of the Giza pyramids) was being built (2649–2150 BC).
Of course, that time period is still under debate and many believe the pyramids are in fact much older.
Researchers found two leopard teeth within the house and another two in a nearby mound. However, they did not find any leopard bones.
This indicates that "we have very, very, high status individuals," said Richard Redding, the chief research officer of Ancient Egypt Research Associates.
Mark Lehner, the director of Ancient Egypt Research Associates, explained that high-ranking clergy known as "sem" priests were allowed to wear these leopard skins, and they could be members of the royal house.
Indeed, the seals found near the house were inscribed with titles such as "the scribe of the royal box" and "the scribe of the royal school".
Researchers also found thousands of cattle bones in a nearby mound, but out of all the cattle bones uncovered, “almost all the cattle are under 10 months of age … they are eating veal," said Richard Redding, the chief research officer of Ancient Egypt Research Associates.
What was also interesting was the absence of cattle forelimbs. Redding turned to ancient drawings for his answers.
There, he found numerous examples of scenes where people presented forelimbs as offerings to deities, but almost no examples of hind limbs being offered.
This suggests that the individuals who lived in this house were eating the remains of offerings, and that the place for making offerings may be nearby.
Redding is now hoping that the discovery may eventually lead them to uncover the place where offerings of forelimbs were made.
They are already aware of one nearby location called the ‘silo building complex’ near a monument dedicated to Queen Khentkawes, possibly a daughter of the pharaoh Menkaure.
"My analysis of the bones from the small excavations at (the building complex) in 2012, showed a strong bias towards forelimb elements," said Redding. "We will get larger samples this February, but right now my operating hypothesis is that the (complex) was occupied by royal cult priests."
Saturday, January 25, 2014
WORSHIPERS on both sides of the Atlantic took part via Skype in ceremonies celebrating Emperor Hadrian's birthday at the Hollywood Temple of Antinous ... rites which are still in progress as this report is being published.
Following the success of Skype ceremonies on the Birthday of Antinous in November and on the December Solstice, Flamen Antonyus Subia issued a global invitation via social networks for participation in Friday evening's ceremonies commemorating the 1,938th anniversary of the birth of Hadrian.
Unfortunately, the limitations of Skype mean that no more than 10 persons can participate in conference video phone calls.
The ceremonies were held in Hollywood with live participation from adherents in North America as well as Europe.
"We are going to make this a permanent feature of our ceremonies," Antonyus says.
The ritual was carried out by priests on different continents ... with each sharing in responsibilities.
Officiating at the Hollywood Temple as others took part via Skype, Antonyus celebrated the birth and life of Hadrian and his unprecedented step to deify his gay lover ... the ultimate Classical deity.
"He was the most powerful man in the world, who loved Antinous so much that he declared him a god," Antonyus told worshipers.
"He did that as representative of Zeus on Earth, emblem of the ruler of the Cosmos, the great eagle," Antonyus added.
"Hadrian is the bringer of order out of chaos, founder of our religion," he went on. "He is the divine lover of Antinous ... our model ... and our God."
Future interactive ceremonies will be announced in advance.
Friday, January 24, 2014
ON January 24th the Religion of Antinous celebrates the Birth of the Divine Hadrian.
Publius Aelius Hadrianus was born on this day either in Italica, Spain, or else in Rome, in the year 76.
His father was Publius Aelius Afer, his mother was Domitia Paulina. His uncle was the Emperor Trajan who had been adopted by Nerva.
Trajan employed Hadrian as a general in his conquests across the Danube, where Hadrian proved his military prowess, and gained the love and devotion of the Legions.
It is said that the relationship between Hadrian and his uncle was strained, and they are even known to have quarreled over beautiful boys. But Hadrian was very close to the Emperess Plotina, whose intellectual depth he preferred to the military harshness of Trajan.
During the unsuccessful campaign against the Parthians, in modern day Iraq, Trajan suddenly fell ill and died. Plotina is said to have insured that Hadrian be his successor, allegedly even forging the documents of adoption.
The New Emperor Hadrian inherited the largest Empire that the world had ever known, the borders of Rome had reached their greatest extent.
Hadrian is the Father of the Antonines, the bringer of the Golden age of Rome. He put an end military expansion of the Empire and turned instead to improving the interior.
He is the prime deity of the imperial cult as recognized by the Religion of Antinous. He is the representative of Zeus on Earth, emblem of the ruler of the cosmos, the great eagle. Hadrian is the leader of the Archons, the bringer of order out of chaos, founder of our religion.
He is the divine lover of Antinous, our model and God.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
ON January 23rd the Religion of Antinous honors the first of the many Christian Martyrs of Antinoe, also known as Antinoopolis. The first of the Egyptian martyrs with whose name and acts we are acquainted was Asclas of Antinoopolis.
This part of Egypt, near the nome sacred to Anubis, has always been a hotbed of religious fervor ever since the days when the "heretic pharaoh" Akhenaten built his capital city here, a scant 20 kms from our Sacred City of Antinoopolis. Christians and Jews constituted a major portion of the population of Antinopoolis.
After all, the city was the flower of Greek civilization deep in the desert of the Thebaid, and it was a haven for dispossessed and exiled thinkers and theological revolutionaries.
There was a period of time in which Antinoopolis fell under the sway of the fear and violence that had swept across the world. The Christian faith was suffering one of the bloodiest persecutions in its history. Diocletian had sought to curb the rising tide of Christianity with brutal violence. He issued decrees that all citizens should be compelled to demonstrate their piety to the Roman Gods by offering sacrifice. It was a direct challenge. Any person who refused was not only insulting the Gods of Rome, but showing disloyalty to the Emperor and to Rome herself.
Such treason was punishable by death. This was a legal way to persecute Christianity, it was not an attack on the Christian doctrine, or its practices, but was an unavoidable line that no Christian would cross.
It is interesting to note that though many of the Christians were executed by beheading or by being shot through with arrows, some were executed by being drowned in the Nile. This similarity between their death and the death of Antinous must have been very moving to the Ancient Priests of Antinous. And it is also interesting that the authorities were not sensitive to the nature of this form of execution in the Sacred City of a boy who had become a god simply by drowning in the Nile.
The first was Asclas, who was arrested and tortured for his faith by order of Arrian, the governor of Antinoopolis who himself would later convert to Christianity. While Asclas was being tortured in prison by hot irons which left his flesh hanging down in strips, Arrian had reason to cross the River Nile to go to Hermopolis on government business.
Antinoopolis lies on the east bank of the Nile (depicted at left in its heyday), and Hermopolis (Sacred City of Hermes) is located diagonally across from Antinoopolis on the west bank of the Nile. But inexplicably, Arrian found he was absolutely unable to leave the water's edge.
Asclas sent word that the governor would never be able to cross the river until he acknowledged Christ in writing. Arrian wrote out the statement, and was promptly able to leave the river bank. He crossed the Nile, and the moment he was on the other side, he ordered that Asclas be thrown into the Nile with a stone tied around his neck, whereupon he drowned.
This story, while odd-sounding to us today, was very clear to Egyptians. Hermopolis is the Sacred City of Hermes/Anubis, or Hermanubis.
This remarkable deity, who lives on in Christianity as St. Christopher, is responsible for conveying souls across the Celestial Nile after death. People in Antinoopolis worshipped both Antinous and Hermanubis.
The miracle of St. Asclan is meant to show that the Christian god is the equal of Hermanubis. Within a few generations, Hermanubis "morphed" into Christopher who, in this early Coptic mural at right, still has canine features. Next time you see a plastic St. Christopher statuette on a taxi dashboard, remember that it is actually Anubis without his doggy ears. He's not carrying the baby Jesus on his shoulders. He's carrying the Boy God Antinous over the celestial Nile to eternal divinity.
Against that background of intermingling spiritual beliefs, the Religion of Antinous acknowledges the suffering of St. Asclas and of all the Christian Martyrs of Antinoopolis out of our Love for Antinous in whose Sacred City they died. Though their faith was in Christ and not in Antinous, we nevertheless honor them and glorify them because they were Antinoopolitans, people of Antinous.
We ask their forgiveness for the murder and persecution of the Christian Martyrs and in their memory ask that we may be free from intolerance and never again partake in the crime of the ancient citizens of Antinoopolis.
The image above left is not Asclas, but is a burial painting of a person whose mummy was buried in the desert of the Fayoum in Egypt, which is the region of Antinoopolis. It is presented here as a contemporary image of what St. Asclas may have looked like.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
ON January 22nd the Religion of Antinous commemorates the brief, shining life of Saint Heath Ledger, the gifted actor whose on-screen portrayals inspired millions of gay people and whose off-screen life paralleled so many more. Not gay himself, Saint Heath nonetheless is a gay icon, like Saint Judy Garland and others.
Saint Heath died on this day in 2008 under mysterious circumstances after taking anti-depressants and sleeping pills at the age of 28. His body was found lying across the bed of his Manhattan apartment. The manner of his death bore eery parallels to the death of English singer/songwriter Nick Drake, who is also a Saint of Antinous.
Best known for his Oscar-nominated role as a gay cowpoke in "Brokeback Mountain", the acclaimed Australian-born actor also played The Joker in the blockbuster "The Dark Knight", for which role he posthumously was awarded a Golden Globe Award for best supporting actor. On the first anniversary of his death, he posthumously won an Academy Award as best supporting actor for his role as the psychopathic criminal mastermind The Joker.
No one will ever know why Saint Heath overdosed on anti-depressants, as had his idol Nick Drake. No one will ever know why Saint River Phoenix took a fatal cocktail of booze and alcohol, just as no one will ever know why Saint Richey Edwardsjumped off a bridge to his death (if he did), and no one will know why so many talented and overly sensitive young men meet death so tragically and so young.
Just as no one knows for sure what happened to Antinous. Thus they are all Saints of Antinous.
Shortly before his death, Heath Ledger made a video tribute to Nick Drake (photo right), the ambisexual English singer/songwriter who died in 1974 under almost identical circumstances to Saint Heath.
Saying he planned to make a movie about Saint Nick, Heath appeared in a self-made video (about drowning) to the tune of Nick Drake's song Black-Eyed Dog. It was the last song that Nick is believed to have recorded before he died under mysterious circumstances after taking anti-depressants and sleeping pills at the age of 26. His body was found lying across his bed.
The black-eyed dog is thought to be a reference to Winston Churchill's famous "little black dog." Throughout his life Churchill was shadowed by violent mood swings, fits of depression and periods of emotional doubt. He felt that he was followed by this unpredictable darkness and uncertainty. He called it his "little black dog."
Heath seems to have been very well acquainted with the "little black dog" of depression, the black demon which nips at the heels of so many sensitive young souls who cannot find their way in this harsh world.
And thus Antinous is the God of Lost Boys. He knows their suffering. He knows how it is to stand on the shore at the twilight of the world, with one foot on dry land and the other foot in the murky depths of oblivion — and he understands how a beautiful soul can slip off into that oblivion.
Antinous is the God of these very sweet, shy, sensitive and talented artists, young men who agonize over their shortcomings and who can only cope with the harsh realities of showbiz by taking tablets with unpronounceable names in private.
Saint Heath represents so many young men who seek what Nick Drake called the fruit of the tree of fame. "Fame is but a fruit tree, so very unsound", Nick sings in a song which Heath loved. It is a song about sensitive souls who reach for the fruit of fame and then, when it is within their grasp, they discover that its taste is very bitter.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
OUR Father Jupiter descended upon the slopes of Mt. Ida in the form of an eagle and carried away Ganymede, the beautiful young prince of Troy, ravaging him, and elevating him to live among the immortals.
At the table of the Olympian gods, Jupiter installed his Ganymede as the divine cupbearer who pours out nectar-wine from the cup of eternal life.
This love affair between the Phrygian prince and the Father of the Gods is a divine parallel of the love between Antinous and Hadrian.
Ganymede is the emblem of the coming Age of Aquarius, when peace and love will rule the hearts of all men.
On this day, the beginning of the sign of Aquarius, we observe the deification of Antinous as having made union with the Thunderbird-Phoenix-Eagle, and having been elevated to reign among the immortals in the manner of Ganymede. And we pray for the hastening of the coming age.
Monday, January 20, 2014
ON January 20th the Religion of Antinous honors SAINT SEBASTIAN who, despite being a Christian martyr, has been identified by homosexuals of all beliefs over the centuries as a symbol of our persecution and suffering.
Sebastian was an officer in the Imperial Guard of Emperor Diocletian, and he was a Christian.
In 302 A.D. Diocletian subjected the Christians to a brutal persecution, and it was during this period that Sebastian was "outed" to the Emperor as a practicing Christian.
When asked to sacrifice before a pagan altar, Sebastian refused and was sentenced to death. He was tied to a column before Mauritanian archers, who shot him with arrows...but to no effect.
Sebastian was strengthened by his faith, and did not die. He was finally clubbed to death in front of Emperor.
Homosexuals over the centuries have looked to Sebastian as a patron saint. His manner of death, which is like an affliction of Eros, and the sight of the beautiful young soldier plumed with arrows, has moved our hearts over the ages more than all other Christian saints.
In the Middle Ages, he was said to have power over the plague. And during the Black Death, his popularity grew among the penitent flagellants.
His image was a favorite subject of homosexual artists during the Renaissance who were fascinated by the erotic charge of his death.
During the early 19th Century he was taken up as the model for homosexual suffering and persecution, some writers even claiming that he was the young lover of Diocletian and that his martyrdom had a jealous, sexual subtext.
In our time, the power of St. Sebastian over the Plague has made him a spiritual force in the fight against AIDS. And so we recognize his sanctity as the patron saint of homosexuals and as a protector from our modern plague.
We consecrate him to the Religion of Antinous and offer our own quivering-hearts as a target for his thousand arrows of love.
Sunday, January 19, 2014
THE tomb of a "forgotten" pharaoh from an equally forgotten dynasty has been discovered in Abydos, the most sacred city of Ancient Egypt ... a find which, experts hope, could lead to finding several more royal tombs from the "lost" 13th Dynasty.
The find also reminds us that the Lost Tomb of Antinous has yet to be found under the sands of Egypt.
The 3,650-year-old tomb and the mummy of pharaoh Woseribre Senebkay were found by accident by University of Pennsylvania archaeologist Josef Wegner, doctoral student Kevin Chahail and their colleagues.
The find is significant for several reasons. First of all, little is known about the 13th Dynasty, a time when the Egyptian civilization was in chaos and numerous kings ruled for very short periods of time.
Invaders from the north were encroaching on Egypt. Called the Hyksos, they would soon conquer Egypt.
Another reason why the find is significant is because Abydos was the most sacred city to the Ancient Egyptians.
It was the site of the Tomb of Osiris, and almost every king had a symbolic tomb of his own at Abydos.
So far, however, only very few tombs have been excavated at Abydos.
This new discovery encourages experts to suspect there could be scores of royal tombs waiting to be discovered in the desert sands west of Abydos.
Senebkay's tomb had been looted in ancient times, but some lovely, if rather modest wall paintings were intact. The pharaoh's mummy had been torn apart by thieves searching for gold and jewels, but the experts were able to piece together the royal skeleton.
They found that Senebkay was 5 feet, 10 inches (1.75 meters) tall and was in his mid- to late-40s when he died.
The archaeologists first uncovered hints of Senebkay in the summer 2013.
That field season, the researchers discovered an enormous red quartzite sarcophagus (or coffin) at the site of Abydos.
It was clear that the 60-ton behemoth had been removed from its original tomb, but no one could tell who had first been buried inside.
Continued excavations revealed a story of ancient Egyptian recycling. As it turns out, the original owner of the sarcophagus was a pharaoh named Sobekhotep. Most likely, it belonged to Sobekhotep I, the founder of Egypt's 13th Dynasty around 1800 B.C.
Sobekhotep I was buried in a pyramid in Abydos.
A century and a half later, pharaohs apparently began looting Sobekhotep I's tomb for their own purposes.
One unknown king snagged the huge sarcophagus.
Another king picked up a cedar chest, covered up Sobekhotep's name, and used it in his own tomb.
The recycling ruler's name? Senebkay.
Senebkay's tomb dates to 1650 BC. The tomb is made up of four chambers, including a burial chamber of limestone painted with colorful images of gods and goddesses.
Nut, the goddess of the sky, Nephthys, the goddess of morning, Isis, the goddess of motherhood and fertility, and Selket, the goddess of protection against scorpions and snake bites, all make appearances on the white walls.
Senebkay is called a "forgotten" pharaoh because his name was only ever mentioned on one ancient list of royal names.
That documents the Turin King List, is written on papyrus and dates to 1200 BC, some 400 years after Senebkay lived.
The list shows two kings with variations on the royal name "Woser … re." On the list, these kings head up a dynasty of more than a dozen other kings, but most of those names are illegible or broken off.
Archaeologists suspect at least 16 tombs of kings from the mystery-shrouded 13th Dynasty are hidden nearby. The reuse of old tomb materials suggests the 13th Dynasty pharaohs were relatively poor compared with rulers of other dynasties.
Saturday, January 18, 2014
WHEN the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were suddenly consumed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, many of their buildings were so intimately preserved that modern archaeologists can even read the graffiti scribbled onto their ancient walls.
See if any of these remind you of a 21st Century men's room:
1. “PHILIROS SPADO.”
"Phileros is a eunuch."
2. “LUCIUS PINXIT.”
"Lucius wrote this."
3. “APOLLINARIS, MEDICUS TITI IMPERATORIS HIC CACAVIT BENE.”
“Apollinaris, doctor to the emperor Titus, had a good crap here.” In Latin profanity, “cacatne” pertained to defecation.
4. “OPPI, EMBOLIARI, FUR, FURUNCLE.”
“Oppius, you’re a clown, a thief, and a cheap crook.”
5. “MIXIMUS IN LECTO. FAETOR, PECCAVIMUS, HOSPES. SI DICES: QUARE? NULLA MATELLA FUIT.”
“We have wet the bed. I admit, we were wrong, my host. If you ask ‘why?’ There was no chamber pot.” Found inside an inn.
6. “VIRGULA TERTIO SU: INDECENS ES.”
“Virgula to Teritus: You are a nasty boy.”
7. “EPAPHRA, GLABER ES.”
"Epaphra, you are bald."
8. “TALIA TE FALLANT UTINAM MEDACIA, COPO: TU VEDES ACUAM ET BIBES IPSE MERUM.”
“If only similar swindling would dupe you, innkeeper: you sell water, and drink the undiluted wine yourself.”
9. “VATUAN AEDILES FURUNCULI ROG.”
“The petty thieves request the election of Vatia as adele.” In ancient Pompeii, an “adele” was an elected official who supervised markets and local police, among other things.
10. “SUSPIRIUM PUELLAM CELADUS THRAEX.”
“Celadus makes the girls moan.”
11. “ADMIROR, O PARIES, TE NON CECIDISSE, QUI TOT SCRIPTORIUM TAEDIA SUSTINEAS.”
“I wonder, O wall, that you have not yet collapsed, so many writers’ clichés do you bear.” This phrase seems to have been a popular one, as slightly different versions of it appear in multiple locations throughout Pompeii’s ruins.
For even raunchier graffiti from Pompeii and Herculaneum, CLICK HERE.
The painting above, entitled "Pompeii At The Walls," is by Stefan Bakalowicz (1857-1947) who studied in Warsaw and St. Petersburg, then went to Paris, Algiers and Rome, where he settled in 1882. He specialized in paintings of life of ancient Rome ... he clearly adored every aspect of Roman life ....
Friday, January 17, 2014
HADRIAN was fascinated by magic and exotic customs, so he would have been intrigued by the way that people in Asia Minor, the homeland of Antinous, protected their homes from earthquakes.
They put magical amulets under the foundations of their homes … often burying magical eggs.
Residents of Sardis, an ancient city in modern-day Turkey, spent decades rebuilding after a devastating earthquake struck one night in the year AD 17.
To ward off demons and future disasters, some locals sealed eggs under their new floors as lucky charms, archaeologists found.
In the summer of 2013 archaeologists were excavating an ancient building at Sardis that was constructed after the earthquake.
Underneath the floor, they found two curious containers that each held small bronze tools, an egg and a coin, resting just atop the remains of an earlier elite building that was destroyed during the disaster.
The objects in the odd assemblages were important in ancient rituals to keep evil forces at bay, and the archaeologists who found them believe they could be rare examples of how the earthquake affected ancient people on a personal level.
Why eggs? As any structural engineer can tell you, a chicken's egg is incredibly strong. Despite the fact that the shell is fragile, the ovoid shape provides structural strength thousands of times its natural properties.
Thus the residents were calling on the magic of the egg amulet to enhance the structural integrity of their fragile domiciles.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
MINOTAURS, chimeras, gorgons, the Sphinx, harpies, sirens, satyrs, centaurs, Pegasus, Scylla ... these are but a few of the monsters and creatures that populate your favorite myths.
From the Bronze Age to Ancient Rome, these horrifying characters that tormented land and sea graced the pages of famous literature, becoming icons of storytelling.
But just as writers were enamored with the terrifying lore of Medusa and the Hydra of Lerna, so too were artists.
Cue "Monsters: Fantastic Creatures of Fear and Myth" at the National Roman Museum in Italy, a celebration of all things monstrous in art. Even the exterior of the museum is scary (image above).
The exhibition, which runs now through June 1st, 2014, covers 100 works from 40 museums around the world, bringing together frescoes, statues, vases and more, all adorned with the startling faces of history's best fictional (and often villainous) creatures.
Organized in a clever maze similar to the Minotaur's labyrinth, the works reveal the origins of characters like Pegasus or the griffin, figures that serve as the basis for many of Hollywood's present day monsters.
"Monsters are part of the myths of every culture, every civilization," Elisabetta Setari, co-curator of the exhibition, explained to Art Daily. "They have characterized our civilization from the dawn of time until now."
Along with the array of artifacts on display, the museum recruited visual effects and makeup experts Scott Ross and Shane Mahan to provide commentary on the birth of movie monsters, linking them to their ancient counterparts.
Furthermore, laser projections courtesy of Hyperreality depict epic battles between heroes and foes and are on view in the inner courtyard of the museum for the entire duration of the exhibition.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Lego blood spills all over the stage. An audience of Lego mini figures looks on, aghast.
''It's a performance of Oedipus Rex,'' explains Michael Turner, the museum's senior curator. ''It's the perfect show for the Theatre of Dionysus and the audience looks like it's having a wild time.''
The Lego Acropolis is on exhibit at the Nicholson Museum at Sydney University. Built by Lego-certified professional Ryan McNaught, the Lego Acropolis contains more than 120,000 bricks and took about 300 hours to build.
The buildings, including The Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike, the smaller Erechtheion temple and the Propylaia, the monumental gateway, are made from gleaming white bricks.
''The model is as close to the real Acropolis as I could make it,'' he says. ''It's not an architectural scale model; it's more of a representation. The hardest parts were working out how to do all the diagonal lines.''
The Nicholson Museum, in Sydney University's quadrangle, is Australia's largest museum of antiquities and fast developing a reputation as one of the most innovative museums of its type for its integration of the ancient and contemporary world.
Last year, more than 90,000 visitors viewed the Lego Colosseum, an increase of 25,000 people on the previous 12 months. Next year, the museum is planning a Lego Pompeii.
''Models have always been a part of classical collections, ever since the days of cork models in the 17th and 18th centuries, and later, the plaster of Paris models,'' Turner says. ''The fact that this model is made of Lego simply reflects the appeal and popularity of today's great modelling material.
''Such is the appeal of Lego that many people who would never normally visit a museum of antiquities are now being exposed to ancient culture. They come to see Lego, they walk out having seen Egyptian mummies, warriors' helmets, pictures of Hercules and other heroes on Greek pots as well.''
The Lego Acropolis includes ancient and modern details, some accurate and others hilarious.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
FORGET strychnine, arsenic and a malingering fever ... the mysterious 12-day death of Alexander the Great may have been due to an herbal emetic which some perfidious person fermented to create toxic wine, according to a scientist.
Classical scholars have been deeply divided about what killed the Macedonian leader, who built a massive empire before his death, aged 32, in June of 323 BC.
Some accounts say he died of natural causes but others suggested members of his inner circle conspired to poison him at a celebratory banquet.
Now Dr Leo Schep, a scientist in New Zealand who has been researching the toxicological evidence for a decade, says the most likely culprit was Veratrum album, known as white hellebore.
The white-flowered plant, which can be fermented into a poisonous wine, was well-known to the Greeks as a herbal treatment for inducing vomiting.
Crucially, it could have accounted for the 12 torturous days that Alexander took to die, speechless and unable to walk.
Other suggested poisons ... including hemlock, aconite, wormwood, henbane and autumn crocus .. would likely have killed him far more quickly.
And some of the poisoning theories ... including arsenic and strychnine ... were laughable. Death would have come far too fast, he said.
His research, co-authored by Otago University classics expert Dr Pat Wheatley, has been published in the medical journal Clinical Toxicology.
Dr Schep began looking into the mystery in 2003 when he was approached by a company working on a BBC documentary.
"They asked me to look into it for them and I said, 'Oh yeah, I'll give it a go, I like a challenge' ... thinking I wasn't going to find anything. And to my utter surprise, and their surprise, we found something that could fit the bill."
Dr Schep's theory is that Veratrum album could have been fermented as a wine that was given to the leader. It would have tasted "very bitter" but it could have been sweetened with wine - and Alexander was likely to have been very drunk at the banquet.
But whether Alexander was poisoned is still a mystery. "We'll never know really ... "
Monday, January 13, 2014
ON January 13th the Religion of Antinous celebrates the birthday of Aelius Caesar.
Lucius Ceionius Commodus Verus was born on January 13th, 101, most likely in Rome. He was from an old wealthy Etruscan family.
His grandfather, after whom he had been named, had been a Consul and his father a Senator.
Lucius Ceionius was beautiful and elegant, well educated, and was given over to a life of pleasure and voluptuousness.
He was a teenager when Hadrian came to power in 117, and his flamboyant and attractive character was a compliment to his physical beauty that soon gained the attention of the new Emperor.
It is believed that Hadrian and Lucius were lovers during the early years of Hadrian's reign, perhaps for the period of six years prior to Antinous.
When Hadrian met Antinous in the year 123, Lucius was 22 years old, and in keeping with the Greek philosophy of pederastic love, it is very likely that their love affair had transformed into what would become a life-long friendship between the Emperor and his now matured Lucius.
Antinous entered Hadrian's heart just as Lucius was moving on to his responsibilities as a patrician citizen of Rome. There were rumors of rivalry, as spoofed in this cartoon by Priest Uendi showing Lucius left, Hadrian at right and Antinous between them.
While Hadrian was courting the young Antinous, Lucius married Domitia Lucilla and had three children by her, one of which was the later Emperor known as Lucius Verus, who is often confused with his father.
After the Death of Antinous, as Hadrian began to grow ill, his attention turned again to his still beloved Lucius, and on August 10, 136, Hadrian surprised the world by adopting Lucius and declaring him to be his successor.
Suspicions abounded, as the eccentric and delicate character of Lucius hardly seemed appropriate to rule the Empire after such a man as Hadrian.
But there must have been more to Lucius than history has preserved. He assumed the name Aelius Caesar, and was sent to govern Pannonia along the Danube, but became ill and returned to Rome in the winter of 137, where he died on January 1st.
He is remembered and adored as a god, as the brother of Antinous, the twin and second love of Hadrian. We call him the Prince of Flowers.