Monday, March 31, 2014

HYPATIA OF ALEXANDRIA
SAINT OF ANTINOUS



ON March 31st the Religion of Antinous solemnly commemorates the glorious life and cruel death of Saint Hypatia of Alexandria.

Hypatia is one of the most important female philosophers who ever lived, and her tragic murder at the hands of fanatical Christians on the steps of the Great Library of Alexandria is symbolic of the barbaric forces which brought down the worship of Antinous and other Classical deities.

The brutal stoning-flaying-immolation death of Hypatia in about the year 400 AD is regarded by many historians as the beginning of the Dark Ages.

St. Hypatia was a philosopher and mathematician who lived in Alexandria during a time of turmoil and conflict between Christians and the last pagan philosophers of the Great Library.

Her father was the Philosopher Theon, and Hypatia studied among the Neoplatonists. She was the author of several highly reputed works and commentaries, none of which has survived. She held a reputation of excellence that exceeded her contemporaries.



Hypatia taught among the male philosophers and attracted a large following even among Christians. Her beauty was highly desired by numerous men, but she remained chaste (or at least unmarried) all her life, which leads some to suspect lesbianism.

The proud life of Hypatia came to an end at the end of March during the season of Lent when she was attacked by a Christian mob, led by a fanatic Deacon named Peter, who dragged her through the streets to a church called Caesareum. 


There she was stripped naked and killed by the mob with their bare hands. It was said that they stoned her with ceramic roof tiles, then flayed her flesh with razor-sharp shards of oyster shells, tore her limb from limb and burned her.

"Saint" Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, who encouraged her assasination, was then praised for eradicating the city of "idolatry and witchchraft". 


The Martyrdom of St. Hypatia of Alexandria is one of the most profound examples of Christian violence against paganism, women, and philosophy. And she is noted as one of the last reasoning pagans murdered by the irrational religion which has dominated Western Civilization ever since.

Her death is among the heinous crimes of the Christian Church, whose attrocities continue to this day. The image at right, by Charles William Mitchell, portrays Hypatia just before her death, naked at the altar, imploring her attackers to take heed of their own faith?which they continue to ignore.


For these reasons and in memory of the unnamed Ancient Priests of Antinous who suffered similar fates, the Religion of Antinous has proclaimed Hypatia of Alexandria a Saint and Venerable Exemplar and honors her with a Feast Day on March 31. As Sacred Synchronicity would have it, her Antinoian Feast Day in 2009 coincided with the release of major motion picture based on her life.

Openly gay Chilean-Spanish filmmaker Alejandro AmenĂ¡bar's $75-million production AGORA stars Oscar-winning actress Rachel Weisz and was the biggest box-office hit in Spain for the year 2009.

In the film set in Roman Egypt in the final days of the 4th Century A.D., Weisz plays the astrologer-philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria, who fights to save the collected wisdom of the ancient world. Her slave Davus (Max Minghella) is torn between his love for his mistress and the possibility of gaining his freedom by joining the rising tide of Christianity.
 



Sunday, March 30, 2014

ITALY RUSHES TO RE-OPEN POMPEII VILLAS
AMID OUTRAGE OVER VANDALISM



AMID a storm of criticism for poor maintenance and vandalism at Pompeii, officials have rushed to reopen three spectacular villas at the site on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius.

The three "domus" villas will "be opened to the public by Easter," according to Italy's Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini. 

They include the house of Marcus Lucretius Fronto (above) with its frescoes of Triptolemus, Romulus and Remus, and paintings of animals which adorn the atrium.

A stunning fresco of Narcissus (image below) is also located in the Marcus Lucretius Fronto villa.

Other openings are planned for the summer, Franceschini said.

We reported recently that a fresco has been stolen from Pompeii. Its absence must have been hard to notice. 

Flooding had severely damaged the already disintegrating frescoes in Pompeii, so one might think that the empty space could be easily overlooked.

But officials noticed that one small piece featuring the goddess Artemis, measuring less than fifteen centimetres square, was stolen from Neptune’s domus, an abandoned building of the heritage site that was not accessible to visitors.

This is the second theft in three months. The first happened in January, when another small fresco, this time a floral decoration on a yellow background, disappeared from the superintendence’s restoration laboratory. 

Pompeii’s frescoes have been the Achilles’ heel of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities since 2010, when a flood almost destroyed the Gladiators’ domus (image below). 

The poor measures of preservation and restoration taken at the time by right-wing then minister Sandro Bondi received strong criticism from many members of the opposition (which, ironically included the current minister Franceschini).

More and more damage has been reported in recent years, partly due to the ravages of nature and partly due to the ineffectual preservation measures implemented by the Ministry. 

Because of this, millions of euros of national and European funding have been allocated both to the ordinary and extraordinary maintenance of the enormous archaeological area. In addition, the Great Pompeii Project, which includes improving the CCTV system and the restoring the ancient buildings, was launched in 2012.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

IS 'THE POMPEII EFFECT'
BRINGING NEW LIFE TO THIS LOST CITY?




AFTER the incredibly successful exhibition organized in 2013 by the British Museum and the popularity of the documentary produced and shown at cinemas worldwide , the "Pompeii Effect" is in full eruption.

And it is expected to grow in force thanks to a new 3-D blockbuster POMPEII, just released in theaters.

Add to all of this the important conclusion, after more than a year, of the restoration work on the House of Criptoportico (Domus del Criptoportico, image above), which is the first of a series of interventions within the “Grande Progetto Pompeii” (The Great Pompeii Project), the project of recovery of the entire archaeological site, which has suffered collapses and very bad maintenance in recent years. 105 million euros have been allocated for the project to be used by 2015, or they will be lost. 

It also appears that the news of the big restoration project has sparked the interest of the Ambassador of Kuwait, Sheikh Ali Khaled Al- Sabah, who, during a recent trip to Italy, has shown an interest in investing in the development of the site, saying that it would be an intervention with no promotional purposes or for profit. 

Meanwhile, other sites recently have recalled their association to Pompeii, such as the necropolis discovered in Concordia Sagittaria, dubbed by some "Little Pompeii," and the 1 century AD Roman domus emerged in Arezzo. 

We hope all of the positive news means we are entering a new phase for Pompeii so that it is better preserved and safeguarded and that the roughly 2 million visitors a year can fully enjoy the site in all its glory.

Friday, March 28, 2014

ANCIENT EGYPTIAN KITTEN MUMMIES
PUSH BACK DOMESTICATION OF CATS


THE skeletons of six cats, including four kittens, found in an Egyptian cemetery may push back the date of cat domestication in Egypt by nearly 2,000 years.

The bones come from a cemetery for the wealthy in Hierakonpolis, which served as the capital of Upper Egypt in the era before the pharaohs.

The cemetery was the resting place not just for human bones, but also for animals, which perhaps were buried as part of religious rituals or sacrifices.

Archaeologists searching the burial grounds have found everything from baboons to leopards to hippopotamuses.

It is generally accepted that the modern domesticated cat was created by the Ancient Egyptians through generations of "genetic modification" … selective breeding.

It is well-known that the Egyptians worshiped the cat goddess BAST. Archaeologists have even discovered a CAT TEMPLE in Alexandria which may have been visited by Antinous and Hadrian in the year 130 AD.

However, the new find indicates cats were domesticated much earlier by the Egyptians than hitherto believed.

The new find includes two adult cats and four kittens from at least two litters. The size of the bones and timing of the litters hints that humans had kept the cats as pets. 


The bones date back to between 3600 BC and 3800 BC, which would be 2,000 years before the earliest known evidence of cat domestication in Egypt, archaeologists report in the May issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

HADRIAN'S WALL TRUST MUST CLOSE
DUE TO FUNDING CUTBACKS



THE charity trust set up to manage Hadrian's Wall must close in six months after funding dried up, leaving support for the World Heritage Site "uncertain."

Hadrian's Wall Trust said the "increased pressure" of finding an extra £170,000 of public funding a year meant it was no longer sustainable.

The trust, which employs 10 people, will close over the next six months.

The monument will then be maintained by English Heritage and local authorities. A spokesman said it was "crucial" to safeguard the piece of history.

The trust was part funded by organisations including English Heritage, Natural England and eight local authorities.

In recent years the British government has undertaken drastic cuts in social services and other areas of city and regional council spending - forcing them to pare services to the bone. 

They are struggling even to keep minimum services functioning.

Government and council funding for organisations supporting heritage sites is, therefore, very limited.

Hadrian's Wall Trust announced an ADOPT A STONE money-raising scheme a few months ago after issuing a warning that two years of severe funding cuts had left the future of the trust in peril.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

WALT WHITMAN
SAINT OF ANTINOUS


ON March 26th the Religion of Antinous takes a moment to celebrate the life of one of our most popular Antinoian prophets ... Saint Walt Whitman.

Walt Whitman was born on May 31, 1819, on the West Hills of Long Island, New York. He was lavished with love by his mother, but treated with stern discipline by his carpenter father.

After only a few years of school, Whitman was pulled out to help with the family earnings. He educated himself, reading all that he could, worked in a printing house, and eventually became a schoolteacher who taught with refreshing openness and excitement, allowing his students to call him by his first name. After years of teaching, he went into journalism, and in time was the editor of several publications.

However, Walt Whitman is said to have experienced a life-transforming epiphany. He left New York, and returned to live for a period with his family, then returned from isolation with Leaves of Grass, one of the most powerful collections of poems in American literature and the first to allude heavily to homosexual love.

It is often said that, during his time in isolation, a religious sense of purpose entered his heart, which he revealed in the Calamus poems.

The aromatic, psychotropic calamus plant with its phallic spadix flower pods was his symbol for homosexuality. The calamus has special meaning for us because Kalamos of Greek myth fell in love with the beautiful youth Karpos. 

Like Antinous, Karpos died by drowning. Grief-stricken Kalamos wept among the reeds at the waterside until he was himself transformed into a reed, whose rustling in the wind is his sigh of woe.

When the American civil war broke out, Walt Whitman was 42 years old and served as a hospital nurse, falling in love with all the soldiers, especially those who died in his arms.

Open expressions of love between men were accepted without issue during the war, and it was when the visionary enlightenment of Walt Whitman became clear to him. He saw that the origin of this love, brotherly, or friendly perhaps, if not more, was the salvation of the human race, and certainly able to heal the divide between North and South.

His final years were spent communicating his message to the new torchbearers, such as John Addington Symonds and Edward Carpenter. After his death, and as Gay Liberation took strength, he was called a Prophet, particularly by the George Cecil Ives and the Order of Chaeronea.

We, adherents of the ancient/modern Religion of Antinous, proclaim him to be St. Walt Whitman the Prophet of Homoeros, and we elevate him to his own stratosphere in our devotion.

He died March 26th, 1892 of tuberculosis compounded by pneumonia. Over 1,000 mourners paid their respects. St. Walt told us how he wanted us to remember him, not as a great poet, but as "the tenderest lover":

You bards of ages hence! when you refer to me, mind not so much my poems,
Nor speak of me that I prophesied of The States, and led them the way of their Glories;
But come, I will take you down underneath this impassive exterior ... I will tell you what to say of me:
Publish my name and hang up my picture as that of the tenderest lover,
The friend, the lover's portrait, of whom his friend, his lover, was fondest,
Who was not proud of his songs, but of measureless ocean of love within him ... and freely poured it forth,
Who often walked lonesome walks, thinking of his dear friends, his lovers,
Who pensive, away from one he loved, often lay sleepless and dissatisfied at night,
Who knew too well the sick, sick dread lest the one he loved might secretly be indifferent to him,
Whose happiest days were far away, through fields, in woods, on hills, he and another, wandering hand in hand, they twain, apart from other men,
Who oft as he sauntered the streets, curved with his arm the shoulder of his friend  while the arm of his friend rested upon him also.




Tuesday, March 25, 2014

WE HONOR THE EMPRESS SABINA


THE Empress Sabina Augusta ... Vibia Sabina ... Hadrian's Wife ... died sometime in the year 136, and was deified in the year 138.

The date of her elevation to godliness is not known, but because she was so often compared to the Mother Goddess Ceres-Demeter, we declare her Apotheosis to coincide with the return of spring in Rome, and dedicate our celebration of the Equinox to our mother and Empress, Nova Dea Ceres, Sabina Augusta.

This relief sculpture of her deification, in which she is shown rising up from the cremation flames on the wings of a female Aeon, shows Hadrian enthroned, behind him is a figure that resembles Antoninus Pius.


And reclining on the floor is one who could possibly be Antinous, the resemblance to the youth on the Apotheosis of Antoninus is remarkable.

Monday, March 24, 2014

ANTINOUS RECEIVES THE MYSTERIES
OF MITHRAS DURING A VISIT TO PALMYRA



IN March of 130 AD, the inner circle of Hadrian's court, with a light escort, visited PALMYRA in what is now Eastern Syria, near the northern Iraqi border.

Palymra was an ancient buffer state between the Roman and the Persia Empires, which had now been at peace for many years.

Palmyra was therefore a mixture of both cultures, with its own, ancient Assyrian and Hittite blood beneath the surface.

According to Marguerite Yourcenar, Antinous was initiated into the Cult of Mithras while at Palmyra to the displeasure of Hadrian who was already an initiate, and perhaps an influential leader of the secret cult because of his position as Pontifex Maximus.

Flamen Antonyus Subia says:

"Coming after the Zoroastrian sanctification in Armenia, and given the Phrygian aspect of the Mithraic cult, and the proximity to the Persian border, and the end of the transition from the Age of Taurus to the Age of Aries, which the cult revealed, we celebrate the initiation of Antinous into the mysteries of Mithras and their cosmic revelation."

Sunday, March 23, 2014

WE MOURN THE DEATH
OF ANTINOUS-ADONIS


ADONIS was the most beautiful boy that ever lived, so beautiful that Venus fell totally in love with him and forsook all her love-joys in order to follow him on his hunt through the forests of Mt. Lebanon.

But Adonis was unmoved and completely rejected her advances. She became infatuated and abandoned herself to the boy who only cared to hunt.

Mars was jealous of his rival, and outraged to see Venus subjected to desperation and lust, so he contrived to lure Venus away by having Mercury recall her to her neglected duties, because without her influence to temper the raging schemes of her Erotic son, there was no love in the world.

While she was away, Mars transformed himself into a wild boar and let Adonis pursue him through the woods.

The God of War suddenly charged the young God of Beauty and disarmed him, and with a deadly kiss, gored Adonis in the groin sinking his razor tusk between his perfect white legs.

When she returned, Venus found her beloved boy dead and cut her hair in mourning, she immortalized his soul as a flower, and made the river that bears his name flow red.

The love between Venus and Adonis was unfulfilled, her adoration for him was unreturned because Adonis had no care for women, and he preferred his hunting dogs to her gentle caresses.

Only the War God Mars had his way with Adonis, though motivated by jealousy and rage, it was a violent sexual attack, for which all the world must mourn, because in the savagery of the Lust of Mars, the world was forever robbed of the beauty of Adonis.

Flamen Antonius Subia says:

"We venerate Adonis and seek his shadow in the gardens of human beauty. Antinous is the 'Adonis of the Underworld' ... our perfect desire who flees from our embrace ... but we, like Venus, never abandon him to his endless hunt, and caress his cheek even though our hands can never touch him."

Saturday, March 22, 2014

ANTINOUS-ATTIS DIES AND IS REBORN
DURING THE CYCLE OF THE EQUINOX


THE cycle of the March Equinox is Sacred to the Great Mother of the Gods, and to her divine lover-son Attis, who dies and is reborn at this time of year.

Persephone returns from the underworld, and the verdure returns to the face of the Earth.

The death of Attis is symbolic of the fruit flowers that appear at this season and then fall away, making room for the ripening fruit.

It was celebrated in Rome with the introduction of a great pine tree that was carried into the Temple of Magna Mater.

An image of the dead Attis was carried on a bier and hung from the tree which was decorated with purple ribbons and violet flowers.

On the Day of Blood, the priests performed austerities including the self-castration of new priests, and the bloodletting of the old priests to the accompaniment of drum and cymbal music.

After the Day of Blood, when Attis was said to have risen again, the festival turned to joy and elation and was known as the Hilaria.

The final part of the sacred days was the day of cleansing, when the image of the Great Mother, a black stone encased in silver, was taken to the river Arno and washed by the priests.


Flamen Antonius Subia says:

"The five-day cycle of the Equinox ... the the Mithraic Mysteries and all the other remembrances ... are all contained in the Death and Resurrection of Attis, the beautiful boy, who severed his own testicles and died giving his blood to the bosom of the earth ... but did not die."

Friday, March 21, 2014

WE HONOR ANTINOUS AS MARS


WHEN the Sun enters the Sign of Aries at the March Equinox, we honor Antinous in his special guise as Antinous/Mars.

Mars, God of War, son of Jupiter and Juno, father of Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome, was the divine spirit of the Roman Army whose legions subjugated the world.

His power ran like molten steel in the blood of Romans who he made them invincible.

The ram was sacred to him, and thus the sign of Aries was devoted to him, as it was in the early spring, after the fields were sown and before the harvest that the men went to war.

Originally Mars was an agricultural deity, whose duty was to protect the fields from marauders. But he soon became an aggressive conqueror, whose sacred spears were ritually shaken by the Flamen Martialis when the legions were preparing for war.

He had twin sons who accompanied him and went before the armies in battle, their names were Phobos and Deimos, fear and panic.

He was the illicit lover of Venus, and it is said that they were the co-creators of Rome who through war brought love and peace to the whole world. It was in this spirit that Hadrian worshipped the pair.

Mars is the great spirit of masculinity, the violent, courageous power of the male sex, the penetrator and subjugator.

His emblem, an iron spear, is a symbol for the phallus, and so it is that Mars is the great potent Phallus of Man, the impregnator.

In this sense he is venerated as the warrior within all men, and as our most extreme, animalistic, carnal, aggressive nature.

He is the conqueror of winter, the dominator of spring, the protector of life, and the bringer of death.

He is war and fury, selflessly courageous, for the protection of the weak and for the defeat of the strong.

Mars never surrenders, and this is why Venus is so mad with lust for him, and why we adore him as our protector.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

WORSHIPERS AROUND THE WORLD
CELEBRATE THE EQUINOX IN SKYPE RITES


WORSHIPERS around the world ... as far apart as California, Europe and New Zealand ... took part via Skype in ceremonies celebrating the March Equinox held at the Hollywood Temple of Antinous ... another step towards global rituals, conclaves and gay spiritual outreach in the future.

Following the success of Skype ceremonies on the Birthday of Antinous in November and on the December Solstice and Hadrian's Birthday in January, Flamen Antonyus Subia (seen here) enlarged and expanded the international ceremonies for the Equinox.

The ceremonies were held in Hollywood with live participation from adherents in North America as well as Europe, in addition to New Zealand. Thus, we celebrated not just the Vernal Equinox for the advent of Springtime in northern climes ... but also the Autumnal Equinox for those of us throughout South America, South Africa, Southeast Asia, New Zealand and Australia.

It was the first time ever that worshipers in both hemispheres have raised their voices in unison in praise of the God of the Gays and Flamen Antonyus affirms that it is only the beginning.

"We are going to make this a permanent feature of our ceremonies," Antonyus says.

The ritual celebrates the five-day Equinox cycle called the "Cerealia" ... which commemorates the God Mars (the deity presiding over March), the death of Adonis and death of Attis, the veneration of Hadrian's wife the Empress Sabina as well venues Antinous visited at this time of year.

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 advent of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.

The modern religion of Antinous has adherents in both hemispheres, with especially large contingents in Brazil, Australia and New Zealand in addition to North America, Britain and Europe.

Reflecting this multi-cultural diversity, the ceremonies focused on the hare as an ages-old symbol of fertility and creative forces from the most ancient civilizations up to today.

Novice Priest Martin Campbell, who lives in Britain, offered an Equinox prayer to the Luna Moon Hare which was read by Priest Uendi during the ceremonies.

Priest Candidate Cameron Lambert-Vickers, participating from New Zealand, offered a prayer to Tu Er Shen the Chinese rabbit deity of homosexuality.

Priest Hernestus, online from Germany, contributed with prayers for the Egyptian desert hare deity Wenenu, the netjer of swiftness and fertility whose hieroglyph means "to exist."

Wenenu and his feminine aspect Wenet are associated with Osiris and the sun god Ra. 

The Ancient Egyptians were the first to accept Antinous as a God, calling him Antinous-Osiris. 

Taking part from the US, Keith Mezaenaset Hoberg, a W'ab Priest in the Kemetic Orthodox faith, invoked the blessings of the Goddess Isis on all followers of Antinous for the Equinox.

Antonyus called the international Skype ceremony the most successful yet.

"We will be doing much more of this in future, and we will find ways to involve far more people," he said.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE
SAINT OF ANTINOUS


ON March 19 the Religion of Antinous honors Robert Mapplethorpe, Saint of Antinous.

In 1990, the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center and its director were charged with "Pandering Obscenity" after an exhibition of Mapplethorpe?s photographs. 


They were eventually acquitted but the event fueled a national debate over federal funding of the arts in the United States. 

The debate, which has affected American art ever since, focuses on whether tax dollars should be spent on projects which political conservatives deem objectionable. Specifically, the debate is over whether gay-theme art should be funded.

Robert Mapplethorpe died from AIDS on March 19th, 1989, one year before his art spawned the controversy, so he was only able to speak through his photographs.

His subject matter portrayed homosexually charged images of nude men.

The controversy that Robert Mapplethorpe sparked exposed the double standard by which homosexual art is judged against heterosexual art. He revealed that nudity is most "obscene" to non-gays when it involves males.

We proclaim his sainthood to be heroic and dedicated to Antinous, because Robert Mapplethrope beautifully photographed a plaster statue of Antinous (shown at left), indicating that he must have known our God and in some way loved him.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

NEW SHOCK FOR EMBATTLED POMPEII:
PRICELESS FRESCO STOLEN BY EXPERTS



A portion of a fresco of Apollo and Artemis has been stolen from the world-famous archeological site of Pompeii, Italian newspapers reported Tuesday. 

The fresco portion showing the goddess, measuring roughly 20x20 cm, was reported missing last week from the House of Neptune by an employee at the world's largest open-air museum, newspapers Il Mattino and Il Messaggero said

The missing portion depicted the goddess Artemis, who was seated before her brother Apollo. It was stolen by experts who chiseled it out of the wall with archaeological tools, police say. 

The area is a part of Pompeii currently receiving funds under the ambitious Great Pompeii Project, which includes 105 million euros allocated by the European Commission for restoration and conservation. 

In addition to thefts, collapses in recent weeks have drawn renewed calls to increase protection at the ancient site, with UNESCO warning it could fall down completely without "extraordinary measures". 

Italy's newly appointed superintendent for Pompeii and the related sites of Herculaneum and Stabiae, all buried by Vesuvius in 79 AD, has asked for an extension to this year's deadline for spending the EC's 105 million euros to shore up the city miraculously preserved by ash.

UNESCO in July gave Italy until December 31 to apply a series of upgrade measures or face having Pompeii removed from its prestigious list of World Heritage sites. 

The measures included video surveillance of 50% of the area and a buffer zone around the site. 

Rome implemented most of the measures and got an extended deadline for the others. 

Heavy rain was blamed for a wall of a Roman-era shop collapsing in Pompeii at the start of the month, a day after two other precious parts of the ancient city ... a wall at the Temple of Venus and another wall on a tomb in the famed necropolis of Porta Nocera ... suffered serious damage from bad weather. 

These followed a long and worrying catalogue of bits of Pompeii falling off. 

In November 2010 the House of the Gladiators came down, prompting Italian President Giorgio Napolitano to say: "This is a disgrace for the whole of Italy". 

In February 2012 a piece of plaster came off the the Temple of Jupiter, one of Pompeii's main attractions. 

Then, in September 2012, at the Villa of the Mysteries, an even more iconic building, a five-metre-long flying buttress gave in and went crashing to the ground. 

Last November, finally, a wall in one of the ancient city's main thoroughfares, Via dell'Abbondanza, keeled over while another piece of decorative plaster, at the House of the Little Fountain, dropped from the ceiling. 

Pompeii has been plagued for decades by accusations of mismanagement, neglect and even infiltration by the local Camorra mafia.

A well-preserved ancient Roman funerary complex has been discovered at an archeological dig 70 km northeast of Venice which is being called "Little Pompeii" because it was buried for centuries by a natural disaster. 

CHARLOTTE VON MAHLSDORF
SAINT OF ANTINOUS


SAINT Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, who was born on this day in 1928, was a Berlin trans/gay who survived the Nazis and East German communists and about whose life a Pulitzer Prize winning play, "I Am My Own Woman", has been staged at theatres around the world.

The title is misleading since the original German is "Ich bin meine eigene Frau" and the word "Frau" can mean either "Woman" or "Wife"

The phrase was Charlotte's answer to her mother's question: "Don't you think it's time you got a wife?"

Charlotte was her own man and her own woman and her own husband/wife. In a long life amidst dictatorship, war and oppression of human-rights, Charlotte learned to create her own identity. We honor Charlotte as a Saint of the Religion of Antinous.

St. Charlotte, who liked to wear frumpy house dresses with a clunky handbag and a strand of pearls and matronly shoes, somehow managed to survive the Gestapo, the East German Stasi secret police and assaults by neo-Nazis. In doing so, Charlotte made serious ethical compromises along the way in order to stay alive. 

Charlotte amassed a huge collection of Victorian antiques which some said came from the homes of Jewish Holocaust victims and (later) from homes of people fleeing East Germany.


But Charlotte DID stay alive in dangerous times during which others perished. Charlotte's life forces you to ask yourself what YOU would have done in similar circumstances.

After German unification, Charlotte became something of a reluctant gay icon in Germany in the 1990s. Charlotte never had any pretensions of being intellectual or a political activist. 

Charlotte never quite fit in with post-Stonewall activists, who were a bit puzzled by her dowdy grand-motherliness and her passion for 19th Century Renaissance Revival style antiques. Like Quentin Crisp (also a Saint of Antinous), Charlotte belonged to another era.

But unlike Quentin Crisp, Charlotte wasn't especially witty or campy (despite her appearance) and was not an artist of the arch one-liner the way Quentin was. In appearances on talk shows, she would sit there, smiling politely, with not a great deal to say unless it was about collecting and restoring 19th Century antiques. But what she did say was eloquent in its simplicity: 

People should be kind to each other and let each other get on with their lives the way they want to.

Above all, she didn't much like being a celebrity. Too many people  expected things of her. She became a target for neo-Nazis, mostly drunken, youthful vandals in the 1990s. Not surprisingly perhaps, considering all she had lived through, she became somewhat paranoid towards the end of her life. In the end, she fled to Sweden where she spent her final years in virtual isolation before dying in 2002.

We honor St. Charlotte von Mahlsdorf for being someone who was not afraid to be openly trans/gay in the face of totalitarian dictatorships and police states. Someone who survived the Nazis and the Stasi secret police ... wearing a dress, a strand of pearls and a handbag.

Monday, March 17, 2014

THIS IS THE DAY THE WISEST MAN DIED
AND ROME BEGAN TO FALL



MARCH 17th is the anniversary of the death of Marcus Aurelius and we in the Religion of Antinous set aside this day each year to remember the last of the great philosopher-emperors, and a man who knew both Hadrian and Antinous.

What follows, is adapted from writings over the years by Flamen Antinoalis Antonyus.

As a young boy Marcus Aurelius had caught the eye of the Emperor Hadrian. He was appointed by the Emperor to priesthood in the year 129 (just a year before the death of Antinous), and Hadrian also supervised his education, which was entrusted to the best professors of literature, rhetoric and philosophy of the time.

Marcus Aurelius discovered Stoicism by the time he was 11 and from his early twenties he deserted his other studies for philosophy. The Emperor Antoninus Pius, who succeeded Hadrian, adopted Marcus Aurelius as his son in 138.

Antoninus Pius treated Aurelius as a confidant and helper throughout his reign; Marcus Aurelius also married his daughter, Faustina, in 139. He was admitted to the Senate, and then twice the consulship. In 147 he shared tribunician power with Antoninus. During this time he began composition of his Meditations, which he wrote in Greek in army camps.

At the age of 40, in 161 Marcus Aurelius ascended the throne and shared his imperial power with his adopted brother Lucius Aurelius Verus. Useless and lazy, Verus was regarded as a kind of junior emperor; he died in 169. After Verus's death he ruled alone.

Most of his reign was spent fighting and negotiating with the Germanic barbarians who were steadily crowding around the borders of the Empire. Marcus was able to hold them back with a succession of victories and peace treaties. In 177 he made his son, Commodus, joint-Emperor, though Commodus had no interest in the responsibility, caring more for the gladiatorial sports, but Marcus, the philosopher- king, took no notice of his son's blood-lust, which was to later cost the Empire dearly.

For much of his reign, Marcus Aurelius had suffered from severe illness, but his calm devotion to stoic virtue gave him the strength to continue without rest and without his poor health interfering with his duties. While with the legions on the German frontier, Marcus Aurelius suddenly died on March 17th in the year 180AD.

His ashes were conveyed to Rome and placed in Hadrian's Mausoleum. Commodus assumed power and began the chain of tragic events that are said to have brought the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.

For his wisdom, and strength, and because he was the last instrument of Hadrian's plan that brought so much glory, and prosperity to Rome, we venerate the deified Marcus Aurelius as a god of the Religion of Antinous.

An important feature of the philosophy was that everything will recur: the whole universe becomes fire and then repeats itself.

Constantly regard the universe as one living being, having one substance and one soul; and observe how all things have reference to one perception, the perception of this one living being; and how all things act with one movement; and how all things are the cooperating causes of all things which exist; observe too the continuous spinning of the thread and the contexture of the web. (from The Meditations)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

'LITTLE POMPEII' FOUND NEAR VENICE:
ANCIENT CITY DESTROYED BY FLOOD



A well-preserved ancient Roman funerary complex has been discovered at an archeological dig 70 km northeast of Venice which is being called "Little Pompeii" ... because it was buried for centuries by a natural disaster. 

Located outside the ancient walls of what was once the Roman colony of Iulia Concordia, now in the town of Concordia Sagittaria, the imposing complex is the largest and best-preserved of that kind discovered in Italy since the 19th Century. 

Just as Pompeii was buried by the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, a natural disaster wiped out and preserved sarcophagi in Iulia Concordia. 

Floods swept detritus and sediment across the area in the 5th Century AD, making the ancient structures inaccessible and invisible for 1500 years. 


The complex includes a large podium with the remains of two elegant sarcophagi on top, two others nearby, and the base of a third. The remains of a necropolis from the late 1st century BC were also found.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

THE HALCYON DAYS OF GREEK DRAMA
SHOW WINTERS WERE WARMER THAN NOW



THE Halcyon Days were not just a metaphor but were actually an indication that winters in the 4th and 5th Centuries BC were milder than they are now, according to a Greek scientist.


According to a new study led by Dr Christina Chronopoulou from the National and Kapodestrian University of Athens, the open air plays of the ancient Greeks offer insights into the past Mediterranean climate.

Using historical observations from artwork and plays, Dr Chronopoulou and her colleague investigated a meteorological phenomenon known as the Halcyon days under which the audience of the open theater of Dionysus in Athens would have watched drama in the middle of winter.

“We explored the weather conditions which enabled the Athenians of the classical era to watch theatre performances in open theatres during the midwinter weather conditions,” explained Dr Chronopoulou, who is the first author of the paper published in the journal Weather.

“We aimed to do so by gathering and interpreting information from the classical plays of Greek drama from 5th and 4th centuries BC.”

Ancient Athenians would enjoy the open theatre of Dionysus in the southern foothills of the Acropolis and when possible they would have watched drama in the middle of winter between 15 January and 15 February.

“From Second World War bombing raids to medieval Arabic writings, historians and climatologists continue to turn to surprising sources to help piece together the climate of our ancestors,” Dr Chronopoulou said.

In this case, the scientists turned to the writings of 43 plays – 7 by Aeschylus, 7 by Sophocles, 18 by Euripides and 11 by Aristophanes – and several were found to contain references about the weather.

“The comedies of Aristophanes, often invoke the presence of the halcyon days,” Dr Chronopoulou said.

In the Lenaian play Acharnians (425 BC), Aristophanes writes: “and what I say will be shocking, but right. This time Cleon will not accuse me of defaming the city in the presence of foreigners; for we are by ourselves; it’s the Lenean competition, and no foreigners are here yet; neither tribute nor troops have arrived from the allied cities. This time we are by ourselves. Clean hulled for I count the resident foreigners as the bran of our populace.”

Aeschylus in Agamemnon (458 BC) writes: “I’ve spent my nights on the Atreides roof resting on my elbows like a dog, and come to know thoroughly the throng of stars of the night, and also those bright potentates, conspicuous in the sky, which bring winter and summer to mortals [observing] them as some set and others rise.”

“Combining the fact that dramatic contests were held in mid-winter without any indication of postponement, and references from the dramas about the clear weather and mild winters, we can assume that those particular days of almost every January were summery in the 5th and maybe in the 4th centuries BC.”

Friday, March 14, 2014

THE SACRED CITY OF ANTINOOPOLIS
RISES FROM THE EGYPTIAN DESERT


A gleaming new city rises from the desert on the banks of the Nile in the 2nd Century AD.

Julius Fidus Aquila oversees construction of the city of ANTINOOPOLIS at Hadrian's personal command. 


At his side is a centurion wearing the Lorica Segmentata ... and a slave who clearly thanks the Gods that he is only serving beverages ... and not toiling in the hot Egyptian sun.

The city rose on the shores of the Nile where Antinous died in October 130 AD during an Imperial tour of Egypt. Hadrian had arrived in Egypt intent on founding a city ... as Alexander the Great had done ... and as Hadrian had done. The death and deification of ANTINOUS THE GAY GOD turned Hadrian's plan into reality.

Antinoopolis became a model of Hadrian's dreams for creating the perfect civilization based on Hellenistic principles of tolerance, beauty and learning.

Financial and economic incentives encouraged influential people to move to and invest in the city ...

Great colonnaded streets were lined with fine homes and merchants offering wares from throughout the empire ...

Magnificent temples and a large theater were constructed of the finest stone ...

A hippodrome modeled on Rome's Circus Maximus served as the focal point of Games held in honor of Antinous which drew athletes, poets and artists from all corners of the empire to compete for riches and honorary citizenship in the city.

It was the capital city of the Thebais district in the heart of Egypt ... a center of commerce, art, learning and religious fervor for centuries to come ....


Thursday, March 13, 2014

THE WARREN CUP IS A RICH GAY MAN'S FAKE,
GERMAN EXPERT TELLS BRITISH MUSEUM



THE famous and controversial Warren Cup ... a Roman silver drinking vessel that depicts two sets of male lovers ... is actually a 20th Century forgery, according to a German expert whose claim is making headlines today.

The Warren Cup, found over a century ago by gay Boston millionaire Edward Perry "Ned" Warren (Saint of Antinous), is one of the most prized jewels in the British Museum, singled out by director Neil MacGregor for his critically acclaimed "History of the World in 100 Objects."

But on Wednesday, 15 years after the British Museum bought the Warren Cup for over $2.5 million (£1.8 million), a highly respected German archaeologist suggested it could be a forgery.

At a public debate staged by King's College London, Professor Luca Giuliani challenged the museum's view that it dates from the 1st Century AD.

The professor of classical archaeology at Humboldt University in Berlin dismissed it as a creation of the early 20th Century, arguing that such explicit imagery is unprecedented in Roman silverware. 

He suggested instead that the cup was designed for explicitly (and erotically explicitly) for Ned Warren, who bought it in Rome in 1911, and who also acquired other "counterfeit" pieces, he said.

Warren, who traveled Europe with his male lover collecting art treasures wherever they went, also commissioned Rodin's "The Kiss" and told the artist to ensure the genitals were generously large.

Warren's art treasures comprise a large portion of the Classical collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York ... and 90 per cent of the Classical collection at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Prudish Bostonians called Warren and his lover the "Bachelors of Art" ... and the two men spent most of their time in Britain when not prowling Europe in search of art treasures.

The new claims add fuel to the long-simmering debate over the Warren Cup. 

For decades it languished in storage because museum curators on both sides of the Atlantic were reticent to buy it and put it on public display.

When the British Museum finally bought it a few years ago, tabloid headlines trumpeted the news worldwide and showed photos of the cup's depictions of male-male sodomy. 

A replica of the cup is sold in the British Museum Shop.

It features male lovers in various poses. One pair shows the erastes ... an older, active lover ... who is bearded and wears a wreath, and the eromenos ... the younger "beloved" ... who is a beardless youth.

Another scene features a beardless erastes and an eromenos who is just a boy.

The new claims by the German expert have been refuted by Professor Dyfri Williams, author of the book THE WARREN CUP, published by the British Museum Press in 2006.

Giuliani's doubts were aired in Germany last year, but Wednesday marked the first time he has addressed a British audience on the subject.

He acknowledges the high skill, but much of his doubt were based the fact the iconography suited Warren's specific taste ... and the fact that this is supposedly a unique Roman item.

"There is no other Roman silver tableware with a comparable subject matter," he told stunned listeners. 

"Silver vessels have a completely different iconography. Sexual escapades have no place here." Parallels are only found in lesser material ... pottery ... he argued.

Speaking to THE GUARDIAN just before the event, he said such highly explicit imagery is completely unknown from the Roman world: "You never find any such example." But it is comparable to pornographic imagery available in the 1900s, he said.

Williams paid tribute to his adversary, describing him as "a very intelligent, highly respected scholar, very important person in German scholarship". 

He told the Guardian: "I wouldn't want to attack him on a personal level at all."

But he disagrees with his theories. The fact that Warren bought other fakes is irrelevant, he said. 

He also dismissed the uniqueness of the iconography as not being proof: "We're really only reacting to each piece when it's found. We may find something spectacular next week."

He added: "The real issue, which he has not addressed, is the object itself … If the cup was made around 1900, as he claims, they would be using virtually pure silver. They have been refining silver since the middle of the 19th century."

Giuliani said at the beginning of the lecture on Wednesday night that his thinking was "an experimental line of thought". He also made reference to the fact that the cup could be deemed genuine if it showed signs of ancient corrosion on the inner side of the cup.

Williams was able to confirm that it did indeed show signs of corrosion and showed an image to prove this, leading Giuliani to say if that was so, then he would need to change his mind.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

TRACE THE FOOTSTEPS OF ANTINOUS
WITH THIS STREET MAP OF ROME



WE envision Antinous strolling down these streets in Rome's infamous Subura red-light district with other young friends from the "paedagogium" academy.


The wide street that traverses this fragment of a map of the city of Rome from right to left (west to east) has been identified as the Clivus Suburanus, a major street that ran from the Forum and the Argiletum through the Subura neighborhood, past the front of the Porticus Liviae, to the Esquiline Gate.

This fragment is from the Forma Urbis Romae, or Severan Marble Plan of Rome. This enormous map, measuring ca. 18.10 x 13 meters (ca. 60 x 43 feet), was carved between 203-211 AD and covered an entire wall inside the Templum Pacis in Rome. 

It depicted the ground plan of every architectural feature in the ancient city, from large public monuments to small shops, rooms, and even staircases.

This fragment represents a large section on the Oppian Hill of the residential and commercial district called the Subura. 

Roman poets like Martial and Juvenal described the Subura as a sordid commercial area, riddled with violence, brothels, and collapsing buildings. 

In reality, it was probably not different from any other neighborhood in Rome … or many modern European cities, for that matter … where commercial activity intermingled with the religious and political life in the great public monuments and smaller local shrines and meeting halls of the local "collegia" and where the large "comus" homes of the rich stood next to the decrepit apartment buildings that housed the poor. 

An abundance of evidence demonstrates that even in imperial times the Subura housed senators (probably on the upper slopes) as well as sandal makers, blacksmiths, and cloth sellers. Commercial activity was probably concentrated all along the clivus Suburanus.


The Severan Marble Plan is a key resource for the study of ancient Rome, but only 10-15% of the map survives, broken into 1,186 pieces.

For centuries, scholars have tried to match the fragments and reconstruct this great puzzle, but progress is slow … the marble pieces are heavy, unwieldy, and not easily accessible. 

Now, computer scientists and archaeologists at Stanford are employing digital technologies to try to reconstruct the map. 

In collaboration with the Sovraintendenza of the Comune di Roma, a team from Stanford's Computer Graphics laboratory has been creating digital photographs and 3D models of all 1,186 fragments. 


The next step is to develop 3D matching algorithms to "solve the map," and to build a fully searchable database of the fragments … a much-needed tool for archaeological research.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

THE ASSASSINATION OF ELAGABALUS
ROME'S TRANSGENDER TEEN EMPEROR



ON March 11th the Religion of Antinous solemnly commemorates the assassination of Elagabalus, Rome's transgender teen emperor.

Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus was born on an unknown date in the winter of 204 AD in the city of Emesa in Syria.

His birth name was Varius Avitus Bassianus, and he is believed to have been the son of Caracalla, for which reason he was declared Emperor by the Legions of Syria during an uprising against the short-lived Emperor Macrinus who had assassinated Caracalla and taken the throne.

Varius Bassianus was only 14 years old when he became sole ruler of the Roman Empire and took the name of Antoninus. He was the last Emperor to bear the sacred name of the most glorious rulers of the world, the Antonines. He is known to history as Elagabalus, because he was from birth the high priest(ess) of the androgynous sun deity Elagabal.

He brought his strange, phallic religion to Rome, and very shortly began to impose Elagabal, going so far as to nullify all other cults and force the Romans to accept his one god. It is even claimed that he closed and demolished the temple of Antinous at Tibur and perhaps others, but this is rumor.

What Elagabalus is famous for is that he was an extreme homosexual phallus worshipper with an insatiable fondness for chariot racers who he often elevated to the highest positions of authority simply based on the size and grace of their penises. He is criticized by ancient historians for portraying himself as Venus on Mount Ida, and allowing himself to be sodomized on stage by his chariot racers in the roles of various gods in full view of an audience.


History is slanted by anti-tranny prejudice. Elagabalus is recorded as having been one of the most infamous and degenerate figures in Roman history. 

This despite the fact that he was not particularly cruel or demonstrably mad. He simply offended the sensibilities of later historians ... particularly Victorian historians who were appalled by the fact that a trans teen had been acclaimed emperor of Rome.

Elagabalus, devoted to the androgynous god Elagabal, made it his priority as emperor to demote all others gods and goddesses to the position of servants to the principal deity. A black stone phallic representation of the god was processed through the streets of Rome to the temple annually.

Many of the sacred symbols of other religions were moved to the temple of Elagabal, including those of Jews and Christians. To persuade followers of other deities to worship Elagabal, the emperor participated in the rituals of several other religions. On a daily basis animal sacrifices were performed, consistent with the practices of many of the religions.

Victorian historians record Elagabalus' life as scandalous, yet an examination of their remarks reveal a troubled trans youth struggling with his identity.

"Not only was he bi-sexual, but also a transvestite. He would go to the taverns at night wearing a wig, woman's clothes and makeup and ply the trade of a prostitute. This activity only ended when he met Hierocles, a Carian slave, and became his wife. Hierocles was even permitted to beat the emperor when displeased, as any man might beat his wife. Even more scandalous Elagabalus not only acted and dressed like a woman, but he wanted to be physically transformed into one. He asked his physicians to contrive a vagina for him, promising huge rewards for success."

In other words, he was a transgender teenager who had the power and money at his disposal to create the gender-bending reality he desired to live in.

At the age of 14, in 218, Elagabaltus, a zealous believer, declared a religious initiative giving Elagabal precedence over all other gods, even Jupiter himself.


The god was also to have a consort. Pallas Athena was the first choice, a goddess tended by the Vestal Virgins. As part of his strategy Avitus married one of the vestals. When Romans balked at the violation of a vestal virgin, however, he opted for the symbolic marriage with Urania, a moon goddess.

His attempt to unify Rome under one religion met with strong resistance and did nothing to moderate his unpopularity. In the very year that Elagabalus became emperor the Third Legion, which had placed him in office, attempted to replace him with Verus, their commander. The attempt failed. Over time, subsequent attempts by the Fourth Legion, by the fleet, and by a pretender named Seleucus also failed.

But as unpopular as he was with the nobility and commanders of the Legions, he was not at all unpopular with the plebs, upon whom he lavished gifts and games. As emperor he had a Temple built to Elagabal, restored the Flavian Amphitheatre (the Colosseum) that had been damaged by fire and completed the construction of the public baths of Caracalla in the Vicus Sulplicius. He also had built a palace complex, the Horti Variani, with an amphitheatre, a circus, a bath, and audience hall.

His most famous projects, however, were the temple of Elagabal (the Elagaballium) on the Palatine hill and another such temple on the southeastern edge of the city. From these temples the emperor delivered largesse to crowds that gathered below.

None of his works, or gifts to the people, were sufficient to offset his reputation among the elite, tarnished by his promiscuous behavior with men and women. Regardless, provided with almost absolute power one wonders, wouldn't most teenage boys be self- indulgent? Many of the adult emperors did no less.

Many legends have arisen about the decadent lifestyle of Elagabalus, including the tall tale that one of his palace orgies was the scene of an inadvertent massacre when so many flower petals were showered upon the banquet guests that dozens of people suffocated to death as they reclined on their couches. 


A colossal, wall-sized painting of this scene by Lawrence Alma-Tadema shocked and titillated Victorian  viewers.

As the young emperor's popularity dwindled his mother, Julia Soaemias, and other supporters recognized that the royal family was in danger of their lives. Rome had a tradition of murdering unpopular emperors, and sometimes their adherents as well.

In hopes of rescuing the regime his close family and supporters induced Elagabalus to adopt his cousin Bassianus Alexianus, a young man popular with the praetorian guard, and name him Caesar, heir to the throne.

The scheme backfired in that Julia Mamaea, Alexianus's mother, was as ambitious as Julia Soaemias and desired to see her son emperor as quickly as possible. Mamaea, playing on the praetorian guard's contempt for Elagabalus entreated for the assassination of Elagabalus. Soaemias, discovering the adoption had created greater danger not less, urged Elagabalus to have his cousin killed lest he himself be murdered. However, no one would obey the order.

Here is where we catch up with Julia Soaemias and Elagabalus:

"Mother," spoke the young emperor, 17 years old, the glow of childhood still reflected in his eyes, "they don't understand what I want to accomplish. If they did, they wouldn't hate me."

"Child," replied Julia Soaemias, "they have more than one reason to hate you. You're obsessed with being a woman and you flaunt Roman tradition. You seek to bring down their gods and make them slaves to Elagabal. Elagabal knows I worship him as much as you, but he wants not that we place him above other gods."

"I will go to the praetorian camp and entreat with them, explain what I intend. Surely they will listen. A single god for all Rome would unify us as naught else might. Our former glory would be restored and Rome would endure forever. I will go. I will go now! The armies must be made to understand," declared the emperor, rising from his throne even as he spoke.

"If you go to the guard they are as likely to kill you as listen to you," admonished his mother.

"That is a chance I must take," he retorted, "Rome is more important than my life."

At the praetorian camp:

"All hail Nellie Ellie," sarcastically called a guardsman upon the approach of the emperor.

"Run, fear for your manhood, she comes to drain us dry," screamed another voice.

Other guardsmen laughed and joined in, a little nervously at first, after all this was the emperor of Rome, but with growing enthusiasm. 


Stepping down from his chariot Elagabalus, dressed as a woman, his wig meticulously styled and his makeup artfully done, spoke in a loud voice, "I have come to discuss with you the fate of Rome." 

His mother, having accompanied him stepped down beside him, on her countenance fear was plainly written. She had a bad feeling about what could happen that night and the crowd of soldiers mocking and jeering did nothing to lessen that fear.

"Alexianus would have me murdered and restore the old gods, the many religions which kept Romans apart. I have dedicated my rule to bringing our great nation together under one god, you must see the wisdom in such a venture," he called out in a loud voice, ignoring the insults and belittling remarks.

"Wisdom from a boy whore," yelled out a disgruntled soldier, "Drunk one night, boy, I had you. Was that your wisdom, Nellie Ellie?" The crowd laughed uproariously.


"I am the priestess of Elagabal. It is my place to be among my people, to suffer the worst and the best at your hands. I am also your emperor and I command you to kill my rival, Alexianus," he ordered.

His mother leaned forward and whispered in his ear, "Tread softly my son, their temper is not to be trifled with. I like not their mood."

"You have had my spear once, priestess," venomously spat a soldier near the front of those gathered. "Now have another!" As the soldier uttered the words he hurled a spear. It landed to one side, but came perilously close to hitting Elagabalus.

"I want nothing but the betterment of Rome," shouted Avitus, taking his mother by the arm and retreating to his chariot. Too late he took the reins of his spirited horses, the soldiers had already surrounded his chariot and taken control.

"You will agree to abdicate in favor of Alexianus before you leave this night, or you shall not leave," spoke up the closest of his adversaries. The army heard the words and began to chant, "Alexianus, Alexianus, Alexianus."

Enraged the youthful emperor screamed, "I am emperor. It is I who know what is best for Rome. Not you traitors. Now, let go of my horses!" With his whip he struck at the face of the nearest soldier, landing a vicious blow that brought blood.

The soldier in turn pulled Elagabalus from the chariot and stabbed him. Others joined in. The last thing Elagabalus saw before he died was the soldiers pulling his mother from the chariot,"Let my mother be," he tried to yell, but only a whisper passed his lips.


So ended the reign of the trans teenage Varius Avitus Bassinus, having ruled Rome for but four years. 

He had been the first emperor to attempt to unify Rome under one god. 

His gender variance, his sexual escapades while frowned on but tolerated had destroyed his credibility. After the murders, his body and that of his mother's, were dragged naked through the streets of Rome.

Finally, beheaded, both bodies were thrown into the Tiber, the punishment for convicted criminals.

Elagabalus reigned only four years, and was 18 years old when he was murdered, the same age as Antinous. 


Though his character is condemned as perverse, the open phallicism that he imposed upon Rome, and the dramatic exhibition of his homosexuality warrant his deification, and he was the Last of the Antonines.