Saturday, February 28, 2015

ANTONINUS PIUS, THE ROMAN EMPEROR
WHO FULFILLED HADRIAN'S DREAMS



AT the end of February and beginning of March the Religion of Antinous marks Three Holy Days involving the Divine Antoninus Pius.

On February 28th we celebrate the Adoption of Antoninus Pius by Hadrian. And on March 1st we commemorate the Apotheosis of Antoninus Pius . Also on March 1st, we celebrate the Ascension of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus.

After the death of Aelius Caesar, Hadrian adopted Antoninus, imposing on him the condition that he adopt two sons, Lucius Verus and Marcus Antoninus to be his successors. Antoninus supported the dying Hadrian for the remainder of his years, and obeyed his commands even after his death. For this Antoninus is called Pius.

As the Fates would have it, March 1st is the date when Antoninus Pius died in 161 AD after 23 years as Emperor. His rule is marked by an almost unbroken period of peace and tranquility. The golden era of Rome, known as the Age of the Antonines, takes its name from Antoninus, because every emperor afterward took up his name as an emblem of glory. Antoninus is the emperor most responsible for the perpetuation of the Religion of Antinous.

He had served as Proconsul of Asia Minor under Hadrian from 130 to 135, while the Religion of Antinous was being formed, and it was during his reign that construction of the Sacred City of Antinoopolis was completed.

The Senate deified Antoninus Pius shortly after his death. The base of the column erected in his honor, shows Antoninus Pius and his wife Faustina the elder, rising up to heaven. They are ascending upon the wings of an Aeon, with Mother Rome on one side, and a beautiful reclining male figure on the other who grasps an obelisk. We believe this figure to be Antinous, guardian spirit of the Age of the Antonines.

Upon the occasion of the Death and Apotheosis of Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus became co-Emperors, both surnamed Antoninus, a name which the ancient Romans equate with inestimable glory.

Marcus being the elder and wiser, was given the title Augustus, while Lucius took the name Caesar. They remained cordial to one another though their vastly different characters were always a cause of discord, though never of rivalry or outright animosity. They were a harmonious and cooperative pair of rulers, the only example of effective imperial brotherhood in the long history of Rome.

Friday, February 27, 2015

FEARS MOUNT FOR IRAQ HERITAGE
AFTER IS MUSEUM RAMPAGE



ARCHAEOLOGISTS expressed fears Friday that after ransacking the Mosul museum in Iraq, Islamic State group jihadists would embark on a systematic destruction of heritage in areas under their control.

Particularly at risk are the ancient cities of Hatra, a UNESCO world heritage site, and Nimrud. Both are south of Mosul, which has been the jihadists' main hub in Iraq since June last year.

"This is not the end of the story and the international community must intervene," said Abdelamir Hamdani, an Iraqi archaeologist at New York's Stony Brook University.

IS released a video on Thursday showing its militants smashing ancient statues to pieces with sledgehammers at the Mosul museum.

Jihadists were also seen using a jackhammer to deface a colossal Assyrian winged bull at the Nergal gate in the large archaeological park that lies in the city.

"They told the guards they would destroy Nimrud," said Hamdani, who used to be based in Iraq with the department of antiquities.

"It is one of the very important Assyrian capitals, there are reliefs and winged bulls there... This would be a real disaster," he told AFP by telephone from the United States.

"Maybe they will also attack and destroy Hatra, it is a very isolated site in the desert," he said.

Hatra is a UNESCO-listed site that lies in IS-controlled territory around 100 kilometres (60 miles) southwest of Mosul.

UNESCO says the "remains of the city, especially the temples where Hellenistic and Roman architecture blend with Eastern decorative features, attest to the greatness of its civilization."

"I am afraid that more destruction is in their pipeline," said Ihsan Fethi, an Iraqi architect and heritage expert based in Jordan.

"They could do anything, they could move to the temples in Hatra, and say they're heathens and blow it up pretty easily. Who will stop them?," he said.

On Thursday, IS blew up a 12th century mosque "because it housed a tomb", Fethi said.

In the jihadists' extreme interpretation of Islam, statues, idols and shrines are a material corruption of the purity of the early Muslim faith and amount to recognising other objects of worship than Allah.


Their views are marginal however and most clerics, even those who promote a rigorist Islam, argue that what were idols in the day of the Prophet are now part of cultural heritage.

'PEPLUM' PUTS PEP INTO ANCIENT ROME
BY SKEWERING MODERN MORALS


FOR those who don't keep up with trash movie slang, "peplum" is the meme for those cheaply produced vintage European gladiator movies that used to be called "sword and sandal" flicks ... because the men always had swords and sandals.

But the cheap costume worn by everyone in the movie was always a peplum ... a tunic gathered at the waist.

Voil√° ... a movie genre becomes a concise catchphrase that fits nicely in a Tweet!

Now PEPLUM is a popular new French television sitcom mini-series which wryly tweaks modern-day viewers into realizing we are all living in a civilization in decline run by buffoonish masters and slaves ... and it's hard to say who are the masters and who are the slaves.

The concept? With the Roman Empire in decline, Bravus - former slave - tries to avert chaos as adviser to the terrible Emperor Maximus... terrible in the sense of incompetent

Unfortunately, his efforts to maintain sanity are continually thwarted by his own crazy family and his equally mad boss.

And if that sounds like your own life, that's exactly what the producers intended for this series which has just premiered on M6 network starring French funny man JONATHAN LAMBERT.

Check out this promo:


Thursday, February 26, 2015

ANCIENT EGYPTIAN SOLDIER OF ROME
WROTE OF HOMESICKNESS FOR THE NILE


A recently deciphered letter home dating back to the time of Hadrian and Antinous reveals the homesickness of a young Egyptian soldier named Aurelius Polion who was serving, probably as a volunteer, in a Roman legion in Europe.

In the letter, written mainly in Greek, Polion tells his family that he is desperate to hear from them.

This image of a plaintive young Egyptian in Roman toga dates from the era and was found at Antinoopolis, not far from where this letter was discovered.

In the letter, Polion says that he is going to request leave to make the long journey home to see his family and the Nile which he misses so much.

Addressed to his mother (a bread seller), sister and brother, part of it reads: "I pray that you are in good health night and day, and I always make obeisance before all the gods on your behalf. I do not cease writing to you, but you do not have me in mind," it reads.

"I am worried about you because although you received letters from me often, you never wrote back to me so that I may know how you ..." (Part of the letter hasn't survived.)

Polion says he has written six letters to his family without response.

"While away in Pannonia I sent (letters) to you, but you treat me so as a stranger," he writes. "I shall obtain leave from the consular (commander), and I shall come to you so that you may know that I am your brother …"

The letter was found outside a temple in the Egyptian town of Tebtunis over 100 years ago by an archaeological expedition led by Bernard Grenfell and Arthur Hunt.

They found numerous papyri in the town and did not have time to translate all of them.

Recently Grant Adamson, a doctoral candidate at Rice University, took up the task of translating the papyrus, using infrared images of it, a technology that makes part of the text more legible.

His translation was published recently in the Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists.

Adamson isn't sure if the soldier's family responded to his pleas, or if Polion got leave to see them (it's unlikely), but it appears this letter did arrive home.

"I tend to think so. The letter was addressed to and mentions Egyptians, and it was found outside the temple of the Roman-period town of Tebtunis in the Fayyum not far from the Nile River," Adamson wrote in an email to Live Science.

Polion, who lived at a time when the Roman Empire controlled Egypt, was part of the legio II Adiutrix legion stationed in Pannonia Inferior (around modern-day Hungary).

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

BRITISH AUTHOR MARTIN CAMPBELL
BECOMES PRIEST OF ANTINOUS



A new priest of Antinous took his formal vows in London Tuesday, the first representative of Hadrian's Beloved Boy there since ancient times when Britain was still the Roman colony of Britannia.

 MARTIN CAMPBELL (center) was invested as priest in solemn ceremonies officiated by PRIEST HERNESTUS (right) from Germany and by KNIGHT STEPHANOS KILGORE (left), a founding member of the Hollywood Temple of Antinous in Los Angeles.


Martin chose the priestly name of Martinus Aristotimus in honor of one of the seven earliest ancient priests of Antinous ... Aristotimus, priest of the Antinous Temple at Delphi.

Anointing Martin's brow with sacred oil, Priest Hernestus said: "I consecrate you Martinus Aristotimos as a Priest of Antinous."

Stephanos, standing between them with arms outstretched in a gesture of protection, said to the new priest: "May the doors be opened to you that need to be opened."

A novice priest in training for a period of years, Martin's greatest achievement was publication last August of his historical novel THE LOVE GOD about the life of Antinous.

In a statement issued in Hollywood, FLAMEN ANTONIUS SUBIA, founder of the modern-day religion of Antinous, said: 

"This is a momentous day, a new priest is to be added to the Sacerdotium.  

"Martinus Aristotimos will dedicate his life to serve Antinous and perpetuate our religion, he has proven his dedication and devotion and is now willing to answer the calling.  

"I give my deepest blessing as Flamen to Martinus Aristotimos, may his priesthood be blessed with power and sacredness, may his Temple grow and prosper and extend into the hearts of many people, in his own country and around the world," Antonius said.

In his first statement of faith as new priest, Martinus addressed the adherents in London: "Did I find Antinous or did Antinous find me? I suspect a little of both," Martinus said.

"I was captivated by his stunning and unusual images from the Roman past. These led me to research on the internet and there he was ... a god, a gay god and still worshipped.

"My spiritual and creative search was over ... here was my god. Here too was the subject for my long postponed novel. It felt I had come home," Martinus told his listeners.

"I heard Hadrian's voice welcoming me and commanding that I write the novel ... my greatest act of worship.

"Today I stand blessed and embraced by Antinous, Hadrian and my fellow priests," Martinus added.

"I dedicate myself to Antinous for the rest of my life.

"I honour Hadrian and the imperial family. I worship Antinous. Blessed be."


Monday, February 23, 2015

NEW PRIEST OF ANTINOUS
TAKES VOWS IN LONDON TUESDAY



A new priest of Antinous will take his vows Tuesday in London following years-long training as a novice.

The investiture of British author MARTIN CAMPBELL (above in brown T-shirt) will take place in solemn ceremonies officiated by PRIEST HERNESTUS (above in black) from Germany and by KNIGHT STEPHANOS KILGORE, a founding member of the Hollywood Temple of Antinous in Los Angeles.

Martin's priestly name will be Martinus Aristotimus in honor of one of the seven earliest ancient priests of Antinous ... Aristotimus, priest of the Antinous Temple at Delphi.

Wednesday's blog entry will report on the investiture ceremony which makes Martin the fourth currently active priest of Antinous ordained by our branch of this modern-day religion.

Martin, Hernestus and Steve are in London on Tuesday also to see the historic live staging at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology of a readers' theatre production of the world's only radio play about Antinous: THE GLASS BALL GAME 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 24.

In past years the Petrie held Antinous-related lectures, art exhibits and film events to standing-room-only audiences. 

This time they are offering this unprecedented live reading of Mike Walker’s 2005 BBC radio play. 

Set in Egypt, 130 AD, "The Glass Ball Game" examines the tragic relationship between the Emperor Hadrian and the beautiful youth.

It will be performed by a cast of professional actors, with Antinous being played by British actor Adam Slynn.

The production will be performed in the PETRIE MUSEUM gallery itself, with audience and actors surrounded by one of the world's largest collections of Egyptian antiquities.

"It's a fascinating and important work, which presents an interpretation of the shadowy events leading to the untimely death and subsequent deification of the enigmatically beautiful Antinous," says JOHN J JOHNSTON, Egyptologist and director of this production.

"The lustrous and instantly identifiable image of Antinous is to be found in museums and galleries throughout the modern world, from the Renaissance onwards," Johnston says.

Seating is limited so reservations are imperative: Doors open at 6 p.m. on 24 February for the performance at the Petrie Museum and the event begins at 6:30, allowing the audience to spend some time engaging with the museum's 80,000 artefacts.  

Tickets are £10.00 and include a glass of wine upon entry. Tickets are available at EventBrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-glass-ball-game-play-reading-tickets-14508141241

Sunday, February 22, 2015

LGBT 'OBJECTS OF DESIRE'
FOCUS OF LONDON EGYPTOLOGY MUSEUM


IN celebration of LGBT History Month, the PETRIE MUSEUM in London is holding a special gay-related evening on February 26 when some of the museum's more explicit artefacts are the focus of attention.

The event, entitled "Objects of Desire," will offer an evening of discussion with artists, writers, academics and creatives, prominent in the LGBT community, each of whom has chosen an item from the collection because of the ways in which it connects with their own interests or informs their understanding of the desire in the ancient—and modern—world. 

Organiser and host for the evening, Egyptologist John J Johnston commented: “I’m very excited by the gathering of fascinating individuals I’ll be chatting to at the Petrie Museum this February.  

"In 2013 we held a similar event at the Petrie and it was enormously popular with both the audience and our contributors, so it seemed sensible to revisit the concept with different people and different objects," he said. 

"At the present time, I don’t know what they’ve each chosen, so I’m genuinely curious to see what the objects will be andwhat they’ll be saying about them in our on-stage discussions. On the last occasion, the evening was engaging, though-provoking and hugely entertaining. I think we can promise our audience a similarly thrilling event this year.”

The contributors include: David Bryher: Author of novels, short stories, and audio draamas “of and about things that are not real” Dr Nathaniel Adam Tobias Coleman – UCL Research Associate in the Philosophy of ‘Race’Rob Eagle: Documentary filmmaker and director of Having a Gay Old Time: Voices of LGBT HistoryHamish Steele: Graphic novelist and author of Pantheon: The True Story of the Egyptian DeitiesProfessor Sharon Morris: Senior lecturer at the Slade School of Fine Art and award shortlisted poetMark O'Connell: Author of Catching Bullets: Memoirs of a Bond Fan, shortlisted for a Polari Award Geoff Slack: Film and television costume designer 

Tickets are £3 including booking fee and drinks and can be booked via https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/objects-of-desire-tickets-14508398009

RARE PLANETARY ALIGNMENT
MAKES THIS WEEKEND VOLATILE


Animals acting strangely? Children unruly? You feel nervous and anxious?  Don’t worry, you won’t be imagining it this weekend.  

Dogs barking at the sky, moments of madness and unexplained events could be triggered by a rare alignment of the planets.

Mars, Venus and the Moon are all due to come together in a beautiful and captivating star formation over the next few days.

The spectacular light show will see a sparkling and brilliant white Venus snuggle up to the Red Planet beside a crescent Moon.

Astronomers are hailing the event as one of the most dazzling space formations of the year with the luminescent orbs visible to the naked eye.

However ancient mythology warns the eerie phenomenon could have a darker and more sinister purpose.

A similar Venus-Mars alignment in May 2011 coincided with a spate of severe thunderstorms, floods and tornadoes in America.

Devastating winds ripped up trees and power cables as they tore through the state of Kansas, the most notable being the Joplin tornado.

Astronomers around the world will be closely watching as the three planets snuggle together.

Viewers should keep an eye out out for a dazzling white Venus, next to Mars which will appear as a dull red glow joined by a crescent moon.


Venus and Mars will edge closer together and will sit in alignment until Tuesday when Venus pulls away from Mars to continue its orbit.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

GOVERNMENT-SUPPORTED HEALTH CARE
WAS COMMON IN ANCIENT EGYPT



WE might think of state supported health care as an innovation of modern times, but it’s a much older tradition than that. 

In fact, texts from a village dating back to Egypt’s New Kingdom period, about 3,100-3,600 years ago, suggest that in ancient Egypt there was a state-supported health care network designed to ensure that workers making the king’s tomb were productive.

The village of Deir el-Medina was built for the workmen who made the royal tombs during the New Kingdom (1550-1070 BCE). During this period, kings were buried in the Valley of the Kings in a series of rock-cut tombs, not the enormous pyramids of the past. 

The village was purposely built close enough to the royal tomb to ensure that workers could hike there on a daily basis.

These workmen were not what we normally picture when we think about the men who built and decorated ancient Egyptian royal tombs – they were highly skilled craftsmen. 

The workmen at Deir el-Medina were given a variety of amenities afforded only to those with the craftsmanship and knowledge necessary to work on something as important as the royal tomb.

The village was allotted extra support: the Egyptian state paid them monthly wages in the form of grain and provided them with housing and servants to assist with tasks like washing laundry, grinding grain and porting water. 

Their families lived with them in the village, and their wives and children could also benefit from these provisions from the state.

Among these texts are numerous daily records detailing when and why individual workmen were absent from work. Nearly one-third of these absences occur when a workman was too sick to work.

Yet, monthly ration distributions from Deir el-Medina are consistent enough to indicate that these workmen were paid even if they were out sick for several days.

These texts also identify a workman on the crew designated as the swnw, physician. The physician was given an assistant and both were allotted days off to prepare medicine and take care of colleagues. 

The Egyptian state even gave the physician extra rations as payment for his services to the community of Deir el-Medina.

This physician would have most likely treated the workmen with remedies and incantations found in his medical papyrus. About a dozen extensive medical papyri have been identified from ancient Egypt, including one set from Deir el-Medina.


Friday, February 20, 2015

CAT NICKNACK ON GRANNY'S MANTLEPIECE
TURNS OUT TO BE EGYPTIAN SCULPTURE


FOR years, this unusual ornament – a cat complete with delicate gold earrings – stood on the hearth of a small cottage in western England, believed to be a cheap copy of an Egyptian bronze.

When the elderly owner died, her family assumed it was worthless and were ready to throw it away.

Then an expert intervened – and his suspicion that the 7 inch (20 cm) bust might be of some value has been proved true beyond his wildest dreams.

Because the cat is a genuine relic dating back to around 600 BC, sold for nearly $80,000 (£52,000) at auction on Thursday.

However, it had come very close to ending up in the garbage only a few days earlier. 

The statue had belonged to Doreen Liddell of Penzance, Cornwall. When she died in November, her family called in Penzance Auction Rooms to clear her house – and auctioneer David Lay saw the cat.

He too initially assumed that it was a reproduction, but took it back to his office for a closer look. Only then did he realise how old it could be.

When he shared his discovery with Mrs Liddell’s family, they told him her late husband, Douglas, had once been managing director of the prestigious Spink and Son auction house in London. The firm, founded in 1666, is renowned for its sales of Ancient Egyptian artifacts.

In 1939, Spink sold the estate of archaeologist Howard Carter, who discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb. It is thought Mr Liddell bought the 2,500-year-old cat at a Spink sale, although his family has no record of it.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

LONDON MUSEUM HOSTS A PLAY
ABOUT ANTINOUS ON FEBRUARY 24



IT's LGBT History Month in London and our friends at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology are outdoing themselves this year by staging a readers' theatre production of the world's only radio play about Antinous: THE GLASS BALL GAME 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. February 24.

In past years the Petrie held Antinous-related lectures, art exhibits and film events to standing-room-only audiences. 

This time they are offering this unprecedented live reading of Mike Walker’s 2005 BBC radio play. 

Set in Egypt, 130 AD, "The Glass Ball Game" examines the tragic relationship between the Emperor Hadrian and the beautiful youth. 

It will be performed by a cast of professional actors, with Antinous being played by British actor Adam Slynn (right).

The production will be performed in the PETRIE MUSEUM gallery itself, with audience and actors surrounded by one of the world's largest collections of Egyptian antiquities.

"It's a fascinating and important work, which presents an interpretation of the shadowy events leading to the untimely death and subsequent deification of the enigmatically beautiful Antinous," says JOHN J JOHNSTON, Egyptologist and director of this production.

"The lustrous and instantly identifiable image of Antinous is to be found in museums and galleries throughout the modern world, from the Renaissance onwards," Johnston says.

"Antinous is surprisingly rarely represented in drama, so this production of Mike Walker’s thought-provoking drama is something of a first, not only for the Petrie but also in the popular reception of Antinous," adds Johnston, who lectures frequently on Antinous and his continuing influence on art, literature and LGBT people throughout the ages. 

"Although we’ve presented drama and comedy in the Petrie Museum previously, I was keen to bring this radio into the unique space offered by the Petrie, whilst still paying appropriate homage to its radio origins," says Johnston (left with the famous "Berlin Head"). 

"I’ve been delighted by the commitment and dedication of our cast who fully inhabit the historical characters they portray. I’m also particularly delighted to be able to welcome Mike Walker, the play’s author, onto the stage after the performance, for a discussion of his researches and inspiration. It should be a fascinating and thrilling evening."

Seating is limited so reservations are imperative: Doors open at 6 p.m. on 24 February for the performance at the Petrie Museum and the event begins at 6:30, allowing the audience to spend some time engaging with the museum's 80,000 artefacts.  

Tickets are £10.00 and include a glass of wine upon entry.


The performance will be followed by a discussion between the playwright, Mike Walker, and Egyptologist, John J Johnston. Contact:  
020 7679 4138 | events.petrie@ucl.ac.uk

THE GLASS BALL GAME 
by Mike W Walker
Cast:
Antinous – Adam Slynn
Hadrian – Alex Blake
Suetonius – Jack Baldwin
Sabina – Becky Pennick 
Julia – Melkorka Oskarsdottir
Pachrates – Jim Scott.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

WE HONOR MICHELANGELO
AS A SAINT OF ANTINOUS


FEBRUARY 18th is the day when the Religion of Antinous honors Michelangelo, who died on this date.

Saint Michelangelo was the ultimate Renaissance Man, a painter/sculptor/architect/engineer, a man of art and science. A man torn between his passions and his religion. 


In the Renaissance, his voluptuous depictions of the male form were accepted as expressions of the Divine in art. 

It was the Victorians who went into denial over any hint that he may have been gay, despite the fact that he never married.

His male art is done with a passion for detail and obvious love of the male form. The only females he sculpted were maternal figures.

In 1532, he met a handsome young nobleman called Tommaso de Cavalieri. Michelangelo was struck by a romantic feeling that simply would not go away. He wrote sonnet after sonnet for the man as well as producing some rather "personal" sketches for his eyes only.

Michelangelo executed a number of exquisite ink sketches of Jove's Abduction of the beautiful youth Ganymede.

Michelangelo most certainly knew that Jove and Ganymede were synonymous with Hadrian and Antinous. As a man of art and science, all he had to do was look at the nighttime sky and see the Constellation of Antinous (formerly the Constellation of Ganymede).


An older man enthralled with a handsome youth. Our modern concept of "gayness" did not exist. But did he really have to spell it out to Tommaso any more clearly than that?

For thirty-odd years, the two were constant companions, but Michelangelo? s passions did not end there. During his relationship with Cavalieri, he also wrote about some deep feelings for other men in his life, including the 16-year-old Cecchino dei Bracci, for whom he wrote 48 funeral epigrams after his untimely death.

Here is an extract from one of his same-sex love sonnets:

"The love I speak of aspires to the heights; woman is too dissimilar, and it ill becomes a wise and manly heart to burn for her."

For his gentle genius and for his love of male beauty and for representing the best strivings of humanity, we proclaim Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni one of our Blessed Prophets of Homoeros.

Michelangelo reminds us that male beauty IS divine.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

ANCIENT HADRIAN'S WALL
FACES NEW THREAT FROM 'NIGHTHAWKERS'



LAND around Hadrian's Wall is being damaged by illegal nocturnal treasure hunters known as "night hawkers".

Parts of the 1,900-year-old World Heritage site are being dug up at night by people armed with metal detectors who are disturbing layers of history underground and could be removing ancient artifacts.

The area has special legal protection as a Scheduled Ancient Monument where it is a crime to use a metal detector without special permission.

Built by Hadrian, his Wall runs coast-to-coast for 117 kilometres across northern England.

It was built by him in 122-30 AD to protect Britannia, then part of the Roman Empire, from the Picts, a fierce Celtic tribe living in what is now Scotland.

Mark Harrison, national crime adviser for English Heritage, a public body which maintains historic sites, said the actions of the “night hawkers” amounted to stealing.

“Just as it is against the law to break into someone’s house and steal their possessions, so it is illegal to damage land and steal valuable historical artefacts,” he added.

“The objects they are stealing belong to the landowner, in this case the National Trust, and the history they are stealing belongs to all of us.”


Monday, February 16, 2015

PARTHENON SCULPTURES WERE ABLAZE
WITH VIVID PIGMENTS LIKE 'EGYPTIAN BLUE'


WE think of Classical sculptures as being bare white marble, but scientists have determined that the Ancients coated all surfaces with vivid pigments ... especially "Egyptian Blue."


Perhaps the earliest artificial pigment, Egyptian blue was first employed in Egypt and Mesopotamia around 2500 B.C. 

The use of this bright crystalline material spread throughout the Mediterranean world and was widely used until around 800 A.D.

A new technique developed by Giovanni Verri, a physicist in London's British Museum, takes advantage of the fact that Egyptian blue, when exposed to red light, appears to glow when viewed through the lens of an infrared camera.

Verri applied the technique with his portable detector onto the marble works and the parts that were once painted blue lit up.

His technique exposed the ancient pigment on a number of figures within the collection of Elgin Marbles. 

He found Egyptian blue on the belt of Iris, the winged messenger goddess. 

A blue wave pattern was also present on the sea from which Helios, the god of sun, rises with his chariot on the east pediment.

"The ancient pigment also appears on the drapery of the goddess Dione, on the east pediment. There, the pigment was clearly applied in stripes, probably to represent precious embroidery bands on the robe," Verri said.

Although scholars have long suspected that the Parthenon, like many other sculptures of antiquity, was once brightly colored, no evidence has previously been found to support this belief.

"This study provides the first scientific evidence of painted color on the sculptures from the Parthenon," Verri says in this video:


Sunday, February 15, 2015

ANTINOUS AND THE LUPERCALIA


EVEN Hadrian and Antinous would not have known the precise origins of the Lupercalia ... the ancient rite of spring when young nobles stripped off naked except for fur pelts and ran around the Palatine Hill flinging rawhide strips at females.

But Antinous might well have visited the cave-like grotto ... the Lupercale ... at the foot of the Palatine Hill. 


The cave-like structure was found a few years ago and experts are carrying out an extensive archaeological dig at a site which they believe is the ceremonial site of the Lupercale grotto where the caesars honored Romulus and Remus.

It is intriguing to think that Hadrian and Antinous took part in the rites in this subterranean chamber.

For centuries, the cave-like grotto was revered as the sacred site where the "She-Wolf" suckled the orphans Romulus and Remus. Young nobles called Luperci, taking their name from the place of the wolf (lupa), ran naked from the Lupercale grotto around the bounds of the Palatine, and used strips of hide to slap the hands or buttocks of girls and women lining the route ... reenacting a prank attributed to Romulus and Remus as randy teenagers.


Here is how Flamen Antonius Subia explains its significance for the Religion of Antinous:

"The Lupercalia is the festival of the wolf mother of Rome, and sacred festival of Antinous Master of Hounds. 


"The Lupercalia remembers the she-wolf who raised Romulus and Remus, twin sons of Venus and Mars, who later founded the city of Rome. 

"The wolf-like nature of the twins and of the Roman character was imparted through the milk of the wolf-mother. 

"The spirit transferred through the loving milk of the ferocious mother is celebrated on this day, and is integral to the concept of Antinous the Hunter. 

"Antinous took his place at Hadrian's feet, and accompanied him bravely and loyally through the forests and lived by the Emperor's side for seven years, which is equivalent to the life of a strong hunting dog. 

"The Canine nature of Antinous is celebrated on this day and is seen as an allegory for the Priesthood of the Religion of Antinous."

Antonyus goes on to explain that the Lupercalia festival is a purification rite, cleansing the way for Spring, nourishing the winter spirit of the dormant wolves within so as to fuel the ruthless courage of Roman warriors. A Dog and a Goat were sacrificed, and the young noble youths raced around the city naked except for goat, or wolf skins, whipping any girls or women who they encountered.


Antonius explains, "The Festival is also sacred to Faunus, the Roman Pan...the one who 'drives away the wolf from the flock.'...we usually think of Pan as Goat-horned and cloven hooved, but 'the one who drives away the wolf'...could quite possibly be a sacred Dog. Lupercalia is therefore quite possibly a dog festival...and it is interesting to note that it falls almost exactly opposite the calendar from the rise of the Dog Star."

Antonyus elaborates by adding, "For me, Lupercalia is a time of cleansing and light...the lighted lamp that preceeds the coming dawn of Spring...a preparation for the Flowering....

"So a celebration or ritual to observe the Lupercalia should focus on purification. ..self-purification primarily, but also the purification of the home, and surroundings. A cleansing of negative, stagnant, dusty, mildewy, settled, sedimentary influences that we are ready to clear away...from within and without."

He also outlines rituals for purification and cleansing which members of the worldwide Religion of Antinous will be performing this weekend.

Antonius says the Lupercalia harkens to the most ancient of rites of Spring, and he says the cleansing must come from within.

"And then look into your soul, observe your interactions. ..make changes for the better...be kinder, more polite, or just simply be friendlier to people...and do something strictly for your own pleasure," he says in his Lupercalia Epistle.

He stresses, "It is really a matter of deep and meaningful concentration on cleansing your mind and heart of negative internal influences...so as to strengthen your fortifications against external negative influences."

Saturday, February 14, 2015

DID ANTINOUS MEET ST. VALENTINE?
BOTH IN ALEXANDRIA AT THE SAME TIME



IT is a little known fact that there is a connection between Antinous and the original St. Valentine ... Valentinus of Alexandria. Hadrian and Antinous visited Alexandria in the year 130 AD ... and could possibly have crossed paths with the man who would one day become one of Christianity's most misunderstood saints.

Here is how our own Flamen Antinoalis Antonius Subia explains our own special view of Valentine's Day ... the Day of Love:

"Valentinus was the Gnostic Father who was a bishop of the Catholic Church. He tried to change orthodoxy by introducing the Gnostic speculation.

"Valentinus was from Alexandria and was there, studying with his teacher Basilides, when the court of Hadrian and Antinous arrived.

"He believed that Love was the creator of the universe, and the cause for the fall of Sophia (wisdom) ...

"He believed that Jesus came to reverse the fall of Sophia, that Jesus was the consort of Sophia, the Aeon called Christos.

"The love between them was the reason that Jesus descended to save the world. Valentinus began his teaching in Rome, and gained so much support that he was even nominated for the Papacy but lost by a narrow margin.

"Eventually exiled for heresy, the Gnostic Father formed his own rival church that became an influential and widespread Gnostic sect, influencing Gnostic thought down to our own time.

"Because Valentinus was a witness of the Passion of Antinous, and because he attempted to change the Catholic Church, we sanctify his name and venerate him on this sacred day of Eros, the Day of Love."

Friday, February 13, 2015

AS IN ANCIENT TIMES
AN ANTINOUS COIN BRINGS JOY


IN ancient times, coins minted with the image of Antinous were highly prized as amulets and talismans by worshipers.

ANTONIUS SUBIA shares these photos of a new/old coin which has brought similar joy to him. 

Antonius says: "This arrived today, like an omen of a new day dawning...the most beautiful and dramatic Antinous coin I own at this point in my life. 

"He is so heavy and thick and giant ... made of shiny new copper, a copy of a Real Antinous coin, not the work of a modern artist, which is why he is so stunning! 

"I cant wait to see how the copper ages over time.

"It came from Paris and was wrapped in a card with a picture of Napoleon!!! (Whom I Love, how could it get any better!)

"This is the most magnificent Antinous coin I have ever held in my hand...he has brought a new hope and power into my life. It is a sign of great and wonderful things to come! Antinous has arrived!"

Thursday, February 12, 2015

LAWRENCE 'LARRY' KING
SAINT OF ANTINOUS


ON February 12th the Religion of Antinous commemorates the brief life and tragic death of Saint Lawrence "Larry" King, the 15-year-old California schoolboy who was shot to death by a classmate after Larry had asked him to be his Valentine.

Two days before Valentine's Day 2008, 14-year-old Brandon McInerney sat down at a desk behind Larry in science class at a junior high school in Oxnard, California. 
Without saying a word, Brandon pulled out a .22-caliber revolver and shot Larry in the back.

As Larry slumped to the floor amid screams from horrified students, Brandon quietly stood up and fired a "coup de grace" shot to the back of Larry's head, killing him.

Brandon had teased and taunted Larry for months, ridiculing Larry's sissified mannerisms. He attempted to enlist other boys to beat up Larry. When that failed for lack of interest, he decided to kill Larry and repeatedly vowed to "get a gun and shoot" him.

After weeks and months of teasing by Brandon and other male students who called him "faggot," Larry had started to retaliate by flaunting his sexuality. He wore make-up to school and taunted Brandon by making verbal passes at him.

The day before the shooting, the two boys were bickering during class. When Larry left, a student heard Brandon mutter, "I'm going to shoot him."

Just after that class, another student heard Larry say "I love you" to Brandon as they passed in a hallway. The same student then heard Brandon say he was "going to get a gun and shoot" Larry.



A few minutes later, Brandon told one of Larry's friends: "Say goodbye to your friend Larry because you're never going to see him again."

Larry's death struck a chord with parents, teachers, students and gay-rights advocates concerned that Brandon's bullying of him had been minimized by school authorities.

Since Larry's death, teachers have sought training in how to identify gay and lesbian students who might be struggling with their sexual identity. Teachers also have asked for resources to help students who have already come out or who may be experiencing bullying.

One of the many roles that Antinous the Gay God plays is the role of patron and protector of Troubled Gay Boys and also of Boys in Trouble for Gay-related things.

Larry lost his life because he dared to wear eye makeup and to ask another boy to be his Valentine. And Brandon McInerney faces up to half a century in prison for murdering Larry.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

IN A FIRST, WE CAN READ WORDS
FROM A VESUVIUS-CHARRED PAPYRUS



FOR the first time, words have been read from a burnt, rolled-up scroll buried by Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

The scrolls of Herculaneum, the only classical library still in existence, were blasted by volcanic gas hotter than 300C and are desperately fragile.

Deep inside one scroll, physicists distinguished the ink from the paper using a 3D X-ray imaging technique sometimes used in breast scans.

They believe that other scrolls could also be deciphered without unrolling.


The resort town of Herculaneum, sometimes called "the other Pompeii", was similarly buried in ash by Vesuvius. A remarkable library of scrolls was excavated from one of its villas in the 18th Century.

Previous efforts to read them, over many centuries, involved special strategies for unravelling the scrolls as delicately as possible.

Although some unrolled fragments have been read successfully, particularly in recent years with the help of infra-red cameras, such unwinding efforts were eventually abandoned because of how much of the scrolls they destroyed.

Some other efforts to peer inside the rolled-up scrolls using CT scans have revealed the shape of the ancient, coiled layers - but never successfully deciphered their contents.

Now, a team led by Dr Vito Mocella from the National Research Council's Institute for Microelectronics and Microsystems (CNR-IMM) in Naples, Italy, has identified a handful of Greek letters within a rolled-up scroll for the very first time.

The key to the discovery was a technique called "X-ray phase-contrast tomography", most commonly used in medicine.

In fact, when Dr Mocella's team placed one of the scrolls - carefully - in the path of a very bright X-ray beam from the synchrotron, it was bumps on the paper rather than chemicals in the ink that yielded the long-hidden letters.

"So the letters are there in relief, because the ink is still on the top."
It was this extra thickness - just a tenth of a millimetre - that revealed the strokes of the letters, even after volcanic incineration and two millennia underground.

The work was time-consuming and involved a lot of guesswork, particularly because the layers of paper were not just rolled, but squashed and mangled by their encounter with Vesuvius.

Furthermore, the grid of papyrus fibres within the paper posed complications, because it disguised many of the letters' vertical and horizontal strokes. For this reason, letters with curved lines were easier to pick out.

"I don't think the technique is perfect," said Dr Mocella, who is already planning more experiments to improve it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

GERMAN EXPERT SEES A WHISKER OF HOPE
FOR FIXING KING TUT'S CROOKED BEARD


IN an exclusive interview, a German museum conservator says the damage to King Tutankhamun's beard during a botched restoration "can be reversed even though it used an irreversible resin."


Three months ago, curators at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo broke off King Tut's beard ... and glued it on crooked ... scratching off some gold plating ... allowing epoxy-resin glue residue to ooze out of the crack ... permanently desecrating this irreplaceable treasure. 

It happened in October and curators tried to hush it up ... even dimming the lights to make it harder to discern the damage.

But the truth has come out ... a tale of panic and subterfuge worthy of any Ancient Egyptian palace intrigue.

Once the brouhaha over the improper restoration of Tutankhamun’s gold funerary mask had died down, AL-AHRAM WEEKLY sat down with German restorer Christian Eckmann for an interview. The subject: how best to repair the mask.

Since he was already working on a project at the museum, officials asked him to inspect the damage.

"It was only a preliminary inspection," he said. But as soon as he saw the mask, he knew that glue had been improperly used and had created a gap between the beard and the chin.

"It was definitely not the optimal way of executing such a restoration," Eckerman said, adding that the mask should be properly restored, he said, since its current condition is not satisfactory.

The epoxy resin used in the most-recent restoration should be removed using a combination of solvents and by removing it layer by layer, until the original surface of the beard and mask has been reached.

"I think this is the best method," Eckman said. "Although it is possible to remove the epoxy, it is a very delicate operation as it has to be done without scratching the gold of the mask."

Epoxy is a "debatable material" for restoration purposes, he said. 

"We must differentiate between irreversible materials and irreversible measures." 

While epoxy is considered to be an irreversible material, as it is not soluble in normal solvents, there are means to remove it. 

"In the case of Tutankhamun’s mask, the improper restoration can be reversed even though it used an irreversible resin."

Eckmann said he will recommend steps to take and would be willing to accept the task, if the Egyptian government asks him to do so.

Since the news broke over the improper restoration of the mask, a rumour has spread that the mask on display at the Egyptian Museum is a replica and the original one has been smuggled abroad. 

Eckmann dismissed the rumour, asking, "If this was so, why all that fuss over what is a replica object?"

Eckmann was previously involved in the restoration of statues of Pepi I and his son Menenre. He is now working on the conservation of parts of Tutankhamun’s chariot that were discovered last year inside a box in the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square.

Monday, February 9, 2015

COLOSSEUM'S STRICT SEATING PLAN
KEPT PLEBS AWAY FROM PATRICIANS



AN ongoing $33 million restoration project at the Colosseum in Rome has led to the startling discovery of painted red numbers on the seats of the 2,000-year-old gladiatorial arena, indicating that it likely used a seating system not unlike those found in modern sporting venues.

Earlier it had been learned that the Colosseum had at times been painted in bright colors, and painted graffiti was rife ... but the new discovery of the seating plan came as a surprise.

According to the website Wanted In Rome, the newly discovered traces of Roman numerals painted red on the arches, apparently marking different sections of the amphitheatre. They would have guided people to the areas dedicated for their respective social classes.

The numbers were first carved in travertine stones, and then painted in red so that people could see them from a distance, Discovery News explained. 

There were a total of 76 numbered entrances for use by the general public, as well as four special gates that were not numbered.

Two gates were reserved for the emperor, the senators, the magistrates, wealthy patricians and the Vestal Virgins, (priestesses that maintained the sacred fire within the Temple of Vesta). 

One gate was used for gladiators parading prior to the start of battle, while the fourth was used for the dead gladiators and wild beasts that fell during combat, the website added.

While entrance to the Colosseum was free for anyone who wanted to come, a strict seating plan was in place that restricted where different groups could go to watch the events. 

The equivalent of modern-day luxury boxes went to the emperor, who sat in his own special section in the first tier, while the rest of the first level was reserved for senators, magistrates and Vestal Virgins.

The second tier belonged to the upper class, while ordinary Roman citizens were seated in the third level and women and the poor either sat on wooden benches in the “nosebleed” seats or had “standing room only” access to the arena.

The Roman numerals measure 13 inches (34 centimeters) tall and over 3/4 inches (2 centimeters) wide, according to International Business Times. The numbers read “ XXXVIIII – XLII” (39-42) and were engraved in such a way that they would have been visible from a great distance.


Rea called the discovery of the numbers an “exceptional finding,” telling Discovery News that the restoration team did not believe that the paint would have survived at all.