Thursday, March 31, 2016

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 Amenábar'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.



Wednesday, March 30, 2016

ROMANS USED NON-STICK TABLEWARE
IN THE DAYS OF ANTINOUS AND HADRIAN



IT turns out the Ancient Romans were using non-stick, easy-to-clean pottery stewing and tableware 2,000 years before the invention of chemically-treated non-stick cooking utensils.

An archaeological find in Italy this past week provided evidence that earthenware clay pots had a glazed coating that provided a non-adherent surface, making the pots and pans ideal for cooking meat-based stews ... and cleaning up afterwards without scrubbing.


You may have seen news reports claiming these are "non-stick frying pans" … which is not entirely true.

Instead, here is how author/priest Martinus Campbell explains the find:

"These are a specific type of plain or decorated, pale orange or bright red, stewing pots and tableware made in Gaul during the Roman Empire," he says.

"These have glossy surface glazes making them easier to clean than the plain terra-cotta most ordinary Roman's used ... hence non-stick. They were produced in standard shapes and sizes, were manufactured on an industrial scale and widely exported. Archaeologists find it in most Roman sites all across the Empire."

What is new is that the objects found at the ruins of an ancient pottery production factory show that these pottery serving wear pots, lids and bowls were mass-produced, making them a key accessory among kitchens all over the Roman Empire when Antinous walked the earth as a mortal.

Though there had been previous speculation that ancient Romans produced the innovative serving ware in factories, no actual evidence had been uncovered. Until now.

Found by University of Naples archaeologists Marco Giglio, Giovanni Borriello, and Stefano Iavarone, the pots were located in the ancient city of Cumae, which once stood near present-day Naples.

In the equivalent of an ancient dumpster pit, the trio found roughly 50,000 different pieces of lids, pots, and bowls. 

Though each turned out to be of varying shape and thickness, the fragments boasted one incredibly similar characteristic: a distinct red-slip coating.

It's the same sort of red-slip coating cookware mentioned in the ancient Roman cookbook De Re Coquinaria that calls for its use when making meat-based stews.

"We found a dump site filled with internal red-slip cookware fragments," Giglio tells Discovery News

That means the artefacts were actually factory rejects ... pots, lids and bowls which were deemed imperfect and thus were thrown away.

"The dump was used by a pottery factory. This shows for the first time the Cumane patellae (cookware from the city of Cumae) were indeed produced in this city."

Back in 1975, archaeologist Giuseppe Pucci attempted to identify a series of pans from Cumae, saying they were a form of pottery more widely referred to as Pompeian Red Ware that boasted a similar red-slip coating to what was found near Naples.

Until Giglio's team discovered the fragments, though, no physical remains existed to corroborate Pucci’s claims.

Though the fragments were found in what the team considered a dump, the archaeologists were impressed at the quality of what was recovered.

"Cumae indeed appears to be the main production center of these anti-adherent pans widely used throughout the Roman Empire," Giglio continues. "Finding a dump like this one is an archaeologist’s dream."

Despite the seemingly large haul of found fragments, only ten percent of the area previously filled with pottery factories has been explored.

After analyzing the unearthed cookware, Giglio says they date all the way back to the Roman rule of Augustus and Tiberius from 27 B.C. to 37 A.D.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

EXPERTS PROVE HADRIAN'S PANTHEON
SERVED AS A GIANT CALENDAR



A new report in a scholarly journal supports the long-held theory by many experts that Emperor Hadrian designed his famous circular, domed Pantheon temple to serve as a solar calendar.

Built by the Emperor Hadrian and completed in 128 AD, the classic structure features the largest unsupported concrete dome in the world which is punctured by a 10-meter-wide (30 ft) hole called the oculus. 

This opening is the temple's only source of natural light. It has long been speculated that rays of sunlight shining through the oculus had some symbolic nature. The new report supports that theory.

The report published in the journal Numen by Giulio Magli, an historian of ancient architecture from Milan Polytechnic, and Robert Hannah, a classics scholar from the University of Otago in New Zealand, claims that at precisely midday during the March Equinox, a circular shaft of light shines through the oculus and illuminates the Pantheon's entrance.

The size and shape of the beam of light matches, down to the last inch, a semicircular stone arch above the doorway. 

A similar effect is seen on April 21st, which the Romans celebrated as the founding date of their city.

At midday on April 21st the sun strikes a metal grill above the doorway, flooding the colonnaded courtyard outside with light.

The dramatic displays would have been seen by the Romans as elevating an emperor into the realm of the gods — a cosmological affirmation of his divine power as he entered the building, which was used as an audience hall as well as a place of worship.

He was in effect being "invited" by the sun to enter the Pantheon, which as its name suggests was dedicated to the most important deities of the Roman world.

"The emperor would have been illuminated as if by film studio lights," said Magli. 

"The Romans believed the relationship between the emperor and the heavens was at its closest during the equinoxes.

It would have been a glorification of the power of the emperor, and of Rome itself."

He explained that during the darker winter months the beam illuminates only the vaulted dome.

However, at noon on the equinoxes it reaches the floor and on April 21 the beam fully illuminates the entrance at midday.

Construction of the Pantheon was started in 27 BC by Agrippa and his name is still visible over the entrance, although it was not finished until 128 AD by Hadrian, who is believed to be directly responsible for the unprecedented circular dome — an architectural innovation which lives on in such structures as St Peter's Cathedral and the U.S. Capitol. 

The word Pantheon means "to every god" and the circular interior has niches for all the major deities of Rome.

The two experts first proposed their theory in 2009, but the published report is the first written evidence of their claims. 

Giulio Magli is a self-styled expert in "ancient archaeo-astronomy" and seeks to prove that structures built by the Egyptians, Mayans, Incas, Aztecs and other ancient cultures were often aligned with the stars. Research by another expert recently claimed that portions of Hadrian's Villa are also aligned to celestial events.

Monday, March 28, 2016

ANTINOUS VISITED PALMYRA
AND UNDERWENT MITHRAS INITIATION



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 Antonius 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."

PALMYRA WAS "TERRA-FARMED"
WHEN HADRIAN AND ANTINOUS VISITED


PALMYRA is in the headlines as the sad target of destruction by vile and hated DAESH barbarians.

Antinous and Hadrian visited the fabled "city of the desert" Palmyra during their three-year tour of the Eastern Empire.

But when they were there 1,800 years ago ingenious "terra-farming" kept the desert at bay, according to new findings.

For centuries, experts have been somewhat bewildered as to how this city could have achieved wealth and prosperity in the middle of a desert.

In the 3rd Century AD, Palmyra was so prosperous, that its queen Zenobia launched a revolt against Rome. She conquered Egypt before being defeated and taken as a hostage to Rome by Emperor Aurelian.


The painting above is entitled "Queen Zenobia's Last Look Upon Palmyra" by Herbert Schmalz.

According to a new study, Palmyra was a miracle of human ingenuity and "terra-farming" which could serve as a model for water-thirsty urban areas today such as Phoenix, Arizona. Palmyra was surrounded by a number of villages that fed the city and together they harnessed rain water resources necessary for survival.

"The archaeologists gathered evidence that residents of ancient Palmyra and the nearby villages collected the rainwater using dams and cisterns. This gave the surrounding villages water for crops and enabled them to provide the city with food. The collection system ensured a stable supply of agricultural products and averted catastrophe during droughts," according to findings by Norwegian researchers.

Archaeologists from the University of Bergen in Norway and the Palmyra Museum mapped a large expanse of land around the city of Palmyra with the help of satellite photos and to their surprise, a large number of remains of villages from ancient Roman times were detected to the north of the ruined city. Remains of 2,000-year-old water reservoirs were also found.

"We were able to form a more complete picture of what occurred within the larger area," project manager Jørgen Christian Meyer, a professor at the University of Bergen, said, adding, "These findings provide a wealth of new insight into Palmyra’s history."



Once a flourishing city, with a population of 100,000 inhabitants, and a part of the Roman Empire, Palmyra was an oasis for travellers in the Syrian Desert, northeast of modern-day Damascus.

The city was first mentioned in the archives of Mari in the second millennium BC, The Roman Empire took over Palmyra in the middle of the 1st Century AD as part of the Roman province of Syria, according to UNESCO, which declared the Palmyra ruins to be on the World Heritage List in 1980.

"It grew steadily in importance as a city on the trade route linking Persia, India and China with the Roman Empire, marking the crossroads of several civilisations in the ancient world," UNESCO says about Palmyra on its official Website.

Despite its location in a semi-arid region, Palmyra became a thriving and prosperous city about 2,000 years ago by cultivating the desert soil and using rain water, something human beings of today could learn from and do even better, with all the available modern aids and methods, to feed many and bring about sustainable development.

Palmyra is still at a crossroads of history, and fighting between Syrian government forces, DAESH criminals and insurgents has damaged ruins at the ancient site.

Antinous and Hadrian visited Palmyra on their fateful tour of the Eastern Empire. 

FLAMEN ANTONYUS SUBIA writes:

"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. 
"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."


PALMYRA'S SITES BADLY DAMAGED
BUT NOT TOTALLY DESTROYED, AFTER ALL



NEW images have emerged from Palmyra, hours after Syrian troops liberated it from DAESH Islamic State barbarians.

The pictures reveal the extent of destruction wrought by the group during their 10-month occupation of the Unesco World Heritage site.


While some treasured monuments have been destroyed, much of the ancient city's ruins are said to remain intact.

Sadly, the shrapnel-scarred arch shown at the top of this entry is all that remains of the Temple of Bel ... a temple visited by Antinous and Hadrian.

Syria's antiquities chief Maamoun Abdulkarim said authorities had been "expecting the worst".

But he told the AFP news agency that "the landscape, in general, is in good shape".

Antinous and Hadrian passed by these columns when they entered this fabled "Garden City" in 129 AD.

Since sweeping to power across Iraq and Syria last year, Isil has been systematically erasing signs of their pluralistic histories. 

Palmyra has been a particularly egregious target of their hatred.Palmyra was called the "Garden City of the Sands" and scientists say it was TERRA-FARMED to create a lush green oasis of life and civilization in the midst of the desert.

Islamic State fighters have already destroyed two ancient temples at the site, described by Unesco as one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world.


In early October, DAESH destroyed the PALMYRA TRIUMPHAL ARCH through which Hadrian and Antinous strode.


Just weeks ago DAESH blew up the BAALSHAMIN Temple in Palmyra. The photo at right shows how impressive even its ruins were prior to its being blown to bits by DAESH.

The photo at left shows all that is left of the Triumphal Arch now. 

The ruins are a testament to the barbaric nature of DAESH renegades.

We know Antinous & Hadrian saw it because Hadrian decreed a vast expansion of the temple.

During the DAESH occupation of Palmyra, KHALED ASSAD, an 81-year-old antiquities scholar who devoted his life to understanding Palmyra, was beheaded by DAESH militants, his bloodied body hung on a pole. He had even named his daughter after Zenobia, the queen that ruled from the city 1,700 years ago.

DAESH claims ancient relics promote idolatry and say they are destroying them as part of their purge of paganism. However, they are also believed to sell off looted antiquities, bringing in significant sums of cash.

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council has been told that DAESH militants have killed 30 suspected gay men for "sodomy" in recent months.

DAESH released a video showing CHILDREN STONING two gay men to death after they had been thrown off a building in Homs Syria. It is one of a grisly series of such gay execution videos. 

Last month, DAESH released a video showing two other men accused of being gay THROWN OFF A BUILDING and then stoned by a crowd in Palmyra.

Only a few weeks earlier, more than 25 men were EXECUTED BY CHILDREN at the famous theater in Palmyra.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

"HAPY" EASTER INDEED AS TRANS DEITY
ARRIVES AT THE BRITISH MUSEUM



IT is a real HAPY Easter this weekend now that this colossal statue of the Egyptian transgender deity HAPY has been safely heaved into position for a new blockbuster exhibition of marine archaeologist Franck Goddio's treasures brought up from the bottom of the sea off the coast of Egypt.

It is intriguing to think that Antinous may have gazed on this statue and the other treasures when he and Hadrian visited Egypt in 130 AD.

Since first discovering the Alexandria treasures, Monsieur Goddio has gone on to trawl the waters a few kilometres east of Alexandria in hopes of discovering the fabled "Lost Cities" of Canopus and HERAKLEION (Heracleion), which he succeeded in finding in 2000.

Goddio's exhibition of SUNKEN CITIES: EGYPT'S LOST WORLDS runs 19 May to 27 September 2016 at the British Musuem after having 
traveled the world.

The 6-ton statue of Hapy (also spelled Hapi) will be the highlight of the show. 

Roads were closed and a crane was used to transport the 5.4-meter (18ft) high figure into the museum.

The statue of Hapi, god of the annual Nile flood, was pulled from the sea by a team of underwater archaeologists led by Franck Goddio. He has been exploring submerged cities off Egypt for two decades.

It would have stood in front of a temple in the port of Thonis-Heracleion and greeted traders and travellers. The city disappeared in a quake-spawned tsunami in the 8th Century AD.

Goddio said: "We saw it in 2001 when we started the excavation and it was one of the first artefacts we found.

"We had found some very thick walls so we thought we had found the temple and we found first the feet. It was laid flat but covered with sediment, then we found the face and we understood we were in the presence of a colossus. It was an unbelievable moment."

The statue is one of 300 objects on show in "Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost Worlds" at the museum in London.

It includes objects from its permanent collection as well as loans and examines Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus, which sat at the mouth of the Nile and were where the Greek and Egyptian empires met.

It offers the first public viewing in an English-speaking country of newly discovered Canopus/Herakleion treasures since the two cities vanished below the waves in a series of floods and earthquakes, finally disappearing completely in the late 7th or early 8th Century AD.

By that time, Egyptian priests had retreated to Canopus/Herakleion and advancing Muslims were sweeping across the land. Thus the exhibition offers a sort of time capsule of the waning days of paganism when the "barbarians" literally stood at the gates.

There are many statues, mostly fragmentary ones minus heads and limbs. 

But by far the most impressive statues are three virtually intact monumental figures of Isis, Amun and the Nile inundation deity Hapi which stand 5.5 meters (nearly 20 feet) tall.

The figure on the right of Hapi is particularly remarkable because it is the world's only large and intact statue of this hermaphrodite deity.

Two modern-day priests of Antinous saw this statue of Hapi in all its magnificence at an exhibition in Germany in 2007 where the two priests placed flowers at the base of the statue and said prayers. 

Hapi, with narrow male hips and strong thighs, but with pendulous female breasts, with long Isis-like hair, but with a chinbeard and with a tall headdress of lotus and papyrus plants on his/her head, holds forth a sacrificial platter.

Presumably, the ancient priests would heap foodstuffs onto that platter on a daily basis, or at least on special feast days ... just as the two modern-day priests did before the statue at the exhibition in Germany.

When Antinous and Hadrian were there, the Nile had failed to flood sufficiently in the summer of the year 130 and there were great concerns that Egypt, the "bread basket" of the Roman empire, would not be able to supply enough food for the coming season.

That makes this particular statue of Hapi even more significant. Throughout Egypt, throughout the empire, all eyes were on Hadrian to intercede with Hapi to avert famine and hunger-induced rioting.

These three statues flanked the portals of the main temple in Herakleion and Hadrian and Antinous must have seen this magnificent statue of the Nile flood deity Hapi ... the first miracle attributed to Antinous after his deification only a few months later was the end of the drought with the help of Hapi.

Was there a link between the looming flood disaster and Hadrian's flagging powers? As Lambert writes: "The link, if any, was in Antinous' mind."

Saturday, March 26, 2016

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.


Friday, March 25, 2016

NEW DISCOVERIES AT HADRIAN'S VILLA
REVEAL BEAUTY OF ORDINARY QUARTERS



IT is well known that the private quarters and public reception halls at Hadrian's Villa were lavishly decorated.

But now a team of archaeologists "doing Cinderella work" of painstakingly scrubbing mosaic floors and walls have discovered that even the ordinary areas of the villa were exquisitely adorned.

Dazzling mosaics show that personnel who kept the sprawling compound operating on a daily basis lived and worked in surroundings befitting a Patrician home on the Palatine Hill.

Hadrian’s Villa, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1999, also has attracted scholarly attention for centuries.

But most of that attention was to better understand the genius of the popular Hadrian, according to Columbia University's Francesco de Angelis, a professor of art history and archaeology.

De Angelis, who has been leading a dig at the site since 2013 with Marco Maiuro, adjunct history professor and associate fellow of Columbia's Italian Academy, notes that the villa was continuously occupied well beyond Hadrian's reign, from 117-138 AD, at least until the 5th Century AD.

That means that much of its history and the people who lived there have never been properly studied.

"Until now, scholarship has focused very much on the pageantry … the beautiful statues, the reception halls … and less on the workaday," said de Angelis.

"How did they live, work, worship? This intersection of high and low, quotidian and ceremonial, can be investigated by looking jointly at the grand architecture and decoration and the more ordinary spaces."

The two professors, working with a team of students from Columbia and Barnard through the Italian Academy's Advanced Program of Ancient History and Art, as well as other universities, completed fieldwork in Tivoli during the summers of 2014 and 2015. 

They will return in June 2016 to continue the excavation of two less explored parts of the villa.

The first is the Lararium, possibly a shrine to the household gods called Lares located near the Great Vestibule, the main entrance to the villa and crucial center for rituals governing access to the complex.

The other excavation site is the Macchiozzo, an area covered by bushes and trees close to the center of the property. 

At both sites, the Columbia team is researching the daily life not of an emperor and aristocrats, but of the villa’s continuous inhabitants … the administrators, staff members and slaves who lived there throughout Hadrian's long absences.

Hadrian spent more than half his reign traveling throughout his empire, leaving new structures and cities from Britain to present-day Turkey.

Last summer students who were scrubbing mosaic floors …"Cinderella work," de Angelis calls it … were dazzled by the tile patterns under centuries of encrustation.

"Even the most humble tasks yield extraordinary results and contribute to our historical understanding of Hadrian’s Villa."

The 2015 dig season yielded a number of unexpected artistic and architectural results, confirming de Angelis and Maiuro's theories that lower-ranking villa residents performed their religious activities at the Lararium and lived or conducted business at the Macchiozzo.

Work at the Lararium revealed that this courtyard in front of a small temple may have been connected to slave quarters in the northernmost part of the villa.

Stratigraphic analysis indicates it was abandoned two centuries earlier than other parts of the villa.

Later on it became a dumping ground for architectural marble fragments from all over the villa.

The Macchiozzo is a large compound built during Hadrian’s time combining elements of luxury architecture, such as marble-faced walls, with utilitarian structures, such as ramps and water channels.

In 2013 archaeologists uncovered an UNDERGROUND EXPRESSWAY tunnel which enabled servants, couriers and other villa personnel to scurry unobtrusively from one end of the villa compound to the other.



Thursday, March 24, 2016

STEPS TO SAVE NERO'S CRUMBLING PALACE
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE, EXPERT WARNS



IT may be too late to save Nero's famous "Domus Aurea" (Golden House) and its fabled octagonal dining room with "rotating ceiling" ... before it crumbles completely.

Earlier this year, the Italian government earmarked part of a 300-million-euro funding bill for EMERGENCY RESTORATION efforts.


But in an interview, Superintendent Francesco Prosperetti said it may be too late to prevent rising ground water from destroying everything. But he said efforts are ongoing.

It is hoped that the site can be re-opened to tourists by 2018 ... if indeed the repairs don't prove to be too little, too late.

After two-thirds of Rome was destroyed by the great fire in 64 AD, Nero used fire-ravaged land between the Esquiline and Palatine Hills as the site for his new palace. 

It was not so much a palace as a "party villa" … a series of buildings scattered over a landscaped "countryside in the city" (rus in urbe) which included an artificial lake.

The main building was extravagantly crafted, and boasted rooms and hallways decorated almost entirely in gold, with marble and ivory encrusted ornamentation.

The architects in charge of the project, Severus and Celer, designed two of the principal dining rooms to flank an octagonal court, surmounted by a dome with a giant central oculus to let in light. 

It was a design element which Emperor Hadrian would expand upon in his design for the Pantheon.

The Domus Aurea had more than one banqueting hall, according to the Ancient Roman historian Suetonius. 

But the most extravagant one was a vast circular room which featured a "rotating ceiling."

Celer and Severus devised an ingenious mechanism, either cranked by slaves or perhaps powered by flowing water, which made the ceiling within the dome of the main banqueting hall rotate like the heavens, while perfume was sprayed and rose petals were dropped on the assembled diners. 

The rotating ceiling was painted with the stars and the planets by the artist Fabullus.

In his book De Vita Caesarum ("The Lives of the Caesars", best known in English as "The Twelve Caesars"), Suetonius describes the banqueting hall in detail:

"The main banqueting hall was circular, and its ceiling rotated slowly, day and night, in time with the heavens."

Suetonius goes on to write that when the lavish Domus Aurea was finally completed, Nero said, "Good, now I can at last begin to live like a human being!"

However, Nero did not enjoy the frescoed halls and gold-encrusted ceilings for too long. It was completed in AD 68 -- the year he committed suicide amid a revolt.

But for all its splendor, the Domus Aurea has been closed since 2005 for safety reasons … and a ceiling vault collapsed in 2010. Persistent problems with drainage and moisture threaten both its structural stability and its decorations. 

Recently, the archaeological superintendency of Rome embarked on the last phase of an ambitious restoration project. 

"We hope,” says superintendent Mariarosaira Barbera, “that the Domus Aurea can be visited again by 2018, and that it will last another 2,000 years."

Click here for a tour of Nero's Domus Aurea:


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

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.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

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."

Monday, March 21, 2016

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 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."

Sunday, March 20, 2016

WE HONOR ANTINOUS/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.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

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 in March 1989, at age 42, 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.

Friday, March 18, 2016

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.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

HIDDEN CHAMBERS IN TUT'S TOMB
'CONTAIN METAL OR ORGANIC MATERIALS'



IT'S TRUE! It has been officially confirmed that the secret chambers behind hidden doorways in the tomb of Tutankhamun "contain either metal or organic material."

Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities announced on Thursday that two previously un-discovered chambers have been revealed by scans of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

In a news conference, the Ministry said that the two chambers, on the North and Eastern walls of the tomb, contain either metal or organic material, according to scans carried out by Japanese radar specialist Hirokatsu Watanabu.

New scans will be conducted later this month to determine the exact dimensions of the chambers, said the Ministry.

The revelations come months after Egypt's Minister of Antiquities said there was a 90 per cent chance that one or more hidden chambers were concealed in the tomb.

The latest findings, which lend credence to British archaeologist Nicholas Reeves' theory that NEFERTITI could be buried in those secret chambers.

At a news conference in November, fittingly held at Howard Carter's Rest House on Luxor's West Bank, the Minister of Antiquities, Dr. Mamdouh El-Damaty, announced that the radar scans of Tutankhamun's Burial Chamber revealed there is A LARGE VOID behind what we now know is a false wall in Tutankhamun's Burial Chamber.


The radar scans revealed that the transition from solid bedrock to masonry is stark. There is a straight, vertical line - the line that Nicholas Reeves first spotted earlier this year on high-definition scans of the tomb wall.

It strongly suggests that the antechamber continues through the burial chamber as a corridor.

Reeves believes that what looks like a solid, painted wall, is actually a ruse designed to foil tomb robbers. 

A number of other tombs in the Valley of the Kings used the same device. Tutankhamun's seems to be the only one that worked.

So what's next?

The Minister of Antiquities suggests that the next step is to drill as small hole in the wall of the side room known as theTreasury. 

It adjoins the "void" behind the wall in the Burial Chamber.

And, importantly, it has no painted decoration that could be damaged.

If a camera reveals artefacts within the chamber behind the wall, then a tunnel starting from the Treasury might be the best bet.

But for now, let's congratulate Dr. Nicholas Reeves for the results so far. He spotted something that ancient thieves, Howard Carter, and hundreds of scientists since missed - the outline of a hidden doorway in Tutankhamun's tomb.

Not only was Nefertiti famous for her beauty, which remains evident through her world-renowned 3,300-year-old painted limestone bust housed at the Egyptian Museum in Berlin, but she was also the Great Royal Wife of the Pharaoh Akhenaten and his chief consort.

Nefertiti's burial site has long been a mystery as archaeologists have so far failed to find the queen’s tomb.

King Tutankhamun's tomb was found in 1922 under the supervision of another British archaeologist and Egyptologist, Howard Carter.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

FABULOUS CACHE OF SEKHMET STATUES
UNEARTHED IN WESTERN THEBES


A cache of eight statues of the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet in black granite has discovered at the temple of Amenhotep III in Western Thebes.

Six of the statues represent the lion-headed goddess seated on a throne and holding a symbol of life in her right hand. Among them three are almost complete, one upper part, and two others are lower parts.

The maximal height is 1.90m, the width 0.51m and the depth 1.00m, according to the members of The Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project directed by Hourig Sourouzian.

Two other middle parts of statues represent the goddess in standing attitude. They are headless and the lower parts are missing. The goddess is depicted holding a papyrus scepter in the left hand and a life symbol in the right.

Sekhmet, "the Powerful" is a mighty solar goddess who protects the Sun-King in his "temple of millions of years", like she protects the Sun-God Rê by repelling his enemies.

Many similar statues have been discovered in the temple of Amenhotep III during the past seasons.

They were all surrounding the large peristyle court and the hypostyle hall of the vast temple.

Each statue is a masterpiece of sculpture, combining the head of a lion with the body of a woman wearing a tripartite wig and a long, tight-fitting dress.

Like a true-life lioness, Sekhmet was a terrifying goddess to Egyptians ... bringer of war and pestilence. However, for her friends she could avert plague and cure disease. 

She was the patron of Physicians, and Healers and her priests became known as skilled doctors. As a result, the fearsome deity sometimes called the "lady of terror" was also known as "lady of life". 

Sekhmet is mentioned a number of times in the spells of The Book of the Dead as both a creative and destructive force.

But above all, she is the protector of Ma'at (balance or justice) named "The One Who Loves Ma'at and Who Detests Evil". 

Hundreds of statues of Sekhmet were buried by priests at temples in Thebes to act as "storage batteries" of protection. These new statues will be exhibited to the public.

All these statues, when cleaned, desalinated, and fully documented, will put on display in the temple when the site will be opened to the visitors after being completely protected by a fence and secured.

Beside the divine statues the team also discovered the middle partof a headless royal statue in black granite, representing Amenhotep III standing, wearing a jubilee cloak. Height 0.77m, width 0.56m.

Two similar statues discovered in the temple a century ago are now kept in the Egyptian Museum.