Tuesday, February 28, 2017

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.

Monday, February 27, 2017

THE QUEER CASE OF THE QUEEN'S KNEES:
DID THEY BELONG TO NEFERTARI?



THEY have been on display in an Italian museum for decades, but after extensive new analysis, researchers say that a pair of 3,200-year-old limbs could well belong to Queen Nefertari, one of ancient Egypt's most famed beauties (not to be confused with Pharaoh Akhenaten's wife Queen Nefertiti).

To help solve the Mystery of the Queen's Knees, experts from around the world ran a series of tests covering radiocarbon dating, paleopathology (the study of ancient diseases), genetics, chemistry, and Egyptology.



The researchers' findings "strongly speak in favour" of the remains belonging to Queen Nefertari, they report. 

That's not a complete surprise, as they were discovered in her tomb in 1904, but this is the first time we've had actual scientific evidence.

"Nefertari is one of the truly great and important queens of Egypt and plays in the league of Hatshepsut, Nefertiti and Cleopatra," Egyptologist Michael Habicht, from the University of Zurich in Switzerland, told Rossella Lorenzi at Seeker.

The Queen was the first wife of Pharaoh Ramesses II, who reigned from 1279 BCE to 1213 BCE, and her body was laid to rest in the Valley of the Queens in a tomb known as QV66, where these mummified remains were found.

"The most likely scenario is that the mummified knees truly belong to Queen Nefertari," Habicht told Seeker. "We have the fact that the remains were found in her tomb, together with objects naming her alone and no one else."

The results of the research have now been published in PLOS ONE.


The only remaining question is: Where is the Lost Tomb of Antinous?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

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).

Saturday, February 25, 2017

ANTINOUS SAW EPHESUS ARTEMIS TEMPLE
WHICH IS NOW A SOGGY SWAMP



ANTINOUS and Hadrian may not have seen all Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (they didn't make it to Babylon), but they definitely visited most of them — including the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus in June of 129 AD.

Sadly, the site is now a swamp due to neglect by authorities in Turkey. 

Shame-faced officials say they are working on a plan to drain the water and create a replica temple nearby for the thousands of tourists who come every year to see it ... just as Antinous and Hadrian saw it as they entered the fabled city of Ephesus during the cycle of the Summer Solstice as part of their three-year tour of the Eastern Empire.

Ephesus had 300,000 inhabitants at its peak in the time of Hadrian, and it drew thousands of devotees to the shrine of the goddess annually. 

Ephesus is still one of the most complete and most splendid ancient sites in the world. 

The Great Library of Ephesus, which Hadrian patronized and greatly expanded, has been lovingly restored.

The Temple of Ephesus was consecrated to Artemis in her Asian element as a Phrygian-Hittite goddess of the hunt, a youthful manifestation of the Great Goddess of Mount Ida and Dydimus.


The Ephesus form of Artemis looks strange to our eyes — and looked strange to Roman eyes as well.

The Roman Artemis — called Diana — is a virgin huntress. She carries a bow and wears a short, simple tunic suitable for the chase.


But Artemis of Ephesus — presumably more ancient — stands stiffly upright with her bent elbows against her body, her forearms extended and her hands open. She wears a crown, and outlining her head is a nimbus decorated with winged bulls. More bulls and other animals adorn the stiff garment that covers her lower body, almost like a mummy casing.

From her neck hangs a necklace of acorns  and a ring of zodiacal figures, and below this you see the most striking feature of Artemis of Ephesus — a mass of pendulous, gourd-shaped protrusions that hang in a cluster from her upper body. 

At first glance, they appear to be multiple breasts. But in fact these protrusions are bulls' testicles.

You can read the full description (which we have only paraphrased here) in Saylor's marvelous novel, along with vivid details of the festive procession of the goddess through the streets of Ephesus and the sacrifice of scores of bulls to the virgin goddess at the temple — a ritual which Antinous must have seen with his own eyes.

The Temple had burned down on the night that Alexander the Great was born, but after his conquest, Alexander ordered the reconstruction of the Temple, which was still standing when Hadrian and Antinous visited.

ANTONIUS SUBIA explains the parallels between Artemis and Antinous and why we celebrate this Sacred Event:

"Artemis is considered the female Antinous, as his divine twin, the only goddess to exhibit lesbian qualities. She was worshipped as Diana alongside Antinous by the funeral society of Lanuvium. Ephesus was one of the first cities to proclaim Hadrian a living God, and one of the first to adhere to his veneration as a Divus.

"The presence of Antinous and Hadrian with their very pronounced Artemisian qualities must have made a deep impression on the Ephesians, in that they were aware that the city was being visited by living gods. It is to Artemis of Ephesus that this day is Sacred, as the female twin of Antinous, the Bithynian hunter god."

Friday, February 24, 2017

STONE INSCRIPTION MAY HOLD CLUES
TO GREAT TEMPLE OF ANTINOOPOLIS



IN a continuing series of headline-making discoveries in recent days, a team of archaeologists working at the site of the city of ANTINOOPOLIS in Egypt unearthed a cornice stone with an inscription.

This stone ... which has lain undisturbed for centuries ... may hold vital clues to the location of the Great Temple of Antinoopolis in the center of the city founded by Hadrian on the spot where Antinous died in the Nile.

It crowned the top of a large building which had a grand staircase. Archaeologists say it was one of the first stones to be prised off the facade when barbarians destroyed the edifice ... in order to build churches ... or to burn the marble to extract lime.

"As we are cutting back the layer just above the foundation of the building with the staircase," says James B. Heidel, president of the Antinoupolis Foundation, "we are finding some additional blocks outside the foundation that were likely dumped into their current position as the building was being dismantled block by block for the lime kilns or to be cut into smaller blocks for other buildings such as churches."

He adds: "The block in the photo was tipped off the very top of the building at the beginning of the dismantling and lay forgotten in the rubble below until now.  And it's inscribed!"


Countless thousands of ancient temples and palaces were used as "stone quarries" to construct churches, mosques and other structures over the centuries.

Many marble edifices and statues were burned in kilns to extract lime.

So it is a miracle that this inscribed cornice stone has survived. The incription may suggest the purpose of the building.

"This block's form also solves many questions regarding the facade of our building, and (together with several other fragments from the excavation) forms a group of diagnostic blocks just large enough to propose a likely reconstruction for our building's facade," Heidel writes in his latest newsletter.

"Reconstruction drawings for the rest of it will have to wait until the rest of it is excavated.  And the excavation will definitely continue next season if we are allowed permission to work," he adds.

"Looking at the photo, can you tell what part of the building it comes from?" he asks.

This is only the latest discovery in recent weeks ... including
an INTENTIONALLY BURIED STONE STRUCTURE in the heart of the city founded by Hadrian at the spot where Antinous died in the Nile.

While the archaeologists suggest it could be an OSIREION ... symbolic Tomb of Osiris ... raising hopes that this could be the Lost Tomb of Antinous.

The structure was detected with ground-penetrating radar.

It is located near the waterfront peristyle discovered last season.

As a final exciting detail, the stone structure and the arrangement of the surrounding walls indicate an axis which would not only correspond to the grid of the Ramses II temple, but an axis which would enter that temple in the middle of the side of the "hypostyle hall," which is the hall of columns between the back shrines of the temple and the court at the temple's entry.

The building with the grand staircase forms the center of this hypostyle hall.

"This axis is a normal place for the main side entrance into an Egyptian temple precinct," the report goes on. 

"And it appears that this structure, if built by Hadrian, was intended by his designers to be an extension of the Ramses II temple complex."

We know that Emperor Hadrian commanded that a sacred city be founded at the location where Antinous drowned in the Nile.

We also know from an ancient papyrus that an impressive quayside port facility was constructed at or near that site.

Using ground-penetrating radar (GPR), archaeologists found a large square compound of paving stones bordered by columns ... which could mark the site where Antinous drowned.

Heidel, president of the Antinoupolis Foundation, says the discoveries in the past two years at the site have exceeded all expectations.

Finds include ornate capitals which once adorned colossal columns.

Heidel also says LOOTING has abated somewhat following a return to a semblance of stability in Egypt.

Since the revolution in Egypt, which resulted in runaway lawlessness, the site has been subject t"SYSTEMATIC LOOTING" for three years. 


The scope of looting diminished in recent months, although local villagers still search for "trinkets" to sell on the black market, he writes.

Heidel says his archaeologists working at Antinoopolis (also known as Antinoe) say local villagers continue to encroach on the dig site ... ostensibly to create new space for housing and graves.

However, it is an ages-old practice in Egypt for villagers to build houses over places where they can "accidentally" unearth ancient treasures by digging tunnels under their homes. And excavation of new graves can "accidentally" reveal more ancient treasures.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

SET YOUR PERSONAL BOUNDARIIES
DURING THE TERMINALIA FESTIVAL



THE 23rd of February is the Terminalia, the feast of the Roman God Terminus, god of boundaries who stops intruders while protecting everyone inside his boundaries. Terminus is associated with Zeus/Jupiter because he deified Jupiter by establishing his position atop Capitoline Hill. Thus, statues of Terminus/Jupiter (like this modern replica) symbolize devotion and steadfastness. Today is an appropriate day to create or renew a magical boundary around your home, to keep out psychic nasties and any negative energies. A simple way to do this is to walk the boundary of your home three times, as you do so imagine magical blue light springing up as you walk. You can also carry with you a bowl containing an offering for Terminus: grain, honey and wine are traditional, you can also include an egg as a "sacrifice." When you have walked three times around, dig a hole at the boundary and put your offering into it, then fill in the hole and put a marker stone on top. Another year you can carry a lit incense stick around the boundary and leave an offering of incense and flowers at your stone.

23 de fevereiro é o Terminalia, a festa do deus romano Terminus, deus dos limites que pára intrusos ao mesmo tempo proteger todos dentro de suas fronteiras. Terminus está associado a Zeus / Jupiter porque ele deificado Jupiter, estabelecendo sua posição no topo de Monte Capitolino. Assim, estátuas de Terminus / Jupiter (como esta réplica moderna) simbolizam devoção e firmeza. Hoje é um dia apropriado para criar ou renovar um limite mágico em torno de sua casa, para impedir a entrada de sujeiras psíquicos e quaisquer energias negativas. Uma maneira simples de fazer isso é andar a fronteira de sua casa três vezes, como você então imagine a luz azul mágico surgindo como você anda. Você também pode carregar com você uma tigela contendo uma oferta para Terminus: grãos, mel e vinho são tradicionais, você também pode incluir um ovo como um "sacrifício". Depois de ter caminhado três vezes ao redor, cavar um buraco na fronteira e colocar a sua oferta para ele, em seguida, preencher o buraco e colocar uma pedra marcador no topo. Mais um ano você pode levar uma vara de incenso aceso em torno do limite e deixar uma oferenda de incenso e flores em sua pedra.

23 de febrero es la Terminalia, la fiesta del dios Terminus romana, dios de los límites que se detiene a los intrusos al tiempo que protege todo el mundo dentro de su límites. Terminus está asociado con Zeus / Júpiter porque deificado Júpiter mediante el establecimiento de su posición al frente Colina Capitolina. Por lo tanto, las estatuas de Terminus / Júpiter (como esta réplica moderna) simbolizan la devoción y constancia. Hoy es un día apropiado para crear o renovar una frontera mágica alrededor de su casa, para mantener fuera desagradables psíquicos y todas las energías negativas. Una forma sencilla de hacerlo es caminar el límite de su casa tres veces, mientras lo hace imaginar la luz azul mágica que salte al caminar. También puede llevar consigo un recipiente que contiene una oferta para Terminus: cereales, miel y vino son tradicionales, también puede incluir un huevo como un "sacrificio". Cuando haya caminado tres veces alrededor, cavar un agujero en el límite y poner su oferta en él, a continuación, rellene el agujero y poner una piedra marcador en la parte superior. Otro año se puede llevar a una varilla de incienso encendida en torno al límite y dejar una ofrenda de incienso y flores a su piedra.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

BRAZILIAN GAY ICON ELKE MARAVILHA
IS A SAINT OF ANTINOUS


WE honour the Russian-born Brazilian drag artiste extraordinaire  ELKE MARAVILHA as a saint of Antinous.

She was born 22 February 1945 and died 16 August 2016 at age 71.

Our 2014 Antinoeiad chamption PIETRO ADJANO of Brazil nominated Elke to become a SAINT OF ANTINOUS.

Pietro says: "She was an actress, musical artist, TV star, model, and precursor of an innovative, bold and unique style, who opened the possibilities of aesthetic and behavioral path wherever she went and appeared. 

Elke was an artistic personality whose charisma provoked strong popular impact, both the image and the message of joy, intelligence and irreverence. Because of this, she already attained legendary status Carmen Miranda and Arthur Bispo do Rosário.

Merging exoticism, mysticism, joy, madness and deep knowledge of human, her infectious joy inspired hope. Half a century ago she emerged as a firebrand of rebellion and liberation.

Elke Maravilha was a work of art in constant metamorphosis and as an artist she pursued the best of artistic paths: She gambled and bet on the possible dream.

Teacher, translator and interpreter of foreign languages, including Latin, she was the youngest French teacher of the French Alliance and the English Cultural Union Brazil - United States.

She said:

'They ask me how I created this style, this look that characterizes me. I say always sought compose this way, of course it was not as now, because today it is all inclusive, with come time finding me more inside and putting what I find out. I often say that I was always like that, only with time I'm getting worse! In fact, always been a bit different train, you know? As a teenager I decided to tear the clothes, disheveled hair, exaggerated makeup on and go out on the street... took me to spit in the face. But it was good because I understood the situation as if they were putting me to the test. Perhaps if my style was not really my inner reality, I would have gone back. But I knew he would never back down. I never wanted to harm anyone! What I want is to play, show me, communicate. "

"I want to live together! Great art is not living, is live together!'

I Pietro Adjano hereby nominate Elke Maravilha to become a saint of Antinous!"

Elke Maravilha - Элке Георгевна Груннупп (1945 - 2016).
...atriz, intérprete musical, apresentadora, modelo. Precursora de um estilo inovador, ousado e único, vem abrindo as possibilidades de caminho estético e comportamental por onde passa e aparece. Elke é uma personalidade artística cujo carisma provoca forte impacto popular, tanto na imagem como na mensagem de alegria, inteligência e irreverência. Devido a isto, já faz parte do imaginário popular brasileiro e pode perfilar com mitos contemporâneos como Carmem Miranda e Artur Bispo do Rosário.
Mesclando exotismo, misticismo, alegria, loucura e profundo conhecimento do humano, sua vibração contagiante a faz mensageira de utopias e portadora de esperanças.
Dra. Nise da Silveira, criadora do Museu de Imagens do Inconsciente, afirmava que Elke é uma Sacerdotisa Dionisíaca, e que, com tal, ilumina caminhos e aquece corações.
Já na década de 60 despontou como símbolo de transgressão e liberação. Visionária como só os que assumem seu delírio, intuiu o movimento holístico e vem exercendo-o tanto em suas relações pessoais como em sua comunicação com o mundo.
Elke Maravilha é uma obra de arte em constante metamorfose e como artista vem trilhando o melhor dos caminhos da arte: Ela apostou e aposta no sonho possível.
Professora, tradutora e intérprete de línguas estrangeiras, incluindo Latim. Foi a mais jovem professora de francês da Aliança Francesa e de inglês na União Cultural Brasil – Estados Unidos;
“Perguntam-me como criei este estilo, este visual que me caracteriza. Digo que sempre busquei compor este jeito, claro que não era assim como agora, pois hoje a coisa é mais abrangente, com o tempo venho me descobrindo muito mais por dentro e colocando o que descubro para fora. Costumo dizer que sempre fui assim, só que com o tempo estou piorando! Na realidade, sempre fui um trem meio diferente, sabe? Ainda adolescente resolvi rasgar a roupa, desgrenhei o cabelo, exagerei na maquiagem e sai na rua... Levei até cuspida na cara. Mas foi bom porque entendi aquela situação como se estivessem colocando-me em teste. Talvez, se meu estilo não fosse verdadeiramente minha realidade interior, eu teria voltado atrás. Mas sabia que nunca iria recuar. Eu nunca quis agredir ninguém! O que eu quero é brincar, me mostrar, me comunicar”.
“Eu quero é conviver! A grande arte não é viver, é conviver"!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

EPIC MOVIE TO BE FILMED IN EGYPT
WITH AN ALL EGYPTIAN CAST IN APRIL



IN attempt to avoid the typical white-washing backlash, an American film company has announced a collaboration with Egyptian actor Yousef Mansour who will be filming and co-directing 'The Chosen Guard' in Egypt this April with an all-Arab cast.

The film is set to star Yousef Mansour, who aided in writing the script, and will also be co-directing with American award-winning director and choreography, Courtney Miller, who has developed an impressive resume working with superstars Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, and Britney Spears.

According to the production company's press release, the film will be filled with insane car chases, large dance numbers, a big fat Ancient Egypt wedding and plenty of action.

As for the film's synopsis, producers explain that "The Chosen Guard" will be a modern-day story about Sabaa.

He is a man who is chosen by the ancient Pharaohs to defend the Golden Temple, the last unopened relic in Egyptian antiquity.  

The project is incredibly pivotal to Egypt and its success could not only attract future tourists captivated by Ancient Egypt but also create new jobs and prove that filming in Egypt is an attractive authentic alternative to shooting in Morocco or in Hollywood against a green-screen backdrop.

In the golden age of Hollywood peplum epics, directors such as Cecil B. DeMille and Howard Hawks filmed on location in Egypt.

Movies like "The Ten Commandments" and "Land of the Pharaohs" (photos here) employed thousands of Egyptians as extras for crowd scenes.

But the advent of CGI imaging enabled directors to create the Nile valley and its inhabitants on computers and insert them into films.

If you live in Egypt and are looking for more information or updates on audition call contact Producer Tracy Sabeti by emailing her attracysabeti@gmail.com

Monday, February 20, 2017

COLOSSAL COLUMN TO RISE ANEW
AT THE SACRED CITY OF ANTINOOPOLIS


team of archaeologists at ANTINOOPOLIS in Egypt plan to re-erect an enormous, red-granite column to revive tourism at the city founded by Hadrian on the spot where Antinous died.

Remarkably, this column is nearly as tall as the granite columns quarried in Egypt and shipped to Rome for Hadrian's Pantheon.

Unlike many other columns, these columns were not made of segments piled on top of each other ... but rather, were one single column hewn from stone.

"The column in question is only slightly smaller than the columns forming the pediment (front façade) of the Pantheon in Rome," says James B. Heidel, president of the Antinoupolis Foundation.

"And we have the red granite base, sitting upright, plus the three sections of the shaft, also in red granite, lying in a rough line, presumably where they fell, to the north," he adds.

"Our director, Professor Rosario Pintaudi, has already put in an application to the permanent committee of the SCA (the Egyptian antiquities authority) for permission to proceed with re-erecting the column," Heidel says in his newsletter.

"And he has also, together with our archaeologist Fathy Awad, begun discussions with an engineer who would do the work.

"This symbolic raising of the largest column known in the ancient city would be a draw for tourism at the site as well as inaugurate a much-needed program of re-erection and restoration of the Roman urban fabric," Heidel points out.

The column and its relation to the Pantheon indicate an overriding plan by the Emperor for the design of the sacred city to honour his beloved Antinous.

Hadrian's ancient engineers created a FLOOD-CONTROL SYSTEM for Antinoopolis so perfect that modern engineers have decided to use it with only minimal upgrades for a 21st Century project to avert flash-flood damage for modern villagers at the site.

As you can see in the 18th Century geological survey map above, a wide dry-river wadi (arroyo, gully or ravine) flows from high cliffs east of the city (top of map) down through the site, emptying into the Nile (at bottom of map).

When rains occur, this arroyo drains an enormous amount of water from nearby desert through the center of the ancient city. 

Why did Antinous decide to build the city on a flash-flood drainage site? First of all, this was the site where Antinous tragically died in the Nile.

But there was another reason: Hadrian recognized that the gap in the cliffs each of the city represented the ancient Egyptian hieroglyph for "horizon" ... which is two hills separated by a canyon.

In Abydos and other Egyptian cities, it is believed the souls of the dead traverse this canyon to reach the next world.

"This is an interesting feature of Hadrian’s design and suggests he intended Antinoupolis to be a classical version of the sacred landscape at Abydos where the sacred wadi believed to contain the tomb of Osiris also has a close relationship to the city," says James B. Heidel, president of the Antinoupolis Foundation.

"Of course, Hadrian’s engineers incorporated an unstable, sometimes filled with flash flood water, wadi into the city with a specific hardscape design including a massive stone canalization and multiple bridges to connect the two halves of the city," he writes in his latest newsletter.

Professor Marcello Spanu has been studying these remains. 

We know about the canal walls and the bridges through a series of torrential flash floods and also illegal sand mining with bulldozers that have happened over the last six years or so, the project leader adds.

So, when Egyptian Irrigation Ministry engineers proposed digging a flash-flood control ditch, the Egyptologists showed them the stone works that Hadrian's engineers had put in place 1,900 years ago.

The Egyptian ministry engineers agreed that the ancient flood-control ditch could not be improved upon.

"After many hours of discussion with the quite affable engineer," Heidel says, "he came to understand that Hadrian's designers had already built a major flood control canal in the wadi, and through our urging he promised to simply dig out the ancient canal rather than build a new stone-lined ditch over the top of it."

Meanwhile, the mystery surrounding an INTENTIONALLY BURIED STONE STRUCTURE at Antinoopolis deepened with the discovery of not just one ... but three ... human skeletons interred in sand directly on top of the structure.

With the discovery of the first body last week, archaeologists reluctantly speculated about "human sacrifice" ... but now they believe humans were buried separately but along with sacrificial animals.

The team of archaeologists working at Antinoopolis say the subterranean "stone structure," which they believe may be an underground mortuary temple, is covered by two meters of soil strewn with sacrificial pottery sherds, bones of livestock and a crocodile ... and the skeleton of at least three human beings.

None of the animals was mummified ... nor were the humans,
says James B. Heidel, president of the Antinoupolis Foundation.

Some of the animals ... livestock ... were ritually butchered as normal for a Roman-era sacrifice. But a crocodile was buried intact, without being mummified.

But the human bodies were interred intact, also without being mummified. One of the bodies was accompanied by pottery vessels and ushabti figurines ... small clay dolls representing spirits who tend the deceased in the afterlife. 

The experts are certain that the pottery vessels and the bodies date to the earliest days of the city which Hadrian founded at the site where Antinous died in the Nile.

None of the pottery is later than the 2nd or 3rd Century AD, the experts said ... meaning the sacrificial offerings were made at the time when the city was founded and under construction.

The archaeologists are also certain that the site is intact and has not been disturbed by looters over succeeding centuries.

They found bones of large livestock, which appear to have been butchered prior to burial. An intact crocodile skeleton is seen as proof that the site was used as a religious sacrificial offering venue ... since crocodiles were sacred to Ancient Egyptians and not a source of food.

But the human skeleton is a total mystery. In Roman times, human sacrifice was taboo, but the archaeologists say the human bones mixed in amongst the bones of sacrificial animals and pottery suggest a gruesome possibility.

"The human burial is sealed in the same clean sand layer as all the other offerings, and the not unreasonable, but somewhat uncomfortable, hypothesis must now be that at least one human was sacrificed and offered with the animals," says James B. Heidel, president of the Antinoupolis Foundation.

The pottery and bones are in soil which covers the mystery-shrouded "intentionally buried stone structure" which Heidel's team found in January 2017 in the heart of the city founded by Hadrian at the spot where Antinous died in the Nile.

Using ground-penetrating radar, the experts discovered the rectangular stone structure ... 12 by 22 meters in size ... which consists of three successive chambers. 

The archaeologists suggest it could be an OSIREION ... symbolic Tomb of Osiris ... raising hopes that this could be the Lost Tomb of Antinous.

The structure was detected with ground-penetrating radar.

It is located near the waterfront peristyle discovered last season.

It is within what possibly was the Great Temple of Antinous and is a rectangular chamber which is subdivided into three sub-chambers ... apparently an antechamber, a middle chamber and an inner sanctum.




Sunday, February 19, 2017

MODERN ENGINEERS CAN'T IMPROVE
ON ANCIENT ANTINOOPOLIS FLOOD PLAN



HADRIAN's ancient engineers created a flood-control system for Antinoopolis so perfect that modern engineers have decided to use it with only minimal upgrades for a 21st Century project to avert flash-flood damage for modern villagers at the site.

As you can see in the 18th Century geological survey map above, a wide dry-river wadi (arroyo, gully or ravine) flows from high cliffs east of the city (top of map) down through the site, emptying into the Nile (at bottom of map).

When rains occur, this arroyo drains an enormous amount of water from nearby desert through the center of the ancient city. 

Why did Antinous decide to build the city on a flash-flood drainage site? First of all, this was the site where Antinous tragically died in the Nile.


But there was another reason: Hadrian recognized that the gap in the cliffs each of the city represented the ancient Egyptian hieroglyph for "horizon" ... which is two hills separated by a canyon.

In Abydos and other Egyptian cities, it is believed the souls of the dead traverse this canyon to reach the next world.

"This is an interesting feature of Hadrian’s design and suggests he intended Antinoupolis to be a classical version of the sacred landscape at Abydos where the sacred wadi believed to contain the tomb of Osiris also has a close relationship to the city," says James B. Heidel, president of the Antinoupolis Foundation.

"Of course, Hadrian’s engineers incorporated an unstable, sometimes filled with flash flood water, wadi into the city with a specific hardscape design including a massive stone canalization and multiple bridges to connect the two halves of the city," he writes in his latest newsletter.


Professor Marcello Spanu has been studying these remains. 

We know about the canal walls and the bridges through a series of torrential flash floods and also illegal sand mining with bulldozers that have happened over the last six years or so, the project leader adds.

So, when Egyptian Irrigation Ministry engineers proposed digging a flash-flood control ditch, the Egyptologists showed them the stone works that Hadrian's engineers had put in place 1,900 years ago.

The Egyptian ministry engineers agreed that the ancient flood-control ditch could not be improved upon.

"After many hours of discussion with the quite affable engineer," Heidel says, "he came to understand that Hadrian's designers had already built a major flood control canal in the wadi, and through our urging he promised to simply dig out the ancient canal rather than build a new stone-lined ditch over the top of it."

This news comes only days after the mystery surrounding an INTENTIONALLY BURIED STONE STRUCTURE at Antinoopolis deepened with the discovery of not just one ... but three ... human skeletons interred in sand directly on top of the structure.

With the discovery of the first body last week, archaeologists reluctantly speculated about "human sacrifice" ... but now they believe humans were buried separately but along with sacrificial animals.

The team of archaeologists working at ANTINOOPOLIS in Egypt say the subterranean "stone structure," which they believe may be an underground mortuary temple, is covered by two meters of soil strewn with sacrificial pottery sherds, bones of livestock and a crocodile ... and the skeleton of at least three human beings.

None of the animals was mummified ... nor were the humans,
says James B. Heidel, president of the Antinoupolis Foundation.

Some of the animals ... livestock ... were ritually butchered as normal for a Roman-era sacrifice. But a crocodile was buried intact, without being mummified.

But the human bodies were interred intact, also without being mummified. One of the bodies was accompanied by pottery vessels and ushabti figurines ... small clay dolls representing spirits who tend the deceased in the afterlife. 
The experts are certain that the pottery vessels and the bodies date to the earliest days of the city which Hadrian founded at the site where Antinous died in the Nile.

None of the pottery is later than the 2nd or 3rd Century AD, the experts said ... meaning the sacrificial offerings were made at the time when the city was founded and under construction.

The archaeologists are also certain that the site is intact and has not been disturbed by looters over succeeding centuries.

They found bones of large livestock, which appear to have been butchered prior to burial. An intact crocodile skeleton is seen as proof that the site was used as a religious sacrificial offering venue ... since crocodiles were sacred to Ancient Egyptians and not a source of food.


But the human skeleton is a total mystery. In Roman times, human sacrifice was taboo, but the archaeologists say the human bones mixed in amongst the bones of sacrificial animals and pottery suggest a gruesome possibility.

"The human burial is sealed in the same clean sand layer as all the other offerings, and the not unreasonable, but somewhat uncomfortable, hypothesis must now be that at least one human was sacrificed and offered with the animals," says James B. Heidel, president of the Antinoupolis Foundation.

The pottery and bones are in soil which covers the mystery-shrouded "intentionally buried stone structure" which Heidel's team found in January 2017 in the heart of the city founded by Hadrian at the spot where Antinous died in the Nile.

Using ground-penetrating radar, the experts discovered the rectangular stone structure ... 12 by 22 meters in size ... which consists of three successive chambers. 

The archaeologists suggest it could be an OSIREION ... symbolic Tomb of Osiris ... raising hopes that this could be the Lost Tomb of Antinous.

The structure was detected with ground-penetrating radar.

It is located near the waterfront peristyle discovered last season.

It is within what possibly was the Great Temple of Antinous and is a rectangular chamber which is subdivided into three sub-chambers ... apparently an antechamber, a middle chamber and an inner sanctum.



Saturday, February 18, 2017

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.

Friday, February 17, 2017

ANTINOOPOLIS TOMB MYSTERY DEEPENS
AS MORE BODIES FOUND IN PIT


THE mystery surrounding an INTENTIONALLY BURIED STONE STRUCTURE at Antinoopolis has deepened with the discovery of not just one ... but three ... human skeletons interred in sand directly on top of the structure.

With the discovery of the first body last week, archaeologists reluctantly speculated about "human sacrifice" ... but now they believe humans were buried separately but along with sacrificial animals.

The team of archaeologists working at ANTINOOPOLIS in Egypt say the subterranean "stone structure," which they believe may be an underground mortuary temple, is covered by two meters of soil strewn with sacrificial pottery sherds, bones of livestock and a crocodile ... and the skeleton of at least three human beings.

None of the animals was mummified ... nor were the humans,
says James B. Heidel, president of the Antinoupolis Foundation.

Some of the animals ... livestock ... were ritually butchered as normal for a Roman-era sacrifice. But a crocodile was buried intact, without being mummified.

But the human bodies were interred intact, also without being mummified. One of the bodies was accompanied by pottery vessels and ushabti figurines ... small clay dolls representing spirits who tend the deceased in the afterlife. 
The experts are certain that the pottery vessels and the bodies date to the earliest days of the city which Hadrian founded at the site where Antinous died in the Nile.

None of the pottery is later than the 2nd or 3rd Century AD, the experts said ... meaning the sacrificial offerings were made at the time when the city was founded and under construction.

The archaeologists are also certain that the site is intact and has not been disturbed by looters over succeeding centuries.

They found bones of large livestock, which appear to have been butchered prior to burial. An intact crocodile skeleton is seen as proof that the site was used as a religious sacrificial offering venue ... since crocodiles were sacred to Ancient Egyptians and not a source of food.


But the human skeleton is a total mystery. In Roman times, human sacrifice was taboo, but the archaeologists say the human bones mixed in amongst the bones of sacrificial animals and pottery suggest a gruesome possibility.

"The human burial is sealed in the same clean sand layer as all the other offerings, and the not unreasonable, but somewhat uncomfortable, hypothesis must now be that at least one human was sacrificed and offered with the animals," says James B. Heidel, president of the Antinoupolis Foundation.

The pottery and bones are in soil which covers the mystery-shrouded "intentionally buried stone structure" which Heidel's team found in January 2017 in the heart of the city founded by Hadrian at the spot where Antinous died in the Nile.

Using ground-penetrating radar, the experts discovered the rectangular stone structure ... 12 by 22 meters in size ... which consists of three successive chambers. 

The archaeologists suggest it could be an OSIREION ... symbolic Tomb of Osiris ... raising hopes that this could be the Lost Tomb of Antinous.

The structure was detected with ground-penetrating radar.

It is located near the waterfront peristyle discovered last season.

It is within what possibly was the Great Temple of Antinous and is a rectangular chamber which is subdivided into three sub-chambers ... apparently an antechamber, a middle chamber and an inner sanctum.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

TUT'S TOMB TO UNDERGO NEW TESTS
IN SEARCH OF HIDDEN CHAMBERS



THE search for secret chambers in the tomb of King Tutankhamun will resume later this year when a team of Italian researchers begin the most in-depth investigation ever of the boy king's burial site.

A team from the Polytechnic University of Turin will scan the tomb and its surroundings with advanced radar technology. The search seeks to determine if Queen Nefertiti might have been buried in the tomb.

"It will be a rigorous scientific work and will last several days, if not weeks," Franco Porcelli, the project's director and a professor of physics at the department of applied science and technology of the Polytechnic University in Turin, said.


"Three radar systems will be used and frequencies from 200 Mhz to 2 GHz will be covered."

The investigation of King Tut's tomb is part of a wider long-term project to conduct a complete geophysical mapping of the Valley of the Kings, the main burial site of Egypt's pharaohs, which is also being led by the group from the Polytechnic University of Turin.

Ground-penetrating radar, together with instruments based on electric resistance  tomography and magnetic induction, will scan depths of up to 32 feet to provide information on existing underground structures.

"Who knows what we might find as we scan the ground," Porcelli remarked.


The researchers plan to carry out the first preliminary survey of King Tut's tomb by the end of this month.

Last year, radar scans revealed some secrets, but experts cautioned an impatient world that the results require patient study before any firm details can be revealed.

Earlier, it was 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 that two previously un-discovered chambers have been revealed by scans of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

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.

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 2015, 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.

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, February 15, 2017

ANTINOUS RUNS IN THE LUPERCALIA
IN MARTIN CAMPBELL'S BRILLIANT NOVEL



THE brilliant novel about the life of Antinous "The Love God" by Martin Campbell describes how Antinous joined Roman Patrician youths in running the Lupercalia on 15 February 127 AD as "luperci" runners. 

As part of the ancient ritual, a priest sacrificed a dog and a goat and then smeared their blood on each boy's forehead. Here is the passage from the book (edited for space):

"Hadrian wiped each boy's forehead with wool saturated in milk, stating, 'Romulus and Remus were saved by Lupa who howled her joy at receiving a fresh kill from the Gods. In return Romulus and Remus laughed for joy at receiving fresh milk from the teats of Lupa'."

(Then the priests wrapped the goat's skin around each boy's waist as a loin cloth.)

"This was perhaps the worst part for Antinous. He felt pretty sick as the warm, still bloody skin was tied around his precious nether regions.

"The boys now had to run around the edge of the inner city walls using the strips of goat skin to fake flog as many people as they saw. Each person flogged would receive luck and fertility for the coming year.

"Antinous found no shortage of willing subjects. There was much hilarity. Some offered hands, others offered naked behinds … some attractive, some distinctly not. The latter got the biggest laughs … particularly if they were older men or plump ladies.

"It took Antinous two hours to 'run' a very short distance. Everyone wanted to be flogged by him specifically.

"It was clear that although this was, in theory, a fun event, to be whipped ritually by Antinous was taking on a more serious meaning.

"Women in particular seemed to be calling out to him with some desperation as if calling out to a God...."

Martin Campbell's book "The Love God" is available in paperback or Kindle: CLICK HERE