Thursday, September 20, 2018

THE ROMAN GENERAL UNDER HADRIAN
WHO HAD A VISION OF A STAG



SEPTEMBER 20th is the saint day of Saint Eustace, patron saint of hunters, firefighters and also anyone facing adversity, a Christian saint who is linked by legend to Emperor Hadrian.

Saint Eustace, also known as Eustachius or Eustathius in Latin, purportedly was a general named Placidus, who converted to Christianity and who ... again, according to legend ... was persecuted by Hadrian.


While hunting a stag in Tivoli near Hadrian's Villa, Placidus saw a vision of a crucifix lodged between the stag's antlers. 

He was immediately converted, had himself and his family baptized, and changed his name to Eustace (Greek: Εὐστάθιος Eustathios "well standing, stable, steadfast").

A series of calamities followed to test his faith: his wealth was stolen; his servants died of a plague; when the family took a sea-voyage, the ship's captain kidnapped Eustace's wife Theopista.

And as Eustace crossed a river with his two sons Agapius and Theopistus, the children were taken away by a wolf and a lion. Like Job, Eustace lamented but did not lose his faith.

He was then quickly restored to his former prestige and reunited with his family. 


There is a tradition that when he demonstrated his new faith by refusing to make a pagan sacrifice, Emperor Hadrian condemned Eustace, his wife, and his sons to be roasted to death inside a Brazen Bull ... a bronze statue of a bull or an ox ... in the year AD 118.

However, the Catholic Church rejects this story as "completely false".

Eustace became known as a patron saint of hunters and firefighters, and also of anyone facing adversity; he was traditionally included among the Fourteen Holy Helpers. He is one of the patron saints of Madrid, Spain. The island of Sint Eustatius in the Caribbean Netherlands is named after him.

The German digestif schnapps Jägermeister (German for "Master of the Hunt") has a round logo of a shining cross between the antlers of a deer/stag referring to two persons who had seen such a vision: Saint Hubertus and Saint Eustace.

KING EDWARD II AND PIERS GAVESTON
By Priest Martinus Campbell


ON 21st September I and the companions of Antinous venerate one of my heroes (flawed though he was), King Edward II of England. His story is fascinating, scandalous and, ultimately, tragic.

His story is also one of the earliest recorded examples of homophobic abuse and murder in British history.

Contemporary accounts say Prince Edward was handsome, athletic and had acquired a reputation for extravagance. 

His father, Edward I was powerful and successful in battles. Before his father's death, Prince Edward II had angered his father by his "excessive affection" for a young men, especially one called Piers Gaveston. Piers was a nobleman from Gascon - an area of South West France. Piers was Edward II's favourite lover from a group of 12 handsome young men he is recorded as always having around him. 

In July 1307 King Edward I died and and was succeeded by King Edward II - he was 23. The image below is the only surviving contemporary depiction of Edward II, showing his coronation. 

On 25 January 1308 Edward married Isabella (who was aged between twelve and sixteen at the time) the daughter of Philip IV of France. It was a marriage of convenience to consolidate power across the Norman empire. With her he needed to sire a future King, so they had several children including a son who later became King Edward III.

King Edward II was dependent on the support of the powerful English barons. However, they believed that a king had a duty to distribute patronage fairly amongst the aristocracy - not abdicate his responsibilities by showering it all on one non-aristocratic favorite. At the parliament held in April 1308 the barons demanded hat Gaveston be banished.

Edward II reluctantly agreed and sent Gaveston to Ireland as his Lieutenant there (June 1308). However, he immediately began to scheme for Gaveston's return - implementing a policy of "divide and rule", buying off some of the barons with favours. Finally the "Statute of Stamford" was signed to redress baronial grievances in exchange for Gaveston's return.

Quickly the affair with Piers began to offend the barons again. Gaveston clearly had a stinging sense of humour. He began openly inventing scandalous names for each baron. We know that "Black Dog" was applied to the Earl of Warwick, and "Bursting Belly" for the Earl of Lincoln!!

Unfortunately Edward began to lose the ground his father had won. He lost battles with Robert the Bruce thus effectively losing Scotland. The barons mutinied and, again, tried to banish Gaveston. They placed themselves in effective control of the country. Edward II refused to accept his overthrow and Gaveston's exile, so civil war erupted. Edward II placed Gaveston in Scarborough Castle under the protection of two Earls from of his trusted band of 12 men. The castle was besieged and the Earls were forced to surrender the castle and Gaveston. He was thrown in a dungeon, and then beheaded  on 19 June 1312.

In deep grief Edward lost the plot. In the vacuum that followed Robert the Bruce won a famous victory at Bannockburn thus securing Scotland as a separate kingdom for centuries ahead.

Also Queen Isabella began an adulterous affair with one of the Earls, Roger Mortimer. Isabella and Mortimer formed an army which overthrew Edward in 1326. 

He was imprisoned in a damp pit at Berkeley Castle. Two of his beloved 12 supporters made two attempts to free him but failed.

What happened next is not 100% clear but contemporary accounts show that Isabella and Mortimer announced that Edward was dead in September 1327. 

Many rumours circulated about the cause of death but the account recognised by most historians is that one man held Edward down while another pushed a red hot shaft of iron into his rectum. The screams where reputed to have been heard well beyond the castle walls.

In 1594 Christopher Marlowe published his play The Troublesome Reign and Lamentable Death of Edward the Second, King of England. Marlowe was gay and reputed by many to have been the secret lover of William Shakespeare - maybe even the true author of Shakespeare's plays. Edward II the play is never taught in schools and remained pretty much ignored until Derek Jarman's wonderful film of the play in 1991.

When I was learning British history at school the reign of Edward II was simply referred to as the 'failed rule of Edward II'.

Most gay men know of Edward II here in the UK. He is an underground cult here to many.

Many Antinous bless him.
MARTINUS

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

THE BIRTH OF ANTONINUS PIUS



SEPTEMBER 19 the Religion of Antinous celebrates the birth of the Divine Emperor Antoninus Pius.

Caesar Titus Aurelius Fulvius Boionius Arrius Antoninus was born on this day 86 A.D. at Lanuvium, near Rome.

Under the Divine Hadrian he served as Proconsul of Asia minor from 130 to 135, the most crucial years in the development of the Religion of Antinous. After that he was summoned to Rome to be close to Hadrian as his health failed.

With the untimely death of the emperor's chosen heir, the blessed Lucius Aelius Verus Caesar, Hadrian chose Antoninus to be his successor. Thus Hadrian adopted him as his son and successor on the 25th of February 138, on condition that he himself adopted Hadrian's great nephew-by-marriage Marcus Aurelius, and Lucius Aelius Verus's son Lucius Verus, who was only 7 years old.

Hadrian's choice in successors proved to be infinitely wise. 

Following decades of political turmoil, civil strife and imperial excesses, Hadrian and his successors ushered one final period of peace and prosperity for Rome which would go done in history as the Sacred and Golden Age of the Antonines.

On Hadrian's death, Antoninus Pius was enthusiastically welcomed to the throne by the Roman people, whose hopes of a happy reign were not disappointed. For Antoninus came to his new office with simple tastes, kindly disposition, extensive experience, a well-trained intelligence and the sincerest desire for the welfare of his subjects.

One of his first acts was to persuade the Senate to grant divine honors to Hadrian, which they had at first refused (but later agreed to). This gained him the title of Pius (dutiful in affection). He built temples, theaters, and mausoleums, promoted the arts and sciences, and bestowed honors and salaries upon the teachers of rhetoric and philosophy.

Unlike his predecessors Trajan and Hadrian, Antoninus Pius was not a military man. His reign was comparatively peaceful. Insurrections amongst the Moors, Jews, and Brigantes in Britain were easily put down. The one military result which is of interest to us now is the building in Britain of the Wall of Antoninus (a few miles north of Hadrian's Wall), which was proclaimed in 2008 to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

During his reign, Antoninus issued coins celebrating the religious glory of Rome in celebration of the nine hundredth anniversary of the city in 147. The coins asserted the superiority of Romanism over the Empire.

Antoninus is said to have restored the sanctity of the ancient Roman faith, and to have reinvigorated its ceremonies, which is another possible reason why he was surnamed Pius.

The Religion of Antinous was in its infancy when Antoninus Pius came to power. The Blessed Boy's temples were under construction. The Sacred City of Antinoopolis was unfinished. It would have been easy for Antoninus Pius to pull the plug on the expense involved in the new religion. After all, Antoninus Pius was known as a penny-pincher who demanded fiscal restraint.

Instead, Antoninus Pius generously supplied the fledgling religion with imperial largess and was instrumental in the spread of the Faith of Antinous in those early years. Without him, the religion would have vanished at Hadrian's death. Instead, it flourished for centuries.

After the longest reign since Augustus (surpassing Tiberius by a couple of months), Antoninus died of fever on March 7, 161. His last public utterance was when the tribune of the night-watch came to ask the password — "aequanimit as" (equanimity). It was a fitting epitaph.

His body was placed in Hadrian's Mausoleam, a column was dedicated to him on Mars Field, and the temple he had built in the Forum in 141 to his deified wife Faustina was rededicated to the deified Faustina and the deified Antoninus. The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina still stands today in the Roman Forum (at right, now called the Church of San Lorenzo in Miranda).


We pay tribute to Antoninus Pius, who truly lived up to his title as a man of wisdom and piety.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

PAMELA COLMAN SMITH
SAINT OF ANTINOUS


MAGINATION is the key word. Just imagine the cramped artist's studio in London's Chelsea district and, with the help of the artist's images, you are there. It is December 1909. The solid-black walls of the apartment contrast starkly with the red-orange drapes. 

Jamaican folk artefacts share space on a Victorian curio shelf with photographs of friends and relatives — a mother in Jamaica, a father in Brooklyn Heights, a famous actress in a West End production, Bram Stoker, W.B. Yeats. The jet-black walls form a void-like exhibition space which highlights the dazzling Caribbean art as well as the dozens of paintings and sketches which line the walls. Suffragette posters. Oil landscapes. But particularly watercolor illustrations of dreamscapes and fairy tales.

A brightly painted miniature theatre with ornate proscenium and cloth curtain stands proudly in one corner, with its cast of tiny cardboard cut-out "actors" waiting patiently for their entrances.

An enormous gramophone stands in the opposite corner, and Debussy's La Mer is playing at full volume, as it has been all morning. The neighbours have long since stopped complaining about the music.


The artist, Pamela Colman Smith, is a petite woman in her early 30s who sits in the middle of the studio with paint brush in hand, mixing watercolors, her eyes trance-like as the music envelops her. She is wearing a vividly hued kimono with broad sleeves made even more colorful by splotches of paint.

One of the two Japanese combs pinning back her long dark hair has loosened, causing her tresses to sag to one side, but she is oblivious.  The paint is dripping from her brush, but she pays no mind, keeping her eyes firmly shut as Debussy transports her to a place she calls "the unknown country" of her artistic inner heart.

On the easel in front of her is a small canvas showing an androgynous person wearing a short kimono-like tunic with sleeves and an abstract floral design uncannily like the kimono she is wearing. The figure is striding to a precipice as a small white animal dances at his heels.

The painting is almost finished. The outline was done in pen. Only a  few more brush strokes are needed for the hand-coloring. Debussy will provide the musical sunrise which will be the cue that the illustration is finished.

And then the small illustration will join all the others (about 80 in all, give or take one or two) which are carefully arranged on drying shelves around the studio. The printer is waiting. The cards must be delivered by the end of December.


She has been working on the Tarot card project for about a year, since Arthur E.A. Waite asked her to illustrate "his" new pack of Tarot cards in his long-running one-upsmanship feud with other occultists in London. 

He had very strong ideas about the design of the 22 Greater Trumps but was unconcerned with the 56 Lesser Trumps. Only one other artist had ever illustrated all 78 cards, an unknown 15th Century artist whose dazzling cards were jealously guarded by the Sola Busca family of Italy. 

The Sola Buscas had grudgingly permitted photographic copies of the cards to be put on view at the British Museum in 1908.

And so it was, that a petite 30-something sufragette took a tweedy advertising executive for the Horlick's bedtime powdered milk drink  (Waite's "day job" when he wasn't doing occult spellwork) and dragged him to the British Museum and said she would do the job but only on condition that she illustrate all 78 cards with artistic license for design and color.

It had taken months of pain-staking work. "A big job for very little cash!" she would write to her friend and benefactor Alfred Stieglitz,  who had made room in his famed New York photography gallery for exhibitions of some of her "Pictures in Music", watercolors she painted in a trance-like state while listening to her favorite composers, such as Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Debussy. On a visit to Paris, she had even been bold enough to introduce herself to Debussy and show him paintings she had done to his music. She was greatly flattered when he said she had captured the very essence of his music.


"You ask me how these pictures are evolved," she said. "They are not the music theme — pictures of the flying notes — not conscious illustrations of the name given to a piece of music, but just what I see when I hear music-thoughts loosened and set free by the spell of the sound."

She explained that, for example, "Often when I hear Bach I hear bells ringing in the sky, rung by whirling cords held in the hands of maidens dressed in brown."

Stieglitz had shown her music paintings to rave reviews in New York in 1907. The New York Sun critic wrote: "Pamela Colman Smith is a young woman with the quality rare in either sex — imagination."

Pamela — "Pixie" to her few close friends (mostly women) — had grown up in London and New York City, as well as in Jamaica. Her father was a globe-trotting businessman who spent little time at home. Her mother came from a long line of women poets and children's story-book writers. The details of her childhood are fuzzy. She had a dark complexion and facial features which prompted speculation that she had been adopted during her father's many trips to Jamaica. At any rate, she spent her formative years in Jamaica, where she learned the patois dialect perfectly and became a master story-teller of Jamaican tales of magic and wonder.


But when her mother died at an early age, little Pixie moved to Brooklyn Heights where she lived with her father and pursued art classes at the renowned Pratt Institute, a progressive school which encouraged students to explore new avenues of expression.

And when her father also died suddenly, she was shipped back to England to live with a troupe of actors who were friends of her eccentric father. She was relieved to be back in England, since her skin color had exposed her to racist discrimination in the States.

The rarified atmosphere of London's Leicester Square theatre district was an invigorating change. In New York she had been "a mulatto". 

In London's West End she was simply exotic. She lived with the high-profile actress Ellen Terry, who became her mother, mentor and best friend. Sir Henry Irving, a leading thespian and empresario, became her ersatz father. The three of them toured Britain in productions when they weren't staging their own plays in the West End. Pixie lived in Irving's theatre. She learned set design, costume design (and how to mend costumes between acts) and she learned how the stage is the world-in-small.

A century on, it is hard for us to appreciate how mind-opening the theatre was. There was no radio, no television. Even the cinema was in its infancy. To see the world, you went to the theatre. Pamela didn't just go to the theatre. Surrounded by actors and directors 24 hours a day, she truly LIVED the theatre. She said it was the perfect place for a budding artist.


"Go and see all the plays you can," she advised young artists. "For the stage is a great school — or should be — to the illustrator — as well as to others."

She openly admitted she had learned more in the theatre than at her famous New York art institute.

"The stage has taught me almost all I know of clothes, of action and  of pictorial gestures," she said, and her advice to other artists was to  throw away the textbook and just open their eyes and ears. An artist should always have a sketch pad at hand. She even took her sketch pad to the ballet to see Nijinsky dance.


"Learn from everything, see everything, and above all feel everything! And make other people when they look at your drawing feel it too!"

She was dismissive of painters who are interested only in their medium and who shun other liberal arts.

"Keep an open mind to all things," she said. Even though you are a painter, listen to music, go to the ballet.


"Hear all the music you can, for sound and form are more closely related than we know."

And she dismissed turn-of-the-century painters who strove only for beauty, ignoring ugliness.

"For through ugliness is beauty sometimes found," she observed. She recalled having seen a very dark and brutal stage production which in a way reminded her of the gritty beauty of poverty-stricken Jamaica.

"All through that play I thought that ugly things may be true to nature, but surely it is through evil, that we realize good. The far-off  scent of morning air, the blue mountains, the sunshine, the flowers, of a country I once lived in, seemed to rise before me — and there on the stage was a woman sitting on a chair, her body stiff, her eyes rolling, a wonderfully realistic picture of a fit."

Through Ellen Terry and Henry Irving, Pamela made friends with literary luminaries such as "Dracula" author Bram Stoker, "Peter Pan" playwright J.M. Barrie and and poet/playwright W.B. Yeats.

In fact, "Sherlock Holmes" was her uncle — because her real-life great uncle was the actor William Gillette, who brought Holmes to the stage in London and on Broadway. It was Gillette who introduced many of the mannerisms and props (the deerstalker cap, the meerschaum pipe) which have been intrinsically associated with Sherlock Holmes by succeeding generations. Her Uncle Bill even saw to it that Pamela illustrated the programs for his Holmes productions.



Pamela became well-known for her afternoon literary teas, at which Yeats, Stoker and other luminaries would gather in her studio while she put on the costume of a Jamaican wise woman and sat cross-legged on the floor, relating Jamaican folk tales in dialect.

She used a miniature theatre and tiny cardboard characters to illustrate her hugely delightful tales.

Her literary friends encouraged her to publish and illustrate the stories under her own name, which she did. The book is still in print.

One frequent male visitor described one such literary evening, saying, "The door was flung open, and we saw a little round woman, scarcely more than a girl, standing in the threshold. She looked as if she had been the same age all her life, and would be so to the end. She was dressed in an orange-colored coat that hung loose over a green skirt, with black  tassles sewn all around over the orange silk, like the frills on a Red Indian's trousers. She welcomed us with a little shriek. She was very dark, and not thin, and when she smiled, with a smile that was peculiarly infectious, her twinkling gypsy eyes seemed to vanish altoghether. Just now, at the door they were the eyes of a joyous, excited child."

This was shortly after the turn of the 20th Century, and she had perfected her artistic style and was busy as a book and magazine illustrator. While publishers mandated style to some extent, Pamela Colman Smith advocated the Arts and Crafts style, also known as the Secession style or, in the US, as the Craftsman or, especially in California, called the Mission style.

The Arts and Crafts Movement was a style which dominated in the years before World War I, and which was between the Art Nouveau style of the 1890s and the Expressionist style which would revolutionize art after the Great War. The Arts and Crafts Movement was an attempt to reject superfluous Victorian "wedding cake" adornment and to simplify things to the basics of simple lines and solid colors, in defiance of bourgeouis homeowners who wanted clutter.

For one brief moment, in the cosy years before the war, idealistic artists such as Pamela depicted a magical world in which machines did not dominate humankind. They were artists who sought to recreate pre-industrial, even primitive styles in art, architecture and decoration. Lines were simple. Colors were bold and earthy.


Pamela's generation of artists saw that a world driven by steam pistons was heading blindly, full-steam ahead for collision with the cold and immutable forces of nature. The Titanic disaster in 1912 was only a symbolic inevitable disaster waiting to happen, as far as these artists were concerned.

The Arts and Crafts Movement flourished in the first decade of the 20th Century, and Pamela managed to get by financially with her illustrations in that style. She also provided illustrations and even wrote articles for Gustav Stickley's "The Craftsman" magazine which was a leading purveyor of the style.

Not surprisingly, her Tarot cards are an enduring monument to the Arts and Crafts Movement and its philosophy which holds that a return to timeless styles in the Arts can help the human race return to timeless virtues and ageless wisdom. She was seeking to create a world in which racist thought and moral hypocrisy would vanish along with high-button shoes and celluloid shirt collars. She wanted everyone to sit on the floor, cross-legged, and discover the childlike magic of just being alive.

The cards were published with very little fanfare in December 1909. Only a few occultists took notice, and most of them were engaged in feuds with each other. The general public did not notice. Tarot cards were considered to be "French". The only Tarot cards hitherto available were from France, and they were considered only slightly less objectionable than saucy French porn postcards. Pamela was keenly aware that her cards were not going to make inroads into popular culture.


"Oh, the prudishness and pompous falseness of a great mass of intelligent people!" she wrote in an article for Stickley's "The Craftsman". It was an article aimed at inspiring young artists. "Lift up your ideals, you weaklings, and force a way out of that thunderous clamor of the steam piston, the hurrying herd of blind humanity, noise, dust, strife, seething toil!"


Those 78 cards are a veritable map of the place which she called "the unknown country" within an artist's heart. Many of her book illustrations are variations on that theme, such as "The Hill of Heart's Desire" at left.

To look at each card in succession is to take a trip through a magical land where cosmic wisdom and virtue prevail. You can spot  recurring landmarks, such as castles, bridges and towers, which recur from different vantage points throughout the "journey". This magical land is peopled by beings who at times wear Renaissance clothing and at other times wear chitons and togas. The whole magical world is a place beyond linear time and space.


Waite never adequately acknowledged her work. In the book accompanying the cards he failed to mention her by name, saying only that a "young woman artist" had illustrated them on his instructions. 
But in fact, Pamela had been a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn along with Stoker and Waite. In a way it was only natural since the English-speaking world's first esoteric book store, Watkins, had just opened its doors a few steps away from the Leicester Square theatre district.

Pamela never wrote about her initiation into occult mysteries. But the very first card in the deck, The Magician, is graphic proof that she was privy to occult knowledge of the most secret sort. In 1909 only a handful of people had read a badly translated copy of Das Buch Abramelin, a 15th Century German-language grimoire written by a German-Jewish sorcerer who claimed to have been initiated into ancient mysteries by a master living in a desert cave on the banks of the Nile.

Even now, a century after Pamela painted that card, very few people have read the Book of Abramelin, certainly not in the original German. To this day there is no full English translation. Those few who have read it immediately realize that The Magician card is a very precise portrait taken straight from the ancient book.

In it, the novice magician is instructed to wear a clean white tunic bound at the waist by a symbolic ouroboros serpent. He is to wear a  crimson mantle over the tunic while standing before a simple wooden table upon which are his magical tools. The book then says that, for best results, the magician's magical work space should look out over a witch's garden of flowers and magical herbs.

Whatever Waite thought of "his" cards — and he was very vague in  saying what their purpose should be other than clearly to aggrandize  himself — Pamela knew they were tools not for TELLING the future, but for SHAPING the future through ancient Abramelin magical spells. That occult secret, sealed in the colorful symbolism of her cards, was destined to die with her — to be rediscovered a century after she created the cards by priests of ANTINOUS THE GAY GOD.


With that first card, The Magician, and with Renaissance alchemical symbolism throughout the deck, Pamela shows she was highly knowledgeable in the occult arts.

The rest of her story is quickly told. The Titanic sank but the age of the steam pistons did not go down with it. Instead, the First World War swept aside the lofty dreams of Pamela's generation of artists. The Arts and Crafts Movement was the first casualty. By 1915 Gustav Stickley's "The Craftsman" magazine ceased publication and his design company went bankrupt.

Pamela's illustration assignments dried up. By the mid-1920s she was unable to get even one job a year. When a distant uncle died and left her a modest nest egg, she took the money and left London, buying a village cottage at the far western tip of England — not far, in fact, from the fictional location of Baskerville Hall, which had figured so prominently in Uncle Bill's Broadway-hit Sherlock Holmes plays.


She lived in isolation with a woman companion. She died penniless at age 72 on September 18, 1951. The cottage and all her possessions were auctioned to pay back taxes, leaving her companion with nothing.

In December 1909 she had told her New York gallerista friend Alfred Stieglitz that she would send him a pack of the Tarot cards which she said were being "printed in color lithography (probably very badly) as soon as they are ready" and that she would also "send over some of the original drawings as some people MAY like them." By "some people", she meant "buyers". But the original art work has never surfaced. Not one of the 78 originals is known to exist.

The printed card decks vanished into obscurity for decades until the  American playing card connoisseur Stuart R. Kaplan resurrected them in about 1970. It is largely thanks to him that anyone knows anything about this extraordinary artist, who created a single work which is ageless and timeless and which continues to appeal to new generations.

The final word belongs to Pamela Colman Smith, and it is a statement of inner strength which could just as easily be the catch-phrase of The Fool card in her Tarot:


"Banish fear, brace your courage, place your ideals high up with the  sun, away from the dirt and squalor and ugliness around you and let that power that makes the 'roar of the high-power pistons' enter into your work — energy — courage — life — love. Use your wits. Use your eyes. Perhaps you use your physical eyes too much and only see the mask. Find eyes within, look for the door into the unknown country."

Monday, September 17, 2018

FRENCH EGYPTOLOGIST ALBERT GAYET
IS A SAINT OF ANTINOUS


WE are proud to consecrate French archaeologist Albert Gayet as a Messenger Saint of Antinous for his pioneering efforts to reclaim the city of Antinoopolis from the sands of oblivion.

The city that Hadrian built and dedicated to his lover Antinous flourished for hundreds of years before being looted and plundered and lost to the desert sands of Egypt.

Napoleon's French team of proto-archaeologists mapped and catalogued the remains at the turn of the 19th Century. 


But it was this rather curious and eccentric French bachelor who would make the lost city ... Antinoopolis ... famous again.

Antinoopolis became renowned around the world in 1895 when Gayet began exploring the vast necropolis burial grounds south of Antinoopolis. 


An estimated 40,000 mummies were buried in the Antinoé necropolis.

Between 1895 and 1911, Gayet worked tirelessly at Antinoé, the French name for the city which became synonymous with his own name. 


He stood out against the squalor of the wretched modern village and the moonscape of ancient ruins ... dressed impeccably in a three-piece black linen suit and tie, with a boater hat, a cane and white gloves ... more befitting a stroll on the Champs Élysée in Paris than overseeing Egyptian workers toiling in the blistering Egyptian sun as they unearthed mummies from the sands.

Gayet's crews worked day and night unearthing hundreds of mummies representing all social classes and historical epochs.

To his utter astonishment, many of the mummies were gilded, many were swathed in priceless woollen wraps and others wore Byzantine jewellery and headdresses.

He returned to Paris, where the most exquisite mummies were put on display at the Louvre, attracting throngs of visitors and spawning a "Coptic Craze" throughout Europe and America.

Antinoopolis embroidery and linens inspired Matisse, Renoir and the leading Paris fashion designers, who incorporated the rich colors and designs into their work.

But the craze soon waned. The mummies were packed away in storage, most of them to disintegrate or become lost. 


Gayet died in Paris at age 60, impoverished and embittered after having spent 20 years of his life trying to raise funds for further exploration of Antinoopolis. 

Unmarried, he bequeathed a number of Antinoopolis artefacts which he had kept for himself to his sister in Dijon, where the artefacts are in the local museum and a street is named after him.

Gayet's dream of a "Musee d'Antinoé" in Paris died with him.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

ANTINOUS MAY HAVE STOOD OVER THIS TOMB
4,000 YEARS OLD WHEN HE WAS IN EGYPT


EGYPT has opened a 4,000-year-old tomb at Memphis Egypt, a city visited by Antinous and Hadrian in September of 130 AD.

It is intriguing to think that Antinous perhaps stood over this tomb as he looked out from the Saqqara cliffs across the teeming city of Memphis.

The 6th Dynasty tomb of Mehu was 4,000 years old when Antinous was in Egypt. Mehu was an advisor close to the king.

It was discovered for the first time approximately 80 years ago in 1940 by Egyptologist Zaki Saad.

The public were able to visit it for the first time in history this weekend.

Images on social media showed visitors queueing to enter and taking photographs of the interior.

The colours inside are different to many other tombs in the necropolis as the brightness of them is somewhat unusual.

Many of the paintings inside are unique to the time period, with images of a crocodile marrying a turtle and celebration dances depicted on the walls.

The tomb does not just contain Mehu, but his son Meren Ra and his grandson Heteb Kha.

Mehu held 48 titles during the reign of King Pepi, which were found on the walls of the tomb.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities said in a statement: "The tomb is one of the most beautiful in Saqqara Necropolis because it still keeps its vivid colours and distinguished scenes.

"The tomb does not belong to Mehu himself, but for members of his family as well."

Saturday, September 15, 2018

ANTINOUS THE GAY GOD


INVITES YOU TO TAKE HIS HAND
AND FLY WITH HIM OVER THE CITY OF ROME
AT THE HEIGHT OF HIS RELIGION
IN THE FOURTH CENTURY A.D.


TARRY A MOMENT WITH ANTINOUS IN HADRIAN's PANTHEON (4:00 min.)

Friday, September 14, 2018

TORONTO HADRIAN CONFERENCE EXPLORES
OPERA'S PLACE IN THE 21st CENTURY



TICKETS are now available for Hearing Hadrian: An Opera for Our Time, a conference on Sunday, October 14, 2018. 

Just one day after Rufus Wainwright's HADRIAN, with libretto by Daniel MacIvor, receives its world premiere, the Canadian Opera Company will host a day-long series of panels and guest speakers dedicated to exploring the themes found in the opera and its broader operatic context.

Hearing Hadrian aims to bring the long-buried relationship between the Roman Emperor Hadrian and his lover, Antinous, to the forefront of public knowledge and discussion.

It also examines Hadrian's place within the larger context of 21st-Century opera and queer storytelling. Who was Hadrian and what makes his story a timeless classic for a modern audience? What does it mean to write an opera in the 21st Century? And how can traditional art forms, like opera, be reimagined to tell marginalized stories?

COC Associate Director of Education and Outreach Katherine Semcesen points to Hadrian's complex layers of themes and visual cues as an excellent catalyst for engaging discussions. "By providing a space and a forum for these types of meaningful conversations to occur, I hope that participants will develop a deeper connection with the piece and with one another."

Linda Hutcheon, of the University of Toronto, is one of the event's organizers. She says "With the premiere of Hadrian, the time has come to explore the recent and welcome changes in opera that have now made this art form more musically accessible, more technologically dazzling, and more socially provocative-and relevant."

Discussions will be guided by some of Canada's top experts in musicology, gender studies, and classics and held at The 519, a City agency located in Toronto's Church and Wellesley neighbourhood that is dedicated to the advocacy and inclusion of LGBTQ2S communities. 

Hearing Hadrian is co-produced by the Canadian Opera Company, the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, the Faculty of Music at University of Toronto, and the Humanities Initiative of Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy.

The program features the following panels and discussions:

"Have No Fear: Opera in the 21st Century"

Linda and Michael Hutcheon, provide an opening overview of the evolution of contemporary opera and Hadrian's place within it, chaired by Katherine Semcesen, COC Associate Director of Education.

Speakers:

Linda Hutcheon, Professor Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature, at UofT

Michael Hutcheon,Professor of Medicine at UofT

"21st-Century Technological Revolutions"

What happens when tradition meets technology? This panel, moderated by Laurie-Shawn Borzovoy, Projection Designer for Hadrian, looks at the future of opera and virtual reality experiments.

Panelists:

Michael Mori, Artistic Director of Tapestry Opera

Rorik Henrikson, Innovator: Human Computer Interaction, Stereoscopy, and Virtual Reality

Jake Gow, COC Associate Technical Director

"Queer Storytelling from Screen to Stage"

In this talk, chaired by Don McLean, Dean of Music at the UofT, music history scholar Lloyd Whitesell explores how contemporary storytelling mediums are being used to represent the queer experience.

Speaker:

Lloyd Whitesell, Professor of Music History at McGill University

Pop-up Concert in Barbara Hall Park, Presented in Partnership with the Church-Wellesley Village BIA's Music in the Park Series

Weather permitting, enjoy an open-air performance, just outside The 519, by artists of the COC Ensemble Studio. The Ensemble Studio is one of Canada's most prestigious opera training programs and attracts some of country's best emerging opera talent.

"A Grand Opera for the 21st Century: The Music and Creation of Hadrian"

Introduced by Wayne Gooding, opera scholar and former editor of Opera Canada, Cori Ellison provides insights into the diverse inspiration for Hadrian's unique sound world in this work that bridges classical and pop traditions.

Speaker:

Cori Ellison, Dramaturg for Hadrian

"Sexualities in Ancient Rome"

Dive into the fascinating history of cultural perceptions of sexuality with classical studies scholar Kelly Olson. This lecture is chaired by Scott Rayter, Associate Director of the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at UofT.

Speaker:

Kelly Olson, Professor of Classical Studies at Western University

"History of Hadrian's Rule"

Historically, Hadrian's legacy has been deeply divisive. In this lecture, chaired by Caryl Clark, Professor of Music History and Culture at the UofT, classics scholar Andreas Bendlin examines the clashes of political and religious conflicts that form the backdrop for the opera.

Speaker:

Andreas Bendlin, Professor of Classics and Roman History at UofT

Roundtable of Hadrian Creative Team and Artists

The team behind Hadrian's world premiere shares how and why they got involved with the production, the creative challenges of creating a brand new opera, and reflect upon the experience of seeing Hadrian and Antinous on stage.

Panelists:

Rufus Wainwright, Composer

Daniel MacIvor, Librettist

Peter Hinton, Director

Isaiah Bell, Tenor singing role of Antinous

Gillian Gallow, Costume Designer

Cori Ellison (moderator), Dramaturg

TICKET INFORMATION

Admission to Hearing Hadrian is free but requires a ticket. Tickets are available at coc.ca/HearingHadrian or by calling 416-363-8231. Please note seating is limited.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

ROME'S GREAT TEMPLE OF JUPITER
DEDICATED ON THIS DAY IN 509 BC


ON the 13th of September the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus atop the Capitoline Hill was dedicated in 509 BC. The ascent of Rome began! 

In the old Roman calendar, September was the seventh month of the year in counting March as the first. Among the festivals observed in September were several honoring Jupiter. 

He was hailed as the chief of the gods and had many epithets as a result.

As Jupiter Optimus Maximus, he occupied the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus on the Capitoline hill with the goddesses Juno and Minerva. With them, he received a Lectisternium (September 13) and the Ludi Romani  (September 5-19). 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

RUN LIKE PHEIDIPPIDES
JUST DON'T DIE LIKE PHEIDIPPIDES



ON September 12, 490 BC, 10,000 Greeks use superior tactics to push 100,000 Persians back into the sea at the Battle of Marathon Bay ... forever changing the course of Western Civilization.

Though outnumbered 10 to 1, the Greeks won thanks to their new tactics.

Instead of individual soldiers fighting one-to-one duels, the Greeks rolled out their "phalanx" battle line of Hoplite soldiers who fought as one impenetrable unit.

The Battle of Marathon was a watershed in the Greco-Persian wars, showing the Greeks that the Persians could be beaten; the eventual Greek triumph in these wars can be seen to begin at Marathon. 

The battle also showed the Greeks that they were able to win battles without the Spartans, as they had heavily relied on Sparta previously. 

This win was largely due to the Athenians, and Marathon raised Greek esteem of them. Since the following two hundred years saw the rise of the Classical Greek civilization, which has been enduringly influential in western society, the Battle of Marathon is a pivotal moment in history.

The battle is perhaps now more famous as the inspiration for the marathon race. 

Although thought to be historically inaccurate, the legend of the Greek messenger Pheidippides running to Athens with news of the victory became the inspiration for this athletic event, introduced at the 1896 Athens Olympics, and originally run between Marathon and Athens.

Pheidippides was a professional "hemerodrome" (foot courier) who was sent to Sparta to request help when the Persians landed at Marathon, Greece. 

He ran 240 km (150 mi) in two days. Thanks to him, the Persians were defeated. 

He then ran the 40 km (26 mi) from the battlefield near Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory over Persia in the Battle of Marathon (490 BC) with the words "Chairete, nikomen!" ("Rejoice, we are victorious!") ... before collapsing and dying ... uttering "Cairete" (Rejoice) with his final rasping gasp of breath.

Image at top of entry: "Man Runs First Marathon To Bring News of Greek Victory Over Persia" painting by Tom Lovell (1909–97)

ANTINOUS HELPS YOU HONOR
THE SPIRIT OF YOUR HOME


EVERY home in Ancient Rome had a special niche or devotional area known as a "lararium" for honoring the spirit of the household.

Today we tend to move from one house or apartment to another with little or no thought to the spiritual element of the structures we inhabit. We are spiritually poorer for that.

The Romans knew that each structure built by the hand of mankind is imbued with a spirit.


This spirit ... called a "genius" ... was believed to grow and prosper ... as the people who reside there grow and prosper ... the spirit is a spiritual reflection of the people who live there ... and it assists and nurtures "its" residents just as they assist and nurture it.

This is the Spirit which loves to build a comfy nest, a place to call one's own. Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home for this Spirit. 


It is the Spirit of the special place which is your home, whether it be a rented room or a sprawling mansion. This Spirit invites you to step inside, close the door behind you, kick off your shoes and revel in being Home.

The lararium in every Roman home was a niche in a part of the house where people would congregate ... it was a place for prayers and offerings to the spirits not only of the house itself but of  all those who had ever lived there.

This image at the top of this entry shows the Roman fresco from the lararium of the "House of the Genius" in Narbonne, France. The fresco depicting the home's genius is one of the only walls intact, which is how the house got its name.


It shows the house genius holding a cornucopia and pouring libations.

Similarly, the fresco above left shows a winged and pointy-eared household genius holding an offering plate. It is from the Villa Boscoreale near Pompeii, where it was located near a door, guarding the entrance with watchful amber eyes.


Ordinarily, such a fresco would also show an enormous serpent coiling forth from the earth to entwine itself around a sacred altar. Perhaps that part of the fresco was destroyed. 


To our eyes this alarming image seems hardly the thing you would want to see at the door to your kitchen.

But the Romans recognized that this serpent is the Agatho-Daimon (Blessed Spirit) " In Greek, "daimon" means "spirit-being" regardless whether that being is beneficial or detrimental to humans. It was only later that the Christians literally "demonized" the word daimon, so that the modern word "demon" only ever refers to an evil spirit.

Agatho Daimon is a decidedly beneficent spirit, rendered often as a serpent. And in this fresco this beneficent spirit is blessing the altar ... and the feminine being in red wrap is the "genius" or spirit of the household itself. 

Antinous was often compared to Agatho Daimon, and is often portrayed with the Serpent in his hand, as in the famous Berlin Antinous-Agathodaimon statue pictured here.

Perhaps you live in a small rented room. Perhaps you live in a grand house. No matter! Honoring the spirit of your home helps to center you and give you a firm home base. By nurturing the spirit of your home, you nurture your own inner spiritual home.

May Antinous Agatho-Daimon ... Antinous the Blessed Spirit ... bless your home ... and you!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

GAY TEEN MARTYR JOÃO ANTÔNIO DONATI
FIRST BRAZILIAN SAINT OF ANTINOUS



ON September 10th we remember the brutal mutilation murder of a gay teenager on this date in 2014 in Brazil ... the first official saint of Antinous in Brazil.

The death of 18-year-old JOÃO ANTÔNIO DONATI galvanized worshipers of Antinous into proclaiming him the first martyr saint of Antinous in Brazil.

His severely beaten body was found in the city of Inhumas in the state of Goiás with his neck fractured and both legs broken and with his mouth and trachea stuffed with a plastic bag and a paper note, on which had been scrawled an anti-gay hate message saying that this is what should happen to all queers.

His horrific bruises, lacerations and contusions showed that he had put up a desperate struggle against his attackers.

On the same day that João was killed, two other gays were beaten and a transvestite was murdered in the same state. But the images of João's smiling Facebook selfies instantly touched the hearts of millions.

Outrage swept the nation, with protest marches and vigils held in numerous cities.

Brazil has the largest Antinous faith community in the non-English speaking world, and adherents of Antinous have taken the unprecedented move of proclaiming João the first Saint of Antinous in Brazil. 

Brazilian Novitiate Priest DECO RIBEIRO says more than 300 LGBTIU victims of homophobic murders were reported in Brazil in 2015 alone, though the true figure is unknown.

"Hundreds more have died since then," says Deco. "Each and every one of these is a martyr who is symbolized by João Antônio Donati. He was a vibrant young man filled with all the hopes and dreams of so many his age, and who became yet another victim of homophobia in Brazil, and who so deeply touched us that we have been moved to initiate something in our country that has long been in the offing: the Declaration of Apotheosis and canonization of the martyrs of homophobia in Brazil."

Noting that anti-gay hate crimes and murders are frequent in Brazil, Deco says: "This is the first statement and official nomination amid many others that will follow continuously over time honoring the names of many victims who have died in the past and who inevitably will be murdered in the future."

He adds, "We are setting out upon a long and arduous road which will entail hard battles for criminalization of homophobia in a country that has become increasingly Christo-Fascistic, homophobic and intolerant in a grotesque throwback of catastrophic and irreparable proportions. This is a turning point in history."

At the Hollywood Temple of Antinous, the founder of the modern religion of Antinous, ANTONIUS SUBIA, says:

"My prayer goes out to Antinous to take João Donati into his embrace, to give him a place of glory and bliss and show him that the world is not merely a place of hatred and violence, but that love still exists here.  

"May his short beautiful life prove to be a changing point for Brazil, may his violent death awaken his country to the darkness and hatred that has infiltrated their society.  May he be a martyr whose violent death brings an end to such things in the future," Antonius said in the statement issued moments ago.

After João's death, his FACEBOOK page was filled with messages of condolence. 

A month before his murder, he updated his profile image with the accompanying message: "Determination, courage and self-confidence are decisive factors for success.

"No matter what obstacles and difficulties. If we are possessed of an unwavering determination, we will be able to overcome them."

Though Brazil passed same-sex marriage into law in May 2014, homophobic attacks and transphobic attacks are still common.

GAY MARTYRS OF TERRORISM


ON September 11th we remember those gay and lesbian men and women who have died in terrorist attacks.

The magnificent Religion of Antinous is not just about beauty and male-on-male sex and it's not just one continuous gay cocktail party. Alas!

The word "alas," by the way is a Latin corruption of the Greek name "Hylas" ... the beloved young companion of Herakles/Hercules. In Mysia, handsome young Hylas was abducted by water nymphs and vanished below the waters of a stream.

Heartbroken Herakles went mad with grief, bellowing "Hylas! Hylas!" and ripping out trees as he frantically searched for his beloved. He never abandoned his search, and his cries of "Hylas! Hylas!" continue to echo through the ages every time we say the word "alas!"

Hadrian and his beloved drowned Antinous have always been associated with Herakles and his beloved drowned Hylas. And so ... alas! ... the Religion of Antinous is profoundly and irrevocably associated with tragedy and with grief. That is the reason why the sculptures of the Beauteous Boy never show him smiling and boyish. He always gazes off to one side, his head tilted slightly downward, with a wistful and slightly melancholy expression on his face.

It's as if he is always whispering, "Alas!"

And so it is fitting that the Ecclesia Antinoi Annals of Saints and Martyrs and Exemplars includes the names of many, many people who have died under tragic circumstances.

Some died of overdoses or suicide. Others, such as the gay college student Matthew Shepard who was bludgeoned to death in Wyoming, were murdered simply because they were gay. 


In Iran, coming out is tantamount to a death sentence. 

Many, many others have been taken by the scourge of AIDS.

And still others on our list, Aula Sancti Ecclesiae Antinoi, have suffered and died because they just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

On September 11th we remember those gay and lesbian men and women who  have died in terrorist attacks.


They include the gay waiters and pastry chefs in the Windows on the World restaurant on the 110th floor of the World Trade Center, and also the gay and lesbian office workers in the Twin Towers, and the gay passengers and crew aboard the hijacked planes.

They also include the gay victims of the subsequent bombings and atrocities in London, Madrid, Orlando and many other cities.

We don't know the names of most of those people. But one name stands out: Mark "Bear Trap" Bingham.

Mark, 31, was a passenger aboard United Airlines Flight 93 and was flying home to see his mother. 

He made a phone call to his mother. He was so distracted by the chaos on  board the plane that he identified himself by his full name, saying, "Hi, Mom, this is Mark Bingham." 

He just had time to tell her he loved her and that his plane was being hijacked before the phone call abruptly ended.

Mark was a big man at 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) and 225 pounds (102 kg) and was a rugged rugby athlete. He is believed to have been among the passengers who attempted to storm the cockpit to try to prevent the hijackers from using the plane to kill hundreds or thousands of additional victims.

That assumption is based on the fact that his lover of six years said he had repeatedly fought back against muggers and gay bashers and that Mark definitely would not have surrendered to his fate without first putting up a fight. "Mark was a fighter. He hated to lose ... at anything!"

Mark Bingham may never have even heard of Antinous, and the Ecclesia Antinoi had not been founded yet before he died. He most definitely never expected to be remembered as a gay martyr. And he scarcely could have imagined being memorialized in movies and on websites and in books and TV docu-dramas.

He surely never expected to become a symbol and an icon. But that is what he has become.

And so, on September 11th, we remember Mark "Bear Trap" Bingham as a symbol for all those gay people who happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time when terrorists strike — as can happen to any of us.

Like Mark (and like Herakles, for that matter), we fight and struggle to do the best we can in our day-to-day lives, but sometimes things just turn out far differently from anything we could ever imagine. Sometimes tragically so ... Alas!

Monday, September 10, 2018

ANTINOUS SHOWS TOURISTS HOW TO
GO STRAIGHT THIS WAY ... TO RENTAL CARS



ANTINOUS shows the way ... for tourists in Naples Italy looking for their vehicles at a SIXT car rental agency.

The famous Delphi statue of Antinous miraculously has a left arm to show customers how to "Go straight this way."

We wonder if the pun was intended by the advertising agency!


We love it when Antinous makes cameo appearances in advertisements.

He is routinely seen around Los Angeles on the sides of organic produce delivery trucks and WAS SIGHTED RECENTLY by our own Flamen Antonius Subia.

Meanwhile, Antinomaniacs in Britain and Europe could hardly believe their eyes when Antinous made a cameo appearance in a TV COMMERCIAL for an eyeglasses firm.

And Antinous miraculously also appeared recently literally around the corner from the Hollywood Temple of Antinous. 

A larger-than-life, hand-painted wall advertisement adorned a building at the corner of La Brea and Melrose in Hollywood for a month.


The advertisement was for Sabrina Carpenter's single "Almost Love", and the image was all over social media. 

The ANTINOUS MURAL featured Sabrina kissing the Townley Antinous/Dionysus bust.

That is the famous British Museum bust ... an exact replica of which adorns the altar of the HOLLYWOOD TEMPLE of Antinous.

"As soon as I saw the picture I knew where it was and ran down to see if it was true," our spiritual leader Antonius Subia says. "It's a miracle! It's a great sign from Antinous!"


Sunday, September 9, 2018

THESE SEVEN ANCIENT PRIESTS
DEVOTED THEIR LIVES TO ANTINOUS


IN many religions the number seven is sacred ... Christians honor the Seven Archangels … but (typically) apocryphal texts and regional denominations can't agree on the lists of seven. The big four are certain: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel, but after that things get a bit iffy. 

Depending on which "church" is involved the seven may include: Raguel, Sariel, Baracael, Ieadiel, Sealtiel, Peliel, Gamael, Jerahmeel, Izidkiel, Hanael or Kepharel.

Oh and at least one list includes Lucifer, the fallen angel.

In Santeria Las Siete Potencias Africanas (Seven African Powers) are the best known and most powerful Orishas of the Yoruban pantheon. There are endless variations worldwide.

Many Protestants, of course, denounce all mention of angels, potencias or even saints as idolatrous, further confusing the situation for many modern seekers.

The Religion of Antinous has no "angels" (fallen or otherwise) in the Judeo/Islamic/Christian sense.

But the Romans depicted many ascendant souls as having wings and assisting in elevating mortal humans to attain celestial realms.

By sacred synchronicity, we know the names of Seven Ancient Priests of Antinous. They are:

JULIUS FIDUS AQUILA, Priest, Epistrategos and Architect of Antinoopolis.

ARISTOTIMOS, Priest of Delphi.

HOSTILIUS MARCELLUS, Priest of Corinth.

ISIDORUS DIDYMUS, Priest of Alexandria.

NICIAS, Priest of Rome.

PUBLIUS SUFENUS, Priest and Eunostos of Neapoli Oriens.

LUPERCUS, Priest and Eunostos of Neapoli Aetolia-Arcarnia.

There were many other priests, of course. But alas, their names went unrecorded.

We have no portraits of any of these Seven Ancient Priests. And their mortal appearance is of little importance.

Priest Hernestus wears prayer beads and a bracelet with seven charms and beads representing the Seven Ancient Priests. He prefers to think of them transcending Time and Space ... serving as mediators in modern guise for all of us.

Rather than worshiping mythical angelic beings, we honor these seven human beings of flesh and blood who really lived and who devoted their lives to Antinous. 

They were priests of Antinous ... we honor them ... men who lived and breathed and who remind us that angels come in many guises ... angels are all around us in our everyday lives.