Sunday, September 30, 2018

ANTINOUS IN MENNEFER (MEMPHIS)
ANCIENT CAPITAL OF EGYPT



WE have arrived at the eve of the most sacred month of our Liturgical Calendar, the month of October when Antinous the mortal died beneath the waves of the Nile during a tour of the Eastern Provinces which had started out as the crowning glory of the reign of Emperor Hadrian, but which quickly descended into disaster.

By the end of October, Antinous would be dead and Hadrian would be a changed man. 

Up until this turning point, his rule had been marked by Hellenistic tolerance and diplomacy. 

From this point onward, the emperor became increasingly capricious and unpredictable.


Just imagine those last few weeks in September and October of the year 130. Hadrian and Antinous had visited Alexandria. They had marvelled at the towering lighthouse. 


Perhaps, in his youthful exuberance, Antinous had even scaled the lighthouse to get a spectacular view from the top.

They would have visited the Tomb of Alexander the Great and have  marvelled at the rock crystal sarcophagus containing the body of the young man who had conquered the world by the time he was just a little over half Hadrian's age.

That's assuming the Tomb of Alexander was still located in Alexandria in the year 130. Like the Tomb of Antinous, no one knows the whereabouts of Alexander's Tomb.

That would have been a recurring theme during their travels through Egypt: The plundering of the tombs of Egyptian rulers.

Hadrian and Antinous would have gazed in awe at the Sphinx and the Pyramids, which were already incredibly old even then. The Great Pyramid was 2,500 years old THEN! (With apologies to John Anthony West who believes the Sphinx, at least, could be many thousands of years older than that.)

And those monuments had long since been plundered. The Sphinx had undergone "restoration" work more than 1,000 years before Hadrian and Antinous saw it.

At the Egyptian capital of Memphis, called Mennefer by the Egyptians, they would have scaled the cliffs on the western fringes of the huge city to visit the famous Step Pyramid of Djoser designed even before the Great Pyramid by the fabled man of science and art known as Imhotep, who himself was deified after death, just as Antinous soon would be. Another ancient name for the city was Ineb-hedj, meaning White Walls" or White Fortress.

Everyone scaled those cliffs to look out over the city and the Nile and the sprawling Temple of Ptah compound -- The House of the Ka of Ptah (Ha-Ka-Ptah), which was so famous, so synonymous with the Land of the Nile that it became the name used by tourists for the land itself: Hakaptah, Aegypto, Egypt.

It must have been spectacular. It must have been one of those things  that all tourists do. In London you see Big Ben and the Tower. In San Francisco you see the Golden Gate. In Paris, the Eiffel Tower. In ancient Memphis Egypt, you climbed the western cliffs for the view across that marvelous city of gleaming-white temples and palaces.

The city is gone -- or rather, the city has been uprooted and moved, stone-for-stone a few miles down-river. Memphis, the capital of Egypt, never ceased to exist. It just morphed into Cairo.

The view from the cliffs is still spectacular. To the east is the verdant valley where the ruins of the once-mighty city lie strewn among date palm orchards. This is the city from which the name PHARAOH comes, PER-AWU (Two Great Gates). It refers to Pharaoh's palace double-doors, through which the Living God-King (Hadrian for example) emerged on occasion for the public to see.

To the west lies the desert and the city of the dead. You look across rippling sand dunes and stony mounds and your jaw drops as you realise those aren't sand dunes -- they are the remnants of tomb and mortuary monuments large and small, thousands of them stretching as far as the eye can see.



Like the Step Pyramid, many of those tombs had been plundered by the time Hadrian stood there, taking in the scene.

To the south lie the hot lands of the source of the Nile. Still more pyramids dot the horizon.

To the north, more pyramids and tombs. You can see the tips of the Great Pyramid and the two lesser Gizeh pyramids to the north, with a gentle and cooling north breeze blowing in your face.

You stand there in wonderment, oblivious to the urchins tugging your sleeve and trying to sell you bundles of filthy rags which they claim are "genuine old" mummified cats which you can take home as souvenirs.


You can just envision Hadrian standing there, enjoying the view of that bustling city and the ancient pyramids, and smiling to himself as he glanced over and saw Antinous trying to keep his composure while being badgered by children waving blatantly fake cat mummies in his face.

Just imagine Antinous standing there in the late-afternoon sun, the north breeze tousling his hair and robes, atop those cliffs on the cusp between the verdant land of the living in the teeming valley below and the sterile and barren city of the dead on the desert plateau behind him where the sun would soon set.

We commemorate this Imperial visit to Mennefer (Memphis) on October 5th. Shortly after that date, they would have sailed on upstream to the city of Shmunu (Hermopolis), the ancient and sacred city of Thoth, the scribe god of writing who taught Isis the magical spells that she used, with the assistance of Anubis, to raise Osiris from the dead after he drowned in the Nile.

It was only across the Nile from Hermopolis that Antinous himself drowned.

All of this would have been fresh in Hadrian's mind as the grief-stricken Emperor bent over the lifeless body of his Beloved Boy.

He would have remembered how even the Egyptians, despite all their cunning and ingenuity, had been unable to create a plunder-proof tomb.

Sick with grief, what would he have done? What would you do in Hadrian's place? Would you build a showy tomb? Would you send the body back to the boy's family for cremation? Would you build a chapel and tomb at your villa outside Rome? Would you leave the remains of his beloved Antinous to be mummified and entombed on the banks of the Nile?

Wouldn't the prospect of thieves and souvenir-seekers violating his remains be so horrible to you that you would do whatever was required to prevent that? Perhaps Hadrian opted for subterfuge.

Perhaps he built great temples to Antinous for all to visit and to see. But buried his precious body in a secret place, a safe place, known only to himself. A place where no one would think of looking for him.


If that is what Hadrian did, then the LOST TOMB OF ANTINOUS may never be found.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

LE MEMORIE DI ANTINOO
BRILLIANT BOOK BY RAFFAELE MAMBELLA


THIS book is a must for all Antinomaniacs, tracing the life of Antinous from his encounter with the mightiest man in the world to his mysterious death in the Nile.

LE MEMORIE DI ANTINOO is a story of love. It is a story of destiny. And it is a story of a Boy who became a God ... the last and ultimate Classical Deity.

Author Raffaele Mambella says: "Antinous is the living symbol of Classicism, of a culture that has been and remains at the base of our fundamentally humanistic civilization. Antinous is Greece, it is Greek culture and for this reason I embodied in him a myth, that of classical civilization."

This novel not only exposes the events of a great myth of classicism, but wants to push the reader to relive that unique experience with the eyes now disenchanted of our contemporaneity.

RAFFAELE MAMBELLA: teacher of History of Art and resident in Padua, he graduated in Etruscology and Italian Antiquities in the local University, then perfected himself in Archeology at the University of Bologna. 

In 1980 he was a student of the Italian Archaeological School of Athens, participating in archaeological research in Greece and Rome, while he also directed excavations in Basilicata, Sicily and Calabria. He has also published articles on Etruscan, Greek, Paleovenetian and Roman art in numerous Italian and foreign specialized magazines. 

As a classical scholar he obtained in 1995 the international awards "Napoli-Mezzogiorno", "Primavera Catanese", in 2003 the "Carsulae-city of Terni" award and the "Club Letterario Italiano" prize in Latina; in 1999, as a writer of fiction, the "Firenze-Targa Award of the President of the Senate", "The Val di Magra Award", "The City of Milan Award" and the "City of Leonforte Award". 

He has collaborated in the drafting of some entries concerning the ancient myth in the "Lexicon Iconographicum Mythology and Classics" published under the patronage of UNESCO and is currently considered one of the most interesting scholars of Roman Hadrian sculpture and Antinous in particular.

Friday, September 28, 2018

THE FIRST MIRACLE OF ANTINOUS
INVOLVED AN EGYPTIAN INTERSEX DEITY



ON September 28th the Ancient Egyptians celebrated the Feast of the Creation of the Nile Inundation as represented by the intersex deity HAPI.

It was through HAPI that Antinous worked his first miracle ... bringing about a bountiful Nile inundation which ended a long famine ... only a few months after he died and was deified.

Hapi is special to us especially because Hapi is intersex. With many other such deities, the gender division is down the middle of the body (like some Hindu deities) or the top half is one gender and the bottom half is the other.

But Hapi is very complex and the genders are mixed throughout his/her body. Male deities invariably have reddish-orange skin in Egyptian Art and female deities have yellowish skin. 

However, Hapi has bluish-green skin. Hapi has long hair like a female deity but has a square jaw and a beard. Hapi has broad shoulders yet has pendulous breasts like a nursing mother. 

Hapi has narrow hips and masculine thighs, but has a pregnant belly. Nobody knows what sort of genitals Hapi has, since they are covered by a strange garment reminiscent of a sumo wrestler's belt.

Hapi is both father and mother to the Egyptians. Hapi provides them with everything necessary for life. As Herodotus wrote, "Egypt is the gift of the Nile"

Hapi wears a fabulous headdress of towering water plants and she/he carries enormous offering trays laden with foodstuffs.

The Ancient Egyptians had no problem worshipping a mixed-gender deity. 

It is very important to draw the connection between Hapi and Antinous, especially since the First Miracle that Antinous performed as a god involved Hapi. The Egyptians accepted Antinous into their own belief system immediately and were among the most ardent followers of Antinous.

They had no problem worshipping a gay deity who had united himself with a transgender deity. 

It must have seemed very logical and credible to them.

It made sense to them and enriched their belief system, made it more personal since they could identify more easily with a handsome young man than with a hermaphrodite wearing a sumo belt (Hapi forgive me!).

Herodotus also said he once asked a very learned religious man in Egypt what the true source of the Nile was.

The learned man (speaking through an interpreter, since most Greeks never bothered to learn Egyptian) paused and finally told him the true source of the Nile is the thigh of Osiris.

We think of it as a strange answer. We think of the Nile as an "it" and the source as a "geographical location". 

But the Egyptians thought of the Nile as "us" and its true source as "heka" — the magical semen of the creator.

So, a learned Egyptian would have assumed that a learned Greek would understand what was meant: That Hapi is the equivalent of Dionysus, who was "incubated" in the inner thigh of Zeus after his pregnant mortal mother Semele perished when she could not bear the searing sight of her lover Zeus in all his divine panoply.

It's a very poetic way (a very Egyptian way) of saying that the "true  source" of the Nile, which is to say Egypt itself, is the magical heka/semen from the loins of the original creator.

The grandest depiction of HAPI is a colossal statue found in the submerged ruins of HERACLEION at the mouth of the Nile ... this statue once flanked the portals of the Great Temple in that city before earthquakes and tsunamis sent it to the bottom of the sea. 

It was rediscovered by marine archaeologist Marck Goddio and is the highlight of a British Museum EXHIBITION ... as seen in the photo at left.

We will never know what happened during that journey up the Nile along the drought-parched fields with anxious Egyptian farmers looking to Hadrian for a miracle ... in September and October of the year 130 AD. 

All we know is that Antinous "plunged into the Nile" and into the arms of Hapi in late October of the year 130.

And then the following summer, Hapi the Inundation Deity provided a bountiful Nile flood which replenished the food stocks of Egypt — and the Roman Empire.

The First Miracle of Antinous the Gay God is enshrined in the hieroglyphic inscription on the OBELISK OF ANTINOUS which stands in Rome.

The East Face of the Obelisk, which is aligned to the rising sun Ra-Herakhte, speaks of the joy that fills the heart of Antinous since having been summoned to meet his heavenly father Ra-Herakhte and to become a god himself.

Then the inscription tells how Antinous intercedes with Ra-Herakhte to shower blessings upon Hadrian and the Empress Sabina Augusta.

And Antinous immediately calls upon Hapi ...

Hapi, progenitor of the gods,
On behalf of Hadrian and Sabina,
Arrange the inundation in fortuitous time
To make fertile and bountiful, the fields
Of Both Upper and Lower Egypt!
We joyfully celebrate this, the First Miracle of Antinous!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

TEENAGER CLIMBS THE GREAT PYRAMID
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ANTINOUS



NO doubt following in the footsteps of Antinous 1,900 years earlier, a teenager recently climbed the Great Pyramid at Giza.

We know that Antinous and Hadrian saw the Pyramids in 130 AD. While there is no record that he climbed them, we can scarcely believe that he was not tempted.

Similarly, a German teen broke decades-old laws and risked prison after he illegally scaled an Egyptian pyramid so that he could post the photos and videos of the risky adventure to his blog.

Andrej Cieselski, an 18-year-old from Munich, illegally climbed the 4,500-year-old Great Pyramid in broad daylight earlier this month for the sake of the breathtaking photos and videos he took while on top.

Cieselski, who routinely pulls these climbing stunts called “roofing,” where he dangles off tall sculptures and documents the moment, wrote about the tomb climb on his website.

"Walking around in the complex I was waiting for the right moment to start climbing The Great Pyramid of Giza," Cieselski wrote.

The nearly 500-foot (146 meters) ascent of the tomb, which is the oldest and largest of three pyramids in Giza, took the teen eight minutes to pull off, he said.

"When I started climbing a street seller was standing behind me but I didn’t care about him I turned around, he laughed and I continued climbing," he said.

He flouted decades-old preservation laws to ascend one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Authorities noticed the daredevil teen halfway through his eight-minute ascent.

"At the half some people got attention on me and looked up to (me.) That’s how the police spotted me. They shouted something in Arabic I think but I didn’t care and kept going while listening to music," he posted.

The risky climb produced rare and spectacular views from the top.

Cieselski’s feet dangled over the edge of the top, which looks out onto a hazy view of a nearby pyramid and its desert surroundings.

"It was absolutely surreal standing on top of one of the wonders of the world and something that I will never forget. I wanted to experience Egyptian culture and I definitely managed that," Cieselski said.

Egyptian police waited for Cieselski at the bottom of the pyramid and briefly detained him and threatened to take him to the German embassy, but eventually let him go with a slap on the wrist.

"After a while I was released without anything further happening," he said.

This isn’t Cieselski’s first documented high-altitude ascent during his travels, photos show.

Cieselski sat atop some of world’s tallest skyscrapers in Hong Kong and Dubai and took photos of the stomach-churning views.

Click here for the full video of his breath-taking ascent:



SEE THE GREAT PYRAMID
AS ANTINOUS SAW IT



ANTINOUS and Hadrian visited the Great Pyramid at Giza in late September of the year 130 AD, as had Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Herodotus and other notables before them. Now you can strip away the centuries and see just what they saw, thanks to an online experience that brings Giza to you, transporting you across the world — and through time — to the land of the Pharaohs.

Dassault Systèmes created a 3-D model of the Giza Necropolis, a free application available to all Internet users, which was unveiled this week at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.

In fact, this digital model is the only way we can see Giza in its ancient splendor, before  looting, erosion, urban sprawl and artifacts being sent across the world. Ironically, the virtual 3-D version may be more pristine and offer a closer look than any of those ancient travelers were able to see.

"You are visiting and discovering through a new kind of interactive story," says Mehdi Tayoubi, VP of design and experimental strategy at Dassault Systèmes. "Each time, you can take control of the 3D expereince as a time travel tourist."

Giza 3-D, which which is already being used in Harvard Egyptology classes, shows how technologies can be integral to historical and art preservation.

"We've equipped software for a new generation of classroom," Tayoubi told Mashable. "We have the teacher traveling through time, bringing students inside pyramids, temples and funeral ceremonies."

There are two ways you can explore Giza 3-D. You can take guided tours of certain monuments by Harvard's Peter Der Manuelian, the Philip J. King Professor of Egyptology, or you can wander through the ancient temples, restored tombs, burial chambers and pyramids.

Each site is annotated, so you can read archaeologists’ field journals and maps, view contemporary and ancient pictures and browse some 30 objects constructed in 3-D.

Giza 3-D integrates 100 years of research by the Giza Archives Project, and museums and universities from around the world, in an  effort lead by Professor Der Manuelian. Only 10% of Giza 3D is completed, currently including four temples and the Pyramids of Khufu and Menhaure.

The Pyramid of Khafre, the middle of the Necropolis’s three pyramids, and the Sphinx aren’t part of the experience yet.

"What is important for us is to create a community around this experience," Tayoubi says. "You can bring kids to this virtual environment and they will understand, but if you adapt what you say it will work for an entirely different audience."

ANTINOUS AT THE GREAT PYRAMID


ANTINOUS and Hadrian visited the Pyramids at Giza in late September in the year 130 AD, exactly one month before the tragic death of the Beauteous Boy.

Flamen Antonius Subia explains the spiritual significance this way:
"The Entourage visited Giza and explored the ancient Pyramids, accompanied by the highest priests of Egypt who were aware of the deeper mysteries of the structures. Antinous was given a full explanation.

"The celestial configuration of the Pyramids and their geographical relationship to the Nile, corresponding to the belt of Orion and the Milky Way, is similar to the location of the City of Antinoopolis and the Nile, to the constellation Aquila along the shore of the Milky Way.

"The celestial-terrestrial alignment of Pyramids of Giza was a presage of the coming mystery of Antinous, and it is in this spirit that we consecrate this day, one month before the death of Antinous to our own alignment in the universe."

DID ANTINOUS CLIMB THE GREAT PYRAMID?
WHO WOULD HAVE DARED TO STOP HIM?



JUST imagine those last few weeks in September and October of the year 130 AD. Hadrian and Antinous had visited Alexandria.

They had marvelled at the towering lighthouse. Perhaps, in his youthful exuberance, Antinous had even scaled the lighthouse to get a spectacular view from the top.

In Martin Campbell's new novel about the life of Antinous, THE LOVE GOD, there are marvelous chapters detailing those heady days in Egypt in September of 130.

They would have visited the Tomb of Alexander the Great and have marvelled at the rock crystal sarcophagus containing the body of the young man who had conquered the world by the time he was just a little over half Hadrian's age.

That's assuming the Tomb of Alexander was still located in Alexandria in the year 130. Like the Tomb of Antinous, no one knows the whereabouts of Alexander's Tomb.

That would have been a recurring theme during their travels through Egypt: The plundering of the tombs of Egyptian rulers.

Hadrian and Antinous would have gazed in awe at the Sphinx and the Pyramids, which were already incredibly old even then. 

It would have been hard to restrain Antinous from climbing to the top of the Great Pyramid, which was 2,500 years old THEN!

And those monuments had long since been plundered. 

The Sphinx had undergone "restoration" work more than 1,000 years before Hadrian and Antinous saw it.

At the Egyptian capital of Memphis, they would have scaled the cliffs on the western fringes of the huge city to visit the famous Step Pyramid of Djoser designed even before the Great Pyramid by the fabled man of science and art known as Imhotep ... who himself was deified after death, just as Antinous soon would be. 

It was Imhotep who set the precedent for the deification of mortals in Ancient Egypt.

Everyone scaled those cliffs to look out over the city and the Nile and the sprawling Temple of Ptah compound ... The House of the Ka of Ptah (Ha-Ka-Ptah), which was so famous, so synonymous with the Land of the Nile that it became the name used by tourists for the land itself: Hakaptah, Aegypto, Egypt.

It must have been spectacular. It must have been one of those things that all tourists do. In London you see Big Ben and the Tower. 

In San Francisco you see the Golden Gate. In Paris, the Eiffel Tower. In ancient Memphis, you climbed the western cliffs for the view across that marvelous city.

The city is gone ... or rather, the city has been uprooted and moved, stone-for-stone a few miles down-river. Memphis, the capital of Egypt, never ceased to exist. It just morphed into Cairo.

The view from the cliffs is still spectacular. To the east is the verdant valley where the ruins of the once-mighty city lay strewn among date palm orchards. To the west lies the desert and the city of the dead. 

You look across rippling sand dunes and stony mounds and your jaw drops as you realise those aren't sand dunes ... they are the remnants of tomb and mortuary monuments large and small, thousands of them stretching as far as the eye can see.

Like the Step Pyramid, many of those tombs had been plundered by the time Hadrian stood there, taking in the scene.
To the south lie the hot lands of the source of the Nile. Still more pyramids dot the horizon.

To the north, more pyramids and tombs. You can see the tips of the Great Pyramid and the two lesser Gizeh pyramids to the north, with a gentle and cooling north breeze blowing in your face.

You stand there in wonderment, oblivious to the urchins tugging your sleeve and trying to sell you bundles of filthy rags which they claim are "genuine old" mummified cats which you can take home as souvenirs.

We can just envision Hadrian standing there, enjoying the view of that bustling city and the ancient pyramids, and smiling to himself as he glanced over and saw Antinous trying to keep his composure while being badgered by children waving blatantly fake cat mummies in his face.

Just imagine Antinous standing there in the late-afternoon sun, the north breeze tousling his hair and robes, atop those cliffs on the cusp between the verdant land of the living in the teeming valley below and the sterile and barren city of the dead on the desert plateau behind him where the sun would soon set.

Shortly after that, they would have visited the city of Schmunu (Hermopolis), the ancient and sacred city of Thoth, the scribe god of writing who taught Isis the magical spells that she used, with the assistance of Anubis, to raise Osiris from the dead after he drowned in the Nile.

It was only a few miles south of Hermopolis that Antinous himself drowned.

All of this would have been fresh in Hadrian's mind, don't you agree? He would have seen how even the Egyptians, despite all their cunning and ingenuity, had been unable to create a plunder-proof tomb.

Grief-stricken, what would he have done. What would you do in Hadrian's place? Would you build a showy tomb? Would you send the body back to the boy's family for cremation? 

Would you build a chapel and tomb at your villa outside Rome? Would you leave the remains of his beloved Antinous to be mummified and entombed on the banks of the Nile?

Wouldn't the prospect of thieves and souvenir-seekers violating his remains be so horrible to you that you would do whatever was required to prevent that?


We don't know about you, but we would have opted for subterfuge. Build great temples to Antinous for all to visit and to see. But bury his precious body in a secret place, a safe place, known only to yourself. A place where no one would think of looking for him.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

NINE MILLION MUMMIFIED DOGS
FOUND AT EGYPTIAN TEMPLE OF ANUBIS


AS Antinous and Hadrian journeyed up the Nile in September of 130 AD, they must have seen the mighty monuments at Memphis ... and the sprawling cliffside ANUBIEION, the mystery-shrouded Temple of the jackal-headed Egyptian deity Anubis at Saqqara south of modern Cairo.

But was Antinous aware that nine million dog mummies were entombed there?

The unique, terraced temple compound was built into the face of the cliffs overlooking the ancient Egyptian capital city of Memphis-Mennefer. Beyond the Anubieion lay the necropolis city of the dead. In front of it lay the teeming city nestled in the Nile Valley.

For decades, experts were unsure what purpose the Anubieion served. No where else in Egypt is there a temple dedicated solely to Anubis. Some temples to other deities had niche shrines to the jackal-headed deity who conveyed the souls of the dead to everlasting life.

But the discovery of myriads of mummified dogs in the Anubieion's catacombs makes it clear that the Anubieion was indeed a temple whose goal was to assist people in making the transition from earthly life to eternal life.

The dog mummies were sold to serve as "guide dogs" for souls of the departed.

As Christianity spread in Egypt, Anubis morphed into St. Christopher ... and many early Coptic images of Saint Christopher depict him with the head of a dog (image at left).

The discovery came during routine excavations at the dog catacomb in Saqqara necropolis by an excavation team led by Salima Ikram, professor of Egyptology at The American University in Cairo (AUC), and an international team of researchers led by Paul Nicholson of Cardiff University.

Initial inspection reveals that dogs of all breeds and ages were mummified, from newborn puppies to decrepit old dogs.

“We are recording the animal bones and the mummification techniques used to prepare the animals,” Ikram said.

Ikram also told National Geographic, which is financing the project, that "in some churches people light a candle, and their prayer is taken directly up to God in that smoke. In the same way, a mummified dog's spirit would carry a person's prayer to the afterlife".

Saqqara dog catacomb was first discovered in 1897 when well-known French Egyptologist Jacques De Morgan published his Carte of Memphite necropolis, with his map showing that there are two dog catacombs in the area.

However, mystery has overshadowed such mapping as it was not clear who was the first to discover the catacombs nor who carried out the mapping, and whether they were really for dogs.

"The proximity of the catacombs to the nearby temple of Anubis, the so called jackal or dog-headed deity associated with cemeteries and embalming, makes it likely that these catacombs are indeed for canines and their presence at Saqqara is to be explained by the concentration of other animal cuts at the site," Nicholson wrote on his website.

"These other cults include the burials of, and temples for, bulls, cows, baboons, ibises, hawks and cats all of which were thought to act as intermediaries between humans and their gods."


Despite the great quantity of animals buried in these catacombs and the immense size of the underground burial places, Egyptologists have focused on the temples and on inscriptional evidence rather than on the animals themselves.

The mysteries behind De Morgan's mapping were unsolved until 2009 when this team started concrete excavations at the cemetery in an attempt to learn more about the archaeological and history of the site.

"Results at the first season showed that De Morgan map has substantial inaccuracies and a new survey is under way," Nicholson said.


"The animal bones themselves have been sampled and preliminary results suggest that as well as actual dogs there may be other canids present. Furthermore the age profile of the animals is being examined so that patterns of mortality can be ascertained."

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

ANTINOUS SAILS THE SOLAR BOAT BY NIGHT
THANKS TO THE MYSTERIES OF HELIOPOLIS



AFTER leaving Alexandria, the first important stop for Antinous on the Nile journey in September 130 AD was at Heliopolis, the ancient center of the worship of Re, the sun god.

The Heliopolitan cosmology states that the universe is created when the Atum (first principle) masturbates and creates himself as the sun god Re, the visible manifestation of the Atum, and then rises up from the primordial waters in the form of a mound.

Re then gives birth to the Enneads, the Nine beings who create the cosmos: Shu (air) and Tefnut (fire), Geb (Earth), Nut (Sky), Osiris and Isis, Seth and Nepthys who together are the principles of life. 

The creator, Re-Harakhte, travels across the sky on his Boat of Millions of Years every day, and then as it submerges beneath the horizon, Re-Harakhte battles against death and evil, and is greeted triumphantly each morning by the priests of Heliopolis. 

Antinous was admitted into these mysteries, and gained a place by the side of Re-Harakhte on his sacred boat, according to the hieroglyphs on the Obelisk of Antinous.

The glyphs state that Antinous can "assume any form his heart desires, because the semen of the First God TRULY is in his body."

When Hadrian and Antinous visited Heliopolis, they were no doubt shown the sacred shrine of the Bennu bird, who was said to have burst forth in a shower of radiant light from the heart of the First God.

This is the same First God who ejaculated into his own mouth to utter the words of creation at the moment of Sep Tepy, the Creation Moment. Other versions say he ejaculated in great arcs which created all the other deities and the entire universe.

Then on October 11th, a few days after visiting the Sacred Shrine of the Phoenix in Heliopolis (and acquiring that virulent bit of spellwork), Hadrian and Antinous visited Oxyrhynchus and heard of the fabled phallus of Osiris.

And a couple of weeks later, Hadrian cradled the limp body of Antinous on the shores of the Nile. The body was limp like a marionette whose strings had been cut.

Hadrian "wept like a woman" and refused to accept oblivion for his Beloved Boy. Instead, he proclaimed Antinous a god and set about making sure that the Religion of Antinous took root and blossomed.

The Obelisk of Antinous speaks of Antinous being full of the "Semen of the First God" which is the creative force of the universe. 

That means Antinous can assume "any form his heart desires" since he (like Osiris) is one with the First God — and one with the Bennu Bird.

Antinous IS the Phoenix.

Monday, September 24, 2018

'ANTNOUS ... BOY MADE GOD' EXHIBITION
AT ASHMOLEAN MUSEUM IN OXFORD


ANTINOUS is the star of a new exhibition at Oxford University's Ashmolean Museum which opens 25 September 2018 and runs through 24 February 2019.

This exhibition focuses on one of the most important surviving portraits of Antinous ... a unique, INSCRIBED BUST bust dated AD 130–138 which was discovered in Syria in 1879. 

On loan from a private collection, the bust was recently conserved by the Ashmolean and a magnificent new plaster cast was made for display in the Museum. 

The ASHMOLEAN ANTINOUS EXHIBITION will show casts of other key portraits, as well as coins of Antinous, medals and bronze figurines made between the second and eighteenth centuries.

The exhibition explores the archaeology of Antinous's religion and how his unforgettable portrait image was disseminated across the empire, turning a country-boy into a hero and god with a legacy extending from antiquity into the modern world.

Bert Smith, Lincoln Professor of Classical Archaeology at Oxford and exhibition curator, says: "Hadrian and Antinous are considered the most famous same-sex relationship in antiquity. The later written-record is marked by a moralising, often condemnatory tone.

"But Antinous’s image, recorded in artworks, coins and monuments, offers a different perspective. These remarkable objects tell the story of a boy-made-god who had a cultural and religious significance that extended across the Roman Empire."

Sunday, September 23, 2018

RABBIT GOD TU ER SHEN
IS THE CHINESE DEITY OF GAYNESS



ON International Rabbit Day, observed on the fourth Saturday in September, we honor the Chinese "Rabbit God" of homosexuality.

Just as Antinous the Gay God is being re-discovered in the West, Hu Tianbao alias Tu Er Shen the "Rabbit God" is being rediscovered by Chinese gay people. 

Incredibly, both deities involve young gay men who were in love with men of high standing ... and who died tragically ... and who became gods of the spiritual essence of homosexuality. 

Antinous is a true-life historical figure, of course, but his Chinese counterpart is shrouded in myth and legend ... involving rabbits.

According to Zi Bu Yu (子不語), a book written by Yuan Mei (袁枚, a Qing dynasty writer), Tu Er Shen (兔兒神 or 兔神) was a mortal man called Hu Tianbao (胡天保).

Hu Tianbao fell in love with a very handsome imperial inspector of Fujian Province. One day Hu Tianbao was caught peeping on the inspector through a toilet wall, at which point he came out to the other man. To save face, the imperial inspector had no choice but to have Hu Tianbao beaten to death.

One month after Hu Tianbao's death, he is said to have appeared to a man from his hometown in a dream, claiming that since his crime was one of love, the gods decided to right the injustice by appointing him the god and safeguarder of homosexual affections.


After his dream the man erected a shrine to Hu Tianbao, which became very popular in Fujian province, so much so that in late Qing times, the cult of Hu Tianbao was suppressed by the homophobic Qing government.

A slang term for homosexuals in late imperial China was Tuzi (兔子) (bunnies) which is why Hu Tianbao is referred to as the RABBIT GOD, although in fact he has nothing to do with rabbits and should not be confused with TU-ER-YE (兔儿爷) the famous "Rabbit in the Moon" which is the Chinese version of the "Man in the Moon".

However, the rabbit association stuck, and even today his devotees portray him with rabbit ears and make offerings of carrots to his altars. The handsome statuette in this image is lovingly clothed in a rabbit-fur cloak.

While no one knows if gays in mainland China worship him ... there is a temple in Yonghe city (永和市)in Taiwan that venerates Hu Tianbao, alias Tu Er Shen. The temple is known as the RABBIT TEMPLE (兔兒廟). The address is Taipei, Yonghe City, Yonghe Road Section 1, Alley 37, No 12.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

ANTINOUS ON MOUNT CASIUS
WAS NEARLY STRUCK BY LIGHTNING


IT was at the season of the Equinox in the year 129 that the imperial court ascended Mount Cassius (also called Mons Casius, Mount Kel or Mount Casius).

They climbed the mountain overlooking the sea because on top of it was a Temple of the Sun. 

A storm broke while they made their ascent, and Hadrian had the priests conduct the Equinox ceremony in the rain. 

During the sacrifice at the altar, a bolt of lightning struck with a horrific, earth-shattering clap of thunder ... killing the priest and the sacrificial animal together. 

This was taken as a very significant portent, one that perhaps Antinous alone comprehended, the darkness of the coming death and transfiguration were presaged. 

Hadrian took it as a sign that the gods of Syria had turned against him, thinking it was Baal-Zeus who struck down the priests as a warning to Hadrian of what lay ahead when the court entered Jerusalem. 

Perhaps it is all a myth and a legend, of course. There were many myths and legends about the events leading up to the deification of Antinous. 

Researching background information on the Lightning Bolt Omen on Mount Cassius, we stumbled upon an old Epistle which Antonius Subia wrote to the original members of this religion at this time of year back in 2002. There were only a handful of followers ... about five or six. 

Take a moment to read what Antonius wrote so many years ago:

"Whatever myths and mysteries were fabricated to legitimize the Religion of Antinous, we can be sure that they were only for the benefit of the vulgar populace, dependent on poetry and allegory. The Priesthood of Antinoopolis however, had to deal with the truth. I can't help but think that the pinnacle of his mysteries, revealed to only the most devoted, was the unsettling revelation that Antinous the God was no more than a boy, just as any of them were or had been."

And Antonius says that THAT fact was what makes our religion so special. He goes on to write:

"That Antinous lived a truly human life, died, and miraculously became a God is what captivates me, even more than his beauty. Unlike so many other, mythical gods, there is a definite level of certainty that all that is said about him is true. It is only when one begins to dig deeper that the mysteriousness of his story becomes manifest. There is a desperate shortage of evidence from his time, almost nothing at all, and what little is written is rare and clothed in foreign languages. Antinous, because of the peculiarity of his divinization, is not a subject of great philosophical interest as are the other, more popular gods."

And then he hints at the idea of HOMOTHEOSIS:

"The most important impression one receives from his story, which is utterly non-mythological, is that if he could become a God, with a star, and a flower, and an eternal name, then what prevents all of us from following in his trail? Antinous destroys the very concept of Godhood. For the vast majority, this is an incomprehensible concept, but Antinous is not a god of the populous, who remain simple in their acceptance of theology … then as now."

And he says Antinous is the divine spark of Sacred Homosexuality:

"Homosexuals suffer from a terrible lack of Gods and divine heroes. Heterosexuality has an overabundance

He adds: "I don't see the harm in claiming the truth of our one and only patron saint and god. The emphasis of our day, in which homosexuality is gaining acceptability, seems to be on bringing our sexuality into line, and in conformity to the rest of the population. But what we need most is our own identity, not as an aberration, or a peculiarity, or a mere deviation from the norm, but as a sanctification, a sacred state of blessedness. 

"For thousands of years we have been considered a degeneration, a sin, and even a disease of lust. Now people are beginning to see that we are just different, but there is almost no talk, even amongst ourselves, that we are a wonder of the human species, a divine grace, a delicate flower possible only in the most elevated levels of civilization. It is no coincidence that our sexuality has regained the prominence of respect that it knew in the age of the Antonines, and Antinous is the emblem, in my heart, of our blessedness, then as now."

Antonius then says non-pagans balk at our religion, but he also notes that traditional pagans also have problems with the concept of Antinous as the Gay God for the 21st Century, rather than remaining a reconstructed Classical deity from ancient times:

"Already I have encountered the difficulty of explaining what is so personal to an uninformed listener, and this conflict of interest, as it were, may only increase. My only hope is that Antinous has already prepared the way, as he has done with me, and a few others. However difficult and testing his message may be to bring to the world, I trust that those who are prepared to listen will need very little explanation, the truth being already ingrained within the depth of their soul.

"All I can ever do is turn the key that they alone suspected was there, but the door is for them to open. The statues, and the stark reality of his life, show that there are many sides to our Antinous, none of which is ultimately and universally true.

"However much we may delineate and formalize his religion, it must always remain founded on personal connection, and individual truth. 

"I am prepared to say that this is far more simple than it seems, if we are willing to succumb wholly to absolute freedom in ourselves, and in others."

Antonius (writing back in 2002, remember) has a final question ... a question he has posed to each new priest over the years:

"My question is this, if ever you felt yourselves to be secret priests, evangelists of beauty, and missionaries of sacred homosexuality among these barbarians of our age, what would you say to a soul in whom you could plainly see Antinous, just beneath the skin? But more importantly, why would you even mention his name?"

This weekend, as the shadow of the Super Moon Eclipse falls upon the Earth, and as we remember the story of the Lightning Omen on Mons Cassius, it is perhaps good to remember the founding tenets of our religion:

Antinous was a flesh-and-blood human being of lowly birth.

Antinous and Hadrian were male-male lovers.

Antinous died tragically, perhaps in sacrifice for his beloved Emperor.

Hadrian "wept like a woman" and issued a decree establishing the Religion of Antinous … declaring Antinous a God … the last Classical Deity.

And the question for us today is whether we would recognize a modern-day Antinous if he walked up to us on the street, or if we saw him on TV or on the Internet.

More importantly, can we see Antinous in the eyes of all gay men.

Because that's the first place to look for him.

Friday, September 21, 2018

ANTINOUS ENCOUNTERS GNOSTICISM
DURING HIS STAY IN ALEXANDRIA


THE Gnostic Father St. Carpocrates was in Alexandria when the Imperial court arrived in September 130 AD. 

His doctrine of Freedom and Libertinism came to flower shortly after the death and deification of Antinous. 

St. Carpocrates taught that we were all equal to the gods, but that we do not remember our divine origin. 

(Image: "Carpocrates" oil on canvas by Antonius Subia)

The process of self-deification involves exposing ourselves to the angels who ruled over forbidden things so as to be free from their control. 

Homosexuality was considered sacred by Carpocrates because it is a form of love fundamentally free from the process of regeneration. 

St. Carpocrates possessed a copy of the Secret Gospel of Mark, which contained a passage from the life of Jesus in which the Savior reveals the Kingdom of Heaven to a boy by laying naked with him.

Flamen Antonius Subia elaborates:

"While in Alexandria, we believe that Antinous blessed and inspired the young Carpocrates to spread his new philosophy to the world. 

"We observe this moment of transfiguration as the mutual consecration exchanged by Antinous the God and Carpocrates the Gnostic, while Hadrian's entourage boarded the fleet of ships and departed from Alexandria.

"Carpocrates blessed the Sacred Boat as Antinous stepped aboard. The profundity of the Carpocratian message is the heart of the Salvation of Antinous."

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.