Monday, December 10, 2018

'THE LOVE GOD' BY MARTIN CAMPBELL
IS A BRILLIANT NOVEL ABOUT ANTINOUS


THE most brilliant novel about Antinous to appear in over half a century ... THE LOVE GOD ... is authored by our own MARTINUS CAMPBELL, priest of Antinous.

While that sounds like biased praise, we Antinomaniacs are hard to please and would not hesitate to pick apart a poorly researched book or one that denigrated Antinous, even if it were written by one of our best friends ... perhaps especially if it were. 

At the same time, a sycophantic book that presented Antinous as being cloyingly sweet and angelic would be unbearable and not believable.

So we are gratified (and greatly relieved) to report that this book truly is a remarkable work of historical fiction right up there with Marguerite Yourcenar's landmark MEMOIRS OF HADRIAN 60 years ago.

Martin traces the life of Antinous from the moment his tousle-haired head emerges from his mother's womb under auspicious stars in Asia Minor to the moment his head sinks beneath the swirling waters of the Nile on a starry evening in Egypt.

Antinous comes to life as a young man of breath-taking beauty who is filled with conflicting passions and loyalties. He is a young man who at times is naive, yet at other times worldly wise with an ability to see the world as it is ... and to describe it with at times brutal honesty to the most powerful man in the world.

Above all, this is a gentle love story between Antinous and Emperor Hadrian, himself a man of contradictory passions and priorities.

Martin himself is a man shares these passions. He has rebounded from a series of debilitating strokes to resume a daunting array of political activism for LGBTIU health and rights issues ... while working on this novel.

Based in a hilltop home overlooking the sea in Brighton England, he spent the best part of a decade researching this novel, retracing the footsteps of Antinous across Greece and Italy, as far north as Hadrian's Wall and as far south as the Nile in Upper Egypt.

Historical facts are excruciatingly accurate ... even the positions of the stars and planets at the moment of the birth of Antinous have been calculated to precision.

An academic scholar can read this book with satisfaction, noting obscure and arcane references which only the experts in the field of Antinology fully appreciate.

At the same time, however, this is a fun book to read even for those who have never heard of Antinous in their lives and who have no firm grasp of Roman civilization in the 2nd Century AD.

There is intrigue, skulduggery, near-death by lightning, getting lost in a subterranean labyrinth, a storm at sea, earthquakes ... and some fairly hot man sex as well, albeit tastefully brought to the page.

The narrator is the Classical Love God himself: Eros. He shoots his amorous arrows and ensures that Antinous and Hadrian fulfill the destiny which the Fates have in store for them ... despite efforts by certain people in the Imperial Court to thwart the Fates.

But the genius of this book is that there are no black-and-white villains or heroes. Antinous is a young man with all the problems and drives of late adolescence. Hadrian is a man with a mid-life crisis of doubt and regret.

Others such as Empress Sabina and her constant companion Julia Balbilla and their coterie of fawning courtiers and freedmen are not really hateful towards Antinous so much as they are simply perplexed by him. 

They view him the way some members of the Royal Household might look at the favorite Corgi of the Queen, unable to comprehend her affection for it, her grief when it dies.

They whisper amongst themselves: What hold does Antinous have over Hadrian? 

Just who does he think he is? And is he a threat to them? 

What is so different about Antinous that Hadrian doesn't grow weary of him ... as he always has with previous toy boys? 

Because they cannot understand how he fits in the scheme of Imperial court life, some really rather wish he would just disappear ... voluntarily or otherwise. 

And through it all is the boyhood friend of Antinous who has accompanied him on this long journey with mixed feelings and with growing envy and jealousy. 

The boiling emotions all stem from Eros, who winks knowingly at the reader as he shoots one arrow after another with unerring accuracy to ensure that Antinous fulfills his destiny ... to take his place alongside Eros as a God of Love.

The result is a richly entertaining and beautifully written novel which appeals to those seeking authoritative scholarly accuracy as well as readers who just want a riveting and memorable adventure yarn.

The Love God is available as Kindle and as a paperback ... CLICK HERE to order.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

THIS COLORFUL GOBLET REVEALS
ROMANS WERE NANOTECH EXPERTS



THIS colorful 1,600-year-old glass goblet shows the Romans were experts at nanotechnology, according to scientists.

The glass chalice, known as the Lycurgus Cup because it bears a scene involving King Lycurgus of Thrace, appears jade green when lit from the front but blood-red when lit from behind—a property that puzzled scientists for decades after the museum acquired the cup in the 1950s.

The mystery wasn't solved until researchers in England scrutinized broken fragments under a microscope and discovered that the Roman artisans were nanotechnology pioneers, according to a report in SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE.

They impregnated the glass with particles of silver and gold, ground down until they were as small as 50 nanometers in diameter, less than one-thousandth the size of a grain of table salt.

The exact mixture of the precious metals suggests the Romans knew what they were doing ... "an amazing feat," says one of the researchers, archaeologist Ian Freestone of University College London (UCL).

The ancient nanotech works something like this: When hit with light, electrons belonging to the metal flecks vibrate in ways that alter the color depending on the observer's position.

 Gang Logan Liu, an engineer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who has long focused on using nanotechnology to diagnose disease, and his colleagues realized that this effect offered untapped potential.

"The Romans knew how to make and use nanoparticles for beautiful art," Liu says. "We wanted to see if this could have scientific applications."

When various fluids filled the cup, Liu suspected, they would change how the vibrating electrons in the glass interacted, and thus the color.

The original 4th Century AD Lycurgus Cup, probably taken out only for special occasions, depicts King Lycurgus ensnared in a tangle of grapevines, presumably for evil acts committed against Dionysus, the Greek god of wine.


If inventors manage to develop a new detection tool from this ancient technology, it'll be Lycurgus' turn to do the ensnaring.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

ANTINOOPOLIS ERA EGYPTIAN PRIEST
WROTE A TALE OF PRIESTLY SEX


AN EGYPTIAN priest living in the heyday of the city of ANTINOOPOLIS wrote a steamy fictional story of priestly sex, according to a recently deciphered papyrus text.

The crumbling papyrus was found at the famed Tebtunis Library — a cache of thousands of papyrus scrolls at a temple complex in the Fayoum Oasis not far from Antinoopolis. 

The papyrus is believed to be 1,900 years old, which would make the author a contemporary of the nearby Priests of Antinous at Antinoopolis, only a short boat ride up the Nile from Tebtunis.

Thousands of scrolls were found at Tebtunis, few of which have been translated. This scroll is currently in Florence, Italy, in the Istituto Papirologico "G. Vitelli."

The newly deciphered tale refers several times to priests dressing up, wearing makeup, partying and having sex. At one point a speaker implores a person to "drink fully. Eat fully. Sing" and to "don fancy dress, anoint (yourself), adorn the eyes, and enjoy sexual bliss."

The narrator of the story adds that the chief deity of his temple, the vulture goddess Mut, will not let you "be distant from drunkenness on any day. She will not allow you to be lacking in any (manner)."

The narrator defends his views by saying, "As for those who have called me evil, Mut will 'call' them evil."

Christian writers at the time harshly condemned Egyptian priests in general, and the Priests of Antinous in particular, for engaging in what they called "debaucheries" and "wanton sexual perversities" in the name of religious ecstasy.

So it is possible this story was a reaction to the prudishness of the fanatical Christians, who insisted that Jesus was virginal and sexually abstinent, as were his priests.

Researchers know the story is fictional because it employs an Egyptian noun used only in fiction to mark separate sections of a story.  They know when it was written because the priest wrote in DEMOTIC, which was the Egyptian script used during the Roman occupation of Egypt.

Reconstructing the overall plot narrative of the papyrus is tricky. The text is fragmentary, and researchers cannot be certain how the full story unfolded since there are large "lacunae" or gaps where bugs have eaten away sections of the text.

"Conceivably, we have here the remains of an account of how an adherent of the goddess Mut persuaded another individual to devote himself to her worship or join in her rites," according to the researchers, professors Richard Jasnow and Mark Smith, who published their translation and analysis of the papyrus in the most recent edition of the journal Enchoria.

Jasnow, from Johns Hopkins University, and Smith, from Oxford, write that evidence of ritual sex is  rare in ancient Egypt and the act probably would have been controversial in earlier ages.

"There is surprisingly little unequivocal Egyptian evidence for the performance of the sex act as such in ritual contexts," Jasnow and Smith write.


Thus it is possible that the ancient priest was writing a tongue-in-cheek satire lampooning the prudishness of contemporary Christian writers who accused Egyptian pagans of lasciviousness in their temples.

Friday, December 7, 2018

A VOYAGE TO PARADISE WITH ANTINOUS
ABOARD HIS CELESTIAL BARQUE



ALL those who believe in Antinous the Gay God hold a ticket for the Barque of Millions of Years. We will all be together, making our way towards the unseen Dark Star. This is a journey to paradise with Antinous...he will circle the Sun until the last one of us has boarded..and then we will set forth away into interstellar space until we reach his unseen star...which is a gateway to other worlds beyond.

Todos aqueles que acreditam em Antinous, o Deus Gay, têm um bilhete para o Barque de Milhões de Anos. Estaremos todos juntos, fazendo o nosso caminho rumo à Estrela Negra invisível. Esta é uma viagem ao paraíso com Antinous ... ele circundará o Sol até que o último de nós tenha embarcado ... e então iremos para o espaço interestelar até chegar à sua estrela invisível ... que é uma porta de entrada para Outros mundos além.

Todos los que creen en Antinous el Dios Gay tienen un boleto para la Barca de Millones de Años. Estaremos todos juntos, haciendo nuestro camino hacia la Estrella Oscura invisible. Esto es un viaje al paraíso con Antinous ... él circundará el Sol hasta que el último de nosotros ha abordado ... y entonces partiremos lejos en el espacio interestelar hasta que alcancemos su estrella invisible ... que es una entrada a Otros mundos más allá.


~ANTONIUS SUBIA

Thursday, December 6, 2018

NEFERTITI SURVIVED THE FALL OF EGYPT
AND EVEN THE FALL OF THE 3RD REICH


AN alluring mystery has surrounded this famous bust of Nefertiti since its discovery on December 6, 1912, incredibly intact and sporting vibrant colours, after lying in forgotten in the sands since the tumultuous days at the close of the reign of Pharaoh Akhenaton, one of the most enigmatic rulers of all time.

It was found by a German archaeologist in the ruins of a sculptor's house at Tell el-Amarna ... 20 km south of ANTINOOPOLIS.

In 1913, the Ottoman Empire agreed to allow its finders, part-time German-Jewish archaeologist and full-time entrepreneur James Simon and his Prussian colleague Ludwig Borchardt, to retain possession of the bust.

The simmering controversy between Egypt and Germany boiled over anew when a German news magazine printed excerpts from documents which allegedly indicated Borchardt deliberately used subterfuge to "smuggle" the bust out of Egypt. 

The documents are not new to scholars, however, who say Borchardt and Simon did not need to be devious. 

Instead, the Ottoman Empire officials simply failed to appreciate the artistic value of the artefact.

Despite persistent rumors that Borchardt and Simon smuggled out the bust under a coating of mud, the plain truth of the matter is that Ottoman authorities failed to recognize the bust as a masterpiece. In those days, the stark style of the Amarna Period was not viewed to be as valuable as more traditional styles of other periods.

Borchardt and Simon, however, immediately recognized the bust's appeal to European tastes for Art Nouveau and other post-Victorian styles. They did indeed breathe a sigh of relief when the Ottoman authorities blindly gave their stamp of approval to their request for removal from Egypt.

Borchardt and Simon carted it off to Europe where Simon displayed Nefertiti prominently in his home in Berlin before later lending it to the Berlin museum and finally donating it in 1920 to the Berlin collection.
The discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922 spawned an Egypto-mania craze as well as the Art Deco style.

King Tut's treasures flaunted the "decadent" style of the late 18th Dynasty, and Nefertiti suddenly was a fashion trend-setter.

Crowds flocked to the Berlin museum in to see Nefertiti and shame-faced Egyptian authorities realized they had made a ghastly mistake a decade earlier.

"They suddenly realized that this bust, which had been dismissed as 'un-Egyptian' in 1913, was in fact one of the most exquisite examples of Egyptian art," the Berliner Zeitung newspaper quoted one expert as saying.

In 1933 the Egyptian government demanded Nefertiti's return - the first of many such demands over the decades to come. One of the many titles Hermann Goering held was premier of Prussia (which included Berlin) and, acting in that capacity, Goering suggested to King Fouad I of Egypt that Nefertiti would soon be back in Cairo.

But Hitler had other plans. Through the ambassador to Egypt, Eberhard von Stohrer, Hitler informed the Egyptian government that he was an ardent fan of Nefertiti:

"I know this famous bust," the fuehrer wrote. "I have viewed it and marvelled at it many times. Nefertiti continually delights me. The bust is a unique masterpiece, an ornament, a true treasure!"

Hitler said Nefertiti had a place in his dreams of rebuilding Berlin and renaming it Germania.

"Do you know what Im going to do one day? I'm going to build a new Egyptian museum in Berlin," Hitler went on.

"I dream of it. Inside I will build a chamber, crowned by a large dome. In the middle, this wonder, Nefertiti, will be enthroned. 

"I will never relinquish the head of the Queen," Hitler vowed. 

(Cartoon by ALLYSTERIO)

While he did not mention it at the time, Hitler envisioned more for the museum. There was to be an even larger hall of honour, with a bust of Hitler.

It was rumoured immediately after World War II that Hitler had commissioned a copy of the bust for possible handover to the Egyptians after a Nazi victory. 

American Allied art experts claimed they found two wooden crates in a salt mine south of Berlin where the German capital's museum art treasures had been placed by the Germans for safekeeping during bombing raids. The two crates allegedly contained identical Nefertiti busts.

But in post-war confusion, one of the crates got lost. The whereabouts of the "other Nefertiti" are unknown - assuming it ever existed to start with. 

From time to time over the years, there have been reports suggesting that the fake bust survived and that the genuine bust is lost. A recent documentary on Germany's ZDF television network revived that theory.

But a series of new CT scans come to the rescue. 

They prove once and for all that the bust on view in Berlin is indeed genuine. 

Whether there ever was a duplicate is now a moot point.

The exquisite limestone bust of Queen Nefertiti forms the focal point of the Berlin collection, which ranks among the top two or three collections in the world outside Egypt itself.


The British Museum, the Louvre in Paris and the Metropolitan in New York are the only chief rivals to Berlin's collection, which spans all eras from the pre-Dynastic period all the way through to Roman times.

Hitler's dreams of a monolithic new Egyptian museum never materialized. Hitler and his mad dreams are long dead. But Nefertiti continues to smile serenely. As she has for 3,300 years. As if to say, this too shall pass. And I shall endure.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

MEET SANTA'S HELPERS
KRAMPUS AND ANTINOUS/APOLLO



EVER wonder about the origin of Santa's reindeer? They echo Pan, satyrs and fauns who had their own festival in December.

December 5th and 6th is the ancient Roman feast of the Faunalia ... which ironically is still celebrated in Europe and Latin America by millions of children ... who get a visit from Santa and his horned helpers.

Millions of kiddies know that you put your shoe outside the door on the evening of December 5th and that St. Nicholas will fill it goodies on December 6th ... the Feast Day of St. Nicholas.

Children who have been good receive sweets and toys ... but children who have been naughty are punished by St. Nick's furry helpers.

What few people realize is that old St. Nick is related to Antinous/Apollo ... and his helpers are Pan and his hordes of satyrs and fauns.

The pagan history shows that St. Nicholas is a vastly more complex being than most Christians could imagine, stemming from the Temples of Apollo and Artemis in Asia Minor (the birth country of Antinous) which would later be the birthplace of the mythical Nicholas.

The truth is that when you see a department store Santa, you are seeing only a composite being whose multitudinous composite aspects (many of them very dark and spooky) trace their origins back to the beginnings of mankind.

If you look very, very carefully, you will see the face of Antinous/Apollo shining through the centuries of folk customs under a variety of names including Santa, Sinter Klaas, das Christkind and Kriss Kringle.

In some parts of Central  Europe, St. Nick goes from house to house on December 6th accompanied by a coterie that includes figures resembling Pan, Apollo and Artemis (Austrian Alps photo right).

 The legend of St. Nicholas begins in the Turkish town of Patara in Asia Minor which was also the birth land of Antinous. Patara was also the birth place of Apollo and a famous oracle was located there.

Apollo's sister Artemis also had a cult center in nearby Myra, where Nicholas grew up and allegedly became a "bishop." Myra's main cult was dedicated to Artemis Eleuthera, a distinctive form of Cybele, the ancient mother-goddess of Anatolia. She had a magnificent temple in Myra.

Unfortunately, St. Nicholas was zealous in his duties as bishop and took strong measures against paganism. The temple of Artemis and the Apollo oracle were among many other temples in the region that he destroyed. It is said that the very foundations were uprooted from the ground, so complete was its destruction, "and the evil spirits fled howling before him".

St. Nicholas was never officially canonized by the Church. He simply usurped the popularity of Artemis and Apollo and promoted his own reputation for being a protector and a giver of good things.

Antinous/Apollo more or less morphed into Old St. Nick, aka Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Sinter Klaas, das Christkind and Kriss Kringle.

And in a lot of places, Santa has several dark and scary sidekicks — all related to Pan, who also originated in Asia Minor.

In the Alps, Santa's helpers take the form of a demonized Pan who chases and abducts children who have been naughty. He is called Krampus and, thanks to the Internet, Krampus is becoming widely known in English-speaking countries.

In the Nordic and English version, of course, all that is left of Krampus with his horns and hooves and fur is the reindeer which accompany Santa's sleigh. 

In Holland, St. Nick is accompanied on December 5th/6th by a Moorish youth wearing a turban and fur-trimmed costume called Svarte Piet, who delights in teasing naughty children.

In English-speaking countries, prudish Victorians stripped Santa of all his impish devilry. Santa is nice to all and punishes no one. 

In Europe, Santa's Dark Side still prowls — marches defiantly, in fact. In a way, the Anglo-American Santa Claus was lobotomized by the Victorians so that he is only docile and sweet-humoured.

But to understand the REAL Santa Claus, you have to understand his Darker Side. You have to understand where Santa is coming from, literally....

He is composite spirit being who in English-speaking countries is called St. Nicholas, Santa Claus or Father Christmas.

But the deeper you go back into the forests of Europe, the more differentiated this ancient being becomes so that you see his various  component parts — including Antinous-Apollo — all competing against each other — sometimes morphing into each other.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

MODERN PRIEST OF ANTINOUS FEATURED
IN THIS BBC DOCUMENTARY SERIES



ANTINOUS is a star in the BBC Four documentary series  TREASURES OF ANCIENT ROME, which is being aired Mondays in Britain this month.

This documentary was made with the help and advice of the modern Priests of Antinous. The BBC approached us, asking for a priest who could be interviewed on-air for the series. So we have been in on it since the beginning.

Priest Hernestus (above left) took part in shooting for the documentary at the Louvre, and was interviewed on camera by show host ALASTAIR SOOKE to explain the significance of Antinous not only in ancient times but also his continuing legacy up to the present day.

One of Britain's leading art critics and presenters of BBC arts documentary series, Alastair Sooke (above right) traces how the Romans went from being art thieves and copycats to pioneering a new artistic style ... warts 'n' all realism. 

Roman portraits reveal what the great names from history, men like Julius Caesar and Cicero ... and Antinous ... actually looked like. 

In the series, Hernestus explains to the audience the impact Antinous has had on art throughout the ages and the impact he continues to make even today. 

In other segments, modern-day artists demonstrate the ingenious techniques used to create these true to life masterpieces in marble, bronze and paint.

If you live outside Britain you can watch the Antinous episode that features Priest Hernestus here ... fast-forward to 47:00 minutes: