Monday, January 18, 2021

NOW THIS IS THE PROPER WAY
TO MAKE NUDES PALATABLE TO PRUDES


IN America and Europe right-wing conservatives are seeking to roll back gains made by LGBTI people and even want to tighten censorship.

With tongue planted firmly in cheek, we suggest that museums might consider dressing Classical statues as hipsters.

French photographer Léo Caillard and art director Alexis Persani have created a tongue-in-cheek photo series that depicts ancient Louvre’s sculptures wearing modern day clothing. 


With the power of a camera and photoshop, these guys show how hilarious two worlds of old and new look combined. 

They call the series STREET STONE and the crackdown on social media nudity shows how timely it is.

We wonder what the sculptors would think if they saw their creations donning hipster chic clothing and accessories. We'd say either rolling in their graves or laughing hysterically. 

It's actually quite amazing how the addition of the clothing instantly gives these guys and girls a personality very separate from the one they had before. 

They gain a bit of edge mixed with some androgynous sex appeal.

This idea could spawn an entire new clothing line. Stone Stylings: Extremely uncomfortable clothing for those who don't move.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

FEATURED ANTINOUS STATUE OF THE DAY
THE ANTINOUS OF ELEUSIS


THIS statue of Antinous from Eleusis - Ἐλευσίς - is the only one that seems to refer back to an incident in his life, his initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries of death and resurrection in September 128 AD.

The sculpture was erected after his death in the outer courtyard of Eleusis and captures this instant of his life, though officially it depicts him as the god Dionysos Zagreus, a divinity of suffering abd resurrection associated with the Eleusinian Mysteries.

Technically it is not one of the best of the depictions of Antinous, but it evokes a mood and a moment.


The sulptor clearly envisaged the young lad draped in his himation, standing in the darkened Telesterion (the initiation hall) and confronted with the Eleusinian Mysteries of death and resurrection.

He clutches at the folds of his himation anxiously, insecure, staring wide-eyed, his mouth pursed in awe, with an expression of apprehension, intent rapture and awareness of the tremendous significance of what was being revealed to him.


Even though it is a mediocre statue in workmanship and details it is redeemed by its expressiveness and pathos.

This statue is now housed in the Archaeological Museum of Eleusis: Antinous as Dionysus Zagreus, Inv. 5092, 1.83 m, in marble of Thasos.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

HADRIAN AND ANTINOUS ENJOYED
THIS ANCIENT GREEK DRINKING GAME



HADRIAN loved all things Greek ... especially Antinous ... so he would have known of this Ancient Greek parlour game ... called kottabos ... and very possibly played it with Antinous at their all-men's drinking parties.

Now a modern scholar has shown her students how to play this time-honored game.

The Ancient Greek SYMPOSIUM (drinking party for men) was a cultural event at which elite men, young and old, reclined on cushioned couches that lined the walls of the andron, the men's quarters of a household. 

They had lively conversations and recited poetry. They were entertained by dancers, flute girls and courtesans. 

They got drunk on wine, and in the name of competition, they hurled their dregs at a target in the center of the room to win prizes like eggs, pastries and sexual favors. Slaves cleaned up the mess.

"Trying to describe this ancient Greek drinking game, kottabos, to my students was always a little bit difficult because we do have these illustrations of it, but they only show one part of the game — where individuals are about to flick some dregs at a target," said Heather Sharpe, an associate professor of art history at West Chester University of Pennsylvania.

"I thought it would be really great if we could actually try to do it ourselves," said Sharpe.

So, with a 3D-printed drinking cup, some diluted grape juice and a handful of willing students, Sharpe did just that. 

She found out that it wasn't impossible to get the hang of kottabos, but the game did require a skilled overhand toss. 

She presented her findings at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America.

Ancient texts and works of art indicate that there were two ways to play kottabos. In one variation, the goal was to knock down a disc that was carefully balanced atop a tall metal stand in the middle of the room. 

In the other variation, there was no metal stand; rather, the goal was to sink small dishes floating in a larger bowl of water. In both versions, participants attempted to hit their target with the leftover wine at the bottom of their kylix, the ancient equivalent of a Solo cup.

The red-and-black kylixes had two looped handles and a shallow but wide body — a shape that perhaps was not the most practical for drinking but lent itself to playful decoration.

Big eyes were sometimes painted on the underside on kylixes so that the drinker would look like he was wearing a mask when he took a hefty sip. 

And the relatively flat, circular inside of the cup, called the tondo, often carried droll or risqué pictures that would be slowly revealed as the wine disappeared. 

The team made mock-up kottabos targets to play both variations of the game. For their andron, Sharpe and her colleagues used one of the art department's drawing rooms (which had a linoleum floor for easy cleanup), and they grabbed a couple padded benches to serve as their couches. Instead of wine, they used watered-down grape juice.

To achieve the best results in kottabos, the participants had to loop a finger through one handle of the kylix and toss the juice overhand, as if they were pitching a baseball

Sharpe said that playing the game proved to be challenging, but she was amazed that some of her students started to hit the target within 10 to 15 minutes.

"It took a fair amount of control to actually direct the wine dregs, and interestingly enough, some of the women were the first to get it," Sharpe told LIVE SCIENCE.

"In some respects, they relied a little bit more on finesse, whereas some of the guys were trying to throw it too hard."

"Another thing we quickly realized is, it must have gotten pretty messy," Sharpe said. "By the end of our experiment we had diluted grape juice all over the floor."

She added, "In a typical symposium setting, in an andron, you would have had couches arranged on almost all four sides of the room, and if you missed the target, you were likely to splatter your fellow symposiast across the way.

"You'd imagine that, by the end of the symposium, you'd be drenched in wine, and your fellow symposiasts would be drenched in wine, too."

Sharpe would eventually like to attempt to play kottabos with real wine, to fully understand how the game would devolve as the participants got tipsy.

"It would be fun to actually experiment with wine drinking," Sharpe said. "Of course, this was a university event, so we couldn't exactly do it on campus. But really, to get the full experiment, it would be interesting to try it after having a kylix of wine, or after having two kylixes of wine."

Friday, January 15, 2021

A PHALLIC AMULET OR TALISMAN
KEPT DOCTOR AWAY IN ANCIENT ROME



IN ancient Roman religion and magic, the fascinus or fascinum was the embodiment of the divine phallus. 

Phallic imagery was everywhere in Ancient Rome: inscribed on paving stones, on pendants and jewelry and as decorative hangings, such as this terracotta fascinus found in Pompeii.

The deity Fascinus was tended by the Vestal Virgins who blessed phallus effigies, amulets and talismans, and spoke enchantments invoke his divine protection. 

Pliny calls it a medicus invidiae, a "doctor" or remedy for envy (invidia, a "looking upon") or the evil eye.

Tintinnabulum hanging wind chimes in gardens warded off insect pests and blights from plants.

A fascinus ring on a child's finger, or pendant around the child's neck served to protect the tot from harm.

Phallic emblems on paving stones were intended to keep away evil spirits who might cause traffic accidents.

A winged phallus whisked harm away with the beat of its wings.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

WE HONOR YUKIO MISHIMA
'THE LOST SAMURAI'


ON January 14 we mark the anniversary of the birth of one of modern Japan's most famous, controversial, and mysterious gay personalities ... and a saint of Antinous.


Yukio Mishima (1925-1970) is regarded as one of 20th-century Japan's most prolific writers, and was the first postwar Japanese writer to achieve international fame. 

Nominated on three occasions for the Nobel Prize for Literature, and author of no less than forty novels, essays, poems, and traditional Japanese kabuki and noh dramas, Mishima’s contribution to Japanese literature was indeed profound.

His samurai-inspired ritual "seppuku"suicide by "hara-kiri" (literally stomach cutting, or disembowelment) and beheading on November 25, 1970, at the young age of 45 marked the end of a life that represented for some, a protest against a post-war Japan that seemed to have lost its traditional identity and values under the tide of mass consumerism, and cultural and political Westernization.

The sharp contrasts between the country he grew up in and the Japan he died in were defining influences in his life, shaping his writings, which often questioned the new Japan and harked for a return to days of old. 

Born Kimitaka Hiraoka in Tokyo on Jan 14, 1925, he assumed the nom de plume  "Yukio Mishima," cryptically interpreted as "He who chronicles reason," so that his disapproving anti-literary father would not know he was a writer. 

It was however his paternal grandmother, Natsuko Hiraoka, who was to have the most lasting impact on his life. A mere 29 days after his birth until his 12th year, Mishima was separated from his family and raised by his sophisticated yet capricious grandmother whose own background and personality shaped his character.

The young protégé was forced to live a very sheltered life in which sports, playing with other boys, and even going out in the sun were off limits. She was the illegitimate daughter of a Meiji era daimyo with familial links to the all powerful Tokugawas and was reared in a princely household, a samurai-influenced upbringing which she did not let others forget and which instilled in her, and by consequence her grandson, a reverence for Japan's past, and the samurai fascination with beauty, purity and death. 

Her noble past and yet not so noble marriage to a successful bureaucrat arguably contributed to her frustrations, characterized by violent outbursts and morbid fixations. 

Her character had a lasting yet undeclared effect on Mishima’s later works and personality, particularly the insatiable desire for perfection in the mind and body, and the terrible beauty of death at the moment of perfection exemplified by the honored cherry blossom.

Mishima's complexities were not only confined to his writings. A fluent speaker of English, Mishima wore Western clothes and lived in a Western style house while espousing a return to his country’s past values and practices. 

Much mystery also surrounds the exact nature of his sexuality, and his frequenting of gay bars such as the now defunct Brunswick bar in Ginza despite a rushed marriage at 33 which produced two children. 

Mishima's interest in homosexuality is clearly illustrated in one of his seminal books, "Confessions of a Mask" (1948) where he tells of a man who conceals his true self and sexuality behind a mask of lies and pretense. This book is regarded by many as a semi-autobiographical account of the author's own life.

According to his biographers, he had also considered a marriage proposal to Michiko Shoda, the current empress and wife of Emperor Akihito.  Biographers such as close friend John Nathan contend that the tragic writer married not for love but for respectability.

At the earlier age of 30, conscious of the inevitability of aging, and desiring bodily "perfection," he embarked on a strict bodybuilding regime that lasted for the rest of his life. 

His longing for a return to a spiritual Japan which respected the bushido (way of the warrior) code inspired his expertise in karate and kendo, martial arts that he contended allowed one to experience the border between life and death. 

His extreme nationalist credentials were most notably illustrated in his founding of the Tatenokai (Shield Society) in 1968, a small private army of mostly university students dedicated to the bushido code and the protection of the emperor and the martial discipline of pre-Meiji era Japan. 

This dedication was not to Hirohito per se, whom he had criticized for "dishonoring" the war dead by surrendering, and for renouncing his divinity after World War II, but rather to the symbolism of the emperor system for traditional Japan.

On November 25, 1970, carrying with him a longing for a return to lost samurai values, and an obsession with a purifying and beautiful death, Mishima and four of his Tatenokai followers, entered the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) headquarters in Ichigaya and attempted a coup d’etat which they hoped would awaken the Japanese from their spiritual and political slumber. 

Stepping out onto a nearby balcony, Mishima was ridiculed and jeered as he attempted in vain to rouse the present JSDF members below him to his cause. Realizing the hopelessness of his efforts, the "Lost Samurai" went back inside for his final act of drama.

Positioning himself in traditional Japanese manner on the floor of the office which they had seized, Mishima proceeded to ritually disembowel himself with a “tanto” (a small sword), exclaiming “Long live the emperor” just before a pre-ordained “kaishakunin” (the one chosen to decapitate Mishima) and later one other, made an initially botched but ultimately effective attempt at beheading the famed author.

Debate surrounds Mishima’s motivations. Attempting a coup d’etat with only four other people was almost certainly going to be a failure. Comments made to Western journalists about hara-kiri in his writings some years earlier might be more insightful.

At that time, the author claimed that "spiritually, I wanted to revive some samurai spirit. I did not want to revive hara-kiri itself but through the vision of such a very strong vision of hara-kiri, I wanted to inspire and stimulate younger people."

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

THE BIRTH OF LUCIUS AELIUS CAESAR


ON January 13th the Religion of Antinous celebrates the birthday of Aelius Caesar.

Lucius Ceionius Commodus Verus was born on January 13th, 101, most likely in Rome. He was from an old wealthy Etruscan family. 

His grandfather, after whom he had been named, had been a Consul and his father a Senator.

(Images by PRIEST UENDI)


Lucius Ceionius was beautiful and elegant, well educated, and was given over to a life of pleasure and voluptuousness.

He was a teenager when Hadrian came to power in 117, and his flamboyant and attractive character was a compliment to his physical beauty that soon gained the attention of the new Emperor.

It is believed that Hadrian and Lucius were lovers during the early years of Hadrian's reign, perhaps for the period of six years prior to Antinous

When Hadrian met Antinous in the year 123, Lucius was 22 years old, and in keeping with the Greek philosophy of pederastic love, it is very likely that their love affair had transformed into what would become a life-long friendship between the Emperor and his now matured Lucius.

Antinous entered Hadrian's heart just as Lucius was moving on to his responsibilities as a patrician citizen of Rome. There were rumors of rivalry, as spoofed in this cartoon by Priest Uendi showing Lucius left, Hadrian at right and Antinous between them.

While Hadrian was courting the young Antinous, Lucius married Domitia Lucilla and had three children by her, one of which was the later Emperor known as Lucius Verus, who is often confused with his father.

After the Death of Antinous, as Hadrian began to grow ill, his attention turned again to his still beloved Lucius, and on August 10, 136, Hadrian surprised the world by adopting Lucius and declaring him to be his successor.

Suspicions abounded, as the eccentric and delicate character of Lucius hardly seemed appropriate to rule the Empire after such a man as Hadrian.

But there must have been more to Lucius than history has preserved. He assumed the name Aelius Caesar, and was sent to govern Pannonia along the Danube, but became ill and returned to Rome in the winter of 137, where he died on January 1st.

He is remembered and adored as a god, as the brother of Antinous, the twin and second love of Hadrian. We call him the Prince of Flowers.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

ANTINOUS NAVIGATOR


ON January 12th, as the Sun moves out of alignment with the STAR OF ANTINOUS, we celebrate the festival of ANTINOUS NAVIGATOR.

Flamen Antonius Subia explains it this way:

"Antinous the Transfigured steps away and The Boat of Millions of Years in One Moment, leaves the shore of the known cosmos, sailing out into the darkness of the abyss on its voyage to the Black Star, the way of the void, where the heaven of Antinous lies concealed beyond the veil of the cloud of unknowing, where he enters the fullness of the Place of Light, and restores the unity of the Aeons.

"This is the Via Negativa whereupon the soul-triumphant is lost in the open space of non-being, awaiting the Dark Bird of Night, the Thunderbird-Phoenix-Eagle that will elevate his heroic spirit to immortality. Only Antinous can guide the Boat of Millions of Years  across this expanse of darkness.

"This journey, which ends as it begins, which arrives as it departs, is the eternal heaven which Antinous has accomplished for all those who are his chosen, who answer his call, and who believe in him."