Thursday, February 28, 2013



ON February 28th and March 1st the Religion of Antinous marks Three Holy Days involving the Divine Antoninus Pius.

On February 28th we celebrate the Adoption of Antoninus Pius by Hadrian. And on March 1st we commemorate the Apotheosis of Antoninus Pius . Also on March 1st, we celebrate the Ascension of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus.

After the death of Aelius Caesar, Hadrian adopted Antoninus, imposing on him the condition that he adopt two sons, Lucius Verus and Marcus Antoninus to be his successors. Antoninus supported the dying Hadrian for the remainder of his years, and obeyed his commands even after his death. For this Antoninus is called Pius.

As the Fates would have it, March 1st is the date when Antoninus Pius died in 161 AD after 23 years as Emperor. His rule is marked by an almost unbroken period of peace and tranquility. The golden era of Rome, known as the Age of the Antonines, takes its name from Antoninus, because every emperor afterward took up his name as an emblem of glory. Antoninus is the emperor most responsible for the perpetuation of the Religion of Antinous.

He had served as Proconsul of Asia Minor under Hadrian from 130 to 135, while the Religion of Antinous was being formed, and it was during his reign that construction of the Sacred City of Antinoopolis was completed.

The Senate deified Antoninus Pius shortly after his death. The base of the column erected in his honor, shows Antoninus Pius and his wife Faustina the elder, rising up to heaven. They are ascending upon the wings of an Aeon, with Mother Rome on one side, and a beautiful reclining male figure on the other who grasps an obelisk. We believe this figure to be Antinous, guardian spirit of the Age of the Antonines.

Upon the occasion of the Death and Apotheosis of Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus became co-Emperors, both surnamed Antoninus, a name which the ancient Romans equate with inestimable glory.

Marcus being the elder and wiser, was given the title Augustus, while Lucius took the name Caesar. They remained cordial to one another though their vastly different characters were always a cause of discord, though never of rivalry or outright animosity. They were a harmonious and cooperative pair of rulers, the only example of effective imperial brotherhood in the long history of Rome.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013



THIS year major museum exhibitions in Madrid and London focus on the destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum in the 79 AD eruption of Vesuvius.

But archaeologists are alarmed that those precious sites are now falling to ruin again ... as wind, rain, and thieving tourists threaten to remove the last vestiges that the volcano's lava and pyroclastic surges missed 1,934 years ago.

To help avert a second disaster whose ramifications would be irreversible, experts have opened a Virtual Archaeological Museum at Herculaneum which offers visitors and archaeologists alike an in-depth look at the site ... without further endangering the actual ruins.

The MUSEO ARCHAEOLOGICO VIRTUALE (MAV) is just a stone’s throw away from the archaeological dig at the ancient Herculaneum.

It is one of the most advanced centers of culture and technology applied to Cultural Heritage and communication in Italy.

It houses a unique and extraordinary museum: a virtual and interactive tour during which visitors experience the emotion of travelling back in time to the moment before the eruption of 79 AD, described by Pliny, which destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Over seventy multimedia installations bring back the life and splendor of the main archaeological areas of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Baia, Stabia and Capri.

Through scene reconstructions, visual interfaces and holograms, you are led into a virtual dimension, experiencing the archaeological heritage interactively by exploiting the new opportunities off ered by multimedia technologies.

The MAV is a place for learning and understanding, where the real and the imaginary meet to give life to new ways of learning and of entertainment.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 25, 2013



THE Roman Forum becomes a 3-D, 360 degree interactive panorama, thanks to state-of-the art digital technology.

Now experts around the world ... along with armchair enthusiasts ... can zoom in and look at monuments in high-definition resolution with click-on tabs for information on the most important and significant places.

The project was developed by INDISSOLUBLE of Spain.

CLICK HERE for your stroll through the Forum Romanum.

Sunday, February 24, 2013



ANTINOUS will be one of the highlights of this year's annual celebration of LGBT History Month at London's PETRIE MUSEUM OF EGYPTIAN ARCHAEOLOGY at 6:00 p.m. on February 26th.

Interesting speakers discuss objects and LGBT life in the ancient world, including, of course, Antinous.

In addition, they will be playing a pre-recorded contribution from Prof Greg Woods, poet and Professor of Gay and Lesbian Studies at Nottingham Trent University, on Marguerite Yourcenar's interpretation of Antinous, which includes a reading of his own 1998 poem, "Favourite." 

The evening will conclude with a live performance of the fabulous Bette Bourne and his Bloolips partner Paul Shaw's funny and somewhat poignant recreation of the first meeting of Hadrian and Antinous from their 1993 show, "Get Hur" ... they alone are well worth seeing and will provide a fabulous and unique finale to the evening.

Comedian and actor Tom Allen, artist Andrew Prior, writers Joseph Lidster and James Goss, Public Astronomer Marek Kukula, the Editor of Gay Star News Tris Reid-Smith, and the Director of Camden LGBT Forum Lou Hart will be in conversation with Egyptologist John J Johnston at this year's event to mark the celebration of LGBT History Month.

Drawing from the Petrie's collection of some 80,000 artefacts from ancient Egypt, including figurines, mummy portraits and ceramics, guests will present their personal choice of object and reflect on what it tells them about life, love and sexuality in the ancient world.

There will be additional contributions from pianist Mark Viner. It promises to be a fascinating and entertaining evening.

For more details:

Saturday, February 23, 2013



A mosaic featuring an Eros figure fishing on horse sea serpent has been hailed by experts in Turkey as the first-ever mosaic portrayal of the fabled hippocampus of myth and lore.

The unique find was made in the southern province of Adana’s Yumurtalık district and shows Eros astride a creature whose front half is that of a horse (Greek "hippo") and whose rear half is that of a monster (Greek "kampos").

It is claimed to be the one and only such mosaic in the world.

Made up of marble, glass and stone, the mosaic is estimated to date back to the late Roman or early Byzantine era.

The Adana Museum Directorate has initiated archaeological excavations in the region where the mosaic was discovered. One week ago the existence of a villa was determined in the area. The villa was thought to be owned by a top state official and the Eros mosaic was revealed when a part of the villa was excavated.

Yumurtalık Deputy Mayor Erdol Erden said the Eros mosaic was found during a one-week excavation.

"We found young and adult Eros figures in the villa. Experts say that these figures were the first and only such figures in the world," Erden said.

The hippocampus comes from both Phoenician and Greek mythology, and is said to have served the God of seas, earthquakes and horses – none other than Poseidon.

They would draw his chariot, or he was often seen riding one

It is believed that sailors sometimes drowned horses as a sacrifice to Poseidon to ensure a safe voyage.

Friday, February 22, 2013


ONE of the world's earliest carvings conveying human sexuality shows homosexuality was common, even over 3,000 years ago

The Kangjiashimenji Petroglyphs, rock carvings found in a remote region in northwest China, show a fertility ritual.

Archaeologist Wang Binghua discovered the symbols in the late 1980s, but little has been written about them.

In a new report from Mary Mycio, the carvings show 100 figures which abstractly depicts different ways of expressing sexuality.

While carvings have been found dating back over 20,000 years, these petroglyphs are probably the most explicit and intricate.

Mycio writes: "The few scholars who have studied the petroglyphs think that the larger-than-life hourglass figures that begin the tableau symbolize females. They have stylized triangular torsos, shapely hips and legs, and they wear conical headdresses with wispy decorations.

"Male images are smaller triangles with stick legs and bare heads. Ithyphallic is archeology-talk for 'erect penis,' and nearly all of the males have one.

"A third set of figures appear to be bisexual. Combining elements of males and females, they are ithyphallic but wear female headwear, a decoration on the chest, and sometimes a mask. They might be shamans.

Mycio describes four fully-developed scenes, beginning at a height of 30 feet.

In the first, nine large women and two small men dance in a circle while a dual-gender person to the side shows off an obvious erection.

The second scene shows women and men dancing in a frenzy around a large erect dual-gender person about to penetrate a small female. On the left, another bisexual in a money mask is about to penetrate another faceless person.

The next scene is smaller, showing a chorus line of infants emerging from a female being penetrated simultaneously by a male and a bisexual while three other erect males await their turn.

In the last full scene, it contains no women at all.

Mycio writes: "Ithyphallic males and a bisexual take part in a frenzied dance. One male seems to have his arm around another while a loner near the bottom seems to be masturbating as a parade of tiny infants streams from his erection. It looks a lot like a frat party."

It could be argued the bisexuals are not people attracted to both genders, as the figures could be transgendered or similar to the ‘two-spirit’ people found in North American tribes.

Thursday, February 21, 2013



KING Tutankhamun was not murdered and his mother was Nefertiti, according to a new theory which is sending shock waves through the Egyptological community.

The expert is also convinced the King Tut's formal royal tomb has yet to be discovered, and that the one found by Howard Carter was only a makeshift tomb, according to a report in THE HARVARD GAZETTE.

French Egyptologist Marc Gabolde offered the shockingly different interpretation of historical and DNA evidence to academic colleages at Harvard University.

Speaking at Harvard's Science Center, Gabolde said he is convinced that Tut's mother was not his father Akhenaten's sister, but rather his father's first cousin, Nefertiti.

Nefertiti was already known to be Akhenaten's wife and in fact the two had six daughters. Gabolde believes they also had a son, Tutankhamun, and that the apparent genetic closeness revealed in the DNA tests was not a result of a single brother-to-sister mating, but rather due to three successive generations of marriage between first cousins.

"The consequence of that is that the DNA of the third generation between cousins looks like the DNA between a brother and sister," said Gabolde, the director of the archaeological expedition of Université Paul Valery-Montpellier III in the Royal Necropolis at el-Amarna.

"I believe that Tutankhamun is the son of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, but that Akhenaten and Nefertiti were cousins," he said.

Gabolde's talk, "Unknown Aspects of Tutankhamun’s Reign, Parentage, and Tomb Treasure," was sponsored by Harvard's Semitic Museum and the Harvard Department of Anthropology. It was hosted by Peter Der Manuelian, the Philip J. King Professor of Egyptology.

Tutankhamun was a pharaoh some 3,300 years ago. He was made pharaoh at age 8 or 9 and ruled for about 10 years. In his talk, Gabolde covered some of the scarce known details of his life and his burial.

Tut's tomb, Gabolde said, was not intended as such. The real — and undiscovered — tomb, he said, was probably under construction when he died at 19, and is likely somewhere in the Valley of Kings, on the Nile.

The place where he was actually buried was probably not intended for a royal burial but hurriedly prepared when Tut died unexpectedly, most likely of an infection that took hold when he broke his leg.

Genetic investigation continues to uncover more about King Tut, Egypt’s most famous pharaoh. Marc Gabolde, the director of the archaeological expedition of Université Paul Valery-Montpellier III, told his Harvard audience that he is convinced that Tut’s mother was his father’s first cousin, Nefertiti.

In recent years, DNA analysis has shed light on the parents of Egypt’s most famous pharaoh, the boy king Tutankhamun, known to the world as King Tut. Genetic investigation identified his father as Akhenaten and his mother as Akhenaten’s sister, whose name was unknown.

French Egyptologist Marc Gabolde offered a different interpretation of the DNA evidence on Thursday. Speaking at Harvard’s Science Center, Gabolde said he’s convinced that Tut’s mother was not his father’s sister, but rather his father’s first cousin, Nefertiti.

Nefertiti was already known to be Akhenaten’s wife and in fact the two had six daughters. Gabolde believes they also had a son, Tutankhamun, and that the apparent genetic closeness revealed in the DNA tests was not a result of a single brother-to-sister mating, but rather due to three successive generations of marriage between first cousins.

“The consequence of that is that the DNA of the third generation between cousins looks like the DNA between a brother and sister,” said Gabolde, the director of the archaeological expedition of Université Paul Valery-Montpellier III in the Royal Necropolis at el-Amarna. “I believe that Tutankhamun is the son of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, but that Akhenaten and Nefertiti were cousins.”

Gabolde’s talk, “Unknown Aspects of Tutankhamun’s Reign, Parentage, and Tomb Treasure,” was sponsored by Harvard’s Semitic Museum and the Harvard Department of Anthropology. It was hosted by Peter Der Manuelian, the Philip J. King Professor of Egyptology.

Tutankhamun was a pharaoh some 3,300 years ago. He was made pharaoh at age 8 or 9 and ruled for about 10 years. In his talk, Gabolde covered some of the scarce known details of his life and his burial.

Tut’s tomb, Gabolde said, was not intended as such. The real — and undiscovered — tomb, he said, was probably under construction when he died at 19, and is likely somewhere in the Valley of Kings, on the Nile. The place where he was actually buried was probably not intended for a royal burial but hurriedly prepared when Tut died unexpectedly, most likely of an infection that took hold when he broke his leg.

"Nobody could imagine he would die so young," Gabolde said.

Other details of Tut's life, which Gabolde has pieced together from carved images and inscriptions, include a military campaign in Syria, in which he likely didn't personally take part. Tut also was interested in Nubia, a region in southern Egypt and northern Sudan.

Inscriptions on a fan that belonged to Tut showed him hunting ostriches, whose feathers were used to make the fan. In addition, Gabolde said, a staff found in Tut's tomb had inscriptions that showed it was made of a tall reed, cut by Tut himself in a city on the Nile delta.

Gabolde also traced an ornament that was found with Tut when he was discovered in 1922, but had since disappeared. Gabolde said he believes the golden hawk-head clasp, part of a broad collar worn by Tut, is in a private collection, sold by Tut discoverer Howard Carter to pay for surgery later in his life.

The rest of the broad collar was stolen during World War II, Gabolde said.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


A gleaming new city rises from the desert on the banks of the Nile in the 2nd Century AD.

Julius Fidus Aquila oversees construction of the city of ANTINOOPOLIS at Hadrian's personal command. 

At his side is a centurion wearing the Lorica Segmentata ... and a slave who clearly thanks the Gods that he is only serving beverages ... and not toiling in the hot Egyptian sun.

The city rose on the shores of the Nile where Antinous died in October 130 AD during an Imperial tour of Egypt. Hadrian had arrived in Egypt intent on founding a city ... as Alexander the Great had done ... and as Hadrian had done. The death and deification of ANTINOUS THE GAY GOD turned Hadrian's plan into reality.

Antinoopolis became a model of Hadrian's dreams for creating the perfect civilization based on Hellenistic principles of tolerance, beauty and learning.

Financial and economic incentives encouraged influential people to move to and invest in the city ...

Great colonnaded streets were lined with fine homes and merchants offering wares from throughout the empire ...

Magnificent temples and a large theater were constructed of the finest stone ...

A hippodrome modeled on Rome's Circus Maximus served as the focal point of Games held in honor of Antinous which drew athletes, poets and artists from all corners of the empire to compete for riches and honorary citizenship in the city.

It was the capital city of the Thebais district in the heart of Egypt ... a center of commerce, art, learning and religious fervor for centuries to come ....

(Image courtesy ANCIENT GREECE SPARTA TROY the best source on Facebook for Hellenistic art and culture.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


THE Etruscans were native to the Italian peninsula, contrary to Ancient Roman prejudices that the Etruscans were barbarians from Asia Minor.

Using DNA fingerprinting, archaeo-geneticists have determined that the Etruscans are more closely related to other Italian peoples than they are to those in modern-day Turkey, former Asia Minor.

In fact, they are genetically identical with the Romans themselves, which would be a slap in the face to any Patrician in Ancient Rome.

The Roman view was that the Etruscans were interlopers who arrived on the shores of the Italian peninsula and had to be crushed by noble Romans.

The Etruscan culture is documented in Etruria, Central Italy, from the 8th to the 1st Century BC. For more than 2,000 years there has been disagreement on the Etruscans’ biological origins, whether local or in Anatolia.

Genetic affinities with both Tuscan and Anatolian populations have been reported, but all attempts have failed to fit the Etruscans' and modern populations in the same genealogy ... until now.

Now a team of scientists led by Guido Barbujani, a geneticist at the University of Ferrara, and David Caramelli, anthropologist with University of Florence, have solved the 2,000-year-old mystery of the origin of the Etruscans.

They extracted and typed the hypervariable region of mitochondrial DNA of 14 individuals buried in two Etruscan cemeteries, analyzing them along with other Etruscan and Medieval samples, and 4,910 contemporary individuals from the Mediterranean basin.

Comparing ancient (30 Etruscans, 27 Medieval individuals) and modern DNA sequences (370 Tuscans), with the results of millions of computer simulations, the scientists showed that the Etruscans can be considered ancestral, with a high degree of confidence, to the current inhabitants of Casentino and Volterra.

But they are not the ancestors of the contemporary population of Asia Minor.

They determined that the genetic links between Tuscany and Anatolia went off in different directions at least 5,000 years ago, strongly suggesting that the Etruscan culture developed locally on the Italian peninsula, and not as an immediate consequence of immigration from the Eastern Mediterranean shores.

Monday, February 18, 2013


FEBRUARY 18th is the day when the Religion of Antinous honors Michelangelo, who died on this date.

Saint Michelangelo was the ultimate Renaissance Man, a painter/sculptor/architect/engineer, a man of art and science. A man torn between his passions and his religion. In the Renaissance, his voluptuous depictions of the male form were accepted as expressions of the Divine in art. It was the Victorians who went into denial over any hint that he may have been gay, despite the fact that he never married.

His male art is done with a passion for detail and obvious love of the male form. The only females he sculpted were maternal figures.

In 1532, he met a handsome young nobleman called Tommaso de Cavalieri. Michelangelo was struck by a romantic feeling that simply would not go away. He wrote sonnet after sonnet for the man as well as producing some rather "personal" sketches for his eyes only.

Michelangelo executed a number of exquisite ink sketches of Jove's Abduction of the beautiful youth Ganymede.

Michelangelo most certainly knew that Jove and Ganymede were synonymous with Hadrian and Antinous. As a man of art and science, all he had to do was look at the nighttime sky and see the Constellation of Antinous (formerly the Constellation of Ganymede).

An older man enthralled with a handsome youth. Our modern concept of "gayness" did not exist. But did he really have to spell it out to Tommaso any more clearly than that?

For thirty-odd years, the two were constant companions, but Michelangelo? s passions did not end there. During his relationship with Cavalieri, he also wrote about some deep feelings for other men in his life, including the 16-year-old Cecchino dei Bracci, for whom he wrote 48 funeral epigrams after his untimely death.

Here is an extract from one of his same-sex love sonnets:

"The love I speak of aspires to the heights; woman is too dissimilar, and it ill becomes a wise and manly heart to burn for her."

For his gentle genius and for his love of male beauty and for representing the best strivings of humanity, we proclaim Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni one of our Blessed Prophets of Homoeros.

Michelangelo reminds us that male beauty IS divine.

Sunday, February 17, 2013



A cache of unusual two-story tombs has been unearthed in Alexandria, leading experts to speculate that the upstairs burial chambers were intended to give the dead a view of the fabled Lighthouse, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

During routine archaeological survey at an area known as the "27 Bridge" in Al-Qabari district, one of Alexandria’s most densely populated slum areas, archaeologists stumbled upon a collection of Graeco-Roman tombs.

Each tomb is a two-story structure with a burial chamber on the upper level. The tombs are semi-immersed in subterranean water but are well preserved and still bear inscriptions.

Mohamed Abdel Meguid, head of Alexandria's Antiquities Department, explained that the tombs are part of a larger necropolis (or City of the Dead) as described by Greek historian Strabo when he visited Egypt in 30 BC. According to Strabo, the cemetery included a network of tombs containing more than 80 inscriptions, while each tomb yielded information about burial rituals of the Hellenic period.

The newly discovered cache of tombs, Abdel Meguid pointed out, is a part of the western side of the cemetery that was dedicated to the public and not to royals or nobles. The tombs are empty of funerary collections or mummies, corpses, skeletons or even pottery.

"This is a very important discovery that adds more to the archaeological map of Alexandria," Minister of State for Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim said, adding that the discovery would allow scientists to decipher more about the history of ancient Alexandria and would also add another tourist destination to the city.

Ibrahim said that this and similar excavations were conducted as part of archaeological inspections routinely carried out at the request of constructors who purchased the land. According to Egyptian law, every piece of land should be subject to archaeological inspection before it can be claimed as a free zone for construction.

The area was previously subject to archaeological survey in 1998 when Alexandria governorate decided to build Al-Qabari Bridge over Abdel-Qader Hamza Street in the district.

Excavation at the time uncovered more than 37 tombs, including a very distinguished tomb bearing a coffin in the shape of a bed, commonly known as "The Wedding Bed Sarcophagus." On top of it was a red sheet and two pillows.

Saturday, February 16, 2013



THE spectacular mid-air explosion of a meteor over Russia coinciding with a fly-by of a near-Earth asteroid reminds us of ... Egyptian Meteor Glass!

This famous scarab pectoral of Tutankhamun features a giant piece of Desert Meteor Glass ... created when a meteor or asteroid came down over the Egyptian desert ... similar to the Russian meteor fragments ... the blistering atmospheric fireball 10,000 times the intensity of any known nuclear device, creating surface temperatures of 1,800C, and leaving behind a field of glass ...

The Egyptians must have marveled at this strange Glass of the Gods which lay strewn about the desert sands in the middle of no where.

They knew that there was nothing else like it in the world. And so they valued this odd yellowish-green glass as being truly sacred and therefore far more valuable than any other gemstone and fit only for a God-King to wear in a fabulous piece of jewelry.

Hadrian loved mysterious natural phenomena, of course, as we know. 

It is highly likely that the Egyptians showed him bits of this strange Sacred Glass of the Gods. 

Very possibly, the Emperor and his Beloved Boy even received jewelry made with such glass.

Perhaps a stunning pectoral necklace like King Tut's is waiting to be found in the Lost Tomb of Antinous!

Friday, February 15, 2013


EVEN Hadrian and Antinous would not have known the precise origins of the Lupercalia, the ancient rite of spring when young nobles stripped off naked except for fur pelts and ran around the Palatine Hill flinging rawhide strips at females.

But Antinous might well have visited the cave-like grotto ... the Lupercale ... at the foot of the Palatine Hill. 

The cave-like structure was found a few years ago and experts are carrying out an extensive archaeological dig at a site which they believe is the ceremonial site of the Lupercale grotto where the caesars honored Romulus and Remus.

It is intriguing to think that Hadrian and Antinous took part in the rites in this subterranean chamber.

For centuries, the cave-like grotto was revered as the sacred site where the "She-Wolf" suckled the orphans Romulus and Remus. Young nobles called Luperci, taking their name from the place of the wolf (lupa), ran naked from the Lupercale grotto around the bounds of the Palatine, and used strips of hide to slap the hands or buttocks of girls and women lining the route ... reenacting a prank attributed to Romulus and Remus as randy teenagers.

Here is how Flamen Antonyus Subia explains its significance for the Religion of Antinous:

"The Lupercalia is the festival of the wolf mother of Rome, and sacred festival of Antinous Master of Hounds. 

"The Lupercalia remembers the she-wolf who raised Romulus and Remus, twin sons of Venus and Mars, who later founded the city of Rome. 

"The wolf-like nature of the twins and of the Roman character was imparted through the milk of the wolf-mother. 

"The spirit transferred through the loving milk of the ferocious mother is celebrated on this day, and is integral to the concept of Antinous the Hunter. 

"Antinous took his place at Hadrian's feet, and accompanied him bravely and loyally through the forests and lived by the Emperor's side for seven years, which is equivalent to the life of a strong hunting dog. 

"The Canine nature of Antinous is celebrated on this day and is seen as an allegory for the Priesthood of the Religion of Antinous."

Antonyus goes on to explain that the Lupercalia festival is a purification rite, cleansing the way for Spring, nourishing the winter spirit of the dormant wolves within so as to fuel the ruthless courage of Roman warriors. A Dog and a Goat were sacrificed, and the young noble youths raced around the city naked except for goat, or wolf skins, whipping any girls or women who they encountered.

Antonyus explains, "The Festival is also sacred to Faunus, the Roman Pan...the one who 'drives away the wolf from the flock.'...we usually think of Pan as Goat-horned and cloven hooved, but 'the one who drives away the wolf'...could quite possibly be a sacred Dog. Lupercalia is therefore quite possibly a dog festival...and it is interesting to note that it falls almost exactly opposite the calendar from the rise of the Dog Star."

Antonyus elaborates by adding, "For me, Lupercalia is a time of cleansing and light...the lighted lamp that preceeds the coming dawn of Spring...a preparation for the Flowering....

"So a celebration or ritual to observe the Lupercalia should focus on purification. ..self-purificat ion primarily, but also the purification of the home, and surroundings. A cleansing of negative, stagnet, dusty, mildewy, settled, sedimentary influences that we are ready to clear away...from within and without."

He also outlines rituals for purification and cleansing which members of the worldwide Religion of Antinous will be performing this weekend.

Antonyus says the Lupercalia harkens to the most ancient of rites of Spring, and he says the cleansing must come from within.

"And then look into your soul, observe your interactions. ..make changes for the kinder, more polite, or just simply be friendlier to people...and do something strickly for your own pleasure," he says in his Lupercalia Epistle.

He stresses, "It is really a matter of deep and meaningful concentration on cleansing your mind and heart of negative internal as to strengthen your fortifications against external negative influences."

Thursday, February 14, 2013



IT is a little known fact that there is a connection between Antinous and the original St. Valentine ... Valentinus of Alexandria. Hadrian and Antinous visited Alexandria in the year 130 AD ... and could possibly have crossed paths with the man who would one day become one of Christianity's most misunderstood saints.

Here is how our own Flamen Antinoalis Antonyus Subia explains our own special view of Valentine's Day ... the Day of Love:

"Valentinus was the Gnostic Father who was a bishop of the Catholic Church. He tried to change orthodoxy by introducing the Gnostic speculation.

"Valentinus was from Alexandria and was there, studying with his teacher Basilides, when the court of Hadrian and Antinous arrived.

"He believed that Love was the creator of the universe, and the cause for the fall of Sophia (wisdom) ...

"He believed that Jesus came to reverse the fall of Sophia, that Jesus was the consort of Sophia, the Aeon called Christos.

"The love between them was the reason that Jesus descended to save the world. Valentinus began his teaching in Rome, and gained so much support that he was even nominated for the Papacy but lost by a narrow margin.

"Eventually exiled for heresy, the Gnostic Father formed his own rival church that became an influential and widespread Gnostic sect, influencing Gnostic thought down to our own time.

"Because Valentinus was a witness of the Passion of Antinous, and because he attempted to change the Catholic Church, we sanctify his name and venerate him on this sacred day of Eros, the Day of Love."

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Lust, Love and Longing in the Ancient World

CALLING all you impish Valentines: here's a sexy guide to all things erotic in the Ancient World.

Homosexuality, masturbation, orgies, prostitution and taboo-less sex were all part of the ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman world, whose appreciation for nudity was depicted in many male artifacts.

In her latest book recently released under the title "THE JOY OF SEXUS – Lust, Love and Longing in the Ancient World," Vicki León attempts in a total of 89 true tales to inform her readers in a detailed fashion about the sex life of ancient Greeks, the Romans, the Egyptians and other people who lived long ago across the Mediterranean.

If you liked León's take on working life in ancient cultures (mummification artists, orgy planners) in WORKING IX TO V, and if you got a kick out of her book on science and superstition entitled HOW TO MELLIFY A CORPSE, then you will LOVE her new book on love and sex.

León goes far beyond of modern beliefs about sex in ancient times, taking readers on a raunchy tour of aphrodisiacs and anti-aphrodisiacs, contraception, nymphomania, gayness, bisexuality, cross-dressing, and gender-bending.

She explains Roman citizens' fear of hermaphrodites, investigates the stinging price paid for adultery despite the ease of divorce, introduces readers to a surprising array of saucy pornographers, and even describes the eco-friendly dildos used by libidinous ancients.

Love also gets its due, with true tales of the lifelong bonds between military men, history's first cougar (an older woman chasing a younger man) and her devoted relationship with Julius Caesar, as well as the deification of Hadrian's gay lover Antinous.

The book also sheds light on anal sex, poly-sexuality as well as the role of kissing and marriage in ancient civilizations.

Publishers Weekly has already issued a Starred Review on the book describing it as "a snappy ride into the stunning, sometimes barbaric, and always entertaining sexuality of the ancient world [...] not covered in high school textbooks."

The 320-page paperback book was published on January 29 by Walker & Company.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


ON February 12th the Religion of Antinous commemorates the brief life and tragic death of Saint Lawrence "Larry" King, the 15-year-old California schoolboy who was shot to death by a classmate after Larry had asked him to be his Valentine.

Two days before Valentine's Day 2008, 14-year-old Brandon McInerney sat down at a desk behind Larry in science class at a junior high school in Oxnard, California. Without saying a word, Brandon pulled out a .22-caliber revolver and shot Larry in the back. As Larry slumped to the floor amid screams from horrified students, Brandon quietly stood up and fired a "coup de grace" shot to the back of Larry's head, killing him.

Brandon had teased and taunted Larry for months, ridiculing Larry's sissified mannerisms. He attempted to enlist other boys to beat up Larry. When that failed for lack of interest, he decided to kill Larry and repeatedly vowed to "get a gun and shoot" him.

After weeks and months of teasing by Brandon and other male students who called him "faggot," Larry had started to retaliate by flaunting his sexuality. He wore make-up to school and taunted Brandon by making verbal passes at him.

The day before the shooting, the two boys were bickering during class. When Larry left, a student heard Brandon mutter, "I'm going to shoot him."

Just after that class, another student heard Larry say "I love you" to Brandon as they passed in a hallway. The same student then heard Brandon say he was "going to get a gun and shoot" Larry.

A few minutes later, Brandon told one of Larry's friends: "Say goodbye to your friend Larry because you're never going to see him again."

Larry's death struck a chord with parents, teachers, students and gay-rights advocates concerned that Brandon's bullying of him had been minimized by school authorities.

Since Larry's death, teachers have sought training in how to identify gay and lesbian students who might be struggling with their sexual identity. Teachers also have asked for resources to help students who have already come out or who may be experiencing bullying.

One of the many roles that Antinous the Gay God plays is the role of patron and protector of Troubled Gay Boys and also of Boys in Trouble for Gay-related things.

Larry lost his life because he dared to wear eye makeup and to ask another boy to be his Valentine. And Brandon McInerney faces up to half a century in prison for murdering Larry.

Thus two young lives were destroyed by homophobia. It is because of cases like these that Antinous looks so mournfully wistful.

Monday, February 11, 2013


ANTINOUS probably loved dogs. 

The only portrait which shows Antinous alongside an animal is by the artist Antonianus of Aphrodisias found at Lanuvium showing Antinous harvesting grapes ... with a small dog looking up at him adoringingly.

Antinous no doubt was familiar with the Haralez, the beneficent canine spirits of the remote mountains of his native Bithynia and Armenia. 

While the mountain mythology of that region possesses many heroes, monsters and spirits, the Haralez have always been the most beloved. 

The Haralez assume canine form and guide and protect humans in peril. 

Few people in modern-day Turkey know of the Harelez, and indeed, these Celtic myths were fading by the time Antinous was born in the 2nd Century AD. 

But he might have heard old-timers speak of how, when a valiant man falls in battle, the Haralez comes to his rescue and, by licking his wounds, restores him to life. 

The popularity of the Haralez never died out completely. Even today, Armenian folk tales mention the "perpetual lickers" who restore life to the dead.

Sunday, February 10, 2013



A famous Temple of Apollo that Hadrian is said to have visited only days after learning he had been named emperor is at last undergoing much-needed restoration work.

It was at Seleucia, modern-day Side in Turkey, that the body of Emperor Trajan was cremated in August 117 AD, paving the way for Hadrian to succeed him.

Hadrian, already in the east as governor of Syria at the time, was present at Trajan's cremation at Seleucia (the ashes were therafter shipped back to Rome). Though now he was there as emperor.

Seleucis on the southeast coast of Asia Minor (Turkey), was a major commercial center of 60,000 inhabitants at that time, an important olive oil hub.

Even today, it is famous for its many Trajan- and Hadrian-era monuments.

Because the 2,000 year-old Temple of Apollo is situated on the coast, its columns have been badly affected by moisture and saltwater, which is causing erosion. The columns of the temple will be strengthened as part of the project.

The general aim of the ministry in starting the project is to preserve the cultural and historic assets of the ancient city of Side, as Seleucia is now called, which has great importance as a tourist attraction in the country.

The project is being carried out by the department of archaeology of Anatolia University.

The project is being led by Assistant Professor Hüseyin Alanyalı and his wife, Assistant Professor Feriştah Alanyalı, who also launched a landscaping project last year around the restored sites in Seleucia -- the Temple of Apollo, the Temple of Tyche, the Temple of Dionysus, the Temple of Athena and a basilica.

German sculptor Dietmar Frieze, who has been living in the seaside town of Side for the last 50 years, told the Turkish newspaper "Today's Zaman" that he appreciates the recent restoration project that has been launched by the ministry, saying that it was essential to conduct such a project for the temple as it was at great risk.

Saturday, February 9, 2013



A dramatic new 3-D documentary film tells the story of a young recruit stationed at Hadrian's Wall in the 2nd Century AD.

The 20-minute film is titled "Eagle's Eye: Edge of Empire" and is being shown at the ROMAN ARMY MUSEUM at Greenhead

The docu-drama focuses on a Roman Legionnaire called Aquila and features "soldiers" played by members of a leading Roman re-enactment society, The Ermine Street Guard.

The $500,000 film commissioned by The Vindolanda Trust was produced by the award-winning, Newcastle-based company, Dene Films.

It comes amidst a $10 million project to renovate the Roman Army Museum near Greenhead and build new facilities at the Roman fort of Vindolanda.

Trust director Patricia Birley says: "The new film will be a journey along Hadrian's Wall and it will be a picture that speaks a thousand words. There is a huge amount of historical information woven into the film and will also be thoroughly enjoyable."

Dene Films began shooting "Eagle's Eye" at Walltown Craggs last weekend, and different locations along the Wall are providing backdrops for the film, which charts the story of young auxiliary recruit Aquila. A specially-equipped helicopter will film the views of the wall "seen" by Sima, a white-tailed sea eagle whose bird's-eye view will enhance the film's 3-D effects.

Steve Salam, managing director Dene Films, says: "The film aims to transport people back to Roman times and hopefully they will get a real experience of the wall."

Computer-generated images recreate the World Heritage Site in its 2nd Century AD glory.

The film is at the heart of the new exhibition space at the Vindolanda Roman Army Museum.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


POMPEII is crumbling not only physically but also politically amid new reports of wide-spread corruption and political kickbacks involving key officials at the endangered site.

Italian police have arrested a former restorer of Pompeii on corruption charges and are investigating five others, including the former commissioner appointed to deal with the increasing degradation of the historic site.

Italy declared a state of emergency in 2008 at Pompeii after archaeologists and art historians complained about the poor upkeep of the crumbling site, pointing to mismanagement and lack of investment. A special commissioner, Marcello Fiori, was also appointed for the Unesco world heritage site, an ancient Roman city which was buried by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.

But investigators say Fiori and the director of restoration at the time, Luigi D'Amora, awarded irregular contracts to the restoration services company Caccavo and paid inflated prices for its work. Collapsed walls and columns since 2008 have renewed concerns about the condition of the site.

Prosecutors say the officials broke the terms of the state of emergency, overspent on various restoration projects and agreed to non-essential work on Pompeii, one of Italy's most popular attractions, visited by 2.5 million tourists each year. They have accused Fiori of abuse of office while D'Amora is being investigated for fraud.

Police have put Annamaria Caccavo under house arrest and are investigating her for aiding abuse of office, corrupting a public official and fraud.

The company has been banned from doing business with public administration and police have ordered the seizure of $1 million worth of its assets. Three engineers are also being investigated for fraud and corruption.

Ironically, 2013 is a benchmark year for Pompeii with two major exhibitions in Europe. One show is currently underway in MADRID now through 5th May. The other major exhibition opens at the BRITISH MUSEUM on 28 March and runs until 29 September 2013.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


By Antonius Subia

THE "Maritime theater" as they call it was definitely one of the most spectacular parts of Hadrian's Villa, and I was very pleased to have seen it with Priest Hernestus several months ago...

Even in ruins you can see that it must have been an absolutely beautiful and enchanting building...almost insanely beautiful...a perfect circle surrounded by a high wall, with an inner colonnaded moat, with a little island and a little round Roman house on the inside...

That was Hadrian's private retreat from his grandiose world that surrounded that magnificent, marble and gold encrusted Villa of sprawling palaces, the Emperor's private chambers were at once quaintly charming as they were wonderfully eccentric. 

His private chambers, the little open-air office where he attended to the business of running the whole world, the private baths, the little lavatories...four lavatories in that tiny little house...but most intriguing of all are the two little bedchambers towards the back of the house...identical little rooms just big enough for a queen-size bed and maybe a table...

In one of the two rooms, Hadrian spent his nights with Antinous...and the other room...well, that must have been where Empress Sabina slept. 

I just think it's the most wonderful grand huge master bedroom with a splendid view of Tibur...just two identical, "his & hers" rooms for the rulers of the world. 

One thing I noticed is that they were at the rear of the little house, facing south, and must have had a big windows that let in the morning sun at all times of the year. 

The sun would have poured in and sparkled over the water of the fountain-moat. 

The constant clamor of the Imperial court outside would have been drowned out by the murmur of gurgling fountains. 

It was a tiny little house, but it must have been beautifully decorated...walls covered in inlaid marble of exquisite color, draperies and columns and golden lamps and the finest of furniture from all over the Roman world ... and works of art by the very best ancient Greek artists...and a personal little library of Hadrian's most treasured books. 

One thing I fail to locate is the closet space...I'm in the apartment business, so floor plans are everything to me ... there were no closets because servants brought Hadrian's daily robes from somewhere else!

The entrance caught my eye....if you include the colonnaded walkway between the outer wall and the fountain-moat, and also the little oval vestibule...then it was all about the entrance, which was pronouncedly about disbarment...

And then if you were so honored as to have been admitted into the Emperor's private chambers...which almost no one ever was, we can be sure...then you would find yourself in the beautiful little oval drawing room...where you would be asked to sit and wait for Emperor to summon you...

From there, you would be led into the Atrium...the center of the house, Hadrian's own private little garden, with its little fountain open to the air. 

There you would find Hadrian's closest inner circle...members of his family perhaps, Sabina's handmaidens, the Emperor's personal assistants and house servants...perhaps Phlegon, his most trusted freedman, an officer of the guard standing at duty, and a musician playing soft chords on the cithara....

And there in a corner...playing with a new hunting puppy...would be Antinous himself...attended by an old Greek tutor trying in vain to teach Antinous the correct declension for his Latin verbs...

And there at the far end of the house, in the room they call he Tablinarium...obviously the most important room in the house..situated between the two main bed chambers...was Hadrian's office. 

You might have found him sitting at a table reading personal wax tablets of private concerns...this was not where Hadrian conducted the official business of running his Empire...this was his private office...where he only attended to his private communications. There must have been a more formal office somewhere else in the villa where Hadrian conducted his official business of the Empire...

This was his private study, and I'm sure by the moat that he made a clear division between his private business and his personal space...

This was Hadrian's private office...and so to have been given admittance to proceed so far into his private space, you would have needed to have been considered family.

The biggest space in the house is he atrium...that's the living room...then there's the three bedrooms...and then there are the two rooms that are described as tricliniums..or dining rooms...these were for very private dinners....just you, the Emperor and one other person...probably Antinous...and the other dining room was probably for Sabina. 

The last fifth of the little house was Hadrian's private baths...a full scale Roman bath on a tiny scale...which probably provided heat for the little house in the colder months. 

I would assume that, in the summer months, Hadrian would have used the grand bath not far away rather than over-heat his private chambers.

This is where Antinous spent his time when he lived in the Villa...and what an Isle of the Blessed it must have a tiny island paradise...when Antinous was alive...and then...when Hadrian returned from Egypt...and the war in Israel had broken out...the beautiful island must have become rather like a customized chamber of Hell...

Marguerite Yourcenar describes a sickly old Hadrian dictating his memoirs beneath an austere Osirian statue of Antinous overlooking his bedchamber...this is where these lost memoirs were dictated...

It is no wonder that Hadrian couldn't live there any more and eventually fled to Baie south of Rome where he died...

The Isle of the Blessed held too many memories...and Hadrian wanted to live forever and he knew that if stayed even one more night in the Villa that he would die...He should have stayed.

When Hernestus and I were there...I gathered a little handful of dirt from there, in the hope that perhaps Antinous might have stepped upon at least one grains of the sand of the rubble that remains...

And amongst the sand I found a chunk of brick that had fallen from the wall..and quite honestly...this little piece of Roman brick has become one of the most important and sacred "rocks" (crystals) that I have ever touched...because this is a wall that Antinous once looked upon..

Sure, there were layers of marble between Antinous and my little chunk of brick..

But that's pretty close. I've been so, so much further away from Antinous....


Tuesday, February 5, 2013



A married couple in England were shocked to learn that the garden trough they had been using as a flower planter for 30 years has been identified as rare 1,900-year-old Hadrian-era marble coffin worth over £100,000 ($150,000).

The unsuspecting couple from Northumberland inherited the 6 foot, 9 inch long sarcophagus from the previous owners of their house, who left it behind in 1982.

The retired pair only realised its worth when they learned of a similar ornament on sale at an auction house, according to a report in the DAILY MAIL.

Experts were invited to inspect it and discovered the one-tonne trough was a rare ornate Roman sarcophagus - a coffin carved from stone that usually sits above ground - dating back to the time of Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd Century AD.

Auctioneers said the couple were "shocked" when they learned how valuable it is.

Made from Carrara marble, the sarcophagus would have been commissioned for the funeral of a wealthy woman and placed in a private mausoleum in Rome.

It is almost identical to another Roman sarcophagus that is in the Galleria Lapidaria in the Vatican.

Monday, February 4, 2013


THE residents of the ancient city of Pompeii weren't limited to street-level plumbing, a new study finds. In fact, many in the city may have headed upstairs when nature called.

Most upstairs floors in the Roman city are gone, claimed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii in A.D. 79.

But vertical pipes leading to lost upper floors strongly suggest that there were once toilets up there, according to a new analysis by A. Kate Trusler, a doctoral candidate in anthropology at the University of Missouri.

"We have 23 toilets that are connected, that are second-story preserved, that are connected to these downpipes," Trusler told LiveScience at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in Seattle, where she presented her research.

Trusler became interested in Pompeii's latrines six years ago while doing fieldwork in the city. Previous researchers and works on Pompeii often stated that there was a toilet in almost every house. But Trusler found that statement confusing.

Walking around the city, she said, it was clear that some spots were chock full of homes with private latrines, while other areas seemed to be toilet deserts.

"And," Trusler added, "there are all of these downpipes that are part of that picture that no one is really considering."

So Trusler decided to conduct a plumbing survey of sorts, mapping latrine and downpipe locations around the city.

One residential district, known to archaeologists as Region 6, does indeed have toilets on the ground story of almost every home, she said. But other blocks have few toilets. In total, 43 percent of homes in the city had latrines on the ground floor, Trusler found.

Downpipes provide the other half of that picture. These vertical, usually terracotta pipes are concentrated in the oldest part of the city, where there were many workshops and small businesses crammed into close quarters.

A total of 286 pipes run down the walls of these buildings, leading to the mostly lost second floors. In 23 cases, however, the upper story remains, and the same types of pipes lead to latrines.

In addition, Trusler said, unpublished research on scrapings from the insides of the pipes revealed fecal material and traces of intestinal parasites, good signs of a toilet.

The upstairs plumbing offers a window into daily Pompeii life, Trusler said.

"The sanitation features can tell us a lot about what people are doing on upper floors and above these little shops," she said. "What they suggest is that people are living there."