Saturday, April 30, 2016


YOU all know about Beltane and May Eve, but few people today still remember Walpurgis Night ... which is still celebrated on a mountain top in central Germany. 

Up to 150,000 witches, pagans and the simply curious are converging for May Eve revelries on the summit of the highest peak in the Harz Mountains in central Germany Thursday night for the four-day May Day holiday weekend.
Children in spooky costumes will participate in parades and street fairs in villages on the slopes of the Brocken, the mountain immortalised in Alexander Borodin's "Night on Bald Mountain" orchestral suite.

Bonfires will light the nighttime skies on mountain tops in the Harz region as local communities held their own May Day Eve festivals marking the end of winter and the coming of summer.

In the town of Schierke, a four-hour Walpurgis Night open-air play is being held, tracing the history of the persecution of witches, with players performing writhing modern dances to Medieval music.

The day of the Saint Walburga is celebrated on May 1. 

But the night before, April 30 or May Day Eve (Beltane Eve), is called Walpurgis Night, formerly the date of the pagan festival marking the end of winter. 

Of course, its autumnal counterpart, six months later on October 31, is Halloween, Samhain.

Walpurgis Night is celebrated from the Mediterranean up to Scandinavia, but no where as much as in the forested mountains of central Germany where so many Brothers Grimm fairy tales are set.

According to Germanic legend, this festival has been associated with a witches' carnival, and on this night it was believed that witches met with the devil for one final night of revelry before being consigned to the underworld until they emerge again exactly six months later on October 31 ... Halloween.

The Harz Mountains region is the location of many German fairy tales featuring witches and goblins and the Brocken is the highest Harz peak at 1,142 metres.

For 40 years, the region was split down the middle by the fortified border between East and West Germany. 

But in the 25 years since unification in 1990, the region has regained its title as one of the most romantic fairy-tale areas ... and spookiest.

The mountain also features in the drama "Faust" about an alchemist nobleman who sells his soul to the devil … on Walpurgis Night.

Friday, April 29, 2016


IN Spain construction workers have found 600 kilos (1,300 pounds) of ancient Roman coins while carrying out routine work on water pipes.

"It is a unique collection and there are very few similar cases," Ana Navarro, head of Seville’s archeology museum, which is looking after the find, told a news conference.

Dating back to the late third and early fourth centuries, the bronze coins were found on Wednesday inside 19 Roman amphoras, a type of jar, in the town of Tomares near Seville.

Navarro declined to give a precise estimate for the value of the haul, saying only that the coins were worth "certainly several million euros."

The coins are stamped with the inscriptions of emperors Maximian and Constantine, and they appeared not to have been in circulation as they show little evidence of wear and tear.

It is thought they were intended to pay the army or civil servants.

"The majority were newly minted and some of them probably were bathed in silver, not just bronze," said Navarro.

"I could not give you an economic value, because the value they really have is historical and you can’t calculate that."

Local officials have suspended the work on the water pipes and plan to carry out an archaeological excavation on the site.

The Romans conquered the Iberian Peninsula in 218 BC, ruling until the early fifth century, when they were ousted by the Visigoths.

Thursday, April 28, 2016


HE may have slain the Nemean Lion, stolen the apples from the Hesperides and captured the ferocious Cretan bull, but poor Hercules has a big problem holding on to his penis.

The penis from the statue of the ancient Greek hero in the seaside French town of Arcachon is a hot commodity.

Over the years, vandals would remove the penis ... some locals said it was a badge of honor to display Heracles' penis in your home ... and just as quickly, city officials would rush to replace it, not wanting to leave the Greek hero without his manliness.

A number of unsolved cases of thefts of the statue's penis have been reported in the area throughout the years and Mayor Yves Foulon decided it was time to put the "systematic" issue to rest.

"I wouldn't want anyone ... not even my worst enemies ... to go through what happens to this statue," he said.

The race to replace the penis every time it was stolen forced officials to outsmart the vandals and create a prosthetic, removable version that can be attached to the statue and removed ... and kept in safe storage for special occasions and city events at the park.

"Considering Heracles' fragile manhood we’ve chosen to give him a removable prosthetic that we can add to the statue before each ceremony," according to the town's deputy mayor Martine Phelippot.

"This is the best solution, otherwise you just end up constantly chasing after the anatomy of Heracles."

Their 9-foot-tall statue of Greek mythology’s divine hero was erected in the Parc Mauresque in 1948 and has been a contentious issue since.

The local sculptor Claude Bouscau was forced to "shorten" the penis ... twice ... because it was deemed "shockingly big" by some local women back in the late 1940s. 

Add to this the decades of vandalisms and thefts and it's safe to say, Hercules' penis has been a big matter in this small French town.

But the scandal comes with a long (excuse the pun) history, fit for any Greek hero.

Hercules was the son of Zeus and Alcmene, and turned heads in his time for killing the magical Nemean lion with his bare hands. 

As a matter of fact, it is the skin of this lion that covers the back of this particular Hercules statue, erected as a metaphor for France's resistance against Nazi forces.

Hercules was also known in Greek mythology to have slept with 50 women in one night … in addition to many youths and men ... so the metaphor of a prosthetic penis may not be that far off base, considering all of the wear and tear the real one got.

From now on, thanks to French ingenuity, Hercules' penis will be kept under lock and key and far away from would be penis thieves.

Lucky for Hercules.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


THE British historian Mary Beard has a new, must-see BBC documentary series on Ancient Rome. 

It is a four-part series entitled "Mary Beard's Ultimate Rome: Empire Without Limit" and debuts 27 April at 9 p.m. British time on BBC2.

Outside Britain you can watch it on your computer.

Just calculate the time difference and click on FILMON.COM and do a search for "BBC2."

Mary Beard has come in for controversy lately because she rebuffs people who say she should get a style makeover and dye her hair.

She is currently embroiled in a controversy on Twitter because she said she does not believe universities should be a "safe place" for post-traumatic victims of abuse. 

For example, some people have urged that colleges and universities refrain from teaching Ovid's Metamorphoses (which are full of Zeus raping innocent mortals of both sexes) and from staging Shakespeare's plays (because of murder, incest, child abuse, etc.).

She says it would be nonsense to create "safe place" in educational institutions devoid of any mention of harmful and shocking things ... because history ... and art ... are full of harmful and shocking things.

Thousands of people have barraged her with criticism on Twitter, calling her "a fat old Tory Fascist pig" among other things ... and she reads each comment and responds ... and gets very upset.

So we have tweeted in support of her ... after all: Antinous is on Mary Beard's list of "Ten Best Ancient Romans." 

The blogger, TV host and scholar ranks Antinous at Number 7 ... below Caligula and Empress Livia, but above Ovid and Cicero. 

CLICK HERE for the full list and her reasons for choosing Antinous.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


ON April 26th the Religion of Antinous joyously celebrates the birth of one of the wisest rulers in history, a man hand-picked by the Divine Hadrian personally to become Emperor of Rome.

Marcus Annius Verus was born on this day in the year 121 to a Spanish Roman family, related to Hadrian. From the very start, the young Marcus showed a deep interest in learning and particularly in philosophy.

The Stoic philosopher Epictetus had the most profound influence over him, and his truthful and pious nature gained Hadrian's attention and Hadrian is said to have called him "Verissimus", or most truthful, and to have taken an interest in the future of the young philosopher.

Marcus would have been 9 years old when Antinous died, and he is not believed to have been with the court in Egypt.

When Aelius Ceasar died shortly after being chosen Emperor in 138, it is believed that Marcus was Hadrian's next choice. However, the ailing and grieving emperor felt that the 17-year-old Marcus was too young.

So Hadrian decided to elect Antoninus Pius instead, requiring Antoninus to choose Marcus and the son of Lucius, called Lucius Verus, to be Antoninus's successors in turn.

This became known as the Dynasty of the Antonines, the last flowering of the glory that was Imperial Rome.

Hadrian believed that the old Antoninus would only rule for the few years needed to allow Marcus to mature. But instead, Antoninus remained in power far longer than Hadrian, and Marcus was 40 years old when he at last took power.

But the Empire that he inherited was succumbing to more and more trouble along its borders, as the Germanic hordes began their slow migration across the borders. The Philosopher-King Marcus was doomed to spend the majority of his reign leading the armies along the cold northern border.

He was successful in keeping the barbarians outside the Empire, and in maintaining the peace and prosperity in the heart of Rome that had been left to him by Hadrian and Antoninus. 

We celebrate the birthday of Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus.

Monday, April 25, 2016


IN every religion, priests must have a ritual ceremony ready for any eventuality ... marriage ... feast days ... holy days ... births ... and deaths.

It is with a weeping eye and a smiling eye that the priests of the modern Religion of Antinous record a funeral service in the name of Antinous.

Our sister group Epithimia Antinous at the TEMPLO DE ANTÍNOO MÉXÍCO has held a memorial service for one of their worshipers ... who died as a result of homophobic violence.

To our knowledge, this is the first funeral ceremony in the name of Antinous to be held since ancient times.

Jorge Fernandez Martinez was brutally murdered by unknown assailants near his home in the the Mexico City suburb of Tultitlán.

Forensic tests showed he had been tortured, raped and asphyxiated. His broken body lay undiscovered for days.

Grieving neighbors who had known and loved him for nearly 20 years held a wake and asked for dignified funeral services conducted under the auspices of Epithimia Antinous with Pride Tultitlán Committee and Estamos Contigo.

The rites were held at the famous Shrine of Santa Muerte (Our Lady of Sacred Death) in Tultítlan led by Enriqueta Vargas. 

Señora Vargas and her shrine were in the headlines earlier this year when Pope Francis condemned the worship of Santa Muerte as idolatry.

"She has between 10 and 12 million devotees, and she's only been public for 12 years," says ANDREW CHESNUT, author of  Devoted to Death, the first English-language book about the cult. 

Before 2001, Santa Muerte was clandestine, with devotees building personal shrines hidden in their closets. 

But since Enriqueta Vargas unveiled the first public shrine to the saint in suburban Mexico City, it has spread fiercely throughout Mexico, Central America, and Latino-heavy US cities like Los Angeles and Houston. Chesnut has even tracked the cult's growth to Japan, Australia, and the Philippines.

"There's no other new religious movement that can complete with the velocity of that growth," Chesnut says.

It was against this backdrop that Foundation Epithimia of Antinous Mexico took part.

"We were honored to officiate in the funeral ceremony for the repose of the soul of this beloved person in our community, Señor Jorge Fernandez Martinez, an active member member of our because Antinous abhors hate crimes. 

"We share these images of the temple, the funeral and texts shared by Adolfo Voorduin Frappe and White White Fernandez , whom graciously thank for attending the rites. We thank Santa Muerte International and the godmother Enriqueta Vargas, for their loving support," the statement says.

Sunday, April 24, 2016


WE are proud to announce the most extensive collection of Antinous images in the world!

Flamen Antonius Subia spent nearly two years assembling the GALLERY OF ANTINOUS ICONS

What initially was supposed to be one page of images became a massive library.

He says it turned out to entail "months of painful, agonizing, finger-crippling, endless catalogueing, and intricate photoshop enhancing and resizing of countless... countless. ..Antinous images!"

The endeavour proved to be not only a technical challenge but also something of a spiritual initiation.

Antonyus says, "I now feel that I am an expert in Antinous over the process, I have become deeply familiar with each and everyone of Antinous's wonderful, beautiful statues and busts and other images.

"I have to tell you that in the has been the most meaningful, and intimate experience of getting to know Antinous on a level that I have never before felt.

"He is so astonishingly beautiful... I found myself treating each and every one of his images with particular, loving care and devotion.

"It's amazing...when you handle his beautiful image again and again...when you gaze upon him, and study him, and see example after example, they all seem to blur together until you are left with this cumulative impression of what he really must have looked the sum though I had layered translucent leaves of his face and body one over the other, each showing through to the next, cancelling out errors, cracks, chips, peculiarities, the hand of the artist, modern enhancements, slight own impression of what I always thought he looked like...all blurring together into a ghostly form of his true image...I see him now.

"But I am also deeply familiar with all the different variations...I know them all by name, location, origin, and bits of their history...I know the image of Antinous as I had never known it before."

Antonyus adds that the gallery is not complete and he has issued a call for readers to submit more images.

"My intent is to have the most complete collection of Antinous images in the world," he explains. "We are after all The Temple of Antinous, his modern religion. It is only right that we take his image into our possession and display his form for all to see....with reverance and piety...not as an object of art, or history, but as an object of worship."

Friday, April 22, 2016


A 2,400-year-old mosaic in Antioch shows a drunken skeleton admonishing the living to eat, drink and be merry … for one day they shall join him in death.

It is possible that Antinous and Hadrian saw the remarkably intact mosaic, because it was found in the ruins of the dining room of a wealthy person's home in Antioch ... and they spent several months in that city on their tour of the Eastern Provinces in 129-130 AD.

It was found by accident during excavation construction work for a cable-car route in the modern city of Antakya … built partly over the suburbs of ancient Antioch in what is now Turkey's Hatay Province.

Excavations were then launched to search the area for more remains.

The mosaic shows a skeleton reclining on a cushion with a kylix drinking bowl in his left hand and its right arm thrown drunkenly over his head, with legs crossed.

Next to the skeleton, two loaves of bread are strewn on the floor and a large amphora of wine waits to refill his drinking bowl.

A Greek inscription says: "Be merry ... enjoy being alive," according to archeologist Demet Kara at Hatay Archeology Museum.

Kara further noted that professors have referred to the mosaic as the 'skeleton mosaic' and have concluded that the mosaic belonged to the dining room of a house belonging to the upper class back then.

She noted that there is a similar mosaic in Italy, but this one is more comprehensive, making it a unique piece.

The ancient city of Antioch was established by Seleucus I Nicator … who is one of Alexander the Great's generals ... in the 4th Century BC.

Hadrian and Antinous visited Antioch, so it is possible that they saw this mosaic at some point in their extended stay over a period of several months.

Hatay is known for its Roman-era mosaics dating back to the 2nd and 3rd Centuries BC.


FOR us in the Northern Hemisphere it is Spring. For us in the Southern Hemisphere it is Autumn. For Antinous, all moments in time are NOW, all locations in space are HERE ... in your spiritual heart ... HOMOTHEOSIS ... Gay-Man-Godliness-Becoming-the-Same. 

Dia da Terra 2016. Para nós no hemisfério norte é Primavera. Para nós no Hemisfério Sul é de Outono. Para Antinous, todos os momentos no tempo é agora, todos os locais no espaço são AQUI ... em seu coração espiritual ... HOMOTHEOSIS ... Homem-Deus-Gay-tornou-se o mesmo que-Homem-Deus-Gay.

Día de la Tierra 2016 para nosotros en el hemisferio norte es la primavera . Para nosotros en el hemisferio sur es otoño . Para Antinoo , todos los momentos del tiempo están ahora , todos los lugares en el espacio está aquí ... en su corazón espiritual ... HOMOTHEOSIS ... Gay-Hombre-Dios-Ser-el-mismo-como-Gay-Hombre-Dios .

Thursday, April 21, 2016


THE crowds of tourists at Hadrian's Pantheon witness a spectacular light show on April 21, 2,769th anniversary of the founding of Rome, when a ray of sunlight illuminated the temple portals.

The phenomenon, similar to one on the March Equinox, is one of the mysteries that have always surrounded what lies behind the unusual design of the Pantheon, the giant temple in the heart of Rome that was built by the Emperor Hadrian.

Now experts have come up with an intriguing theory – that the temple acted as a colossal sun dial, with a beam of light illuminating its enormous entrance at the precise moment that the emperor entered the building on the anniversary of the founding of the city of Rome each April 21.

Constructed on Hadrian's orders and completed in 128 AD, the Pantheon's hemispherical dome is punctured by a 30 foot-wide circular hole known as the 'oculus'.

It provides the interior of the building with its only source of natural light and allows in rain and – on rare occasions – snow.

Giulio Magli, a historian of ancient architecture from Milan Polytechnic, Italy, and Robert Hannah, a classics scholar from the University of Otago in New Zealand, have discovered that at precisely midday during the March equinox, a circular shaft of light shines through the oculus and illuminates the Pantheon's imposing entrance.

A similar effect is seen on April 21, which the Romans celebrated as the founding date of their city, when at midday the sun beam strikes a metal grille above the doorway, flooding the colonnaded courtyard outside with light.

The dramatic displays would have been seen by the Romans as elevating an emperor into the realm of the gods – a cosmological affirmation of his divine power as he entered the building, which was used as an audience hall as well as a place of worship.

He was in effect being "invited" by the sun to enter the Pantheon, which as its name suggests was dedicated to the most important deities of the Roman world.

"The emperor would have been illuminated as if by film studio lights," said Professor Magli.

"The Romans believed the relationship between the emperor and the heavens was at its closest during the equinoxes. It would have been a glorification of the power of the emperor, and of Rome itself." 

The sun had a special significance for the Romans, as it did for the ancient Egyptians.

The god Apollo was associated with the sun, and the emperor Nero was depicted as the Greek sun god Helios in a giant statue called the Colossus, which gave its name to the Colosseum.

One of antiquity's most remarkable examples of engineering, the Pantheon's fine state of preservation is thanks to the fact that it was converted into a church in the seventh century, when it was presented to the Pope by the Byzantine Emperor Phocas.

It retains its original bronze doors and marble columns, some of which were quarried in the Egyptian desert and transported by the ship down the Nile and across the Mediterranean to Rome at huge expense.

By Flamen Antinoalis Antonius Subia

Mater Roma,

Thank you for saving me from perdition,
Thank you for giving my life meaning and purpose again
Today you have given me so much joy and mystery
I don't even know what to say sometimes
About the way you work your magic over my life
But I feel your power all around me.
You are with me where ever I go,
Where ever I am...You Are There.
Wolf Mother! 
My Latin forefathers flow through my blood
My allegiance to you will never die
I give my life, my strength, my courage to defend you
...and to restore your glory.
Happy Birthday Roma!



ON April 21, as the Sun moves into the Sign of Taurus the Bull, we celebrate the ancient festival of THE EROTICON.

On this day we honor the great God of Love, Eros-Cupid, in his guise as Antinous-Phanes, the "radiant being of light who emerges from the egg of night". 

We also honor the Great God Priapus the divine phallus, the column of male virility, the bestower of the fertility of fields, vineyards, orchards and gardens. Priapus is the axis of the cosmos.

On this date we also commemorate the founding of the city of Rome, Natalis Urbis, personified by the Romans as Our Lady Roma. We celebrate the consecration of her sacred border, and of her birth, and eternal life, and remember that we are her children.

And also on this date we remember the Sacred Bear Hunt. While in Mysia in Asia Minor, in the year 129, the court engaged in a Bear Hunt near the city which Hadrian had founded (on an earlier trip) called Hadrianotherae, "Hadrian's hunting ground". It is the modern-day city of Balikesir in a lovely area of wooded forests and lakes in northwestern Turkey.

Hadrian loved animals and is known to have built tombs for his dogs and horses (according to Royston Lambert) and he loved to hunt. The Bear is the sacred animal of Diana-Artemis, and symbolizes the solitary, forest-roaming character of the Virgin Huntress. In the ferocity of the bear lies the secret of Diana's power, against which Hadrian and Antinous pitted themselves, as shown on the tondo from the Arch of Constantine.

The grand themes of the Eroticon are Love and Sex and Ferocious Anger. The Beast is always lurking inside of us. The mystery teaching surrounding the Bear Hunt involves getting to know your animal instincts -- sex and lust and rage -- and to become one with them and to turn them into powerful allies for your spiritual development.

Flamen Antinoalis Antonius Subia has expressed this mystical mystery meaning as follows:

"Antinous, under Hadrian's guidance, was an accomplished hunter, indeed it is perhaps his natural skill and bravery in the chase that elevated him to the absolute love and adoration of Hadrian. The Emperor was madly in love with hunters, and Antinous was one of the best. Antinous had perhaps been silently stalking and hunting the Emperor's favor for quite some time, and now, in Asia, in the sacred Hunting Grounds of Hadrian, Antinous closed in on the heart of his prey and captured the Emperor completely. In our commemoration of the Sacred Bear Hunt we recognize that Artemis and Antinous are twin deities, and we seek the Dianic-Artemis-Bear within ourselves."

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


HE died 25 years ago, but a team of international researchers are paying homage to saint of Antinous FREDDIE MERCURY with a new study in that reveals exactly how singular a musical talent he was.

Urban legend maintains Mercury had a four-octave singing range, and while the team couldn’t prove that, they did discover some interesting facts. Like he was actually more of a baritone (the average frequency Mercury at spoke was 117.3 Hz.) despite usually being billed as a tenor.

Without Mercury to provide live samples, scientists brought in vocal coach Daniel Zangger-Borch to imitate Mercury’s voice. Filming Zangger-Borch’s vocal chords at 4,000 frames per second, the team got a better understanding of how Mercury probably sang.

They discovered he utilized subharmonics, which are generated when the ventricular folds in your throat vibrate along the vocal folds. Such a feat is usually only associated with Tuvan throat singers.

The study, printed in Logopedics Phoniatrics Vocology, also reveals that Mercury’s vocal chords moved faster than other people’s: A typical vibrato will fluctuate between 5.4 Hz and 6.9 Hz. Mercury’s was 7.04 Hz, beyond even that acclaimed opera singer Luciano Pavarotti.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


NOW you can see a triumphal arch through which Antinous and Hadrian strode in the ancient city of Palmyra … recreated in the heart of London.

The arch from a Palmyra temple destroyed by DAESH Islamic State barbarians was recreated (in two-thirds scale) in London's Trafalgar Square ... where it will remain for three days before traveling to Dubai and to Times Square in New York City ... as part of UNESCO World Heritage WeekApril 2016.

The 2,000-year-old arch was all that remained of the Temple of Bel, part of the Syrian Unesco World Heritage site, captured by militants in May.

It was recreated from photographs, using a 3D printer.

It was crafted from carrara marble and then shipped in pieces to London.

The institute behind the project hopes the arch will draw attention to the importance of cultural heritage.

DAESH militants have ransacked and demolished several similar ancient sites to Palmyra that pre-date Islam in Iraq, denouncing them as symbols of "idolatry".

Alexy Karenowska, from the Institute of Digital Archaeology, which is behind the project, says she hopes it will help people understand how important it is to preserve cultural sites in war-torn countries such as Syria.

She says: "People say, 'should we be worrying about this stuff when human lives are being lost?'

"Of course all of this stuff takes second place to human life, but these cultural objects are very important to give a sense of place and community."

The installation was created off-site and then assembled at Trafalgar Square.

It stands next to the National Gallery and Nelson's Column, both Neo-Classical in style.

The famous 15m (50ft) arch also illustrates Britain and Syria's shared heritage, with the Greco-Roman architecture of Palmyra echoed by the neoclassical buildings of the National Gallery and Nelson's Column.


THE Religion of Antinous honors St. John Addington Symonds, the English poet and literary scholar who shocked Victorian sensibilities by openly promoting the cause of same-sex love.

John Addington Symonds was born on 5 October 1840, to a wealthy middle-class family in Bristol England. His father was a liberally minded doctor with connections and close friendships with many of the most illustrious and forwards minds of the time.

It was this environment of Victorian middle-class sexual repression that caused John Addington Symonds to blossom into one of the first and most prolific proponents for the cause of love between men.

While teenager in school, he was awakened by Plato to the awareness of love between boys among his schoolmates and almost immediately and unhesitatingly came out of the closet, even to his father, who was initially dismayed but ultimately supportive.

From then on, Symonds devoted his entire life to the study of homosexuality through art and history. He was the most pronounced defender of the ancient and glorious legacy of love between men, and a champion of social change.

He was a deep admirer of Walt Whitman, and later worked closely with Edward Carpenter, and Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, co-founding the British Institute for Sexual Science, which advocated a methodical study to overturn the laws against homosexual love.

For his life-long work and devotion, and for his early recognition and exultation of his sexuality, John Addington Symonds is a canonized Saint of the Religion of Antinous.

The most sacred of his many contributions to the enlightenment of our freedom are the words that he wrote about Antinous, whose beauty he glorified with poetry and elegance in the language of a lover of the homosexual, erotic beauty of Our God. John Addington Symonds died in Rome on the 19th of April 1893.

Monday, April 18, 2016


ROME's landmark Colosseum is gleaming after a three-year external makeover funded by an Italian luxury goods company. But not all are happy that the upkeep of the historic building is being outsourced to private business in return for commercial merchandising rights.

Italy's most famous monument, the Colosseum, will look "almost" as it did 2,000 years ago upon next week's completion of the first stage of a 25-million-euro (28-million-dollar) makeover project.

The travertine surfaces of the open air stadium, where gladiators once fought lions, had been blackened by decades of home heating and traffic smog.

Over the last three years, the limestone has been gradually returned to its glorious white, using water sprays and gentle brushing.

"This facade is now almost the same as it was in ancient times," Colosseum Director Rossella Rea told German Press Agency dpa, as she stood outside the northern side of the monument ... the best preserved ... amid a throng of tourists, ticket touts and workmen.

The archeologist said outside clean-up works, which cost 6.5 million euros, will be over on April 22 ... a day after Rome celebrates the 2,769 anniversary of its foundation. As Rea was speaking, the last pieces of scaffolding were being taken down.

Time has robbed the monument of adornments such as decorative statues and metal shields ... which, bouncing off sun beams, acted as luminous signposts for the Colosseum. An indelible patina is left on the stones in their place, but otherwise it is in good shape, Rea said.

The clean-up has revealed new details of the monument, including the numbers marking its stands and signs of 3rd century AD repairs made to the upper levels of the Colosseum following a great fire, the director said.

Built between 70 and 80 AD, the amphitheatre was used by ancient Roman emperors as a venue for public executions and bloody spectator sports, such as gladiatorial battles and wild animal fights, in front of crowds of up to 50,000 people.

It fell into disuse with the fall of the Roman Empire and was partly dismantled at the southern end in the 6th Century AD after quake damage.

Thus its distinctive appearance today as an incomplete arena.

Along with the nearby Roman Forum, the Colosseum is Italy's most popular tourist site, attracting more than 6.5 million visitors last year and raising 50 million euros in ticket sales.

The facade was cleaned in small installments, to allow the monument to remain open throughout the works. In the next stages, restorers will work on underground passages and inside corridors, and there are also plans to build a new ticket office and bookstore.

Attempts so far to spruce up the area have produced mixed results. The avenue cutting across the Forum has been pedestrianized, and fake gladiators and ugly street food vans have been banished. But the area still looks messy, partly due to subway construction.

The Colosseum project was funded by luxury goods maker Tod's, in what is Italy's biggest private sponsorship deal for art. Other notable examples include the 2.2-million-euro restoration of the Trevi Fountain, completed in November thanks to fashion house Fendi.

Culture Minister Dario Franceschini has been keen to raise money in this way, but some academics have denounced the practice as a cynical sell-out by Italy's cash-strapped government, opening the door to the commercial exploitation of national heritage sites.


ON April 17th the Religion of Antinous honors Saint Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, 17th Century Mexican nun, scholar, poet, scientist, playwright, musician and lesbian.

She was exceptional not only for her intelligence and beauty, but also because she wrote literature centered on intellectual and sexual freedom.

In the poem "Redondillas" she defends a woman's right to be respected as a human being. "Hombres necios" (Stubborn men) criticizes the sexism of the society of her time, and pokes fun at men who publicly condemn prostitutes, among other things, but privately hire them.

She also has a philosophical approach to the relative immorality of prostitution. This was exemplified when she posed the question, "Who sins more, she who sins for pay or he who pays for sin?"

In the romantic comedy entitled "Los empeños de una casa" about a brother and a sister entangled in a web of love, she writes using two of her most prominent themes, love and jealousy.

She did not moralize, but rather, in the spirit of her lifetime interests, inquired of how these deeply emotional matters shaped and carved a woman's pursuit of liberty, knowledge, education and freedom to live her life in self-sovereignty.

Her revolutionary writings brought down upon her the ire of the Roman Catholic Church at the end of the 17th Century. She was ordered to tone down the sexuality of her writings. She did not.

However, powerful representatives from the Spanish court were her mentors and she was widely read in Spain, being called "The Tenth Muse". She was lauded as the most prominent poet of the post-conquest American Continent. Her work was printed by the first printing press of the American Continent in Mexico City.

She is believed to have penned 4,000 works, but only a few have survived. They were rescued by the Spanish Viceroy's wife, who was rumored to be her female lover. In April 1695, after ministering to the other sisters struck down by a rampant plague, she is said to have died at four in the morning on April 17th.

For her love of learning and her devotion to the beauty of sexuality and for her courage to write about controversial things in the face of the Spanish Inquisition, we honor Saint Sor Juana as a Prophet of Homoeros.

Sunday, April 17, 2016


ONE of the largest Roman villas ever built in the British Isles has been discovered by accident in the back yard of an English homeowner.

It was the urge to avoid playing ping-pong in the dark that led Luke Irwin to make one of Britain’s most extraordinary archaeological discoveries in recent years.

Irwin, a rug designer, and his wife had decided to convert an old barn on their newly purchased Wiltshire property into a room where they and their children could play table tennis, so they hired electricians to lay cables for lights.

"The electricians originally suggested stringing up an overhead cable from our house to supply the power for the barn, but I insisted it had to be an underground cable," said Irwin. It turned out to be a fateful decision.

The electricians started drilling and hit a hard layer 18 inches below the surface. It was found to consist of pieces of mosaic. 

"We knew the significance of that straight away," added Irwin. "No one since the Romans has laid mosaics as house floors in Britain. Fortunately we were able to stop the workmen just before they began to wield pickaxes to break up the mosaic layer."

Irwin called in Historic England (formerly English Heritage), whose archaeologists confirmed that the mosaic had formed part the floor of a grand villa built between 175 and 220 AD, and had been remodelled several times before the 5th century.

The Irwins' house, created out of two labourers' cottages, was built in the center of the old villa and rests on a large slab of Purbeck marble, which is probably of Roman origin. According to the experts, the discovery is of "national significance."

"The rest of the site has not been touched since the house collapsed more than 1,400 years ago, and it is unquestionably of enormous importance," said Dr David Roberts, an Historic England archaeologist.

It is the sense of continuity that has affected Irwin. 

"Some of the oyster shells we have found have not been touched by another human for more than 1,500 years and now we have uncovered them lying around our house. It is a very powerful feeling," said Irwin.

Saturday, April 16, 2016


WE honor Margot Adler as a Saint of Antinous the Gay God.

She was a pioneering modern pagan and well-respected all-round journalist who enabled millions of listeners on NPR radio in North America to get a balanced and informed view of paganism. 

She reported on news and current affairs from New York City ... most notably the 9/11 tragedy ... and her listeners respected her religious beliefs were did not make her "weird" or "demonic."

Margot Adler authored DRAWING DOWN THE MOON, a 1979 book about Neopaganism which was revised in 2006 to include our own modern Religion of Antinous. 

The book is considered a watershed in American Neopagan circles, as it provided the first comprehensive look at modern nature-based religions in the US.

For many years it was the only introductory work about the American Neopagan communities. And it mentions Antinous ... and our new religion!

Friday, April 15, 2016


ON April 15th the Religion of Antinous remembers Jean Genet as a Saint of Antinous.

Saint Jean Genet was one of the first and most modern gay poets, whose elegance and sordid love for the street life was unprecedented, and has never been matched.

Among his most fervent desires, expressed from the very beginning was that he should one day be elevated to Sainthood.

We of the Religion of Antinous, fully and faithfully, take faith in the spirit of Saint Jean Genet, through whom the eternal voice of Antinous spoke with the most voluptuousness and vain-glory.

Saint Jean Genet died on this day in Paris in1986.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


ON April 14th the Religion of Antinous honors one of our most blessed thespian saints and martyrs, St. John Gielgud, who was born on this day in 1904.

The most terrible moment in John Gielgud's life -- on which he maintained a public silence for 50 years -- was the subject of a critically acclaimed play in the London West End.

The play, entitled "Plague Over England", was about the scandal which swept across Britain in 1953 when John Gielgud was arrested by an undercover policeman in a public toilet in London.

But the 2008 play was concerned with much more than Gielgud's arrest in on the charge of "importuning for immoral purposes". The play showed the plight of gay men in the 1950s Cold War atmosphere when gays were associated with Communist espionage. 

Its characters include the producer who nearly ended his career, the virulently anti-homosexual Lord Chief Justice Rayner Goddard, an American fleeing his own country's anti-Communist paranoia, and a doctor who claims to "cure" same-sex attraction with "Clockwork Orange"-style electric shock therapy.

Homosexuals had long been feared and hated in England as men who, it was believed, preyed on the innocent young, and were thus unfit to lead normal, happy lives. Until 1967, they risked prosecution for what the law called "acts of gross indecency between male persons", even in private, and could be arrested for merely showing -- in a police spy's opinion -- an intent to commit them.

Police throughout England were alert for any hints of homosexual behaviour. Just before Gielgud was arrested, two prominent high-class gay men had been uncovered as KGB spies, resulting in a further crackdown on all gay activities. The officer who arrested Gielgud was part of a Metropolitan Police squad established in 1930 that regularly lurked in central London toilets.

The year in which Gielgud came to grief in a Chelsea public convenience was a particularly dangerous one for homosexuals, as the increased frankness of the period allowed politicians, the police, and the press to profit by inflaming public hysteria, warning that a "plague" or "epidemic" of sodomy and Communism was sweeping the land.

The climate of fear was chilling to gay men who paid even the slightest attention to the news.

Gielgud, however, was, in his own words a "silly gubbins" who took no notice of anything outside of acting. On October 21, following the rehearsal for the play "A Day By the Sea", this supremely unworldly man, then 49, had a few drinks at a party and then visited a public lavatory popular with "cottagers" -- English gay slang for men who cruise toilets.

Arrested, and aware that he should give a false identity, he said he was a clerk called Arthur (his real name) Gielgud. The next day he  appeared before a magistrate who did not know who he was, fined him 10 pounds, and ordered him, with the disdain and sexual ignorance of the period, to "see your doctor the moment you leave this court".

Unfortunately, a better-informed Evening Standard reporter was there, too. When that afternoon's paper hit the streets, he was on the front page.

You can imagine the shame and the terror with which Gielgud turned up at rehearsal (he had considered suicide) for the role of a bachelor diplomat whose mother worries that he is lonely and unloved.

But the company, led by his co-star, Dame Sybil Thorndike, in fact welcomed him with open arms. "Oh, John," she said, in one of the most magnificent double entendres of all time, "you HAVE been a silly bugger!"

The producer of "A Day By the Sea", however, the immensely powerful Binkie Beaumont, saw the newspaper articles and the hate mail, and worried that the public would stay away. 

Yet his thoughts of firing the star were thwarted by Gielgud's brother, Val, who applied a little judicious blackmail about Binkie's very own private life.

Everyone was nervous that the audience might react with silence or even boos.

But as the curtain came down he was cheered to the rafters.

Gielgud was known for having a penchant for anonymous bathroom sex -- It's one of the reasons his knighthood (just a few months before the arrest) was postponed for years. He even had a "cruising cap" for such forays, an attempt to disguise himself so as to avert detection by fans who might recognize him.

The arrest had important consequences, and not only for Gielgud, who was told by the British embassy in Washington to forget about a planned American production of "The Tempest". because he might prove "an embarrassment".

Afterwards, the floodgates opened as the public was confronted by the disturbing fact that an extremely distinguished and beloved artist was one of the people they, in theory, despised. The fuss contributed to the Wolfenden Commission, set up the following year to study prostitution, taking on homosexuality as well. Its recommendations eventually led to decriminalisation in Britain.

While the affair broke Gielgud emotionally, he put himself back together in a way that made him better suited to a theatre in a world of greater change and upheaval.

For his talent and for his courage, the Religion of Antinous honors Saint John Gielgud as a Prophet of Homoeros.