Monday, January 15, 2018
ANTINOUS IN HIERAPOLIS
CITY OF SACRED PROSTITUTES
CITY OF SACRED PROSTITUTES
IT was on this day in January of the year 130 AD that the Imperial entourage of Hadrian and Antinous arrived in the sacred city of Hierapolis in Asia Minor (Turkey) on what would be one of the last festively upbeat stops on the emperor's fateful final tour of his sprawling empire.
Hieropolis was the City of the Sacred Prostitutes, including gay prostitutes.
Today only scattered ruins remain, including those of the amphitheatre which was built in honor of the Divine Hadrian's visit in late 129 and early 130.
But in its heyday, Hierapolis was a city of 100,000 inhabitants and was noted for its fine temples and, above all, for its healing thermal springs ... hot springs which to this day continue to draw people seeking healing relief.
Apollo was the chief god of Hierapolis, along with Pluto, whose healing energies fed the miraculous thermal springs which were famed throughout the Roman Empire.
But the most extraordinary temple in this Sacred City of Temples was indeed the Temple of Astargis, a Hellenized form of Astarte-Venus.
The Temple was famous (or "infamous" in the view of early Christians) for its sacred prostitutes, the "hierodules", who were priestesses of the love goddess.
The Bible mentions Hieropolis briefly as an iniquitous site of whoredom and wickedness, an obvious reference to this Temple. The Christians did their worst to convert the city. Paul came here.
And the Apostle Philip proselytized in this city for three years before finally being stoned to death. He was buried in Hieropolis.
Recently, archaeologists identified the Plutonium (Pluto's Sacred Cave) as the legendary GATEWAY TO HADES of ancient mythology.
Like the thermal waters seething in the Plutonium, Hieropolis was a seething hotbed of religious turmoil.
Hadrian and Antinous arrived in Hierapolis to a joyous welcome.
Because of his devotion to the Goddess Venus, Hadrian most certainly would have visited the Temple that was the center of a large, wide-spread cult ... the Temple of Astargis, a Hellenized form of Astarte-Venus ... the temple of the sacred gay prostitutes known as "hierodules."
The temple was an imposing edifice whose portals were flanked by towering phallic sculptures. Inside, the temple catered to every sexual persuasion.
Yes, there were also homosexual sacred prostitutes, who likewise served the goddess to the best of their ability.
Flamen ANTONIUS SUBIA believes the connection between their office and the function of Antinous as the lover of Hadrian may have facilitated his initiation into their cult. Thus, Antinous may have been an Honorary Sacred Prostitute.
In the words of Antonius: "We honor the ancient cult of Astargis out of love for Antinous, and seek to embrace and understand the function of the hierodules."