Saturday, August 8, 2020

THE ACCESSION OF HADRIAN
AS EMPEROR OF ROME


ON August 8th 117 AD, Trajan died amidst doubts as to who would be his successor ... paving the way for Hadrian to succeed him as emperor. 

It would not be until August 11th that the situation would become clear and the Legions would proclaim Hadrian emperor.

Hadrian had been on tenterhooks for years wondering whether Trajan would formally adopt him as his heir. 

If Trajan died without the issue of succession being settled, it could result in civil war — or at least in the assassination of Hadrian by some other ambitious man.

Then finally, while on campaign in Nikomedia, capital of Bithynia, Hadrian receives word that Trajan unexpectedly died on August 8th. 


He learns that Trajan's "deathbed will" named him as the emperor's adopted son and successor

It is believed that Trajan's wife, the Empress Plotina (who adored Hadrian), forged the will of her husband, naming Hadrian as successor.

Whatever happened, the Legions proclaimed Hadrian emperor on August 11th. 


The support of the army insured the validity of our Emperor's claim, ushering in the Sacred and Golden Age of the Antonines, the dynasty of peaceful and wise emperors which would end with Marcus Aurelius.

Our own FLAMEN ANTINOALIS ANTONIUS SUBIA explains what this means to gay men everywhere:

"Hadrian became Emperor over Rome at the pinnacle of her glory. Her boundaries stretched farther than ever before; farther than they ever would again. Millions of people were subject to his authority. As Emperor, Hadrian first made peace with the Parthians, surrendering some of the land that Trajan had occupied, and then began the work of consolidating the Empire from the inside. We celebrate the Accession of Hadrian as the miracle that might never have been, without which Antinous would never have been known, and our religion would never have been born. Hadrian is Our Father, Our Emperor and Our Capitoline God, we recognize on this day that the beginning of his age is the beginning of our own."
On August 11th, please take a moment to remember the day on which Hadrian's long and heartfelt dreams and ambitions became reality and the path was paved for him to begin work on creating a civilization based on Hellenistic tolerance — and above-all his dream of founding the perfect religion based on love and beauty.

May the Divine Hadrian help us all achieve our heartfelt dreams and ambitions in this regard.

HAPPY WORLD CAT DAY
IS YOUR HOME A CAT TEMPLE TOO?


AUGUST 8th is World Cat Day ... so it's the purrr-fect day to look over the shoulders of archaeologists who have unearthed what appears to have been a major temple to the cat goddess Bastet in the royal quarter of ancient Alexandria.

The discovery represents the first trace of the true location of Alexandria's royal quarter, where the Ptolemies resided and which served as the home base for Roman visitors, such as Julius Caesar and Marcus Antonius, and later Emperor Hadrian and his lover Antinous in 130 AD.

The temple was in use for centuries. Presumably it was still in use when Hadrian and Antinous arrived in Alexandria. In later centuries Christians and Moslems used it as a "quarry" for stone to build new structures.

Its ruins remained buried until an archaeological team, doing routine excavations near the Roman theatre in Alexandria, stumbled onto the temple foundations and a cache of 600 Ptolemaic statues, primarily of cats and the goddess Bastet.

The temple was built by Queen Berenike, wife of Ptolemy III (246-222 BC). The temple compound is believed to measure 60 metres by 15 metres and extends underneath the present Ismail Fahmi Street in the heart of Alexandria.

The team, which comprises 18 skilled excavators and restorers, unearthed a large collection of statues depicting the cat goddess Bastet, the goddess of protection and motherhood, which confirms that the temple was dedicated to this popular Delta goddess.

The Bastet statues were unearthed in three different areas of the site  together with other limestone statues of unidentified women and children, according to Al Ahram newspaper. Clay pots as well as bronze and faience statues of various ancient Egyptian deities have also been uncovered, along with terracotta statues of the gods Harpocrates and Ptah.

The temple foundations definitely can be dated to the reign of Queen Berenike, making this the first Ptolemaic temple discovered in Alexandria to be dedicated to the goddess Bastet. It also indicates that the worship of the goddess Bastet continued in Egypt after the decline of the ancient Egyptian dynasties.

An inscribed base of a granite statue from the reign of Ptolemy IV was also unearthed. It bears an Ancient Greek inscription written in nine lines stating that the statue was commissioned by an official of high standing at the Ptolemaic court. Abdel-Maqsoud believes the inscription celebrates Egypt's victory over the Greeks during the Battle of Raphia in 217 BC.

Archaeologists also found a cluster of other ancient structures, including a Roman water cistern, a group of 14-metre-deep water wells, stone water channels, and the remains of a bath area, as well as a large number of clay pots and shards that can be dated as far back as the founding days of Alexandria in the 4th Century BC.


"This find is the first trace of the real location of Alexandria's royal quarter," the newspaper reported.

Friday, August 7, 2020

ANTINOUS PRIEST MARTIN CAMPBELL
DISCUSSES HIS NOVEL ABOUT ANTINOUS


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

this book truly is a remarkable work of historical fiction right up there with Marguerite Yourcenar's landmark MEMOIRS OF HADRIAN 60 years ago.

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

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

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

Martinus discusses his book in this compelling video:


Thursday, August 6, 2020

LET ANTINOUS GUIDE YOU
THROUGH THE CATACOMBS OF THOTH

By Priest Hernestus



ON August 6th the ancient Egyptians celebrated a major feast of Thoth, so come with me on a trip up the Nile to the Sacred City of Hermopolis. Hadrian and Antinous visited this city in 130 AD … indeed it was the last city Antinous saw before he died in the Nile.

The thing you have to remember about Hermopolis, the Sacred City of Thoth, god of writing, is that it is located in the very middle of Egypt. Thoth officiated at the weighing of the soul before the throne of Osiris.

Appropriately, his sacred city is at the fulcrum of the scales, as it were, midway between the Lower Kingdom capital of Memphis and the Upper Kingdom capital of Thebes.

It is no coincidence that, when Akhenaten sought a site midway between Upper and Lower Egypt, he chose a site only about 20 kilometres south of Hermopolis for his city of Akhetaten (Tel El Amarna).

It is at this very point, at the fulcrum of Egypt, at the center of the Egyptian world, just across the river from Hermopolis and a few miles north of Akhetaten, that Antinous plunged into the Nile.

The Greeks called the town Hermopolis, the City of Hermes, because they associated Thoth with their own Hermes. The Egyptians, however, have always called it Shmunu, a name whose meaning is lost in the mists of time. They still call it that: Al Ashmunein. Like so many things in Egypt, the spelling has changed but the essence has remained the same.

There is little in the modern town of Al Ashmunein to indicate what ancient Shmunu looked like because it has continued to be lived in and built upon for generation after generation. 

In a way, we are lucky that Antinoopolis was abandoned many centuries ago. At least we can still see where the ancient streets were. At Hermopolis/Ashmunein, as at Thebes/Luxor, centuries of building has been going on and there is no way to see what is underneath without ripping out half the town.
Even so, there are still some truly spectacular monuments ... monuments that Hadrian and Antinous most definitely must have seen during their trip to Hermopolis in the last week or so of October in the year 130.

Most impressively, there are still a number of Doric columns of an ancient temple which is nowadays called the "Basilica" because it served as a Christian church after the fall of paganism.


It is very moving to stand among these towering columns and to think that Hadrian and Antinous must have stood here as well and marvelled at this structure when it was still in its glory.

There are also some splendid statues, most notably a monumental statue of Thoth in his guise as the "dog-faced" (cynocephalic) baboon, a primate whose mischievous intelligence was associated by with Thoth, lord of learning and magic.

When you stand amongst the ruins and look around yourself, you notice what appear to be odd-shaped mounds and hillocks. As so often in Egypt, these are not natural geological formations at all. They are the remnants of walls and buttresses and other structures.

Hadrian and Antinous must have seen all this. And they must have been taken on a tour of the City of the Dead which lies to the west of Hermopolis at the point where the irrigated valley gives way to the desert. You take a few steps past the irrigated gardens and orchards and suddenly find yourself stumbling around in the sandy desert. It is the contrast between life and death. The place is now the site of the village of Tuna al Gebel.

It is here that some spectacular tombs were built, tombs that undoubtedly were visited by Hadrian and Antinous. They couldn't help but have seen the Tomb of Isadora (right), for example.

Isadora was a prominent young woman who drowned in the Nile early in the 2nd Century. Her drowning death caused her to be venerated by the Egyptians. Antinous undoubtedly saw her tomb, which was brand new at the time. He heard about her death and her subsequent veneration.

Possibly he saw her mummified body, which is still on view in the tomb.

He and Hadrian would also have seen the beautiful Greco-Egyptian tomb of the Priest Petosiris.

It was quite a tourist attraction even back then. The Imperial Entourage gathered in front of the tomb like modern tourists.

Petosiris was High Priest of Thoth and his tomb features some lovely reliefs honoring Thoth and showing scenes of Greco-Egyptian life.

There is also a stele nearby marking the northern boundary of the city of Akhetaten. I doubt very much that Hadrian and Antinous would have been shown that "heretic's" boundary stone, located high in a cliff. 

But it demonstrates just how close these two sites are. Hermopolis was practically within the city limits of Akhetaten.

Today there is a flight of steps that enables you to get up close to it.

And then, of course, there are the catacombs. No tourist who visits Hermopolis can resist climbing down into the catacombs, where hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of mummified ibis birds and mummified baboons were buried over thousands of years. 

I'm sure Hadrian and Antinous were no different and were taken on a tour of the catacombs, where they peered into the cubby-holes which formed the last resting place for all those baboon and ibis mummies.

The catacombs are a labyrinth of corridors leading off into inky blackness. 

The only light, then as now, is from torches placed in holders along the way. 

Nowadays, of course, they are electric torches and flood-lights. Back then, they were flickering flame torches.

Occasionally you come across a baboon or ibis that was given special treatment and which has its own little chapel with a votive offering stone out front.

I've been to the Hermopolis catacombs and I can tell you it is one of the spookiest and yet one of the most wonderful places in all of Egypt. Generally, I don't condone public display of mummies. 

But in this case, in these catacombs, I felt strangely right at home. It was the home of Hermes/Thoth, a place sacred to him.

So I trailed along with an Egyptian guide holding an electric torch flashlight and directing about 20 of us tourists through the labyrinth, right down to a tiny room at the very end ... after about a 15-minute walk.

It allegedly had been a chief scribe's study, if legend is correct.

I doubt that seriously since I can't imagine why any scribe would want to sit in a dusty, stuffy, pitch-black cubicle hundreds of meters down a tunnel when he could sit on a cushion on the cool paved floor of a temple annex with birds chirping in the sycamore outside instead.

I can't explain why, exactly, but I felt refreshed in those catacombs.

There were mummified ibis birds and baboons everywhere I looked, shoved into terracotta tubes like plastic plumbing pipes, all stacked in row upon row along all the walls. 

The guide explained that many of them didn't actually contain ibises or baboons. Some contained perhaps only one ibis bone and the rest was filled with chicken carcass or sparrows.

I felt that that didn't matter. They were all "virtual ibises" as far as the priests of Thoth were concerned, I have no doubt. The same for dog skeletons in place of baboon mummies.

They were meant to constitute a powerhouse of Thothian energy. And they did that by magical association with each other. I wanted to sense that energy, so I stayed behind as the group worked its way back to the entrance.

You should do that in Egypt. I highly recommend it. I stayed behind in the Burial Chamber of the Great Pyramid, and in
the Osireion at Abydos and enjoyed just being alone there.

Eventually, however, I realized it was time to leave because the guide had warned that he would turn out the lights upon leaving and anyone left inside would be sealed inside in perfect inky blackness.

So I hurried back along the tunnel to where the guide met me with shocked surprise. You can't blame him for being upset. If I'd been sealed in or if I'd set fire to the place or something, HE would have been held responsible. 

He gets paid a few lousy piasters a day and yet gets in trouble if the tourists get into trouble. I gave him some baksheesh money on the way out and felt deliciously guilty with the thrill of it all.

I wonder if Antinous stayed behind to be alone in the catacombs? What boy or young man wouldn't want to do that, just for the eeriness of it all?

It was the climax of a journey through Egypt that had taken Hadrian and Antinous to many very strange places. They had possibly seen the Tomb of Alexander in Alexandria. In Memphis, they had stood on the cliffs overlooking the vast City of the Dead. They had seen the pyramids. They had seen fabulous temples and palaces.

What was going through the mind of Antinous? What happened here, in the very center of Egypt itself, to prompt him to take his life? Assuming he committed suicide, and was not the victim of accident or foul play, just what was it here in Hermopolis, the sacred city of Hermes/Thoth, that convinced him it was time to end it all?

WE HONOR KLAUS NOMI
AS A SAINT OF ANTINOUS



SAINT of Antinous Klaus Nomi was a German-trained Baroque opera countertenor who transformed New Wave, Synth Pop and Disco and who inspired David Bowie, Lady Gaga and other artists.

Born 24 Jan 1944 in Bavaria, he died 6 August 1983 in a New York hospital room, shunned and alone because he had AIDS. 

He performed to the end, despite the fact that his body was ravaged by lesions. Watch his last performance: 


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

CHAVELA VARGAS
SAINT OF ANTINOUS



CHAVELA VARGAS, 17 April 1919 - 5 August 2012, the forceful lesbian songstress who was born in Costa Rica and rose to fame in Mexico, and influenced generations on both sides of the Atlantic, is a Saint of Antinous.

When she died in 2012 at age 93, she was especially known for her rendition of Mexican rancheras, but she is also recognized for her contribution to other genres of popular Latin American music.

Never one to hide her lesbianism, she has been an influential interpreter in America and Europe, muse to figures such as Pedro Almodóvar, hailed for her haunting performances, and called "la voz áspera de la ternura," the rough voice of tenderness.

FLAMEN ANTONIUS SUBIA speaks for millions of gays in the Spanish-speaking world when he says her passing is a saddening loss. He grew up with her music.

ANTONIUS RECALLS:

My parents had always played her music it...among many other singers...she was the only one who made an impact on me.  She was the only one who stood out...mostly because I could tell that she was crazy...she wasn't trying to sound pretty or traditional...but more like someone having an attack of too much feelings.

It wasn't until I was in my late teens that a friend pointed out that all her love songs are sung about women, I hadn't even noticed, I had just taken them at face value, you broke my heart songs, without really thinking about the context...that was when I really started to like Chavela Vargas...when it suddenly dawned on me that this dramatic, bellowing woman, who was such a favorite of my parents, was A LESBIAN!!!

As it turns out she was a hard-core lesbian, though never public about her sexuality, she never actually hid it...it was pretty much right there for everyone to see.  She drank heavily, carried a gun and wore a big red poncho...how can you not love a lesbian such as that?!  Eventually the drinking became too much and she dropped out of making music for a long, long time...only to return about 10 years ago, at 83 years of age with a new album...and it was during her return that I finally learned that, yes indeed, just as I suspected, she was in fact a Lesbian.  My favorite quote is when she said: 

"I've never even been to bed with a man. Never. That's how pure I am; I have nothing to be ashamed of. My gods made me the way I am." - Chavela Vargas

Chavela Vargas is a blessed Saint of Antinous.

ANTONIUS SUBIA

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

HOW DID ANTINOUS DIE?
READ THIS BOOK TO FIND OUT



HERE's a riveting book you must be sure to read … the mystery of the death of Antinous. 

George Gardiner's THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A FORBIDDEN HISTORY masterfully recreates that fateful tour up the Nile and the tragic death which changed the course of history.

Gardiner's novel is written in the form of a whodunnit with possibly the most original investigator imaginable ... the Roman historian Suetonius, who is traveling with the entourage. 

Author of such juicy tomes as "De vita Caesarum" (commonly known as "The Twelve Caesars") and "Lives of Famous Whores" and other tell-all books, Suetonius has the investigative skill and the jaundiced eye to peer behind the veil of Roman dignity to see the sordidness underneath.

Suetonius and two other Patricians, with Strabo as their forensic stenographer, uncover a tale of sex, intrigue and treason which sends such powerful shock waves through the Imperial coterie that Hadrian is compelled to order a cover-up ... hence, the subtitle "A Forbidden History". 

Thus, the official line is Hadrian's pronouncement that "he fell into the Nile" while only Suetonius's secret manuscript reveals the true story ... a manuscript "found" by Gardiner.

The reader sees the case through Suetonius's eyes as he investigates the death, looking for clues.

Gardiner superbly describes the elaborate Imperial compound along the banks of the Nile ... basically a tent city on a fabulously grand scale, a palace made of fabrics with the entire Imperial court transferred from Rome to this remote stretch of the Nile.

Antinous had shared his quarters with a couple of other "ephebes", though he had a private sleeping area ... where only Hadrian had ever been. Suetonius and his Patrician assistants (with Strabo as their scribe), sift through his belongings and interrogate everybody, half of whom are either disconsolate with grief or else they have shifty eyes and their own motives ... there are lots of "red herrings" in this book, people who possibly could have done Him in.

Hadrian refuses to allow Suetonius to touch the body, which was found at dawn by fishermen who were trying to net ibises in the reeds for sale during the Festival of Osiris and Isis. 

They plucked a "silver body" out of the water ... Antinous was clad in his Lion Hunt garb which was silver and ivory breast plate and a solid silver mask, and his ornate bow and adamantine-tipped lance .... the fishermen knew He was a God, especially since He drowned on the day of Osiris' Death!

Suetonius wonders why in Hades Antinous was wearing all this ceremonial garb (otherwise worn only during Parades) and also wonders about a cut on the left wrist of Antinous and strange red marks around his throat. 

But Hadrian refuses to let him touch the body or perform an autopsy, saying His beauty will be preserved by the priests of Egypt through mummification. 

Indeed, Priest Pachrates is standing in the shadows, with kohl-rimmed eyes, and dripping with amulets and talismans, giving Suetonius the creeps.

Then Hadrian tells Suetonius to get out and find out what happened in 48 hours ... or else! 

Whereupon Hadrian throws himself over the body of his Beloved, kissing his cold lips and his hollow eyes (the fish have already eaten the eyeballs) and cradling his naked body — all the ceremonial garb is strewn on the floor of the tent. 

A Nubian slave languidly fans the air through mosquito netting which is continually sprayed with water in a vain attempt to slow down the process of decay.

The author knows his Antinous History and so the reading is deliciously slow-going for any true fan of historical crime novels.

The author peppers the text with Greek and Latin terms and names and expressions which cause the reader to go to the book shelf to dust off reference works. The historical details are a delight.

And the characters are outlined in a vivid way which is like meeting old friends. The description of Hadrian is perfect and the author also brings to life flamboyant heir-apparent Lucius, the Empress Sabina, her confidante Julia Balbilla, the Egyptian magician/priest Pachrates and indeed the entire Imperial coterie.

Even the Oracle of Siwa Oasis makes a cameo appearance, uttering seemingly incoherent clues which ultimately lead to the unravelling of the mystery.

Gardiner's Antinous is blonde with blue-grey eyes and pale skin.

He is left-handed we learn as Suetonius wonders if He had inflicted the slash to his left wrist in an attempt to commit suicide and someone says, but sire, the Boy was left-handed, so it is unlikely he would have held his ceremonial dagger in his right hand to do such a deed. 

And where is the lapis-lazuli talismanic ring (a magical gift from Hadrian) which Antinous always wore on his finger? The ring was supposed to ensure immortality.

What was it that caused such passions among all those who encountered Antinous? Suetonius learns the answer to that question from one person who loved Antinous whole-heartedly.

What is it, Suetonius demands, which inspires such ardor among the admirers of Antinous? He is told:

"It is beauty, my lord. A beauty of character, a beauty of spirit, a beauty of humanity. Beauty, too, of form and shape, but this was not the primary beauty. It would pass soon into time. Antinous was a beguiling personality whose openness communicated sincerity, security, and wholeheartedness. His spirit was alive to life and love .... Antinous was Apollo incarnate, he was Apollo alive in this world, here, now, with us to see and touch today. He was not distant, out of reach, silent. Old philosophers tell us Greeks how human beauty is a reflection of the divine among us. Yet unlike remote Apollo ... Antinous possessed an emotional warmth no god displays to devotees. For Antinous, LOVE must be tangible and active. In him, it was, generously."

In the end, Suetonius discovers precisely how and why Antinous died. And the discovery is such a devastating blow to the Emperor that he suppresses the investigation findings and forbids any mention of the case under penalty of exile. And that is The Hadrian Enigma ... A Forbidden Story.

Monday, August 3, 2020

SUPPLICIA CANUM IS THE DAY
WHEN ROMAN DOGS WERE PUNISHED



THE 3rd of August is the day when Ancient Romans would truss up a live dog spreadeagle on a cross and carry it through the streets of the Eternal City ... as an admonition to other dogs not to fall asleep on guard duty. In the same procession, geese were decked out in gold and purple, and carried in honor ... for saving Rome from the Gauls in 390 BC.

This was the "supplicia canum" ... roughly "let this be a lesson to all dogs."

Romans generally loved dogs and even erected tombs to them (see photo) but the Gallic Siege of Rome so traumatized Romans that they never forgot how guard dogs let them down ... and how a flock of sacred geese saved the city.

The Gauls had not only crossed the Rubicon, they had also defeated a Roman legion led by a swaggering but inept general ... and marched on Rome in June 390 BC.

Residents of the city fled in disarray ... all able-bodied residents, that is.

The elderly, invalids, the infirm and women heavy with child were led up the steep slope of the Capitoline Hill by the few brave soldiers who had stayed behind ... to the temples of Jupiter and Juno, where priests shared their accommodations and foodstuffs.

Among the huddled humanity atop the hill were the Vestal Virgins who ... of course ... were sworn never to leave the city lest the Sacred Flame go out.

Amidst the mad scramble up the hill ... the Gauls battering down the gates of the city ... the Vestal Virgins had maintained a modicum of decorum and had solemnly brought the Sacred Flame with them, chanting and burning incense as everyone else panicked.

The Gauls took their time sacking the city ... content in the knowledge that sooner or later the defenders atop the hill would relent from hunger and thirst ... upon which time the temple treasures would be theirs for the taking.

Indeed, food and water were quickly gone as the siege stretched into the final days of July 390 BC.

Everyone was dying of hunger and thirst ... except for the Sacred Flock of Geese at the Temple of Juno who continued to be pampered with grain and water by the priestesses.

The mob eyed the fat geese greedily ... but the priestesses stood firm ... reminding them that Juno would protect the city only as long as the city protected her Sacred Geese.

Things looked dire when, on the night before the 3rd of August 390 BC, the besieged refugees were so weak that they fell into a stupor ... they were dying ... and the Gauls saw that their chance had arrived.

The Gauls stealthily scaled the undefended Tarpeian Rock side of the hill ... content in the knowledge that the Roman guards and even the watch dogs had fallen asleep.

But the Gauls hadn't counted on the Sacred Geese ... who squawked loud enough to wake the dead ... and roused the guards, who quickly hurled the invaders from their siege ladders.

As dawn broke, the defenders saw clouds of dust on the horizon ... every available legion from the provinces was rushing to defend Mother Rome.

This time it was the Gauls who retreated in disarray ... dropping most of their loot and fleeing in disarray.

By nightfall, Roman soldiers had retaken the city and were feeding the starving residents ... and the Vestal Virgins were putting the Sacred Flame back into its temple niche in the Forum temple.

The defenders were henceforth heralded as heroes of Rome ....

... all except for the night watchmen and the guard dogs ... who were hurled from the Tarpeian Rock to their deaths.

Every August 3rd after that the Sacred Geese were honored ... and a dog was symbolically crucified.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

WE CELEBRATE THE NILE INUNDATION
THE FIRST MIRACLE OF ANTINOUS THE GOD



ANTINOUS worshipers around the world convened online tonight for ceremonies originating from the Hollywood Temple of Antinous celebrating the First Miracle of Antinous ... the Bountiful Inundation of the Nile which ended a drought which had caused food shortages throughout the Empire.

The famine had overshadowed the tour of Egypt by the Imperial entourage in the year 130. The half-starved Egyptians looked to Hadrian, whom they worshipped as pharaoh, to perform a miracle which would end their misery.

But as Hadrian and Antinous traveled up the Nile during the summer and autumn of 130, the Nile once again failed to rise sufficiently to water the fields of Egypt — Rome's "Bread Basket" and chief source of grain and other staple foodstuffs.

It was a humiliating disappointment for the Emperor following the jubilant welcome by peoples during the earlier part of his tour through the Eastern Empire. In Ephesus and other cities he had been welcomed as a living god.

But the Egyptians had given him and his coterie what little they had in the way of food and wine — and he had failed to convince the Inundation Deity Hapi to bless them with bounty. Hapi is one of the most extraordinary deities in the history of religion.

Hapi is special to us especially because Hapi is hermaphroditic. With many other such deities, the gender division is down the middle of the body (like some Hindu deities) or the top half is one gender and the bottom half is the other.

But Hapi is very complex and the genders are mixed throughout his/her body. Male deities invariably have reddish-orange skin in Egyptian Art and female deities have yellowish skin. Hapi has bluish-green skin. Hapi has long hair like a female deity but has a square jaw and a           beard. Hapi has broad shoulders yet has pendulous breasts like a nursing mother. Hapi has narrow hips and masculine thighs, but has a pregnant belly. Nobody knows what sort of genitals Hapi has, since they are covered by a strange garment reminiscent of a sumo wrestler's belt.

Hapi is both father and mother to the Egyptians. Hapi provides them with everything necessary for life. As Herodotus wrote, "Egypt is the gift of the Nile". Hapi wears a fabulous headdress of towering water plants and she/he carries enormous offering trays laden with foodstuffs.

The Ancient Egyptians had no problem worshipping a mixed-gender deity. I think it is very important to draw the connection between Hapi and Antinous, especially since the First Miracle that Antinous performed as a god involved Hapi. The Egyptians accepted Antinous into their own belief system immediately and were among the most ardent followers of Antinous.

They had no problem worshipping a gay deity who had united himself with a hermaphroditic deity. It must have seemed very logical and credible to them.

It made sense to them and enriched their belief system, made it more personal since they could identify more easily with a handsome young man than with a hermaphrodite wearing a sumo belt (Hapi forgive me!).

Herodotus also said he once asked a very learned religious man in Egypt what the true source of the Nile was.

The learned man (speaking through an interpreter, since most Greeks never bothered to learn Egyptian) paused and finally told him the true source of the Nile is the thigh of Osiris.

We think of it as a strange answer. We think of the Nile as an "it" and the source as a "geographical location". But the Egyptians thought of the Nile as "us" and its true source as "heka" — the magical semen of the creator.

So, a learned Egyptian would have assumed that a learned Greek would understand what was meant: That Hapi is the equivalent of Dionysus, who was "incubated" in the inner thigh of Zeus after his pregnant mortal mother Semele perished when she could not bear the searing sight of her lover Zeus in all his divine panoply.

It's a very poetic way (a very Egyptian way) of saying that the "true source" of the Nile, which is to say Egypt itself, is the magical heka/semen from the loins of the original creator.

We will never know what happened during that journey up the Nile along the drought-parched fields with anxious Egyptian farmers looking to Hadrian for a miracle. All we know is that Antinous "plunged into the Nile" and into the arms of Hapi in late October of the year           130.

And then the following summer, Hapi the Inundation Deity provided a bountiful Nile flood which replenished the food stocks of Egypt — and the Roman Empire.

Our own Flamen Antinoalis Antonius Subia explains the more esoteric aspects of this special Religious Holy Day:

"The Dog Star Sirius appears, and the sacred Star of Antinous begins to approach its zenith in the night sky of the northern hemisphere. The appearance of the Dog Star once announced the rise of the Inundation of the Nile, though it no longer does due to the precession of the Equinox, which is the slight alteration of the position of the stars.
"After the Death and Deification of Antinous, the Nile responded by rising miraculously after two successive years of severe drought. It was on this day, July 25th, in the year 131 that the ancient Egyptians recognized that Antinous was a god, nine months after his death, following their custom of deifying those who drowned in the Nile, whose sacrifice insured the life-giving flood.

"Sirius is the brightest star in the sky, it is part of the constellation Canis Major, or the big dog, which is the hunting dog of Orion. Mystically, Sirius and the constellation Canis Major is Antinous Master of Hounds and Orion is Hadrian the Hunter.

"The position of Orion, along the banks of the Milky Way, our galaxy in relation to Sirius is a mirror image of Pyramids along the bank of the Nile, which is the same relationship as Antinoopolis to the Nile, with the Via Hadriani, the road which Hadrian built across the desert to the East, linking the Nile with the Red Sea — Rome to India.

"We consecrate the beginning of the Dog Days of Summer to the advent of the Egyptian deification of Antinous and the miracle of the Inundation of the Nile."

The First Miracle of Antinous the Gay God is enshrined in the hieroglyphic inscription on the 

The East Face of the Obelisk, which is aligned to the rising sun Ra-Herakhte, speaks of the joy that fills the heart of Antinous since         having been summoned to meet his heavenly father Ra-Herakhte and to become a god himself.

Then the inscription tells how Antinous intercedes with Ra-Herakhte to shower blessings upon Hadrian and the Empress Sabina Augusta.

And Antinous immediately calls upon Hapi ...

Hapi, progenitor of the gods,
On behalf of Hadrian and Sabina,
Arrange the inundation in fortuitous time
To make fertile and bountiful, the fields
Of Both Upper and Lower Egypt!
We joyfully celebrate this, the First Miracle of Antinous!

Saturday, August 1, 2020

ANTINOUS AND HADRIAN ENTER
THE GOLDEN CITY OF ANTIOCH


ANTIOCH was called the "golden" city because of its wealth and gilded architecture and statuary.

On August 1st the Religion of Antinous commemorates the entry of Hadrian and Antinous into Antioch. It was founded by one of the generals of Alexander the Great, who reportedly had camped on the site and said it would be a good location for a great city.

Indeed it was, and Antioch rivaled Alexandria as the most important city in the Eastern Empire.

The emperors preferred Antioch. Julius Caesar visited the city. Tiberius and others showered favors on Antioch because it was far more strategically important than Alexandria.

Alexandria was between the desert and the sea. Antioch was at the crossroads of major trading routes and military roads.

Antioch was a pure Hellenistic city refounded by Augustus in 25 BC as a Roman colony. Hadrian felt very much at home here in this Hellenistic atmosphere.

Antioch was to be the base of Hadrian's Imperial administration until early spring of 130. This prolonged stay was spent visiting the regions of Syria. Starting with Antioch, the whole atmosphere of the Imperial Tour began to change. Antioch is a turning point.

Unlike the cities of Asia Minor, which had opened their hearts to Hadrian and proclaimed him a living god, the people of Antioch were cold and critical of Hadrian's policies.

The large Jewish population resisted the policies of Hellenization, which Hadrian promoted. They would not cooperate with the new religious order of unity, and condemned the whole effort as blasphemous.

The Christians were equally seditious, and defiant. They were disgusted by the presence of Antinous by the side of the Emperor, and called the whole affair an abomination. 


Antioch was the center of Christianity in the ancient Roman world. It had been the base from which Paul the Apostle operated, and was considered to be his seat. 

It was from Antioch that Paul wrote the Epistle to the Romans that is now part of the Bible, which specifically forbids and condemns homosexuality, and thereby dictates the position of the Christian religion on same-sex love (a position never taken by Jesus).

Flamen ANTONIUS SUBIA explains the significance of the visit to Antioch:

"Antioch represents the enemies of homosexuality as embodied by the Apostle Paul. It was here that Hadrian and Antinous first discovered that their love was considered to be unholy, a reality that was to over cloud the religion of Antinous and of same-sex love for centuries to come.

"We observe that when Antinous entered Antioch, the darkness of hatred for homosexuality was born. Our enemies in the Christian Church took inspiration from the beauty of Antinous and used his deification as a weapon for our destruction. It was in Antioch that homosexuality was crucified.

"We lament the misery brought against our kind, and we remember those countless souls who were brutalized and murdered for our cause, and for our form of Love. Through Antinous, upon whom the hatred of Antioch fell, we pray for salvation as we enter the second year of the Sacred Peregrination. "

Antioch today is a pile of ruins ... periodic earthquakes have taken their toll on the Roman forum and the beautiful marble palace where Hadrian and Antinous resided in August of the year 129. The tremors of their tour of the Eastern Empire sent shock waves which reverberate to this very day.