IN November we commemorate the arrival in the year 129 AD of Antinous with the entourage of Emperor Hadrian in Apamea.
One of the four great cities of Syria, Apamea was founded by Alexander the Great as a military encampment to guard his rear as he advanced into Persia and was fortified later to become one of the richest and most important trading cities in Syria, originally called Pella.
It was renamed Apamea by Seleucus I Nicator after his Bactrian wife and became one of the most beautiful Hellenistic cities which a great colonnaded avenue, temples, theater and baths.
The city was destroyed by an earthquake in 115 shortly after Hadrian became Emperor. He ordered the city rebuilt on a grander scale than before, and returned with Antinous and the Imperial entourage in the late autumn of 129 to inspect the restored city.
Apamea again came to prominence when it sided with the young Emperor Elegabalus against his enemies and was instrumental in his victory. The city was ravaged by continual war in the Bizantine era and during the Crusades, and it was destroyed again by an earthquake in 1152 never to be rebuilt.
The titular deity of Apamea was the goddess Tyche also known as Fortuna to the Romans.
She was portrayed wearing a turreted fortress crown, holding a cornucopia and standing on a wheel of fortune.
Fortuna was revered by the Apameans because they understood the cyclical vicissitudes of fate as their city was alternately blessed by tremendous wealth and prosperity only to succumb to total destruction repeatedly.
They revered their Goddess for the blessings she bestowed upon them which they learned to appreciate, and for the strength and fortitude they learned to endure during times of misfortune. It was only when the Cult of Fortuna was no longer honored that the Amapeans were unable find the will to continue.
We seek to become Lovers of Fate, like the Apameans, to patiently endure hardship within the fortress of our hearts and be joyous and thankful for the blessings we receive.