THE celebration of the Sacred Obelisk of Antinous marks the end of the three-year cycle of the Peregrination in our liturgical calendar. It is observed by recitation and meditation on the holy words that are the most precious of the few relics of the religion of Antinous.
Hadrian commissioned an obelisk to be carved and dedicated to Antinous.
It was written in hieroglyphs by an Egyptian scribe and was possibly erected over the tomb of Antinous at Hadrian's Villa at Tibur, but was moved several times and is now located on Monte Pincio outside of Rome.
It is the most sacred surviving document of the Religion of Antinous, detailing the deification of Hadrian, Sabina and Antinous after the Egyptian fashion. The Obelisk is associated with the Sun and with the Phallus and is therefore venerated as part of the Delphinea.
The Egyptian hieroglyphs on the OBELISK OF ANTINOUS state clearly that Antinous answers the prayers of all who call upon him through dreams and visions, for example.
This document, written in crumbling hieroglyphs on an obelisk of red granite, is the only authentic fragment which remains from the Ancient Religion of Antinous. It is believed to have been authored by Hadrian, or a high priest, proclaiming the Egyptian basis of the Ancient Religion of Antinous.
It vividly proclaims the Religion of Antinous, and it is the only document through which the voice of Antinous speaks directly. If it was written by Hadrian, then it is what the founder of the Religion of Antinous wished to convey to us.
The translation below is based on extensive work using the only scholarly book in existence which provides a full transliteration of the hieroglyphic inscription. This book was published in Germany in 1994 by German scholars and so their translation is of course in German — not English. An authoritative English translation has never existed — until now.
The inscription liberally employs deliciously "Egyptiany" puns and euphemisms which are very difficult to translate. For example, Antinous is described as having "festively decorated eyes" and those words have been used in all previous English translations, based on the German. But other scholars cited in the book's appendices point out that "festively decorated eyes" is an idiomatic expression not to be taken literally. In fact, they argue, it means it is not necessarily HIS eyes which are decorated, but rather it is OUR eyes which are adorned by the vision of his loveliness. Through His eyes He dazzles us. So it really means "He is dazzling in beauty of the eyes" — which is what we have decided to use.
The inscription also shows how difficult it was for the Egyptians to translate Greek and Roman concepts into hieroglyphs. For example, the Egyptians had no word for "hippodrome" since a stadium for chariot-racing was an alien concept to the Egyptians. So the inscription calls it "a horse-whipping place" which, while being colorful, is perhaps a bit misleading. So, after careful consideration, we have decided to use the word "arena" in that passage.
One insight which comes from reading the glyphs (which are incised right-to-left) is the realization that the text begins on the East Face (the Rising Sun) and proceeds clockwise right-to-left around the obelisk. Hitherto, the order of the faces was assumed to be East-West-North-South. But we are convinced the Egyptians meant the text to be read East-South-West-North, in one continuing narrative. Thus, the faces follow like pages in a book. For the first time in 1,800 years, the new translation below makes the narrative sense clear.
Starting with the East Face, we see references to Ra-Herakhte, the Rising Sun.
Next comes the South Face, which is the direction of the Source of the Nile, the source of all life, and the inscription discusses the tomb and the establishment on this Earth of the Sacred City of Antinoopolis.
Then comes the West Face, which is the direction of the setting sun and the Underworld. The inscription speaks of the deeper Mystery Teachings of the religion and how the guardians of the Gates of the Underworld permit Antinous to pass through unheeded.
Finally, we come to the North Face, which is directed to the Circumpolar Stars which the Egyptians called "The Imperishables". These stars and constellations around the Pole Star Polaris never set below the horizon — they never die. The Egyptians believed those "Imperishables" were in fact the gods and pharaohs. Accordingly, the inscription speaks of the miracles which Antinous performs by virtue of the fact that he is indeed one of these "Shining Ones" and by virtue of the fact that the magical force of creation ("the semen of the First God") truly is in his body.
The Obelisk of Antinous is the most important document of the new Religion of Antinous, it is the only vestige of the original religion, a sacred inscription without parallel, but its origin and purpose remain completely veiled in mystery, as is everything that remains of Antinous.
THE OBELISK OF ANTINOUS
(Towards the Newborn Sun)
Antinous the God, His heart in rapture
At Having come to know His True Form
And at Having seen His father Ra-Harakhte,
It is Antinous who brings forth this prayer.
Thus His Heart Proclaims:
Ra-Harakhte, supreme among the gods,
He who hears the prayers of the Gods and Men,
Of the Transfigured and the Dead,
Hear also the plea of Hadrian,
Who stands before you!
As recompense for all he has done
For me, Antinous, your beloved son,
Generously reward Hadrian,
Lord of Both Upper and Lower Egypt,
Who founded a magnificent new religion
In the temple shrines for all people,
Which has pleased the Gods!
And he is called "Beloved of Hapy and All the Gods,"
The Lord of Crowns, Hadrianus Caesar
May he have Eternal Life, Prosperity and Sanctity
Throughout all time like Ra,
Blossoming and rising anew
Throughout the ages!
He is Our Lord,
The ruler of all lands,
The Noble Augustus!
The Lords of Egypt bow to him,
And the Barbarians are vanquished
Beneath his feet,
As it has always been
Under the rulers of Upper and Lower Egypt.
They come into being by the utterance of his word,
His might extends to the far reaches of the realm
And the four corners of the Earth!
Bulls mate in rapture with cows
And bring forth their young for Hadrian,
To please his heart and that of his great and beloved Queen,
The Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt and all its cities,
Sabina Sebaste Augusta!
May she have Eternal Life, Prosperity and Sanctity forever!
Hapy, 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!
SOUTH FACE(Towards the Source of the Nile)
Antinous the God is here!
He rests in this place
Which is in the Border Fields of Our Lady Rome.
In all Sacred Places of Egypt
He is recognized as Divine.
Temple shrines are raised to Him,
And He is revered as a God
By the oracles and priests
Of Upper and Lower Egypt,
Indeed by all the people of Egypt!
The City of Antinoopolis was named in His honour,
Populated by the Greeks of Egypt
As well as priests from the temples of Egypt,
And those who have come to this place
With the promise of splendours beyond all measure.
A Temple to Antinous the God,
Who is among the Shining Ones of Heaven,
Is located in this city
Built of good white stone,
Surrounded by sphinxes and statues
And innumerable columns
Like those Temples erected
By Our Ancient Ancestors
And also like those of the Greeks.
All Gods and Goddesses
Give Him the Breath of Eternal Life
That He might breathe
As One Who Is Eternally Young!
(Towards the Underworld)
Antinous the God,
Who is among the Shining Ones of Heaven,
Has been transfigured into a God of Eternal Youth,
Perfect of countenance,
Who is dazzling in beauty of the eyes,
Whose heart is full of heroic joy
Since He received the order of the Gods
At the hour of his death.
Every ritual of the Book of the Hours
Shall be repeated for him
Along with each of His Mysteries.
His Word shall be spread to the whole world.
His teaching shall be a never-ending river
Of admonition, inspiration and mystery.
Nothing comparable has been conferred
On any mortal man before now,
Just as with His altars, His temples
And His sacred images.
All by virtue of the Truth
That He breathes the Breath of Eternal Life.
And His magnitude comes into being
In the hearts of all men.
Lord of Hermopolis,
Lord of the Sacred Words, Thoth!
Take the Soul of Antinous
And make it Eternally Young
At every moment of every night,
And every day, for all Eternity!
Love for Him fills the hearts of His followers
And the Awe of HIM is with all.
His believers raise their voices in praise
When they worship Him.
He takes His seat in the Hall of the Justified,
The Illuminated and the Exalted,
Who are in the entourage of Osiris
In the Kingdom of the Underworld,
For the Lord of Eternity finds Justice in Him!
Through the Gods
His Word endures upon the Earth,
Because He fills their hearts with joy!
He is able to enter any place he wishes.
The guardians of the gates
Of the Kingdom of the Underworld
Say "Praise to You" to Him...
They loosen their bolts
And throw open their gates before him...
Millions of years long...daily...
As his duration of life is as the sun,
Never in eternity elapsing!
NORTH FACE(Towards the Circumpolar Imperishables)
Behold, Antinous the God is Here,
Who is among the Shining Ones!
An arena was erected in His sacred city in Egypt
Antinoopolis, which was named for Him,
Being for the champions from all lands of the Earth,
For the rowing teams and the runners
And for the masters of the arts
Of the Lord of Sacred Words, Thoth.
And they are awarded glorious prizes
And wreaths and rewards of plentiful riches.
Offerings are brought daily upon His altars.
He is honored in praise by the artists of Thoth
In accordance with His glory.
He strides forth from his resting place
To His innumerable temples
All across the earthly realm.
He hears the prayers of all those who call out to Him,
And He cures the afflictions of those in need
By sending healing visions while they dream.
Once He has accomplished His work among the living,
He takes every shape that His heart desires,
For the semen of the First God
Truly is in His body!