Monday, November 20, 2017

FINDS SUGGEST ROMANS USED CAMELS
EVEN IN ROMAN BRITAIN



DID Antinous ride a camel … in Roman Britain?

In a new blog post by Dr. Caitlin Green, the historian explores the prevalence of camels across the Roman Empire, based on a number of camel remains excavated in areas such as Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia and the Balkans ... and possibly even in Britannia. 

As she notes, the remains are dated to between the 1st and 5th centuries CE, with many coming from the third century or later. 

Also, Dr. Green remarks on the variant use of different types of camels across the empire: 

"Recent surveys by both Pigière & Henrotay and Tomczyk indicate that, where identification is possible, the evidence points to dromedaries or Arabian camels being dominant in the western half of Roman Europe whilst Bactrian camels were mainly found in the east, although the split was not absolute … for example, a near-complete skeleton of a Bactrian camel is known from a Roman urban context at Saintes, France, and dromedary remains have been recovered from Kompolt-Kistér, Hungary."

Archaeological evidence indicates that camels were used across the Roman empire well into the early medieval period.

As historian Caitlin Green suggests, this includes the island province of Britannia.

In Roman antiquity, the camelus (from the Greek word κάμηλος) could come with one hump or two. 

The single humped camel is commonly called a dromedary. The dromedary was usually from the Arabian Peninsula and the African steppe regions.

The two-humped camel was the Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus), which generally hailed from the colder desert regions of Asia. 

There is strong evidence to support the hybridization of these two types as early as the 1st millennium BC, which produced a sturdier one-humped animal that could carry about 100 kg more per day.

From the Hellenistic to the Roman period, dromedaries were used to carry not only freight, but also mail along roads often protected by a police force. 

This was a camel mail service model inspired by the earlier Persian Empire. A number of overland trade routes stemming from the Red Sea ports used these pack animals to transport freight to the East, in order to connect to the Nile.

Yet bone evidence for camels within the empire has now expanded our view of these animals to include an area far beyond just the Red Sea region.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

FLUSHED WITH PRIDE, WE OFFER
THE LATEST POOP ON WORLD TOILET DAY



TODAY November 19 is WORLD TOILET DAY and we are flushed with pride to have kept you on the edge of your seats for five years with headlines on what's new in ancient toilets.

In Ancient Rome, many people believed demons lurked in the sewers ... which meant going to the latrine exposed very delicate parts of the anatomy to demonic attack.

For that reason, lavatories in Rome sometimes featured frescoes emblazoned with protective deities and apotropaic serpents shielding a person squatting in a vulnerable position ... to ward off evil.

In the fresco above, some ancient visitor to a lavatory scrawled graffiti saying: "Cacator cave malum" which means "He who defecates here, beware of evil!"

We were the first to report the discovery by Philippe Charlier, a Parisian forensic expert, that Ancient Greek ceramic discs which hitherto had been thought to be gaming pieces may actually have been used as a form of ANCIENT TOILET PAPER.


Charlier (pictured here) presented among other things, a Greek proverb stating, "Three stones are enough to wipe one's arse," as evidence that such stones were used to clean up after going to the bathroom.

This blog also was among the first to report on the discovery of the world's oldest WOODEN TOILET SEAT in September 2014 at Vindolanda Roman Fort near Hadrian's Wall in northern England.

Experts at Vindolanda believe it is the only find of its kind and dates from the 2nd Century, which dates to the time when the Emperor and Antinous may have visited on an inspection tour.

The site, near Hexham, has previously revealed gold and silver coins and other artefacts of the Roman army. The seat (at right) was discovered in a muddy trench, which was previously filled with rubbish.

Dr Andrew Birley, director of excavations at Vindolanda, told the BBC: "We know a lot about Roman toilets from previous excavations at the site and from the wider Roman world, which have included many fabulous Roman latrines.

"But never before have we had the pleasure of seeing a surviving and perfectly preserved wooden seat.


"As soon as we started to uncover it there was no doubt at all on what we had found. It is made from a very well worked piece of wood and looks pretty comfortable. Now we need to find the toilet that went with it as Roman loos are fascinating places to excavate ... their drains often contain astonishing artefacts," he said.

"Let's face it, if you drop something down a Roman latrine you are unlikely to attempt to fish it out unless you are pretty brave or foolhardy."

Dr Birley said many examples of stone and marble toilet benches existed from across the Roman Empire, but this is believed to be the only surviving wooden seat.

He said it was probably preferred to a cold stone seat given the "chilly northern location".

Saturday, November 18, 2017

IS THIS A TEMPLE TO ANTINOUS?



IS this a small temple to Antinous in Newcastle England? 

This small temple is dedicated to a curly-haired boy god called ANTENOCITICUS ... a deity worshiped by soldiers and local people at the eastern end of Hadrian's Wall.

Antinous in the guise of Antenociticus is not mentioned at any other Romano-British site or on any inscriptions from Europe, which is why it has been identified as a local deity.

Antinous priest and writer MARTINUS CAMPBELL, author of THE LOVE GOD about the life of Antinous, says it is highly possible Antenociticus is a local aspect of Antinous ... perhaps in honor of a visit to this outpost by Antinous and Hadrian.

Martinus says: "Archaeologically there is a period of time in AD 126 to 127 when we have no record of where Hadrian was. We do know, however, that the wall was completed in Ad 128."

He says: "It is believed he would have come to Britannia to oversee the final stages of the wall. It is further believe he would have brought Antinous with him."

Martinus adds: "That is why the locals (mostly of mixed Roman and British blood, by then) connected Antinous to a local deity Citicus and re-named him Antenociticus."  Stone heads of Antenociticus have been found nearby.

Friday, November 17, 2017

NEW ATHENS MUSEUM EXHIBITION
FEATURES RARE ANTINOUS ART



ATHENS was Hadrian's favorite city, and now the National Archaeological Museum in Athens is putting the spotlight on Hadrian and Antinous in a special exhibition.

Included will be treasures long tucked away in storage, such as the inscribed base of a monument in honour of the Emperor Hadrian (below) and an outstanding bust of Antinous (above). 

The works are being displayed for the first time in the heart of the Museum, 19 centuries after the emperor's visit to Athens with Antinous at his side.

The exhibition, entitled "The Builder, Saviour and Olympian" opened 13 November 2017 in the “Hall of the Altar” (hall 34). The show runs through 4 March 2018. 

Their display in the Unseen Museum is part of the temporary exhibition of the National Archaeological Museum entitled "Hadrian and Athens. Conversing with an ideal world" that begins on 28 November 2017 and will be on for a year.

From December 2017 to February 2018, the Museum's archaeologists will welcome visitors and take them on a magic walk into the world of Hadrian and Antinous, from Athens to the sanctuary of the Egyptian Gods in Marathon, revealing the spiritual rebirth of Greek culture in the times of the philhellene emperor.

Presentations

Dates of presentations: December 15 2017, January 12, 26, February 9 and 23 2018, on Friday. December 17 2017, January 14 and 28, February 11 and 25 2018, on Sunday.
Starting time: 13.00

To participate in the presentation it is necessary to purchase a ticket and register upon arrival. The first come first served policy will be observed.


Contact details: National Archaeological Museum, 44 Patision Str, Athens. Tel.: 213214 4817, 213214 4856 / -4858 / -4866 / -4893. Opening hours: Monday 13:00-20:00, Tuesday-Sunday 09:00-16:00. E-mail: eam@culture.gr, www.namuseum.gr

QUINTUS AURELIUS SYMMACHUS
VENERABLE SAINT OF ANTINOUS



WE are proud to consecrate Quintus Aurelius Symmachus as a Venerable Saint of Antinous for his unyielding efforts to uphold the Religion of Antinous in the face of Christian opposition.

A Roman statesman, orator, and man of letters who lived 345 – 402 AD, he held the offices of governor of proconsular Africa in 373, urban prefect of Rome in 384 and 385, and consul in 391.

Symmachus sought to preserve the traditional religions of Rome at a time when the aristocracy was converting to Christianity, and led an unsuccessful delegation of protest against Gratian, when he ordered the Altar of Victory removed from the curia, the principal meeting place of the Roman Senate in the Forum Romanum.

Two years later he made a famous appeal to Gratian's successor, Valentinian II, in a dispatch that was rebutted by Ambrose, the bishop of Milan.

Symmachus's career was temporarily derailed when he supported the short-lived usurper Magnus Maximus, but he was rehabilitated and three years later appointed consul.

Much of his writing has survived: nine books of letters, a collection of Relationes or official dispatches, and fragments of various orations.

Antonius Subia says:

In an age when almost all other Roman Nobility were turning away from our ancient Religion, this gentleman stood strong and faithful and was a voice of dissent against the tidal wave of Christianity that was enveloping the Roman world.  This was the time when the Ancient Religion of Antinous was finally suppressed and destroyed.  We can be sure that this Great Noble Roman was one of the last champions and defenders of our God.

The portrait above shows the Apotheosis of Symmachus ... a relief depicting Symmachus being carried up to the realm of the gods by two divine figures as though he were being deified.  The Zodiac figures may indicate that his Deification took place around the Winter Solstice.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

LOZEN, APACHE WARRIORESS
SAINT OF ANTINOUS



WE honor Lozen, the two-spirit Apache warrioress and holy woman who fought with Geronimo, and who was with his final band of warriors when they surrendered.

She is a blessed Saint of Antinous.

A contemporary observer said:


"Lozen had no concern for her appearance and, even though she is seen in several famous photos of Geronimo with his warriors, there is nothing to indicate that she is a woman. You would never spot her. She was very manly in her appearance, dressed like a man, lived and fought like a man. She never married, and devoted her life to the service of her people, to the very end."

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

HOW TO PLAN YOUR OWN
FESTIVE ANTINOUS BIRTHDAY PARTY



ANTINOUS was born on November 27 and worshipers around the world are busy planning their own festivities ... from Chile to Canada and from New England in the US to New South Wales in Australia.

November marks the start of the ancient pagan Festive Season, a season which is still full of fabulous party dates ... including Christmas, New Year's Eve, Twelfth Night and of course American Thanksgiving. Dia de los Muertos and Halloween/Samhain usher in this Festive Season of twinkly lights and over-eating and drinking way too much. 

Our brothers and sisters at the Fundación Epithimia Antinoo in Mexico are busy making final preparations for an Antinous birthday fiesta. 

For worshipers at the Templo de Antinoo México Temple of Antinous in Mexico City, the fiesta requires weeks or even months of preparation because the papier-mâché icons are created by artist Yanko Garibaldi ... each a work of art. Caricaturis Sirius has also created iconic images of the Martyrs and Saints of Antinous.


Other images on this page offer inspiration for Antinous Birthday festivities. 

At left is "Das Gastmahl" (The Symposion Feast) by Anton von Werner (1877) - preliminary color sketch as part of a series of wall murals on the theme of "Roman Life" for the Café Bauer (53 x 89 cm) (Privately Owned).

Images below are courtesy of the gifted artist FELIX D'EON and serve as an inspiration for Antinous Birthday festivities in the open air ... in the Southern Hemisphere, where the jacarandas are in bloom and summer will soon be here.

These ancient festivities go back WAAAAY before Christianity, of course. So it's a safe bet that Hadrian and Antinous would recognize many of the features of these festivities

So when you plan your Antinous Birthday Party, you can mix-and-match customs from all sorts of pagan Festive Season holidays, in full knowledge that Hadrian and Antinous would nod in approval.

It should be celebrated with feasting and drinking and singing and carousing. Green boughs (palm fronds, holly, pine boughs or whatever is native to your climate) should decorate the feast room in honour of the forests of Bithynia, the highlands of modern-day Turkey where Antinous was born.


Electric lights should be turned off in favor of candlelight or at the very least those strings of tiny "fairy lights" Moslems use during Ramadan and Hindus during Divali and Christians at Christmas.

The one really bright spot in the room should be a bust or image of Antinous, which is spotlighted, signifying our belief that Antinous brings light into the world.

The Antinous Rosy Lotus would be perfect. But since not everyone has access to lotus blossoms in late November, orchids would also be fine. 



Bithynia was well known even in Ancient Times for its forest orchids and the Romans loved orchids ... even orchid root beverages!

Orchids would be lovely as well as being a Hellenistic conversation piece. 


If they are too pricey, then your favorite seasonal flower will do. 

Look around and find something that is beautiful and unique to your own locale which you think would be very nice.

The Birthday of Antinous would be a wonderful opportunity for a costume party, also in keeping with the Halloween-Carnaval-Christmas flavor of these ancient pagan holidays. Guests might be encouraged to come as Greco-Romans or Egyptian priests.

The menu could be Mediterranean, with lots of finger foods such as tahini and couscous and humous and pita bread, stuffed olives, eggplant/aubergine, goat's cheese and so on. 



Refried beans (which the Egyptians call "fuul" and eat for breakfast) would be ideal since the theory goes that the Moors introduced "fuul" to the Spaniards, who introduced it to the New World, where it became refritos ... Mexican refried beans.

But you should feel free to go local with favorite regional dishes of your home area. 


There must be lots of good South American dishes which would be perfect, or Scottish specialties, or Aussie barbecued prawns or New England pot pies ... good simple "plebeian" food which is festive and spicy and filling.

In keeping with these pagan festivals, foods should represent birth and regeneration: beans, peas, black-eyed peas, pumpkins, squash, nuts, berries.

It doesn't really matter what food is served, of course, as long as it's delicious and plentiful, and as long as there is plenty of drink to wash it down, wine or beer or just good old iced tea.



Beer is appropriate, since the Ancient Egyptians were brewing beer thousands of years before Antinous was born.

Antinous' last meal may have been refried beans and beer and flat bread.

In a change from holiday cakes and cookies, how about baking Antinous cookies? 


Bake simple sugar cookies which have been cut out to resemble stars, comets, an imperial crown and Bithynian fir trees and lions and so on and decorate them with Antinoian lettering or symbols.

Instead of gingerbread men, make gingerbread Antinouses. The gingerbread man, after all, is thought to come from pagan rituals for honoring Thor or other gods. 


Generally, they are sweet dough which is filled with a nut-date-spice filling representing rebirth and spiritual sustenance. You still find them today on St. Nicholas' feast day throughout Europe.

Whatever you bake, make sure to include a small "surprise" somewhere in the cake or muffin or cookes for some lucky guest to chomp down on. It doesn't have to be a diamond ring, but a trinket of some sort is always fun. 


If that is too challenging for your skills as a confectioner, then just an ordinary cake with the letters "A-N-T-I-N-O-U-S" in store-bought candy lettering would do the job just as nicely. 

Or just a large "A" in icing in the middle of the cake.

Another tradition should be oracle games. This is the first major festival of the New Year in the Antinoian liturgical calendar, so oracles are appropriate.

And when your guests suggest you are robbing traditions from Christian festivals, just look them square in the eye and insist that the Christians stole these wonderful traditions from us pagans because the Christians didn't have any of their own. 



Where would Christian holidays be without pagan traditions?

Who knows? Perhaps Hadrian and Antinous enjoyed these very same pagan traditions in their Saturnalia revelries.

One more thing: Mistletoe. Mistletoe is plentiful in the forests of Bithynia. You can never have enough mistletoe ... as these two 1928 vendors in Paris show.


Antinous would be well familiar with mistletoe. I'm sure he would like it as a reminder of his boyhood hikes through the woods of home.

Use your imagination and you'll come up with lots of ideas.


Let the Festive Season Begin with an Antinous Birthday Party!