Wednesday, July 31, 2013


ANCIENT ROME may have lost a legion, but modern China has found a tourism bonanza: a desert town full of blond haired, blue-eyed Chinese residents claiming to be descended from an historic military disaster.

The remote village of Liqian in Gansu Province on the edge of the Gobi has an odd present which may reflect on its unusual past.

Researches from as long ago as the 1950s have noted the areas Chinese inhabitants have some unusual physical features: Most notably lighter-coloured eyes and hair.

In the 1950s an Oxford University professor, Homer Dubs, proposed the theory that this may be a lingering trace of a Roman legionaries fighting with the Hun tribes in 36BC. It is argued that the captives were marched east to China, then under the rule of the Han Dynasty.

Recently extensive DNA samples were collected from the region's inhabitants in an effort to establish if the tale has any truth in it.

In November 2010, China and Italy jointly set up a research centre on Italian culture in Lanzhou University.

The project aims to track the descendants and evidence of Roman legionaries in the region.

Don't panic ... it's not the Lost Ninth Legion, but a different one.

While the results are not yet in, the town of Liqian ... sitting on the edge of the Gobi desert some 300 km from the nearest city ... is not waiting for the results.

China's Global Times reports a tall pillar has been set up at the town's entrance as a tourist attraction. And the residents have found the Roman spirit still stirs in their veins - donning replica armour and the legionaries distinctive red capes in renactments of Roman military manoeuvres.

"In such a remote place, two great civilisations have merged. We are really surprised," Italian visitor Pamela McCourt Francescone told the Xinhua News Agency.

With a tall stature, deep-set green eyes and an aquiline nose, the villager Luo Ying bears the nickname "Prince of Rome" . "I believe I'm connected to ancient Romans," Luo told Xinhua.

Luo Ying, the most prosperous man in the village, is shown above alongside a bust of Marcus Licinius Crassus, the richest man in Rome.

Tourism opportunists are tapping the Roman craze. There is a Roman hotel and a Roman plaza. The nearby highway has been lined with Roman-like statues.

No actual Roman artefacts have yet been discovered, however.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


MANY of us carry intolerable burdens on our fragile mortal shoulders. The priests of Antinous receive messages from people around the world ... from people who have loved ones who are terminally ill or otherwise incapacitated.

Some have horrendous health problems themselves. Not to mention financial problems. Emotional problems. Addiction problems.

It can all be too much to bear. Oftentimes you think you have been abandoned by the Great and Good God and that you must bear this burden all alone.

But the Great and Good God is there, standing right behind you, and he is making sure that you don't falter.

There is a famous relief from the ruins of the Temple of Zeus in Olympia, Greece, which illustrates the myth of the day when Herakles stepped in to relieve Atlas of the heavy burden of carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.

The relief shows Atlas stretching out his hands to grasp the Apples of the Hesperides -- and Herakles struggles to hold the world -- which turns out to be a lot heavier than he had anticipated.

Herakles despairs of being able to hold the world. He strains with all his might and is only just barely able to keep it from tumbling.

But standing behind him is the goddess Athena (out of Herakles' field of vision) and Athena calmly lifts her left hand and gently steadies the burden with her fingertips. She's not doing any heavy lifting. She is only using her little finger to steady the load.

There is great Sacred Symbolism in this relief's message. Herakles thinks he is carrying the burden all by himself and he fears he cannot do it.

But in fact he is not carrying it all by himself. Athena is behind him all the time.

The Sacred Symbolism applies to all of us.

You have to strain with all your might and you may despair and you may feel abandoned and all alone. And yet ... the Great and Good God is there behind you, lifting his little finger to help you bear the weight of the whole world!

Monday, July 29, 2013


IT has often been said that the love story of Hadrian and his beloved Antinous has all the drama, romance, mystery and intrigue of opera — and now at last the curtain is going up.

ANTINOUS AND HADRIAN is premiering at 7 p.m. August 28th in New York City at the Church of the Holy Apostles in Chelsea, 296 Ninth Avenue, at 28th Street. Other performances are scheduled for August 29th at 7 p.m. and September 7 at 4 p.m.

This ground-breaking opera was written by composer CLINT BORZONI with a libretto by EDWARD FICKLIN.

Borzoni's award-winning music reflects his passion for lyricism and functional harmony. He has written over sixty pieces, including a full length opera, two one act operas, a piano concerto, percussion quartet, piece for orchestra, two string quartets, several works for chamber orchestra, and many art songs. 

Ficklin has composed and written librettos for various forms of music-theater. He has realized his works in a number of unusual venues, like a store window near Grand Central Station and a vacant bank lobby near the World Trade Center (with the support of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and the September 11th Fund). His work has also been presented by numerous opera companies across the United States and Europe.

He describes "Antinous and Hadrian" as truly "grand opera," a hugely ambitious project.

"Rome wasn't built in a day," says Ficklin. "When embarking on something large, we're often given that sage, if cliche, advice. Having recently laid down on paper, finally, the first few lines a new libretto destined to be a grand opera, I find that I need to remind myself of this. Indeed, large endeavors always require a large perspective.

Follow updates on this bold new opera project on TWITTER.

Those addicted to Twitter can find the minute details of our progress here:
Those addicted to Twitter can find the minute details of our progress here:
er can find the minute details of our progress here:


ANCIENT PRIESTS of Antinous at the Great Temple at ANTINOOPOLIS in Egypt were familiar with leopard-skin priestly robes. 

Whether they actually wore leopard skins in the Egyptian priestly manner is unknown, but it is certainly possible.

The Ancient Egyptian magical SEM priests always wore a leopard skin ... as do many African shamans even today.

Indeed, it is highly likely that the Ancient Egyptians got the idea from their southern neighbors — where else could they have got the idea, after all? 

The Egyptians were accustomed to lions and we know that lions were a menace even in the 2nd Century AD when Hadrian and Antinous conducted the SACRED LION HUNT. But it is safe to say that leopards were very rare and highly prized species even in Ancient times — which made them even more magical.

The Egyptians said the leopard started out as a variety of sacred lion, the lion being associated with the sun god Ra and of pharaoh's power and rulership as an incarnation of the sun god. 

The leopard lived in the desert like the lion and was indistinguishable from the lion because the leopard originally had no spots.

This is the cue for Anubis and Seth to enter the scene!

Anubis had a very odd love/hate relationship with Seth. Some said that Anubis was the son of Seth by Seth's consort Nephthys. Others said Anubis was the son of Osiris and Seth's consort Nephthys and that Nephthys placed the baby in the care of her sister Isis to avoid Seth's wrath. 

At any rate, little Anubis was raised by the Osiris side of the divine family, not the Seth side. Anubis and Seth had a very strained relationship, to say the least, full of doubt and suspicion on both sides.

Not surprisingly, Anubis took sides with Isis (as his foster mother) and her son Horus (perhaps his biological half-brother? ) in seeking to avenge the death of Osiris (his own true father?) after Seth murdered Osiris by drowning and mutilating his body.

The struggle between Horus and Seth continues to this day, of course. Seth has the advantage of being able to transform himself into any creature, thus eluding his pursuers. Sometimes he is a hippo. Sometimes he is a crocodile. Sometimes he is a giant serpent. Often, he is a graceful antelope. He can be deceptively beautiful and entrancing.  

The Lie takes many deceptive forms,
always posing as the Truth. 

But Anubis was able, by means of his keen canine senses, to sniff out Seth in whatever form he takes. 

Once, Seth assumed the form of a leopard and blended into the desert sand so well that Horus was unable to spot him from the air as he circled high in the sky upon his falcon wings, using his sharp falcon eyes to scan the Earth.

But Anubis sniffed out Seth and decided to brand him so that everyone would be able to see him. Anubis trotted over to the banks of the Nile and dunked his paws in rich black Nile mud. Then he leapt onto the leopard and left indelible muddy paw prints all over Seth's hide.

That is how the leopard got its spots, according to the Ancient Egyptians.

The highest caste of Egyptian magician/priests wore leopard skins to symbolize the never-ending struggle between the Truth and the Lie. The Lie persists. Seth the Deceiver was not killed by Anubis. But Anubis revealed Seth for the Lie that he is. 

And that is why the Priests at the Great Temple of Antinoopolis may have worn leopard skins — to demonstrate that it is possible to see through the Lie to uncover the Truth that lies underneath.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


MYSTERIOUS ruins which have baffled archaeologists for 130 years have now finally been identified as the northernmost Classical temple in the Roman world found.

The temple was found near Hadrian's Wall and is part of a larger settlement that developed around the wall.

The ruins were first uncovered in 1880 by the amateur archaeologist Joseph Robinson (photo above), but the purpose of the structure was never determined ... until now ....

But now a new team, led by Ian Haynes, from the University of Newcastle, has been able to confirm the building was an ancient Roman temple.

A settlement was established at the site and was built around a Roman fort and Hadrian's Wall.

The Roman temple had an approximate height of 8.4 meters (27.6 feet), and the archaeologists are working on drawing a reconstruction of it.

"We can confirm the stone building first uncovered in the 1880s was a temple from its shape, characteristically rectangular with an apse at the southern end.  Foundations for columns at the entrance at the northern end of the building have also been identified," said Haynes.

According to Haynes, the ruin is the most northwesterly Roman temple ever discovered.

Maryport is a coastal town located in the borough of Cumbria in Cumberland. During Roman times, Maryport was the site of a fort called Alaluna and served as a coastal supply line to Hadrian's Wall.

The team is currently in the third year of a planned five-year excavation project.

Nigel Mills, director of world heritage and access for the Hadrian's Wall Trust, said the discovery of a Roman temple as well as the settlement that developed around the fort were an important discovery for Roman history and plans are in place to begin excavating nearby buildings.

"The fort and civilian settlement at Maryport were a significant element of the coastal defenses lining the northwestern boundary of the Roman Empire for more than 300 years," he said.

Hadrian's Wall, which was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, was built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in 122 A.D. and was 118 kilometers (approximately 73 miles) long.

The archaeologists plan on returning to the temple site next to study the building and determine the original location of altars discovered around Maryport. The altars were dedicated to Roman gods, including Jupiter, and were routinely relocated.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


THE HADRIAN'S VILLA SUMMER FESTIVAL begins tonight ... starting from Saturday, July 27th, and every last Saturday of the month until the end of the year, the "Una notte al museo" features special cultural and arts events in the vicinity of the Villa and Tivoli.

Sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activities and Tourism,  38 places of culture in public museums and archaeological sites will be open from 8 p.m. to midnight.

For the occasion, Villa Adriana offers a special edition of "Letter to Adriano" with night openings from 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday July 27, Saturday August 31 and Saturday September 28. Special cut-rate ticket prices will be offered.

A special treat is an archaeological walk by night inspired by the Marguerite Yourcenar exhibition through the ruins of the imperial villa, the largest and most beautiful ancient villa in the world.

At the end of the walk you can enjoy the Archaeological Circe Aperitif at the Hotel Ristorante Adriano, a treat in itself …


Arise in Me…Sothis,

Let me be cleansed

Let me be renewed

Let the Inundation flood

Across the heart

Dog Star Returns

A New Antinous coming forth

To set the soul in order

To purify with clear water

That we may be whole again


Friday, July 26, 2013


TEN domus structures or ancient Roman homes of the wealthy are soon to be reopened in Pompeii following extensive renovation ... much-needed good news for site which has suffered terrible deterioration from wind, weather and tourists in recent years.

The successful project aided by EU funds has received approval from UNESCO which had threatened to withdraw Pompeii's status as a World Heritage site unless the dire situation was not improved immediately.

But the archaeological treasure is not out of the woods yet as Italy's Culture Minister Massimo Bray acknowledged:

"We must all demonstrate to Europe that the Pompeii project is capable of rising to the challenge that’s been taken on. This project will also demonstrate that we are capable of working together with the different authorities involved in the project."

After collapses of structures in the past two years there has been growing concern about Italy's ability to protect the 2,000-year old site from further degradation.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


ON JULY 25 the Religion of Antinous joyfully commemorates 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 OBELISK OF ANTINOUS which stands in Rome.

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!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


A curse should be put on officials of a town in England for agreeing to sell a 4,400-year-old Egyptian statue after finding out it is worth $2.5 million on the black market, an opponent of the sale says.

In August last year, the leaders of Northampton Borough Council announced plans to sell the statue of Sekhemka after it was valued at an estimated £2 million.

Leaders of the Liberal Democrat opposition group tried to block the sale this week by calling for Sekhemka to be put back on display at Northampton Museum.

Yet the Conservative leaders of the council blocked their efforts, prompting Liberal Democrat leader, Councillor Brendan Glynane to declare they should be cursed.

He said: "I've read there is a curse attached to Sekhemka and if it should fall on anyone, it should fall on this administration for not having the courage to change their minds."

He was apparently referring to a popular novel entitled THE CURSE OF SEKHEMKA by Matthew Messina.

The council has said that if Sekhemka is sold at auction later this year, the money raised will be spent on town's museum.

Sekhemka was a high ranking Egyptian official.

His statue was made shortly after the Pyramids were built, in about 2400 BC.

It was obtained by the second Marquis of Northampton in 1850.

It was taken off display at Northampton Museum in 2010 when its value was realised.

Council officials said if it was put back on display, it would have to be guarded around the clock.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


FIVE monumental structures and pieces of a colossal statue have been unearthed at Hadrian's Villa, the sprawling complex in the hills east of Rome where Hadrian and Antinous and the Imperial court spent most of their time when not traveling the length and breadth of the Empire.

Archaeologists came across the complex of buildings, surrounded by enormous statues in what may have been a pleasure garden ... in an area previously regarded as being of little interest.

The news shares headlines today with a SHOCKING REPORT that a mixed-use retail/residential complex is being built adjacent to Hadrian's Villa, within a buffer zone mandated by UNESCO. The development could jeopardize the Villa's status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The archaeological discovery was made by researchers from Rome's La Sapienza University, and full-scale excavation work is scheduled for September.

The excavation director Adalberto Ottati said: "What's been found is just the tip of the iceberg because these structures have never been documented before not even by scholars such as [Giovanni Battista] Piranesi who studied the ancients."

In addition to the structures, researchers discovered hundreds of marble fragments that comprise a colossal statue, possibly a representation of Hadrian's wife, Empress Vibia Sabina.

It is believed that the buildings were designed as part of an idealised landscape garden by Emperor Hadrian, who preferred living at his rural estate when not traveling to every far-flung province. He was said to have intensely disliked living in Rome and avoided the city as much as possible.

Monday, July 22, 2013


HADRIAN's Villa risks losing its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Treasure because of a sprawling housing and retail complex which encroaches on the site.

The MezzaRoma corporation had agreed in 2012 to a buffer zone around the Villa at Tivoli east of Rome within which no construction would occur.

But now contractors "are actively pouring concrete" within that zone ... putting the site's UNESCO status at risk, according to a report by IL FATTO QUOTIDIANO.

Public prosecutor Philip War has acquired evidence leading to possible legal action. Police in Rome have obtained plans and specifications for the MezzaRoma project and have made them available to the public prosecutor.

Under an international agreement between the Italian government and UNESCO, a wide buffer zone prohibits any encroachment around Hadrian's Villa. Any violation of that zone could result in the site being removed from the World Heritage Site list.

Undersecretary for Cultural Heritage Borletti Buitoni told the newspaper: "Italy can not make a fool of itself in front of the international community." Buitoni added: "We must get to the bottom of this as soon as possible"

"I shall strive in every way to stop this real-estate speculation," he vowed. "It is imperative to close this sad chapter as soon as possible."

The World Heritage Committee of UNESCO, at its annual meeting in June 2012, asked the Italian government to keep it informed of the MezzaRoma construction plans inside the buffer.

The committee also set a deadline of February 1, 2014, for subitting "an updated report on the state of conservation of the site."

In a similar scandal last year, plans for a garbage dump adjacent to Hadrian's Villa were scuttled at the last minute following protests from influential celebrities.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


ON JULY 21 the Religion of Antinous honors St. Hart Crane (July 21, 1899 — April 27, 1932) a great and openly gay American poet whose poetry was considered "beyond comprehension" by straight readers but which is easily understood by gays.

He was one of the most influential poets of his generation, but — like so many gay men — was plagued by doubts and low self-esteem and feelings of failure.

Crane was gay and he considered his sexuality to be an integral part of his life's mission as a poet. Raised in the Christian Science tradition of his mother, he was never able to shake off the feeling that he was an outcast and a sinner.

However, as poems such as "Repose of Rivers" make clear, he felt that this sense of alienation was necessary in order for him to attain the visionary insight that formed the basis for his poetic work.

Throughout the early 1920s, small but well-respected literary magazines published some of Crane's lyrics, gaining him, among the avant-garde, a respect that White Buildings (1926), his first volume, ratified and strengthened. White Buildings contains many of Crane's best lyrics, including "For the Marriage of Faustus and Helen", and a powerful sequence of erotic poems called "Voyages", written while he was falling in love with Emil Opffer, a Danish merchant marineman.

He wanted to write the great American epic poem. This ambition would finally issue in The Bridge (1930), where the Brooklyn Bridge is both the poem's central symbol and its poetic starting point.

The Bridge got mostly bad reviews, but much worse than that was Crane's sense that he had not succeeded in his goal. It was during the late '20s, while he was finishing The Bridge, that his heavy drinking got notably heavier. The partial failure of the poem perhaps had something to do with his increasing escape into booze.

While on a Guggenheim Fellowship in Mexico in 1931-32, his drinking continued while he suffered from bouts of alternating depression and elation. His only heterosexual affair, with Peggy Cowley, the wife of his friend Malcolm Cowley, was one of the few bright spots. And "The Broken Tower", his last great lyric poem (maybe his greatest lyric poem), emerges from that affair. But in his own eyes, he was still a failure.

Crane was returning to New York by steamship when, on the morning of April 26, 1932, he made advances to a male crewmember and was beaten up. Just before noon he jumped overboard into the Gulf of Mexico. His body was never found.

 Here is a poem which straight people found inscrutable and obscure, but which gay readers understood was about anonymous gay sex:

It sheds a shy solemnity,
This lamp in our poor room.
O grey and gold amenity, --
Silence and gentle gloom!
Wide from the world, a stolen hour
We claim, and none may know
How love blooms like a tardy flower
Here in the day's after-glow.
And even should the world break in
With jealous threat and guile,
The world, at last, must bow and win
Our pity and a smile.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


ALEXANDRIA, home to one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, may have been built to align with the rising sun on the day of Alexander the Great's birth, according to a report by LIVESCIENCE.

The Macedonian king, who commanded an empire that stretched from Greece to Egypt to the Indus River in what is now India, founded the city of Alexandria in 331 B.C. 

It would later become hugely prosperous, home to Cleopatra, the magnificent Royal Library of Alexandria and the 450-foot-tall (140 meters) Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the SEVEN WONDERS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD.

Hadrian and Antinous visited Alexandria in the summer and early autumn of 130 AD.

Ancient Alexandria was planned around a main east-west thoroughfare called the Canopic Road, points out Giulio Magli, an archaeo-astronomer at the Politecnico of Milan. 

A study of the ancient route reveals it is not laid out according to topography; for example, it doesn't run quite parallel to the coastline. 

But on July 20th, the birthday of Alexander the Great, the rising sun of the 4th Century BC rose "in almost perfect alignment with the road," Magli was quoted as saying.

July 20th, 356 BC, is the date which has always been accepted as the birthday of Alexander the Great. Whether it was his actual birthday or only the official royal observance of his birth is unknown.

It is said that on the night before the mother of Alexander, Olympias, was to be married to King Phillip of Macedonia, she dreamt that a thunderbolt struck her body and filled it with power.

After the marriage, it is said that Phillip peeked into her chamber, and found her lying with a serpent, and that he afterward dreamt that her womb was sealed and that a lion dwelled within her. 

And on the night that he was born, 20th of July, 356 BC, the great Temple at Ephesus was burned to the ground by a vandal, because the goddess Artemis was away, assisting with the birth of Alexander the Great.

He was considered to be the son of Zeus, and this divine origin was what was given as an explanation for the unprecedented conquests that he accomplished. In his youth Aristotle, a student of Plato, educated him along with his following of young princes, who were later serve as his generals, and the founders of great dynastic monarchies of the Hellenistic world.

Foremost of these was his ever loyal and devoted Hepheistion, whose reciprocated love for Alexander was homosexual in nature.

In one of their first battles, while Phillip was still king, the young Alexander proved himself by defeating the SACRED BAND OF THEBES, the army of homosexual lovers who were the most famous and courageous warriors of their time.

Alexander is said to have wept at their destruction, and buried them with honor, erecting a statue of a Lion over their graves.

He would later go one to conquer the entire Eastern world, Asia Minor, Syria, Judea, Egypt, and all of Persia, as far East as India. The Empire of Alexander spread Greek culture throughout the world, and made the communication of far-distant ideas possible so that the new Hellenistic culture that he created, was a combination of classical Greece and of the exotic cultures that were imported from every corner.

After the death of Alexander, at only 33 years of age, he was deified by his generals who divided his great Empire among themselves. We praise the glorious warrior Alexander of Macedonia, and elevate him, and worship him as a God, an example of the greatness of homosexuality, and a heroic protector of the Divine Antinous.


IT IS SAID that on the night before the mother of Alexander, Olympias, was to be married to King Phillip of Macedonia, she dreamt that a thunderbolt struck her body and filled it with power.

After the marriage, it is said that Phillip peeked into her chamber, and found her lying with a serpent, and that he afterward dreamt that her womb was sealed and that a lion dwelled within her. 

And on the night that he was born, 20th of July, 356 BC, the great Temple at Ephesus was burned to the ground by a vandal, because the goddess Artemis was away, assisting with the birth of Alexander the Great.

He was considered to be the son of Zeus, and this divine origin was what was given as an explanation for the unprecedented conquests that he accomplished. In his youth Aristotle, a student of Plato, educated him along with his following of young princes, who were later serve as his generals, and the founders of great dynastic monarchies of the Hellenistic world.

Foremost of these was his ever loyal and devoted Hepheistion, whose reciprocated love for Alexander was homosexual in nature.

In one of their first battles, while Phillip was still king, the young Alexander proved himself by defeating the Sacred Band of Thebes, the army of homosexual lovers who were the most famous and courageous warriors of their time.

Alexander is said to have wept at their destruction, and buried them with honor, erecting a statue of a Lion over their graves.

He would later go one to conquer the entire Eastern world, Asia Minor, Syria, Judea, Egypt, and all of Persia, as far East as India. The Empire of Alexander spread Greek culture throughout the world, and made the communication of far-distant ideas possible so that the new Hellenistic culture that he created, was a combination of classical Greece and of the exotic cultures that were imported from every corner.

After the death of Alexander, at only 33 years of age, he was deified by his generals who divided his great Empire among themselves. We praise the glorious warrior Alexander of Macedonia, and elevate him, and worship him as a God, an example of the greatness of homosexuality, and a heroic protector of the Divine Antinous.

Friday, July 19, 2013



IRAN publicly executed two teenage boys on July 19th, 2005, in the city of Mashad.

Their names were Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, one 18 and the other 17 or 16 years old.

They were accused of raping a 13-year-old boy, but it has been established that the authorities invented the charge of rape in order to prevent public sympathy for the true reason for their execution, that they were Homosexuals.

After their arrest the two boys endured a year of imprisonment and torture before the high court of Iran upheld their sentence and their execution by hanging was carried out in a public square in the city of Mashad.

International outrage was met with arrogance and impunity by the religious and conservative Iranian government, and a systematic persecution soon began against homosexuals, which has led to an unabated spate of sporadic executions over the years, and untold numbers of arrests and torture.

These events indicate that the worldwide struggle for Gay Freedom has not decreased but has become more violent and inhumane.

The photograph at left of the Martyrs just before their death is one of the first depictions ever photographed of anti-homosexual violence in action.

For their suffering, we proclaim Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni and all of the unnamed gay victims of Iranian persecution, Saints and Innocent Martyrs of the Religion of Antinous.

May all those who see this image of violence rise up for the cause of Gay Freedom, and remember those who suffer in Iran.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


ON JULY 18th the Religion of Antinous honors Saint Caravaggio.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, who died under suspicious circumstances on this day in 1610, was an extraordinary painter whose homoerotic images of young men have caused art historians to call him the first modern painter.

St. Caravaggio is the Patron of Gifted Bad Boys — Gay Boys who are blessed with incredible talents but who are too impatient and too rebellious to abide by the rules of society.

St. Caravaggio was always in trouble. In 1592, when he was not yet 20 years old, he fled Milan after a series of brawls and the wounding of a police officer. He went to Rome and was there, for the most part, until 1606, when he again had to flee. His life in Rome was of growing financial and professional success, but it was also punctuated with crime.

In the years 1600-1606 alone, he was brought to trial no less than eleven times. The charges covered a variety of offenses, most involved violence. It is significant that, despite his reputation for homosexuality, and his endless brushes with the police, he was never charged with sodomy, then a capital offense.

But he was charged with murder. On 29 May 1606 he killed one Tommasoni in a brawl after a disputed game of royal tennis, and had to flee to escape execution. He went first to Naples, then to Malta, where he was feted and made a Knight of St John.

Then, after "an ill considered quarrel" with a senior knight, he was on the run once more, all around Sicily, then on to Naples again.

But this time there was no hiding place. The knights, known for their relentlessness, pursued him, and Caravaggio, now 39 nine, in an attempt to seek forgiveness and refuge in Rome, tried to get there, but died at Porto Ercole, apparently of a fever, though the circumstances are highly suspicious.

Despite his hunted and, in the end, desperate life, he always managed to go on painting, often without a proper workshop of any kind. He was variously described, even by admirers, as a man of "stravaganze" as "uno cervello stravagantissimo" (exceptionally odd) and a "cervello stravolto".

His father died when he was six, his mother when he was 18, which may help to explain his anger at the world. His paintings show that he was a man of the most profound religious convictions, of a humble and contrite heart, and with a fanatical devotion to his art.

 His fundamental ideas were always absolutely clear, though he continually changed and improved his techniques. He believed in total realism, and he always painted from life, dragging poor people in from the street if need be.

He became a great realist by painting flowers and fruit, in a variety of lights, sometimes pure still lifes, sometimes with street boys, such as the model for Bacchus (above).

To achieve realism, he liked to pull his subject out of surrounding darkness into strong lateral or overhead light, as close to the viewer as possible.

This was a new kind of art, which was to have momentous consequences. It has led some modern writers to speculate that, born into the 20th or 21st Century, Caravaggio would have been a photographer or a filmmaker.

But that is nonsense. Caravaggio, it is clear, adored the feel and line of a brush on a slightly springy surface, prepared with grey (as a rule), and the sheer creative excitement of using the brush to bring the real world out of the darkness of the canvas.

For the first time in the history of art, Caravaggio eliminated the space between the event in the painting and the people looking at it. He created a kind of virtual reality to give you a feeling as though you are right there inside the painting.

Even we, whose vision and sense of reality has been blunted and distorted by television and the cinema, still get tremendous impressions of participating when we see his great canvases close up. What then must it have been like in the early seventeenth century, for people who had never come across anything approaching this blast of actuality, to be brought face-to-face with a reenactment of sacred events in two dimensions, such as St. Francis of Asisi in Ecstasy?

Artists were particularly struck, or perhaps shocked is a better word, but horribly stimulated too, and stirred to find out exactly how the man did it.

Caravaggio, despite all his difficulties, always finished each piece of work if he possibly could, then went directly on to another, with fresh ideas and new experiments.

He was a Bad Boy. But he was a gifted genius. The Religion of Antinous honors this Patron of Gifted Bad Gay Boys as an exemplar and saint. Let us lift our glasses to St. Caravaggio.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


A treasure trove of Greek graffiti from the sublime to the sleazy has been found in the İzmir agora during excavation work in that city in Turkey. The graffiti shows daily life in the Hellenistic and Roman periods in the birth land of Antinous.

The graffiti is estimated to date back to the 2nd Century AD. Experts have said it constitutes the richest single find of Greek graffiti in the world.

Besides writing and paintings done with paint, there are also dozens of often lurid carvings on the wall.

The graffiti shows that İzmir was very tolerant even in ancient times. The scrawled doodles on the walls along the lines of "Greetings from ..." mention the names of many cities, showing visitors came from a wide range of other cultures.

A vast panoply of figures was drawn, from trade ships to gladiators.

There are also confessions and statements on life. One reads, "I love someone who does not love me."

Another says, "The gods healed my eyes, this is why I dedicate an oil lamp to the gods."

Another piece of graffiti reads, "The one who ensouls," a reference to a deity such as Dionysus or Antinous who holds out the promise of life after death ... or it possibly referred to the upstart religion of Christianity.

There are also riddles that have not yet been solved on the walls.

Professor Cumhur Tanrıver said İzmir has the most Greek graffiti in the world.

"There are some examples of graffiti under the plaster as well that we cannot prepare yet," he said. "We are having talks with Swiss experts to uncover them without damaging the ones on the top layer."

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


A stone age solar and lunar calendar has been discovered in a dozen pits in northern Scotland ... meaning that humans had a sophisticated calendrical system thousands of years earlier than previously thought, according to new research.

The discovery is based on a  detailed analysis of data from an archaeological site in northern Scotland – a row of ancient pits which archaeologists believe is the world's oldest calendar. It is almost 5,000 years older than its nearest rival – an ancient calendar from Bronze Age Mesopotamia.

Created by Stone Age Britons some 10,000 years ago, the complex of pits was designed to represent the months of the year and the lunar phases of the month, archaeologists believe. They believe it also allowed the observation of the mid-winter sunrise – in effect the birth of the new year – so that the lunar calendar could be annually re-calibrated to bring it back into line with the solar year.

Remarkably the monument was in use for some 4,000 years – from around 8,000BC (the early Mesolithic period)  to around 4,000BC (the early Neolithic).

Besides being a solar calendar, the 12 pits may also have played a second role by representing the lunar month. Mirroring the phases of the moon, the waxing and the waning of which takes 29 and half days, the succession of pits, arranged in a shallow arc  (perhaps symbolizing the movement of the moon across the sky), starts small and shallow at one end, grows  in diameter and depth towards the middle of the arc and then wanes in size at the other end.

The site – at Warren Field, Crathes, Aberdeenshire –  was excavated in 2004 by the National Trust for  Scotland, but the data was only analysed in detail over the past six months using the specially written software which permitted an interactive exploration of the relationship between the 12 pits, the local topography and the movements of the moon and the sun.

Monday, July 15, 2013


WE have seen every sort of Antinous collectible ... jewelry, coffee mugs, T-shirts, amulets, posters ... but even the most avid collectors were surprised (and envious) to learn of the existence of an Antinous coloring book.

Thirty years ago there was a spate of paper-doll cutout books and coloring books for adults. Paper dolls of Joan Crawford and Mae West, for example.

These "children's" books were targeted at adult specialty genre collectors. 

Some were published as refrigerator magnets ... the most famous being Michelangelo's "David" with a wardrobe of magnetic fashion accessories.

By and large, these books were gimmicky and often campy. But some took on serious highlights from art history ... offering coloring books which gave collectors a tongue-in-cheek gallery of famous works of art. There were coloring books of all sorts of things, including ancient civilizations. 

But we had never heard of a coloring book featuring Antinous ... until now ....

One of our far-flung correspondents literally stumbled upon it ... here is what he says:

"I am always on the look out for Antinous finds. You know that feeling when you come face to face with our Beloved. You blink once, twice. Is that him? Then in your heart you know. 

"Sharing my first find is a coloring book titled: 'Liber Romanus Pingendus A Coloring Book of Rome'. I found this in a used book store. You know the kind. The books are stacked floor to ceiling. They all have dust and that smell of old. I know it's weird but, I like that smell, the smell of history. Here are some pages that I know you will like."

Yes indeed ... we certainly like them. And we know you will too. The coloring book includes detailed plates showing Emperor Hadrian, his hand-picked heir Lucius Verus (hand-picked by Hadrian to be co-emperor with Marcus Aurelius), as well as a depiction of the Assumption of Antoninus Pius (Hadrian's immediate successor) ... and two pages devoted to Antinous himself.

Above is Antinous as Phanes encircled by astrological signs and enwrapped by a serpent. 

At right is a line drawing of the famous Lanuvium bas-relief showing Antinous as the rustic deity Sylvanus/Aristaeus harvesting grapes with a dog looking up at him adoringly.

Get out your crayons!

Sunday, July 14, 2013


AN EGYPTIAN priest living in the heyday of the city of ANTINOOPOLIS wrote a steamy fictional story of priestly sex, according to a recently deciphered papyrus text.

The crumbling papyrus was found at the famed Tebtunis Library a cache of thousands of papyrus scrolls at a temple complex in the Fayoum Oasis not far from Antinoopolis. 

The papyrus is believed to be 1,900 years old, which would make the author a contemporary of the nearby Priests of Antinous at Antinoopolis, only a short boat ride up the Nile from Tebtunis.

Thousands of scrolls were found at Tebtunis, few of which have been translated. This scroll is currently in Florence, Italy, in the Istituto Papirologico "G. Vitelli."

The newly deciphered tale refers several times to priests dressing up, wearing makeup, partying and having sex. At one point a speaker implores a person to "drink truly. Eat truly. Sing" and to "don clothing, anoint (yourself), adorn the eyes, and enjoy sexual bliss."

The narrator of the story adds that the chief deity of his temple, the vulture goddess Mut, will not let you "be distant from drunkenness on any day. She will not allow you to be lacking in any (manner)."

The narrator defends his views by saying, "As for those who have called me evil, Mut will 'call' them evil."

Christian writers at the time harshly condemned Egyptian priests in general, and the Priests of Antinous in particular, for engaging in what they called "debaucheries" and "wanton sexual perversities" in the name of religious ecstasy.

So it is possible this story was a reaction to the prudishness of the fanatical Christians, who insisted that Jesus was virginal and sexually abstinent, as were his priests.

Researchers know the story is fictional because it employs an Egyptian noun used only in fiction to mark separate sections of a story.  They know when it was written because the priest wrote in DEMOTIC, which was the Egyptian script used during the Roman occupation of Egypt.

Reconstructing the overall plot narrative of the papyrus is tricky. The text is fragmentary, and researchers cannot be certain how the full story unfolded since there are large "lacunae" or gaps where bugs have eaten away sections of the text.

"Conceivably, we have here the remains of an account of how an adherent of the goddess Mut persuaded another individual to devote himself to her worship or join in her rites," according to the researchers, professors Richard Jasnow and Mark Smith, who published their translation and analysis of the papyrus in the most recent edition of the journal Enchoria.

Jasnow, from Johns Hopkins University, and Smith, from Oxford, write that evidence of ritual sex is  rare in ancient Egypt and the act probably would have been controversial in earlier ages.

"There is surprisingly little unequivocal Egyptian evidence for the performance of the sex act as such in ritual contexts," Jasnow and Smith write.

Thus it is possible that the ancient priest was writing a tongue-in-cheek satire lampooning the prudishness of contemporary Christian writers who accused Egyptian pagans of lasciviousness in their temples.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


THE Colosseum, Pompeii and other ancient monuments in Italy are crumbling due to budget cutbacks caused by the country's financial crisis, the UNESCO warns in an urgent appeal.

The lack of funds is having a disastrous affect on the country's archaeological treasures, with many sites closed due to fears of rock collapses and others sporadically shut by protests and strikes.

Giovanni Puglisi, head of the UNESCO National Commission in Italy, warns the government to act fast to adopt suitable measures for Pompeii, which has long been a sponge for funds then used poorly or syphoned off by criminal organisations.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization documented structural shortcomings and light damage at the 44-hectare (110-acre) site in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, where collapsing walls and houses have sparked international concern.

The giant eruption devastated Pompeii nearly 2,000 years ago in 79 AD but the ash and rock helped preserve many buildings almost in their original state, as well as the curled-up corpses of victims.

The hugely popular site near Naples has come to symbolise decades of mismanagement of many of Italy's cultural treasures, as well as the fallout from austerity cuts in the recession-hit country.

Puglisi warned of "irregular buildings not included in the previous plan and a lack of personnel" at Pompeii and called for "a new observance zone" around the site to protect it from illegal construction encroaching upon the area.

Italy, which is relying heavily on tourism to help boost the economy, moved quickly to reassure UNESCO it was doing its utmost to get the repairs made.

"Over the last five years, the culture budget has been reduced by two thirds," Culture Minister Massimo Bray complained in an interview in Italian newspapers.

Italy is now lagging well behind its European counterparts: the country allocates just 1.1 percent of its budget to culture, compared to 7.4 percent in Ireland, 3.3 percent in Spain and 2.5 percent in France.

"Our highly symbolic monuments are our best calling cards throughout the world," Bray said.

"Pompeii is a symbol for our country. UNESCO's reprimand is an alarm which I take very seriously and we are already working to overcome the site's urgent problems."

Twice in the past year, torrential rains have caused irreplaceable walls at Pompeii to collapse (photo right) because there was no money to shore them up.

As well as problems with upkeep, however, a lack of staff at the sites has sparked trade union strikes.

Tourists eager to visit Rome's Colosseum, Leonardo da Vinci's painting of the Last Supper in Milan or the Uffizi Gallery in Florence last week were met with closed doors.

"Heritage management is in a comatose state," archaeologist Salvatore Settis told La Repubblica daily.

"We are paying the price of disastrous policies over the last few years," he said.

The number of visitors to the Colosseum, the biggest Roman amphitheatre ever built, has increased from a million to around six million a year over the past decade or so thanks mainly to the 2000 blockbuster film "Gladiator".

But it has also fallen into disrepair in recent years: bits of stone, blackened by pollution, have fallen off and some experts have voiced concern that the foundations are sinking, giving the amphitheatre a lean.

Long-delayed repairs to the 2,000-year-old monument, funded by Italian billionaire Diego Della Valle, are in the pipeline -- but problems with red tape mean they have yet to get off the ground.

In the case of Pompeii, Italy is relying on additional funding from the EU.

Conservation experts began a 105-million euro ($136-million) makeover of the site in February -- funded to the tune of 41.8 million euros from the EU -- to be completed by 2015.

The repairs are aimed at reducing the risk of exposure to the elements, reinforcing the ancient Roman buildings, restoring Pompeii's famous frescoes and increasing video surveillance at the site where security is often lax.

The "Grand Pompeii Project", as it is known, aims to improve facilities for visitors and the European Commission estimates tourist numbers could increase from around 2.3 million a year to 2.6 million by 2017.

Friday, July 12, 2013


THE Ancient Egyptians are known to have worn magical amulets and talismans as as rings, necklaces and bracelets ... but now, for the first time, archaeologists have discovered two mummified bodies wearing magical copper toe rings. 

The bodies were found only 20 km south of Antinoopolis, though they pre-date the city of Antinous by centuries.

One of the two, a man who lived more than 3,300 years ago and died around the age of 35-40, was buried in textile and plant-stem matting and a copper alloy toe ring on his right foot.

Researchers believe that he likely wore the ring while he was still alive, and not that it was added as a death amulet.

They note that he suffered a number of injuries during his lifetime, including several broken ribs and fractures of his left radius, right ulna, right foot and right femur. So the ring was likely a magical aid in healing these injuries.

The copper alloy ring shown here was found on the second toe of the man's right foot, the same foot that suffered a fracture when he was alive. His right femur was also fractured and never healed properly causing him great pain.

That man's mummified skeleton was found in 2011. In 2012, archaeologists found a second individual with a copper alloy ring originally on one of their toes. The gender of that person is undetermined.

Both skeletons were found in a cemetery just south of the ancient city of Akhetaten, whose name means "Horizon of the Aten." 

The ruined ancient city of Akhetaten is located a scant 20 km south of Antinoopolis, the sacred city built on the site where Antinous died in the Nile in 130 AD.

The archaeologists firmly believe the copper rings were intended to be magical medical aids to the wearers. They may well have been "prescribed" by physicians.

The Ancient Egyptians made no distinction between religion, magic and science. That split began with Christianity in its bid to crush paganism by denouncing magic as "demon witchcraft." 

And it was cemented by the Age of Reason which split off science (medicine, etc.) from religion.

But the Ancients viewed religion/magic/science as one whole. The Ancient Priests of Antinous were men of religion, but they were also men of science and they were magicians.

If you came to the temple with a broken arm and contusions, they would sterilize the wound and set the bone and apply healing poultices as any modern-day physician would.

But they would also say prayers to bless the medicaments and they would wrap the splint in bandages which were sealed with magical incantations written in iodine-like ink to keep out evil spirits. 

They would prescribe a magico-medico-religious drink to kill the pain.

A magical ring or other amulet would be embued with the healing energies of the god to enhance the healing process.

To an Ancient Priest of Antinous, our modern practice of just getting the bone set and splint and taking a pain killer would be barbaric. It might heal the fracture. 

But they would consider it woefully inadequate all-around health care. 

They would call modern doctors well-meaning but dangerous quacks.