Tuesday, December 31, 2013
ON December 31st the Religion of Antinous commemorates the Apotheosis of Aelius Caesar.
Hadrian adopted Lucius Ceionius Commodus Verus, and called him Aelius Verus Caesar.
It was said that beauty was his only recommendation. His poor health soon overtook him and Hadrian is reported to have said, "We have leaned against a tottering wall and have wasted the four hundred million sentences which we gave to the populace and the soldiers on the adoption of Commodus."
He died on the Calends of January in the year 138 -- only a few months before Hadrian -- from an overdose of medicine given to help him make a speech to the Senate thanking Hadrian for the succession.
After Aelius Caesar's death, Hadrian adopted Antoninus Pius (September 19, 86 - March 7, 161) on the condition that Antoninus Pius adopt the younger Lucius Verus and Hadrian's great-nephew by marriage, Marcus Aurelius (April 26, 121 - March 17, 180).
Marcus later co-ruled with Lucius as Marcus Aurelius until Lucius' death in 169, at which time he was sole ruler until his own death in 180. Collectively, they are remembered as the Antonine Dynasty of emperors who ruled wisely over a period noted for its peace and prosperity.
In his classic text The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 18th Century historian Edward Gibbon considers the reign of the Antonines, as well as those of their predecessors Nerva, Trajan and Hadrian, the height of the Roman Empire, after which time the empire began its inexorable decline.
Aelius Caesar is a major character in Marguerite Yourcenar's epic historical novel Mémoires d'Hadrien (Memoirs of Hadrian).
Lucius, as we affectionately call him, is the recipient of much bittersweet love and adoration from followers of the Religion of Antinous.
For us he represents so many pretty young men whose bright futures are thwarted by tragic illness.
Aelius Caesar is often called the Western Favorite, because of the possibility that he rivaled Antinous for Hadrian's love.
We venerate Aelius Caesar as the fallen Prince of Flowers, the spiritual twin brother of Antinous whose death is the end of the Saturnalia.
Monday, December 30, 2013
IN our series on Saturnalia/Yule customs ... in Russia Grandfather Frost and his sidekick the Snow Maiden are pushing Jesus out of Christmas ... and generating an industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Tomorrow night, Ded Moroz, or Grandfather Frost, will act as compere at hundreds of Russian New Year's Eve parties.
At one shindig, rumored to cost $500,000, he will descend from a helicopter laden with trinkets from Tiffany's in his sack.
Alarmed that Russians were embracing all things Western ... including Christmas ... after the fall of communism, the Kremlin launched a concerted campaign to bring Ded Moroz back from the verge of obscurity.
He was given back his magical staff, his flowing fur-trimmed coat and his assistant, the snow maiden Snegurochka, a Stalinist invention of the 1930s, and sent out on to the streets.
Snegurochka is a unique attribute of Ded Moroz ... no traditional gift-givers from other cultures are portrayed with a female companion, though the German analog Sankt Nikolaus comes with a Krampus and the Dutch analog Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas, who wears a bishop's mitre and vestments) has Zwarte Piet ("Black Pete") a young Moorish attendant/companion.
A few years ago, despite widespread protests that he lived in the North Pole, the government installed an official Ded Moroz in the remote town of Veliky Ustyug, north of St. Petersburg. Subsequently, he acquired a winter residence in Moscow.
A government committee is writing his official biography, which claims he has been part of Russian myth for 1,000 years, rather than a 19th century import from Germany.
The historical revisionism seems to be working. Santa Claus has been eclipsed, with just six per cent of Russians celebrating Christmas Day, down from a high of 19 per cent only a few years ago.
The Russian Church is unhappy too. Orthodox Christmas, commemorated on Jan 7, remains very much in the shadow of New Year's Day.
Sunday, December 29, 2013
THE year 2014 is going to be very Greek with lots of exposed male flesh ... at the movies, anyway.
Movegoers will see 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE and two Hercules flicks, one starring Dwayne Johnson and the other with a very shirtless Kellan Lutz flexing his pecs in 3-D.
Here's the story line for THE LEGEND OF HERCULES starring Kellan Lutz, quoting from the studio press release:
In Ancient Greece 1200 BC, a queen succumbs to the lust of Zeus to bear a son promised to overthrow the tyrannical rule of the king and restore peace to a land in hardship. But this prince, Hercules, knows nothing of his real identity or his destiny.
He desires only one thing: the love of Hebe, Princess of Crete, who has been promised to his own brother. When Hercules learns of his greater purpose, he must choose: to flee with his true love or to fulfill his destiny and become the true hero of his time.
The story behind one of the greatest myths is revealed in this action-packed epic – a tale of love, sacrifice and the strength of the human spirit.
Renny Harlin directed the movie, which will be released across North America in January. Here is the latest trailer:
Saturday, December 28, 2013
ON December 28th the Religion of Antinous celebrates the life of Saint Edward Perry "Ned" Warren, who died on this day in 1928.
Estranged and ostracized by "decent" socialites, Saint Ned Warren was a famed gay Bostonian art collector who virtually single-handedly built up the collections of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and Boston Museum of Fine Arts through his passion for Classical art.
As a sissified schoolboy who suffered the taunts of bullies, he wrote a poem comparing a classmate in whom he was infatuated to Antinous.
He and his lover John Marshall travelled around Europe seeking out and buying art treasures for great museums. They were referred to snidely as "the bachelors of art" among society circles in Britain and America.
But Warren was so fabulously rich, and museums depended on him so much, that nobody dared say anything to his face about his blatant homosexuality. His gifts to the Boston MFA made up 90 per cent of its Classical collection, one of the finest in the world.
Even so, he found puritanical Boston deeply disagreeable, and spent most of his life in England when he was not at his apartment in Rome.
The famous Warren Cup and Rodin's statue The Kiss are just two of the most well-known objects he rounded up -- both of which were rejected by museums in Britain and America as being too raunchy. Museum curators feared museum-goers could be lured into thinking unwholesome thoughts.
Warren in fact actually commissioned the The Kiss from Rodin, explicitly saying he wanted large genitals on the man. To this day, photographs of the famous statue tend to avoid a full-frontal male view for that very reason.
The Warren Cup is a solid silver goblet which dates back to the 1st Century CE/AD and was found near Jerusalem. It is believed that it was deposited along with other valuables (some gold coins, jewellery and other precious items) in a cache by the servants of a fleeing Roman nobleman during one of several Jewish uprisings. It is even possible that it was buried during the uprising that was crushed by Hadrian's legions.
The cup itself is considerably older, and may date to Republican times. And it is done in a retro-style which was a bit archaic even when it was new.
As the photos demonstrate, the Warren Cup shows two scenes (one on each side of the cup) of a man and a youth having sex on a couch. The silverwork is exquisitely done and the hair and draperies and facial expressions are beautifully rendered. It also reflects a bit of tongue-in-cheek wit by showing a servant boy peering curiously around a door frame at the lovers.
On one side a young man (barely more than a boy himself) is having his way with a young boy. On the other side, an older man with a beard is having anal sex with a younger man who is seated on top of him and holding onto what appears to be perhaps part of the drapes of a canopy bed. A servant looks on from the doorway off to the right side.
Saint Ned is believed to have purchased the Warren Cup from an antiquities dealer in Italy.
His efforts to sell it to museums in London and the U.S. were rebuffed.
The Warren Cup's unabashedly gay sex theme is impossible to ignore. The cup has been controversial in the art world ever since it first came to light in the 19th Century.
For many, many years, museums on both sides of the Atlantic refused to obtain it (despite its unquestionable value as a remarkably important historical piece of art) because of Victorian and Edwardian moral objections to its "immoral and beastly" theme.
At one time a curator for the British Museum was interested in acquiring the Warren Cub.
But other experts reminded him that one of the members of the board of directors of the British Museum was the Archbishop of Canterbury. The result was that museum officials were loathe to show his reverence even a photograph of the cup, let alone ask him to condone purchasing it for the collection.
So the cup languished in Warren's personal collection for many years and changed hands many times after his death, never ever being put on public display.
The British Museum finally purchased the Warren Cup for a large sum in 1999 -- and even then there was much titillation in the tabloid press.
Ned Warren wrote extensively about his views that homosexuality is a spiritual state of being, something divinely magical. Taunted as a schoolboy for being a bookworm and a sissy (he would get up at 5 a.m. to read Greek until breakfast), he nonetheless had many crushes on other schoolboys. He wrote about them all in his diary, and even wrote a poem about one especially beautiful boy whom he called a modern Antinous.
As an adult, he continued to proclaim his notion of idealized homosexual love, much to the distress of his family in Boston.
He even wrote a book entitled The Defence of Uranian Love about the same time that Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray was published.
He also used his wealth to sponsor the educations of numerous boys and young men who showed promise but had no money.
He was very generous and had a big heart. For example, he heard that the daughter of a vicar in his district in England had become pregnant out of wedlock and was going to be forced to give up the child.
Saying "this is as bad as Boston," he was so outraged that he legally adopted the little boy himself. He allowed mother and son to live upstairs in his home in England at his expense and loudly defied anyone to besmirch her honor or that of Travis, the little boy.
Ned Warren and his lover John Marshall had a stormy, on-again off-again relationship, but they were together at their flat in Rome in February of 1928. On the evening of the 15th, John went to bed early not feeling well. Ned tiptoed in later and kissed him good night and got in bed beside him. John was dead by morning.
Ned never recovered from that blow. He returned to England, where his health declined rapidly. Saying he couldn't face Christmas and New Year's without John, he died in a nursing home in England on December 28, 1928, at the age of 68.
He was cremated on January 1, 1929. But because he had always been blatant about his homosexuality, no members of his family attended the funeral and none of the museums that had benefitted so much from his largesse sent a representative to the memorial service.
His ashes were buried in the non-Catholic cemetery in Bagni di Lucca, Italy, a town known as a spa in Etruscan and Roman times.
We honor Edward Perry "Ned" Warren, 1860-1928, who wrote a poem likening a boy he loved to Antinous.
Friday, December 27, 2013
IN our continuing series on Saturnalia/Yule traditions ... Click on the video link (below) to see El Caga Tió de Nadal ... literally, the "Pooping Log" of Catalonia in Spain.
It's a bit like the Mexican piñata in that it makes its appearance at children's festivities during the Advent period leading up to Christmas.
Over the course of several evenings, children "feed" the Log bits of food or sweets so that it can have a really good poo when the big day comes. By the time they are allowed to start whacking the log, the children have worked themselves into a frenzy about the whole affair.
But whereas the piñata is suspended from the ceiling and eventually breaks and spills its goodies onto the kids, El Tió is on the floor and receives a ritual pounding from children wielding sticks until it "defecates" the goodies out of its rear end.
El Tió's rear is covered with a blanket, under which adults have hidden the goodies. The kiddies pound the bejeezus out of El Tió while chanting a "Log Pooping" song which is the well-known melody to a myriad of jump-rope chants around the world.
At a certain point in the chant, the kids shout, "Caga! Caga! Caga" and raise the blanket to discover all the goodies that El Tió has shat for them. "Caga" is of course derived from the ancient Indo-European word, kakkos, and Latin "cacare" which mean "defecate".
Click here to see the Yuletide Pooping Log of Catalan:
Thursday, December 26, 2013
ROMAN stone tablets which have been hidden in an Italian museum for decades have been found to contain a virulent sex curse.
The tablet in the Museum of Bologna's archives appears to invoke the witchcraft goddess Hekate to bind and torment a man with a special curse focusing on the genitals.
The tablets were hidden in the archives for nearly a century ... thought to have been put aside at the start of World War I ... and rediscovered in 2009. The tablets are believed to be 1600 years old.
Now a translation has revealed the dark purpose of the slabs ... calling a snake-shrouded figure believed to be Hekate to bind a man who is mummified with his hands tied. He is named as Porcellus.
Celia Sanchez Natalias, of the University of Zaragoza has translated the tablets for the first time.
"In the foreground is a standing barefoot figure, with crossed or tied hands at belly height. On his chest are a magic sign while in the genital area is an eight-pointed star," she says.
"Sinuous snakes emerge threateningly from the side of his crowned head," she adds. "Below, lying down, mummified and with his hands tied, or at least crossed, is the victim of the curse, perfectly recognisable because of the inscription running down both arms, which reads: Porcellus."
Carving curses into tablets was a common practice in the ancient world ... with lead tablets used in some areas, and stone in others.
The Bologna "Defixiones" is unusual because of its mixture of terrifying demonic figures and text ... and, Natalias, says, could invoke the three-formed goddess Hekate, the mother of witches.
The first figure, with snakes streaming out of his/her head, and a crown is thought to be the demon - or goddess - who is being called on to carry out the curse.
"The deity of the Bologna curse is barefoot and has a magic sign on the breast ... and also has an eight-point star in its genital area," says Natalias.
The star is almost unique ... but other features such as the snakes make an identification with the Goddess Hecate tempting.
Hecate - the witch-goddess - is often invoked in Ancient Roman curse tablets.
"While it is tempting to identify this figure with this deity, the absence of other characteristics, such as her three forms or her bearing torches, as traditionally associated with her, undermines this hypothesis," says Natalias.
Interestingly, the images seem to show both the goddess - or demon - AND the victim as being bound, tied up, or mummified.
The spell is binding Hecate - or another demon - to torment Porcellus, whoever he may have been.
"Just as the deity is bound, so will Porcello be," says Natalias.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
IN celebration of the return of Antinous Invictus, for the five days between December 25th and the 1st of January, we commemorate the Golden Age of the reign of Saturn.
This is a time outside of time, and an occasion for joy and freedom from the world.
The divine twins are born, Osiris and Isis, Seth and Nephthys, Castor and Pollux, Freyr and Freya (for whom this time is also known as Yule).
We celebrate the Saturnalia with indulgence and as the festival of Liberty and total Freedom. There shall be no authority and no submission during this sacred period.
There is to be no war, and no form of violence committed, only peace and harmony and the many joys of ecstasy are allowed.
The rejoicing of the Saturnalia ends with the apotheosis of the Prince of Flowers, Aelius Caesar, on January 1st.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
AUGUSTUS Caesar's Ara Pacis, the "Altar to Peace" showed its true colors on its 2,000th anniversary thanks to a groundbreaking lighting projection system.
Though the white-marble monument has lost its color over the centuries, visitors were able to see its intricate array of friezes in dazzling color.
According to researchers from the Vatican museums, who have gone over every inch of the altar for traces of pigment, the Ara Pacis was brightly colored when unveiled by the Roman Senate in the year 9 AD.
Rome's culture chief Umberto Broccoli told Italy's ANSA news agency that the study furnished lighting technicians with the exact colors which originally embellished the monument, which they replicated with hundreds of tiny lighting projectors. Broccoli said the color system, financed in part by a Roman supermarket chain, cost the city about $100,000, "but it was money well spent".
"The color reproduction is extraordinary," Broccoli told ANSA. "If Augustus were to see it, he wouldn't notice any difference". This is not the first time that the Ara Pacis has been "painted".
A rather less sophisticated system was tried out during Emperor Augustus' birthday in September 2008, but museum officials say the technology has come a long way since then.
Visitors clearly were stunned by the spectacular altar. And their reaction was understandable. The famed West Facade and East Facade were both illuminated.
The West Facade (above) is highlighted by a frieze called "The Lupercal Panel" which shows Romulus and Remus (suckled by the She-Wolf) being discovered by Faustulus the shepherd while Mars looks on.
The God of War is resplendent in a crimson cloak which contrasts with deep greens of the lower frieze's viney motif.
On the left panel of the East Facade (right), a goddess nurses the twins Romulus and Remus and, on the right-hand panel, Trojan hero Aeneas makes a sacrifice to the gods, all in the life-like splendor they enjoyed under the paint brushes of Roman craftsman.
Scholars have suggested that the goddess variously might be Italia, Tellus (Earth), Venus, or Peace. The Goddess of Peace (Pax Augusta) makes the most sense since the entire scene depicts the benefits of peace, and the monument is the "Altar of Augustan Peace", not the "Altar of Italy" or "the Altar of Earth". The exact identity of the goddess, however, remains in dispute.
The Altar marks the northern city limits. Travelers approaching Rome upon arrival at the port of Ostia would have seen the Altar on the west side of the Via Flaminia, the backdrop of which was the Seven Hills of Rome — the "skyline" of Rome.
The Ara Pacis Augustae stood in the flood plain of the river Tiber, where it became buried under silt over the centuries. It was rediscovered in modern times and, after decades of on-again, off-again excavation, was finally fully restored under the rule of Benito Mussolini.
Alas, the colored light show was only temporary. Visitors hoping to see the color-illuminated Ara Pacis will have to wait for another special occasion, perhaps the annual celebration of the founding of Rome.
A pioneering "digital archaeologist" has used cutting-edge computer technology to determine that a monument commissioned by Augustus Caesar is aligned to the sun on the birthday of a particular aspect of Apollo-Helios.
Bernie Frischer, an Indiana University "archaeo-informaticist," says his discovery will cause history books to be rewritten.
Until now, archaeologists believed an obelisk cast a shadow on Rome's Ara Pacis, "Altar of Peace," on September 23, Augustus's birthday. But Frischer says his calculations show a very different date, pointing to a very different, very divine birthday.
The Ara Pacis sits in front of the 71-foot high Obelisk of Montecitorio.
After creating 3D models of the two monuments using the game engine Unity and studying the sun's position, Frischer and his team believe the real date is October 9 ... when the sun would would pass directly over the top of the obelisk.
"Inscriptions on the obelisk show that Augustus explicitly dedicated the obelisk to his favorite deity, Apollo, the Sun god," Frischer says.
"And the most lavish new temple Augustus built, the Temple of Palatine Apollo, was dedicated to his patron god and built right next to Augustus' own home," he adds.
"So the new date of the alignment, Oct. 9, is actually what we know to be the annual birthday festival of the Temple of Palatine Apollo," he says. "No other date on the Roman religious calendar would have been as appropriate as this."
Frischer is well known among Antinoologists for his newly unveiled 3D interactive VIRTUAL HADRIAN'S VILLA and also proving the SUN ALIGNS WITH THE ANTINOEION mortuary temple of Antinous during the Egyptian festival of the Inundation of the Nile ... the drought-ending flood which was the first miracle of Antinous.
Frischer's work is made possible in part by ephemerides, or tables that give the position of celestial bodies at different points in time. Ephemerides were once actual tables written on paper, but now they're software programs, like NASA's Horizons system that can generate the position of an object in the sky at any time in history.
Monday, December 23, 2013
WE honor 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.
Antonyus 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.
Sunday, December 22, 2013
HUNDREDS of Antinous adherents from around the world responded to an invitation to take part in Solstice ceremonies at the Hollywood Temple of Antinous ... ceremonies which are still in progress as this report is being published.
Following the success of a Skype ceremony on the Birthday of Antinous last month, Flamen Antonyus Subia issued a global invitation via social networks for participation in tonight's Solstice ceremonies.
"The response has been overwhelming," Antonyus says. "Unfortunately, we had to turn away many because of the limitations of Skype conference calls."
"We are going to make this a permanent feature of our ceremonies," Antonyus adds.
"And we will see what we can do to allow more people to take part, because of response has exceeded our expectations by far," he promises.
Also for the first time, the ritual was carried out by priests on different continents ... with each sharing in responsibilities.
"We coordinated the ritual in advance so that the hand-off from one priest to another would function seamlessly," says Priest Hernestus, who took part via Skype from Germany.
"Group responses by all participants also flowed seamlessly, so it all very inspiring to everyone, I believe," Hernestus adds.
Future interactive ceremonies will be announced in advance.
Saturday, December 21, 2013
ON Saturday at 17:11 Universal Time (5:11 p.m. tea time in the UK) the sun "stands still" ("Sol Stasis") — the December 21, 2013, Solstice.
This is a special day every year in the Religion of Antinous for it marks the return of SOL INVICTUS, the Unconquerable Sun.
The return of the sun is the Conquest of Unconquered Light over chaos and darkness, the emergence of Phanes-Eros-Dionysus from the cosmic egg.
On this day, we observe the moment when the unknown god Bythus-Narcissus gazed into the pool of the abyss and saw his own reflection. His image caused the birth of the thrice-great Phanes-Eros-Zagreus, the saviors, who together are called Antinous Invictus.
The three-fold mystery of their birth is the descent of Phanes-Beauty, Eros-Love and Zagreus-Ecstasy into our world. These great spirits are the divine light of Antinous the God, it is their presence at the ground of our soul that is our immortal spark.
Within us all is the perfect image of the perfect face of light and love, a reflection of Narcissus-Bythus gazing down into the darkness of our world.
Antinous Invictus the perfect image of the perfect face of light and love will illuminate the way ahead.
It was Hadrian's dream to create the perfect civilization ... a civilization based on the Hellenistic principles of love, beauty, learning and tolerance. And it was his dream to create the perfect religion ... a religion which would encompass all others.
In the Northern Hemisphere today is the Winter Solstice and the days will be getting longer now. In the Southern Hemisphere it is the Summer Solstice and the days will become shorter now.
Wherever you live on this blue marble of ours, it is the same moment in the eye of Antinous the Gay God.
Friday, December 20, 2013
ON what is now Christmas Day, troops on Hadrian's Wall 1,800 years ago were celebrating the birthday of the god Mithras.
Born on December 25, Mithras was worshipped at sites on at least three locations along the Wall.
Now conservation work is to be carried out on a sculpture of Mithras which was discovered at Housesteads Roman fort in the 19th Century.
The stone relief shows Mithras emerging from the Orphic Egg – the symbol of eternal time.
The god is surrounded by an egg-shaped representation of the signs of the zodiac, representing the cosmos.
This is the earliest representation of the signs of the zodiac to be found in Britain.
It would have been lit from behind to present a powerful image for worshippers entering the semi-underground temple at Chapel Hill at Housesteads.
The sculpture is one of the main exhibits in a collection of Mithraic items from the Wall on show at the Great North Museum in Newcastle.
"It is one of the best collections of Mithraic material in the world," said Andrew Parkin, keeper of archaeology at Tyne Wear Archives and Museums.
Repair and conservation work will now take place on restoration measures carried out on the sculpture in the 1950s, which are deteriorating.
"It will be painstaking work undertaken by our experienced conservation team," said Andrew. He hopes the sculpture will be back on display in February.
The carving is usually on display underneath a relief sculpture which shows a scene of Mithras slaying a bull, which was also found at Housesteads and was a common depiction in Mithraic temples.
"Our Mithras stone is a unique and powerful Roman object that blends several religious traditions," Andrew said. "We still have offerings left at the museum at this time of year. Previously we've had a pot plant, pine cones, money and even a Chocolate Orange."
The stone is part of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne's collection.
The cult of Mithras was popular amongst the military and originated around 1400 BC in Persia.
It was confined to male worshippers and involved progression through several grades of worship with different ranks and costumes.
Mithraic temples have been identified in Northumberland at Housesteads, Rudchester and Carrawburgh, where three altars were found along with the remains of cockerels which had probably been sacrificed and statues of the god's helpers.
The complex imagery of the Housesteads sculpture suggests the sophistication of the cult at the fort. The celebration of Christmas became superimposed on earlier religious and ritual practices.
"To some extent there have always been mid-winter festivals at what is the darkest part of the year to mark the turning point when it will begin getting lighter," said Andrew. "In the early days Christianity was competing with a lot of different cults around the world."
Mithras was celebrated as the Lord of Ages and a god of light, who is often shown carrying a torch and bringing light to the world.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
GLEAMING white marble and limestone sculptures dominate our image of the Mediterranean world in classical antiquity.
However, it is not generally known that ancient architecture and sculptures were once painted in vivid colours.
But now, thanks to technology, experts are delving into the "archaeo-polychromy" of ancient reliefs and sculptures. They use digital scanners to detect faint smidgens of pigment. And then they do computer projections of what the original must have looked like.
For 10 years now, the traveling exhibit GODS IN COLOR (original title in German: Bunte Götter – Die Farbigkeit antiker Skulptur) shows statues such as "Paris the Trojan Archer" (above), from the west pediment of the Aphaia Temple in Aegina, the way that scientists believe the Ancient Greeks intended them to look.
The traveling exhibition has been seen in major cities on every continent and is still heading to new cities. Watch for it at a museum near you ....
The experts stress that these mock-ups are only "best guess scenarios" of what the originals must have looked like. And there are many, many possible variations. The result is very flat and uniform.
After all, the experts are going by only minute flakes of pigment on a chin or cheek to project the color of the entire face.
No doubt the Ancient artists used varying hues, so that this bust of Caligula (left) would look much, much more lifelike than it does here in this modern mock-up.
The experts claim that even bronze statuary was often gilded and painted. We think of bronze being beautiful when it has acquired a patina of greenish age. But the Ancients thought that was dreadful.
They went to great pains to keep their bronze statues polished so that they gleamed in the sun. They put gemstones in the eyes and they gilded the lips and the brows and eyelashes.
Be sure to watch for this traveling exhibition at a museum near you!
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
AN ancient Roman sculpture portraying a warrior just before his death is visiting the US capital Washington DC on its first trip outside of Italy in more than 200 years.
"The Dying Gaul," a marble statue that was unearthed in Rome in the 1620s, is being loaned to the National Gallery of Art until March next year.
Believed by early historians and writers to be a gladiator, the statue had been a popular tourist attraction for centuries.
When Mark Twain visited it in 1867 he wrote: "We saw the Dying Gladiator at the Capitol, and I think that even we appreciated that wonder of art."
And Romantic poet Lord Byron included the statue in his 1818 work From Canto IV of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage ... "I see before me the Gladiator lie: / He leans upon his hand -- his manly brow / Consents to death, but conquers agony".
The statue, which was renamed the Dying Gaul by 18th Century scholars, is said to have been based on a 3rd Century BC bronze sculpted to mark a victory over the Gauls.
It is lauded for the expressions on the statue's face, as the Gaul is seen contorted with pain as he dies from a chest wound.
"A universally acknowledged masterpiece, the Dying Gaul is a deeply moving tribute to the human spirit," said Earl A. Powell III, director of the gallery. "An image of a conquered enemy, the sculpture represents courage in defeat, composure in the face of death and dignity."
Its appearance at the Washington gallery - the first time it has left Italy in more than 200 years - is part of the Dream of Rome program, in which 'the Eternal Masterpieces' are exhibited in the U.S.
"We are very pleased to bring to Washington a stunning masterpiece that has not left Italian soil since its return to Rome from Paris in 1816," said Claudio Parisi Presicce, director of Capitoline Museums, where the statue is usually displayed.
"In 1797, Napoleonic forces had taken the sculpture to France with the intention of keeping it there," he added. "Its journey across the Atlantic today is further proof of the strong and fruitful collaboration between our countries."
The statue, believed to have been created in the 2nd Century AD, was found in the gardens of Villa Ludovisi.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
ON December 17th the Religion of Antinous celebrates the life of the Sufi mystic Jalaluddin Rumi who dedicated his life to the illumination he received through the love of another man.
The mystic lover and poet Jalaluddin Rumi, better known simply as Rumi, was united with his beloved on this day.
Born in Afghanistan in 1207 CE, his family moved to Turkey while he was still young.
In the city of Konya, not far from the Bithynian birthplace of Antinous, Jalaluddin Rumi established himself as a traditional Islamic teacher.
But then one day he met Shams-e-Tabriz, a wandering Sufi mystic.
Shams set Jalaluddin free from worldly concern and revealed the inward love of god as expressed through music, poetry and the whirling dance that simultaneously confuses and centers the soul of one who spins.
When Shams mysteriously disappeared, Jalaluddin went in search of him, only to discover that Shams was within his own heart.
From that day forward, Jalaluddin Rumi became a profound teacher of mystic eloquence whose poetry refers to god as the Lover within.
The homoerotic character of Jalaluddin Rumi's spirituality, referring both to his love for Shams and his love for god, has ingratiated him to gay men because of the depth and sensitivity and sacred intimacy that his words exude.
Jalaluddin Rumi and his Mevlevi Order are the last remnants of the Bithynian-Phrygian ecstasy cults of Dionysus and Attis, and they are distantly connected to the Religion of Antinous, through the mystical charge of homoerotic spirituality.
Jalaluddin Rumi expressed total love, proclaiming that all religions were one. And on the day of his funeral, his bier was followed by a procession made up of representatives from five different faiths.
We sanctify Jalaluddin Rumi as a Saint in the Religion of Antinous. He died on December 17th, 1234.
Monday, December 16, 2013
THIS colorful 1,600-year-old glass goblet shows the Romans were experts at nanotechnology, according to scientists.
The glass chalice, known as the Lycurgus Cup because it bears a scene involving King Lycurgus of Thrace, appears jade green when lit from the front but blood-red when lit from behind—a property that puzzled scientists for decades after the museum acquired the cup in the 1950s.
The mystery wasn't solved until researchers in England scrutinized broken fragments under a microscope and discovered that the Roman artisans were nanotechnology pioneers, according to a report in SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE.
They impregnated the glass with particles of silver and gold, ground down until they were as small as 50 nanometers in diameter, less than one-thousandth the size of a grain of table salt.
The exact mixture of the precious metals suggests the Romans knew what they were doing ... "an amazing feat," says one of the researchers, archaeologist Ian Freestone of University College London (UCL).
The ancient nanotech works something like this: When hit with light, electrons belonging to the metal flecks vibrate in ways that alter the color depending on the observer's position.
Gang Logan Liu, an engineer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who has long focused on using nanotechnology to diagnose disease, and his colleagues realized that this effect offered untapped potential.
"The Romans knew how to make and use nanoparticles for beautiful art," Liu says. "We wanted to see if this could have scientific applications."
When various fluids filled the cup, Liu suspected, they would change how the vibrating electrons in the glass interacted, and thus the color.
The original 4th Century AD Lycurgus Cup, probably taken out only for special occasions, depicts King Lycurgus ensnared in a tangle of grapevines, presumably for evil acts committed against Dionysus, the Greek god of wine.
If inventors manage to develop a new detection tool from this ancient technology, it'll be Lycurgus' turn to do the ensnaring.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
ON December 15th the Religion of Antinous celebrates the birth of the Divine Lucius Verus, who was born 48 days after the death of ANTINOUS in the year 130 AD (Year 19 of Antinous). As an 8-year-old boy he was hand-picked by Hadrian to become future co-emperor with Marcus Aurelius.
And Hadrian's wisdom in choosing him was realized when Lucius Verus proved to be a wise and diligent leader who combined efficiency in government along with a sense of charisma and high-drama style.
A handsome young man with naturally sandy-blond hair, he instructed his team of imperial stylists to sprinkle gold dust in his carefully coiffed hair and beard to highlight the natural blond sheen.
Verus led a high-stepping lifestyle and kept a coterie of glitterati, actors and favourites with him. He had a replica tavern built in his house -- a sort of in-house Studio 54 -- where he staged lavish parties with his friends until dawn.
He also enjoyed roaming around the city among the population, without acknowledging his identity. The games of the circus were another passion in his life, especially chariot racing.
Lucius Ceionius Aelius Aurelius Commodus Antoninus was the son of Lucius Aelius Caesar, His mother's name was Avidia. After the unexpected death of young Lucius's father, Lucius Aelius Caesar, Hadrian then adopted Antoninus Pius to be his successor, and ordered that Antoninus adopt Marcus Aurelius, Hadrian's 17-year-old nephew, and the 8-year-old Lucius who took the name Lucius Verus.
As a boy Lucius Verus was educated by the foremost Roman scholars including the historian Marcus Cornelius Fronto. He was watched over by a devoted freedman of his father named Nicomedes, a name with Bithynian connotations and of almost homosexual allusion.
Originally Hadrian desired that Lucius should marry Faustina the Younger, daughter of Antoninus, but then Antoninus canceled this arrangement and Faustina married Marcus Aurelius instead. Lucius married Lucilla, the daughter of Marcus Aurelius, in 161 a year after becoming Emperor in 161.
War broke out with the Parthians and Marcus Aurelius sent Lucius Verus to head the Campaign, but he is said to have spent his time drinking and banqueting, leaving the war in the capable hands of his generals. It was a wise decision. For this victory, he was awarded a triumph.
In general, the duties of running the government were left in the hands of Marcus Aurelius, while Lucius Verus spent his time with actors and musicians, and at the chariot races.
He is said to have excelled his eccentric father Lucius Aelius in ostentatiously exhibiting his pleasures on an Imperial scale, much to the disapproval of the stoic Marcus Aurelius. The two co-emperors, however, always maintained cordial relations.
Lucius Verus was born in the year 130, only 48 days after the Death of Antinous. This is of course very important to consider, and certainly must have left a life-long impression of Lucius Verus. Considerations of reincarnation are open for contemplation.
His death in the year 169 was sudden and unexpected, occurring during a military inspection, likely due to dysentery or possibly smallpox, as he died during a widespread epidemic known as the "Antonine Plague".
Despite the minor differences between them, Marcus Aureliusgrieved the loss of his adoptive brother. He accompanied the body to Rome, where he offered games to honour his memory. After the funeral, the senate declared Verus divine to be worshipped as Divus Verus.
Many people (even modern-day pagans) balk at believing in the divinity of the emperors, preferring instead the Classical deities of the Roman Republic.
Pagans find it extremely difficult to worship human beings as legitimate gods, because they have no believable supernatural powers, it's too obvious. There are other reasons of course, but this is one.
Why not Worship Lucius Verus and Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius and all the Antonines, why not call out to them, why not praise them and declare our loyalty to them and hope for whatever benefit we might gain?
The odds seem as favorable with them as with anything else that people call Gods.
For this reason, among others...we turn to ANTINOUS...because he IS a human being...and he WAS deified...ANTINOUS is in every way Both God and Man...we can believe whatever we want about him...but only so long as we do not delude ourselves into thinking that we can placate ANTINOUS, that by worshiping HIM, that we will somehow purchase his good favor...that we will be rewarded for our good faith.
We don't see any harm in asking ANTINOUS to give us the Moon and the Stars and the Beautiful Things of the Land and the Sea...and we are proud to ask ANTINOUS to watch over His People, all the Homosexuals of the World, to protect them and Guide into the Future.
This may seem to be a violation of our personal creed of not asking for fulfillment of our selfish whims...but it is not a violation of that creed...perhaps because it is not for ourselves...and also because we do not expect ANTINOUS to respond in any way or form...it is not so much a response from ANTINOUS Himself that we are seeking, but a Response from the Antinous within Our Hearts and from the Antinous within All of Our Hearts.
It is We who must watch over ourselves and the whole world...through the Power of Antinous Love within us all.
Lucius Verus IS a god and he represents the Power of the Antinous Love which resides within us all.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
MUMMIFIED dogs are not rare in Egypt, but dogs rolled up and buried in pots is extraordinary, and now archaeologists have found two well preserved dogs buried in pots some 3,000 years ago — and they have no idea how the Egyptians got them in the pots.
Nicknamed Houdini and Chewie, the potted dogs were discovered at Shunet ez Zebib, a large mud-brick structure located at Abydos — one of the most sacred cities in Ancient Egypt, legendary location of the the fabled Tomb of Osiris. The site was built around 2750 BC and was dedicated to Khasekhemwy, a second dynasty king.
It is also known for the the thousands of ibis burials in jars that had been recovered in the dunes nearby, and for the interments of other animals, mostly raptors and canines.
"The site provided a very secure structure, with conveniently soft, sandy fill that was easy for quick burials within a sacred space," Salima Ikram, professor of Egyptology at The American University in Cairo, wrote in a recently published Festschrift in honor of Dieter Kessler, a renowned scholar in the field of animal cults and Egyptian religion.
"Of the many jars that were recovered, only 13 have thus far been properly investigated. Of these, four were empty, three contained ibises, and five were filled with dogs," Ikram said.
While three pots contained skeletonized remains of dogs, the last two housed Houdini and Chewie, two animals with their fur largely intact.
"Although it is common to find birds in pots, it is rare to find other animals buried in this way," Ikram told Discovery News.
In particular, no canine burials in pots have been recorded in the many dog cemeteries scattered throughout Egypt.
"These jars were probably made and used for some sort of storage, and then re-used as coffins for the dogs. They are quite charming as the dogs are curled up in the pots," Ikra said.
According to the researcher, both animals were mature, probably around five years of age.
"They were probably votive offerings unless they held the position of sacred animals — perhaps the pot burials are indicative of their being Sacred rather than just Votive," Ikram said.
How the two animals were pushed into pots from which they cannot be extracted now remains a mystery.
"Without further examination and chemical testing it is not possible to understand the process by which these two animals were preserved," Ikram said.
Friday, December 13, 2013
LEGIONS of terracotta soldiers were left on guard in Chinese Emperor Qin Shihuang's underground tomb. Researchers now say they were influenced by Greek art.
The Terracotta Warriors, along with other life-size sculptures built for the First Emperor of China, were inspired by Greek art, new research indicates.
Now, new research indicates the armies of Alexander the Great may have made contact with China.
"It is perfectly possible and actually likely that the sculptures of the First Emperor are the result of early contact between Greece and China," writes Lukas Nickel of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, in the most recent edition of the journal Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies.
Nickel's evidence includes newly translated ancient records that tell a fantastic tale of giant statues that "appeared" in the far west, inspiring the first emperor of China to duplicate them in front of his palace.
This story offers evidence of early contact between China and the West, contacts that Nickel says inspired the First Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi not only to duplicate the 12 giant statues but to build the massive Terracotta Army along with other life-size sculptures.
Before the First Emperor's time, life-size sculptures were not built in China, and Nickel argues the idea to build so many of them, so suddenly, came from kingdoms in Asia that had been created and influenced by Alexander the Great's campaigns.
Nickel translated ancient Chinese records that tell a tale of 12 giant statues, clad in "foreign robes" that "appeared" in Lintao in what was the westernmost part of China. (The word "Lintao" can also mean any place far to the west.)
The records do not say how this appearance happened, who brought them there or who exactly the statues depicted; they do reveal the statues were larger than life, rising about 38 feet (11.55 meters) high, with feet that were 4.5 feet long (1.38 m).
They so impressed the First Emperor that he decided to build 12 duplicates in front of his palace by melting down bronze weapons that had been used for war.
On each duplicate an inscription was created telling of the "giants" (the original statues) that appeared in Lintao. The inscriptions, recorded by Yan Shigu, who lived around 1,400 years ago and used an earlier written source, said that in the "26th Year of the Emperor, when he first brought together all-under-heaven, divided the principalities into provinces and districts, and unified the weights and measures, (these) giants appeared in Lintao …"
These giant duplicates no longer exist, having been destroyed in the centuries after the First Emperor's death. Because the duplicates were displayed publicly in front of the First Emperor's palace, ancient writers left records of them behind, Nickel told LiveScience.
Meanwhile, the Terracotta Warriors, though they survive to present day, were buried in pits out of sight and, as such, no record of them survives today.
Even so, the newly translated records suggest contact, of some form, occurred between ancient China and kingdoms in Central Asia that had been influenced by Greek culture and its sculpture-building tradition.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
THERE are Catholic rosary beads, Eastern Orthodox beads, Swedish Lutheran Frälserkransen beads, Islamic prayer beads, Buddhist meditation beads, Hindu japa mala beads and even Wiccan prayer beads ... now several adherents of Antinous are designing prayer beads.
Earlier we unveiled the FLAMEN ANTONIUS SUBIA PRAYER BEADS.
Today we show you the beads designed by Priest Hernestus ... his "Antinous Moon Magic" beads.
They consist of 52 beads symbolizing the 52 primary annual lunar phases, each of which represents a specific archetypal spirit in Antinous Moon Magic.
In addition, there are some 30 additional beads representing various major "Saints of Antinous," "Blessed Souls of Antinous" and also what Hernestus calls his "Sorgenkinder" (German for "special needs children") ... beads for persons or situations which require urgent spiritual attention.
The beads have a very Egyptian flavor, reflecting the mysteries of the Land of the Nile where Antinous died and was deified. The strand has beads of quartz crystal, amber, carneol, turquoise and red-green glass.
A gold filigree Egyptian ankh with six semi-precious gemstones dangles from the keystone bead at the end of the strand ... a bead which Hernestus calls the "Rekhenef" bead symbolizing the KA of the prayer beads.
Each bead represents a particular lunar phase of the year or saint or individual person/situation.
The strand is over three feet long ... nearly one meter long.
The length means that it variously can be worn around the neck during most hours of the day or wrapped around the wrist during intensive prayer or spell work.
"During the cycle of a lunar phase, of course, I meditate on that particular moon," says Priest Hernestus.
"But the whole point of Antinous Moon Magic is to be able to call down the power of Antinous the Moon God at any time of the lunar year."
He explains, "So, for example, if someone consults me about asking their boss for a pay increase, I focus my attention on the 'Merchant Moon' representing the employer, and the 'Denarius Moon' for money as well as a special bead representing that person asking for a pay hike."
He says it does not matter that the Merchant Moon and Denarius Moon are lunar phases which occur at two totally different times of the year.
"Antinous Moon Magic exists beyond linear time. Antinous himself dwells in the Egyptian occult concept of SEP TEPY ... a state beyond Time and Space in which the universe is being created on a continual basis," Hernestus says.
"The job of the magician-priest of Antinous, both in ancient times and now, has always been to enter into SEP TEPY and cast the prayer spell there."
He adds that the beads have a way of communicating special needs which require his attention.
"I wrap the beads around my wrist at random, paying no attention to the order of the beads," Hernestus. "Then during meditation, I look down and notice which bead or beads are right over my pulse on the underside of my wrist ... those beads indicate a person or situation that needs my attention."
He has found that the prayer beads can use this means to alert him to a person who is thinking of him or who is about to contact him very shortly.
"I beads tell me a certain person is in trouble. So I consult the Antinous Oracle and go deep within myself to see what the specific situation is. Then when the person calls me, they are surprised to learn that I am already on top of their plight," he says.
"They seem to think I am psychic or something, but in fact, it is just the Antinous Moon Magic beads ... they really do work," he insists.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
ON December 11th the Religion of Antinous honors SAINT ALESSANDRO ALBANI, who was an Italian aristocrat and cardinal, and a collector and patron of the arts.
It is largely thanks to Cardinal Albani that Antinous experienced a resurgence of interest in the 18th Century which continues to this day.
It is also believed that Albani secretly worshiped the Beauteous Boy as a gay god.
Albani became a trend-setter and an arbiter of taste. Albani, whose sexuality was ambivalent, and the openly gay Winkelmann more or less single-handedly launched a craze throughout the European aristocracy for Classical art.
When he was 29, by special dispensation from his uncle Pope Clement XI, Alessandro Albani was made a Cardinal, although he had never been a priest or member of a lower order.
Indeed, he would have preferred to pursue a military career. But chronic eye problems, which eventually resulted in total blindness in old age, convinced him to take up his uncle's generous offer.
He is said to have been a continuing cause of great concern to his uncle, due to his wordly and irreligious obsessions, first among these his passion for art.
Cardinal Albani used his vast wealth to collect Classical art, and to patronize artists of his day, such as Anton Raphael Mengs, and the "Father of Archaeology" Johann Joachim Winckelmann, who was an open homosexual.
The art collection of Cardinal Albani contained an extraordinary number of statues of Antinous, and these were studied by Winckelmann, who had taken up residence in the sprawling and very lavish Villa Albani outside of Rome (pictured at right).
And Antinous was the pre-eminent example of male beauty in Classical art.
Every aristocrat in Europe wanted a statue or Antinous. And monarchs such as Frederick the Great of Prussia (who never married and favored intimate friendships with males) sent out experts to find statues of Antinous.
Thus, the science of archaeology was born largely through a desire by aristocrats to furnish their palaces with the sort of Antinous-style Classical art which Albani had made fashionable.
By the time he died on December 11th in the year 1779, it was rumored that Cardinal Albani, along with his intimate friends Winckelmann and neo-classicist painter Anton Mengs, had been secret worshippers of Antinous and Priapus.
It was asserted that they reinstated the religion of the Beloved Boy as a kind of underground cult along with other, unnamed persons.
For this reason, though based largely on rumor, Cardinal Alessandro Albani is sanctified as a Saint of the Religion of Antinous.
Although he was a Cardinal of the Catholic Faith, he may in fact have been the first High Priest of Antinous since the extermination of the ancient religion 1,300 years before.
Albani's secret cult ... assuming it truly existed ... is the only known predecessor since ancient times to the current Religion of Antinous.