Tuesday, September 26, 2017

RABBIT GOD TU ER SHEN
IS THE CHINESE DEITY OF GAYNESS



ON International Rabbit Day, in late September, we honor the Chinese "Rabbit God" of homosexuality.

Just as Antinous the Gay God is being re-discovered in the West, Hu Tianbao alias Tu Er Shen the "Rabbit God" is being rediscovered by Chinese gay people. 

Incredibly, both deities involve young gay men who were in love with men of high standing ... and who died tragically ... and who became gods of the spiritual essence of homosexuality. 

Antinous is a true-life historical figure, of course, but his Chinese counterpart is shrouded in myth and legend ... involving rabbits.

According to Zi Bu Yu (子不語), a book written by Yuan Mei (袁枚, a Qing dynasty writer), Tu Er Shen (兔兒神 or 兔神) was a mortal man called Hu Tianbao (胡天保).

Hu Tianbao fell in love with a very handsome imperial inspector of Fujian Province. One day Hu Tianbao was caught peeping on the inspector through a toilet wall, at which point he came out to the other man. To save face, the imperial inspector had no choice but to have Hu Tianbao beaten to death.

One month after Hu Tianbao's death, he is said to have appeared to a man from his hometown in a dream, claiming that since his crime was one of love, the gods decided to right the injustice by appointing him the god and safeguarder of homosexual affections.


After his dream the man erected a shrine to Hu Tianbao, which became very popular in Fujian province, so much so that in late Qing times, the cult of Hu Tianbao was suppressed by the homophobic Qing government.

A slang term for homosexuals in late imperial China was Tuzi (兔子) (bunnies) which is why Hu Tianbao is referred to as the RABBIT GOD, although in fact he has nothing to do with rabbits and should not be confused with TU-ER-YE (兔儿爷) the famous "Rabbit in the Moon" which is the Chinese version of the "Man in the Moon".

However, the rabbit association stuck, and even today his devotees portray him with rabbit ears and make offerings of carrots to his altars. The handsome statuette in this image is lovingly clothed in a rabbit-fur cloak.

While no one knows if gays in mainland China worship him ... there is a temple in Yonghe city (永和市)in Taiwan that venerates Hu Tianbao, alias Tu Er Shen. The temple is known as the RABBIT TEMPLE (兔兒廟). The address is Taipei, Yonghe City, Yonghe Road Section 1, Alley 37, No 12.

A PHALLIC AMULET OR TALISMAN
KEPT DOCTOR AWAY IN ANCIENT ROME



IN ancient Roman religion and magic, the fascinus or fascinum was the embodiment of the divine phallus. 

Phallic imagery was everywhere in Ancient Rome: inscribed on paving stones, on pendants and jewelry and as decorative hangings, such as this terracotta fascinus found in Pompeii.

The deity Fascinus was tended by the Vestal Virgins who blessed phallus effigies, amulets and talismans, and spoke enchantments invoke his divine protection. 

Pliny calls it a medicus invidiae, a "doctor" or remedy for envy (invidia, a "looking upon") or the evil eye.

Tintinnabulum hanging wind chimes in gardens warded off insect pests and blights from plants.

A fascinus ring on a child's finger, or pendant around the child's neck served to protect the tot from harm.

Phallic emblems on paving stones were intended to keep away evil spirits who might cause traffic accidents.

A winged phallus whisked harm away with the beat of its wings.

Monday, September 25, 2017

'LOST' PORTRAIT OF GAY LOVER
OF KING JAMES I HAS BEEN FOUND



A "lost" portrait of the male lover of England's King James I by Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens has been rediscovered after almost 400 years.

The 17th Century Flemish artist's "head study" of the Duke of Buckingham was identified by Dr Bendor Grosvenor from BBC Four's Britain's Lost Masterpieces.

It was in Glasgow Museums' collection and on public display at the city's Pollok House stately home.

But overpainting and centuries of dirt meant it was thought to be a later copy by another artist.

Few people realise James 1st (James IV of Scotland) was gay. He was the King who succeeded Elizabeth 1st thus creating the 'United Kingdom'. This lost portrait of his lover is a remarkable find.

The restored portrait of George Villiers, the 1st Duke of Buckingham, was authenticated as a Rubens by Ben van Beneden, director of the Rubenshuis in Antwerp.

He said it was a "rare addition to Rubens's portrait oeuvre, showing how he approached the genre".

Dr Grosvenor said: "The chance to discover a portrait of such a pivotal figure in British history by one of the greatest artists who ever lived has been thrillingly exciting."

Sunday, September 24, 2017

ANCIENT PRIESTS BLESSED TREASURES
BEFORE THROWING THEM AWAY



YOU think you have trouble clearing out accumulated old things to make room for new acquisitions?

The ancient priests of Antinous ... along with priests of many other deities ... couldn't just throw out statues, offerings and other artefacts that worshipers had donated to their temples. The objects had to be ritually blessed, deconsecrated and given burials befitting their sacred nature.

Very often, these caches of "discarded" artefacts survive to the present day ... as has happened at the Temple of Ptah at Karnak in Egypt.

Ironically, treasures which remained in the temple sanctuaries often ended up being looted by invaders, which the "discarded" artefacts remained intact for thousands of years in the "rubbish heap" under the temple.

For example, the photo at left shows the only known portrait of Khufu (or Cheops), the 4th Dynasty pharaoh who (allegedly) built the Great Pyramid at Giza, is a very tiny ivory figurine only 7 centimeters (3 inches) tall.

It was discovered covered in dried feces IN AN ANCIENT CESSPIT next to the temple of Seti at Abydos in Egypt.

We can only assume that, thousands of years ago, some harried novice priest "flushed it away" during routine spring cleaning to clear out old statuary to make room for new items.

After years of being washed, perfumed and fed in ancient Egypt, the statue of the revered Egyptian deity shown at the top of this page was given a proper burial with other "dead" statues more than 2,000 years ago.

Ancient Egyptians buried the statue of the deity Ptah ... the god of craftsmen and sculptors ... with other revered statues, including those of a sphinx, baboon, cat, Osiris and Mut, in a pit next to Ptah's temple.

The statue of Ptah had likely sat in the temple for years, but it and the other sacred objects were respectfully buried after they accumulated damage and were declared useless by the ancient Egyptians, the researchers said.

"We can consider that when a new statue was erected in the temple, this one [of Ptah] was set aside in a pit," said study co-researcher Christophe Thiers, director of the French-Egyptian Center for the Study of the Temples of Karnak. 

"The other artifacts were also previously damaged during their 'lifetime' in the temple, and then they were buried with the Ptah statue."

Archaeologists discovered the pit in December 2014 at Karnak, an Egyptian temple precinct, and spent about a month excavating its rich assemblage. 

The pit held 38 objects, including:

  • Fourteen statuettes and figurines of Osiris.
  • Eleven fragments of inlay from statues. The inlay included that of an iris, a cornea, a false beard, a cap, a strand of hair and an inlay plaque.
  • Three baboon statuettes (representing the god Thoth).
  • Two statuettes of the goddess Mut (one with hieroglyphic inscriptions).
  • Two unidentified statuette bases.
  • One head and one fragmentary statuette of a cat (Bastet).
  • One small fragmentary faience stele (a stone slab) recording the name of the god Ptah.
  • One head of a statuette of a man in gilded limestone.
  • One lower part of a statue of the seated god Ptah, sawn and repaired.
  • One sphinx.
  • One unidentified metal piece.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

ANTINOUS GAY ORACLE CARDS
UNVEILED AT GLOBAL SKYPE CEREMONIES



PRIESTS of Antinous on three continents unveiled a bold new project tonight during ceremonies celebrated globally via Skype.

Flamen Antonius Subia presented the Antinous Gay Oracle Cards to celebrants at the Hollywood Temple of Antinous in California as well as other worshipers taking part via Skype in South America and Europe.

The Antinous Gay Oracle Cards are the most revolutionary deck to appear since Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot. But these are not Tarot cards. They are based on the ages-old Lenormand and Sibilla cards of Europe which originally used traditional playing cards, but with expanded meanings that evolved over time. 

Synthesizing Classical mythological imagery with 21st Century post-neopagan thought, Antonius Subia, founder of the modern religion of Antinous, the Gay God, has created a deck that maps the modern psyche like no other before. 

Each of the 52 Antinous Gay Oracle cards represents a theme of significance to Antinous spirituality. 

Some represent events that occurred during the mortal life of Antinous. Some represent people that were connected to him, or important to his story. Some cards represent places of Antinous significance. Others represent gods and goddesses who are elements of his spirituality. 

Each card is an Antinous related image within the context of the traditional Lernormand-Sibilla card system. They are essentially an Antinous variation on a well established theme. 

The Antinous cards are a spiritual tool and guide for LGTBQ people to explore the deeper meaning of Gay Spirituality in general, to reveal our deeper mysteries, and address our own particular concerns and influences. 

Antonius said: "They are a way to enter into Antinous-Consciousness and form a connection with his energy in a direct manner. With these cards you can seek to communicate with his influence deep inside ourselves and become part of Antinous’ spirituality."

He added, "The cards are a tool of the Antinous religion, for personal guidance, and also to help others reach a greater and more meaningful understanding of Antinous influence in their lives and spirituality. They are a way to communicate with and help others in an Antinous based context."

The cards were designed by Antonius Subia and the accompanying 400-page book is by him and Priest Hernestus Gill. The book thoroughly explores all the possibilities of the cards in a clear and easy-to-understand manner for beginners and advanced card-readers alike. This easy-to-use book enables you to bring power, precision, and depth to your card readings. It presents techniques usually found only in workshops, plus numerous different themed spreads so you can choose or create the perfect spread for any question or purpose.

Friday, September 22, 2017

ANTINOUS ON MOUNT CASIUS
WAS NEARLY STRUCK BY LIGHTNING


IT was at the season of the Equinox in the year 129 that the imperial court ascended Mount Cassius (also called Mons Casius, Mount Kel or Mount Casius).

They climbed the mountain overlooking the sea because on top of it was a Temple of the Sun. 

A storm broke while they made their ascent, and Hadrian had the priests conduct the Equinox ceremony in the rain. 

During the sacrifice at the altar, a bolt of lightning struck with a horrific, earth-shattering clap of thunder ... killing the priest and the sacrificial animal together. 

This was taken as a very significant portent, one that perhaps Antinous alone comprehended, the darkness of the coming death and transfiguration were presaged. 

Hadrian took it as a sign that the gods of Syria had turned against him, thinking it was Baal-Zeus who struck down the priests as a warning to Hadrian of what lay ahead when the court entered Jerusalem. 

Perhaps it is all a myth and a legend, of course. There were many myths and legends about the events leading up to the deification of Antinous. 

Researching background information on the Lightning Bolt Omen on Mount Cassius, we stumbled upon an old Epistle which Antonius Subia wrote to the original members of this religion at this time of year back in 2002. There were only a handful of followers ... about five or six. 

Take a moment to read what Antonius wrote so many years ago:

"Whatever myths and mysteries were fabricated to legitimize the Religion of Antinous, we can be sure that they were only for the benefit of the vulgar populace, dependent on poetry and allegory. The Priesthood of Antinoopolis however, had to deal with the truth. I can't help but think that the pinnacle of his mysteries, revealed to only the most devoted, was the unsettling revelation that Antinous the God was no more than a boy, just as any of them were or had been."

And Antonius says that THAT fact was what makes our religion so special. He goes on to write:

"That Antinous lived a truly human life, died, and miraculously became a God is what captivates me, even more than his beauty. Unlike so many other, mythical gods, there is a definite level of certainty that all that is said about him is true. It is only when one begins to dig deeper that the mysteriousness of his story becomes manifest. There is a desperate shortage of evidence from his time, almost nothing at all, and what little is written is rare and clothed in foreign languages. Antinous, because of the peculiarity of his divinization, is not a subject of great philosophical interest as are the other, more popular gods."

And then he hints at the idea of HOMOTHEOSIS:

"The most important impression one receives from his story, which is utterly non-mythological, is that if he could become a God, with a star, and a flower, and an eternal name, then what prevents all of us from following in his trail? Antinous destroys the very concept of Godhood. For the vast majority, this is an incomprehensible concept, but Antinous is not a god of the populous, who remain simple in their acceptance of theology … then as now."

And he says Antinous is the divine spark of Sacred Homosexuality:

"Homosexuals suffer from a terrible lack of Gods and divine heroes. Heterosexuality has an overabundance

He adds: "I don't see the harm in claiming the truth of our one and only patron saint and god. The emphasis of our day, in which homosexuality is gaining acceptability, seems to be on bringing our sexuality into line, and in conformity to the rest of the population. But what we need most is our own identity, not as an aberration, or a peculiarity, or a mere deviation from the norm, but as a sanctification, a sacred state of blessedness. 

"For thousands of years we have been considered a degeneration, a sin, and even a disease of lust. Now people are beginning to see that we are just different, but there is almost no talk, even amongst ourselves, that we are a wonder of the human species, a divine grace, a delicate flower possible only in the most elevated levels of civilization. It is no coincidence that our sexuality has regained the prominence of respect that it knew in the age of the Antonines, and Antinous is the emblem, in my heart, of our blessedness, then as now."

Antonius then says non-pagans balk at our religion, but he also notes that traditional pagans also have problems with the concept of Antinous as the Gay God for the 21st Century, rather than remaining a reconstructed Classical deity from ancient times:

"Already I have encountered the difficulty of explaining what is so personal to an uninformed listener, and this conflict of interest, as it were, may only increase. My only hope is that Antinous has already prepared the way, as he has done with me, and a few others. However difficult and testing his message may be to bring to the world, I trust that those who are prepared to listen will need very little explanation, the truth being already ingrained within the depth of their soul.


"All I can ever do is turn the key that they alone suspected was there, but the door is for them to open. The statues, and the stark reality of his life, show that there are many sides to our Antinous, none of which is ultimately and universally true.

"However much we may delineate and formalize his religion, it must always remain founded on personal connection, and individual truth. 

"I am prepared to say that this is far more simple than it seems, if we are willing to succumb wholly to absolute freedom in ourselves, and in others."

Antonius (writing back in 2002, remember) has a final question ... a question he has posed to each new priest over the years:

"My question is this, if ever you felt yourselves to be secret priests, evangelists of beauty, and missionaries of sacred homosexuality among these barbarians of our age, what would you say to a soul in whom you could plainly see Antinous, just beneath the skin? But more importantly, why would you even mention his name?"

This weekend, as the shadow of the Super Moon Eclipse falls upon the Earth, and as we remember the story of the Lightning Omen on Mons Cassius, it is perhaps good to remember the founding tenets of our religion:

Antinous was a flesh-and-blood human being of lowly birth.

Antinous and Hadrian were male-male lovers.

Antinous died tragically, perhaps in sacrifice for his beloved Emperor.

Hadrian "wept like a woman" and issued a decree establishing the Religion of Antinous … declaring Antinous a God … the last Classical Deity.

And the question for us today is whether we would recognize a modern-day Antinous if he walked up to us on the street, or if we saw him on TV or on the Internet.

More importantly, can we see Antinous in the eyes of all gay men.

Because that's the first place to look for him.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

KING EDWARD II AND PIERS GAVESTON
By Priest Martinus Campbell


ON 21st September I and the companions of Antinous venerate one of my heroes (flawed though he was), King Edward II of England. His story is fascinating, scandalous and, ultimately, tragic.

His story is also one of the earliest recorded examples of homophobic abuse and murder in British history.

Contemporary accounts say Prince Edward was handsome, athletic and had acquired a reputation for extravagance. 

His father, Edward I was powerful and successful in battles. Before his father's death, Prince Edward II had angered his father by his "excessive affection" for a young men, especially one called Piers Gaveston. Piers was a nobleman from Gascon - an area of South West France. Piers was Edward II's favourite lover from a group of 12 handsome young men he is recorded as always having around him. 

In July 1307 King Edward I died and and was succeeded by King Edward II - he was 23. The image below is the only surviving contemporary depiction of Edward II, showing his coronation. 

On 25 January 1308 Edward married Isabella (who was aged between twelve and sixteen at the time) the daughter of Philip IV of France. It was a marriage of convenience to consolidate power across the Norman empire. With her he needed to sire a future King, so they had several children including a son who later became King Edward III.

King Edward II was dependent on the support of the powerful English barons. However, they believed that a king had a duty to distribute patronage fairly amongst the aristocracy - not abdicate his responsibilities by showering it all on one non-aristocratic favorite. At the parliament held in April 1308 the barons demanded hat Gaveston be banished.

Edward II reluctantly agreed and sent Gaveston to Ireland as his Lieutenant there (June 1308). However, he immediately began to scheme for Gaveston's return - implementing a policy of "divide and rule", buying off some of the barons with favours. Finally the "Statute of Stamford" was signed to redress baronial grievances in exchange for Gaveston's return.

Quickly the affair with Piers began to offend the barons again. Gaveston clearly had a stinging sense of humour. He began openly inventing scandalous names for each baron. We know that "Black Dog" was applied to the Earl of Warwick, and "Bursting Belly" for the Earl of Lincoln!!

Unfortunately Edward began to lose the ground his father had won. He lost battles with Robert the Bruce thus effectively losing Scotland. The barons mutinied and, again, tried to banish Gaveston. They placed themselves in effective control of the country. Edward II refused to accept his overthrow and Gaveston's exile, so civil war erupted. Edward II placed Gaveston in Scarborough Castle under the protection of two Earls from of his trusted band of 12 men. The castle was besieged and the Earls were forced to surrender the castle and Gaveston. He was thrown in a dungeon, and then beheaded  on 19 June 1312.

In deep grief Edward lost the plot. In the vacuum that followed Robert the Bruce won a famous victory at Bannockburn thus securing Scotland as a separate kingdom for centuries ahead.

Also Queen Isabella began an adulterous affair with one of the Earls, Roger Mortimer. Isabella and Mortimer formed an army which overthrew Edward in 1326. 

He was imprisoned in a damp pit at Berkeley Castle. Two of his beloved 12 supporters made two attempts to free him but failed.

What happened next is not 100% clear but contemporary accounts show that Isabella and Mortimer announced that Edward was dead in September 1327. 

Many rumours circulated about the cause of death but the account recognised by most historians is that one man held Edward down while another pushed a red hot shaft of iron into his rectum. The screams where reputed to have been heard well beyond the castle walls.

In 1594 Christopher Marlowe published his play The Troublesome Reign and Lamentable Death of Edward the Second, King of England. Marlowe was gay and reputed by many to have been the secret lover of William Shakespeare - maybe even the true author of Shakespeare's plays. Edward II the play is never taught in schools and remained pretty much ignored until Derek Jarman's wonderful film of the play in 1991.

When I was learning British history at school the reign of Edward II was simply referred to as the 'failed rule of Edward II'. 

Most gay men know of Edward II here in the UK. He is an underground cult here to many.

Many Antinous bless him.
MARTINUS

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

ONCE IN A LIFETIME CHANCE
TO SEE THESE POMPEII TREASURES



AN exhibit at the Pompeii Antiquarium is showcasing treasures found inside one of the most well-known houses among the urban villas of the Insula Occidentalis at the archaeological site, the House of the Golden Bracelet.

The show - called "Treasures under the lapilli. Furnishings, frescoes and jewels from the Insula Occidentalis" - runs through May 31, 2018.

The rich furnishings and parietal paintings on show belong to the House of the Golden Bracelet.


It is one of the richest villas from the western district Insula Occidentalis, which has been closed to the public for decades and cannot yet be visited as the entire complex is under restoration.

And the golden bracelet after which the house was named represents one of the most valuable and beautiful artworks found in Pompeii.


The golden bracelet, one of the exhibit's highlights, was found on the wrist of a woman fleeing the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius that buried the Roman city in 79 AD.

The piece of jewelry, which weighs 610 grams, is characterized by two snakes' heads holding in their mouths a disk with the bust of Selene, the goddess of the moon.

The goddess is wearing a half moon-shaped tiara surrounded by seven stars, her arms raised to hold a veil.

Another fugitive was carrying a box in wood and bronze with 40 gold coins and 175 silver coins, which is also part of the exhibition.

Victims who died inside the luxury home, including two adults and a child who sought refuge in an under-stair cupboard, are on display as plaster casts made during excavation work.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

THE BIRTH OF ANTONINUS PIUS



SEPTEMBER 19 the Religion of Antinous celebrates the birth of the Divine Emperor Antoninus Pius.

Caesar Titus Aurelius Fulvius Boionius Arrius Antoninus was born on this day 86 A.D. at Lanuvium, near Rome.

Under the Divine Hadrian he served as Proconsul of Asia minor from 130 to 135, the most crucial years in the development of the Religion of Antinous. After that he was summoned to Rome to be close to Hadrian as his health failed.

With the untimely death of the emperor's chosen heir, the blessed Lucius Aelius Verus Caesar, Hadrian chose Antoninus to be his successor. Thus Hadrian adopted him as his son and successor on the 25th of February 138, on condition that he himself adopted Hadrian's great nephew-by-marriage Marcus Aurelius, and Lucius Aelius Verus's son Lucius Verus, who was only 7 years old.

Hadrian's choice in successors proved to be infinitely wise. 

Following decades of political turmoil, civil strife and imperial excesses, Hadrian and his successors ushered one final period of peace and prosperity for Rome which would go done in history as the Sacred and Golden Age of the Antonines.

On Hadrian's death, Antoninus Pius was enthusiastically welcomed to the throne by the Roman people, whose hopes of a happy reign were not disappointed. For Antoninus came to his new office with simple tastes, kindly disposition, extensive experience, a well-trained intelligence and the sincerest desire for the welfare of his subjects.

One of his first acts was to persuade the Senate to grant divine honors to Hadrian, which they had at first refused (but later agreed to). This gained him the title of Pius (dutiful in affection). He built temples, theaters, and mausoleums, promoted the arts and sciences, and bestowed honors and salaries upon the teachers of rhetoric and philosophy.

Unlike his predecessors Trajan and Hadrian, Antoninus Pius was not a military man. His reign was comparatively peaceful. Insurrections amongst the Moors, Jews, and Brigantes in Britain were easily put down. The one military result which is of interest to us now is the building in Britain of the Wall of Antoninus (a few miles north of Hadrian's Wall), which was proclaimed in 2008 to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

During his reign, Antoninus issued coins celebrating the religious glory of Rome in celebration of the nine hundredth anniversary of the city in 147. The coins asserted the superiority of Romanism over the Empire.

Antoninus is said to have restored the sanctity of the ancient Roman faith, and to have reinvigorated its ceremonies, which is another possible reason why he was surnamed Pius.

The Religion of Antinous was in its infancy when Antoninus Pius came to power. The Blessed Boy's temples were under construction. The Sacred City of Antinoopolis was unfinished. It would have been easy for Antoninus Pius to pull the plug on the expense involved in the new religion. After all, Antoninus Pius was known as a penny-pincher who demanded fiscal restraint.

Instead, Antoninus Pius generously supplied the fledgling religion with imperial largess and was instrumental in the spread of the Faith of Antinous in those early years. Without him, the religion would have vanished at Hadrian's death. Instead, it flourished for centuries.

After the longest reign since Augustus (surpassing Tiberius by a couple of months), Antoninus died of fever on March 7, 161. His last public utterance was when the tribune of the night-watch came to ask the password — "aequanimit as" (equanimity). It was a fitting epitaph.

His body was placed in Hadrian's Mausoleam, a column was dedicated to him on Mars Field, and the temple he had built in the Forum in 141 to his deified wife Faustina was rededicated to the deified Faustina and the deified Antoninus. The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina still stands today in the Roman Forum (at right, now called the Church of San Lorenzo in Miranda).


We pay tribute to Antoninus Pius, who truly lived up to his title as a man of wisdom and piety.

Monday, September 18, 2017

PAMELA COLMAN SMITH
SAINT OF ANTINOUS


MAGINATION is the key word. Just imagine the cramped artist's studio in London's Chelsea district and, with the help of the artist's images, you are there. It is December 1909. The solid-black walls of the apartment contrast starkly with the red-orange drapes. 

Jamaican folk artefacts share space on a Victorian curio shelf with photographs of friends and relatives — a mother in Jamaica, a father in Brooklyn Heights, a famous actress in a West End production, Bram Stoker, W.B. Yeats. The jet-black walls form a void-like exhibition space which highlights the dazzling Caribbean art as well as the dozens of paintings and sketches which line the walls. Suffragette posters. Oil landscapes. But particularly watercolor illustrations of dreamscapes and fairy tales.

A brightly painted miniature theatre with ornate proscenium and cloth curtain stands proudly in one corner, with its cast of tiny cardboard cut-out "actors" waiting patiently for their entrances.

An enormous gramophone stands in the opposite corner, and Debussy's La Mer is playing at full volume, as it has been all morning. The neighbours have long since stopped complaining about the music.


The artist, Pamela Colman Smith, is a petite woman in her early 30s who sits in the middle of the studio with paint brush in hand, mixing watercolors, her eyes trance-like as the music envelops her. She is wearing a vividly hued kimono with broad sleeves made even more colorful by splotches of paint.

One of the two Japanese combs pinning back her long dark hair has loosened, causing her tresses to sag to one side, but she is oblivious.  The paint is dripping from her brush, but she pays no mind, keeping her eyes firmly shut as Debussy transports her to a place she calls "the unknown country" of her artistic inner heart.

On the easel in front of her is a small canvas showing an androgynous person wearing a short kimono-like tunic with sleeves and an abstract floral design uncannily like the kimono she is wearing. The figure is striding to a precipice as a small white animal dances at his heels.

The painting is almost finished. The outline was done in pen. Only a  few more brush strokes are needed for the hand-coloring. Debussy will provide the musical sunrise which will be the cue that the illustration is finished.

And then the small illustration will join all the others (about 80 in all, give or take one or two) which are carefully arranged on drying shelves around the studio. The printer is waiting. The cards must be delivered by the end of December.


She has been working on the Tarot card project for about a year, since Arthur E.A. Waite asked her to illustrate "his" new pack of Tarot cards in his long-running one-upsmanship feud with other occultists in London. 

He had very strong ideas about the design of the 22 Greater Trumps but was unconcerned with the 56 Lesser Trumps. Only one other artist had ever illustrated all 78 cards, an unknown 15th Century artist whose dazzling cards were jealously guarded by the Sola Busca family of Italy. 

The Sola Buscas had grudgingly permitted photographic copies of the cards to be put on view at the British Museum in 1908.

And so it was, that a petite 30-something sufragette took a tweedy advertising executive for the Horlick's bedtime powdered milk drink  (Waite's "day job" when he wasn't doing occult spellwork) and dragged him to the British Museum and said she would do the job but only on condition that she illustrate all 78 cards with artistic license for design and color.

It had taken months of pain-staking work. "A big job for very little cash!" she would write to her friend and benefactor Alfred Stieglitz,  who had made room in his famed New York photography gallery for exhibitions of some of her "Pictures in Music", watercolors she painted in a trance-like state while listening to her favorite composers, such as Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Debussy. On a visit to Paris, she had even been bold enough to introduce herself to Debussy and show him paintings she had done to his music. She was greatly flattered when he said she had captured the very essence of his music.


"You ask me how these pictures are evolved," she said. "They are not the music theme — pictures of the flying notes — not conscious illustrations of the name given to a piece of music, but just what I see when I hear music-thoughts loosened and set free by the spell of the sound."

She explained that, for example, "Often when I hear Bach I hear bells ringing in the sky, rung by whirling cords held in the hands of maidens dressed in brown."

Stieglitz had shown her music paintings to rave reviews in New York in 1907. The New York Sun critic wrote: "Pamela Colman Smith is a young woman with the quality rare in either sex — imagination."

Pamela — "Pixie" to her few close friends (mostly women) — had grown up in London and New York City, as well as in Jamaica. Her father was a globe-trotting businessman who spent little time at home. Her mother came from a long line of women poets and children's story-book writers. The details of her childhood are fuzzy. She had a dark complexion and facial features which prompted speculation that she had been adopted during her father's many trips to Jamaica. At any rate, she spent her formative years in Jamaica, where she learned the patois dialect perfectly and became a master story-teller of Jamaican tales of magic and wonder.


But when her mother died at an early age, little Pixie moved to Brooklyn Heights where she lived with her father and pursued art classes at the renowned Pratt Institute, a progressive school which encouraged students to explore new avenues of expression.

And when her father also died suddenly, she was shipped back to England to live with a troupe of actors who were friends of her eccentric father. She was relieved to be back in England, since her skin color had exposed her to racist discrimination in the States.

The rarified atmosphere of London's Leicester Square theatre district was an invigorating change. In New York she had been "a mulatto". 

In London's West End she was simply exotic. She lived with the high-profile actress Ellen Terry, who became her mother, mentor and best friend. Sir Henry Irving, a leading thespian and empresario, became her ersatz father. The three of them toured Britain in productions when they weren't staging their own plays in the West End. Pixie lived in Irving's theatre. She learned set design, costume design (and how to mend costumes between acts) and she learned how the stage is the world-in-small.

A century on, it is hard for us to appreciate how mind-opening the theatre was. There was no radio, no television. Even the cinema was in its infancy. To see the world, you went to the theatre. Pamela didn't just go to the theatre. Surrounded by actors and directors 24 hours a day, she truly LIVED the theatre. She said it was the perfect place for a budding artist.


"Go and see all the plays you can," she advised young artists. "For the stage is a great school — or should be — to the illustrator — as well as to others."

She openly admitted she had learned more in the theatre than at her famous New York art institute.

"The stage has taught me almost all I know of clothes, of action and  of pictorial gestures," she said, and her advice to other artists was to  throw away the textbook and just open their eyes and ears. An artist should always have a sketch pad at hand. She even took her sketch pad to the ballet to see Nijinsky dance.


"Learn from everything, see everything, and above all feel everything! And make other people when they look at your drawing feel it too!"

She was dismissive of painters who are interested only in their medium and who shun other liberal arts.

"Keep an open mind to all things," she said. Even though you are a painter, listen to music, go to the ballet.


"Hear all the music you can, for sound and form are more closely related than we know."

And she dismissed turn-of-the-century painters who strove only for beauty, ignoring ugliness.

"For through ugliness is beauty sometimes found," she observed. She recalled having seen a very dark and brutal stage production which in a way reminded her of the gritty beauty of poverty-stricken Jamaica.

"All through that play I thought that ugly things may be true to nature, but surely it is through evil, that we realize good. The far-off  scent of morning air, the blue mountains, the sunshine, the flowers, of a country I once lived in, seemed to rise before me — and there on the stage was a woman sitting on a chair, her body stiff, her eyes rolling, a wonderfully realistic picture of a fit."

Through Ellen Terry and Henry Irving, Pamela made friends with literary luminaries such as "Dracula" author Bram Stoker, "Peter Pan" playwright J.M. Barrie and and poet/playwright W.B. Yeats.

In fact, "Sherlock Holmes" was her uncle — because her real-life great uncle was the actor William Gillette, who brought Holmes to the stage in London and on Broadway. It was Gillette who introduced many of the mannerisms and props (the deerstalker cap, the meerschaum pipe) which have been intrinsically associated with Sherlock Holmes by succeeding generations. Her Uncle Bill even saw to it that Pamela illustrated the programs for his Holmes productions.



Pamela became well-known for her afternoon literary teas, at which Yeats, Stoker and other luminaries would gather in her studio while she put on the costume of a Jamaican wise woman and sat cross-legged on the floor, relating Jamaican folk tales in dialect.

She used a miniature theatre and tiny cardboard characters to illustrate her hugely delightful tales.

Her literary friends encouraged her to publish and illustrate the stories under her own name, which she did. The book is still in print.

One frequent male visitor described one such literary evening, saying, "The door was flung open, and we saw a little round woman, scarcely more than a girl, standing in the threshold. She looked as if she had been the same age all her life, and would be so to the end. She was dressed in an orange-colored coat that hung loose over a green skirt, with black tassles sewn all around over the orange silk, like the frills on a Red Indian's trousers. She welcomed us with a little shriek. She was very dark, and not thin, and when she smiled, with a smile that was peculiarly infectious, her twinkling gypsy eyes seemed to vanish altoghether. Just now, at the door they were the eyes of a joyous, excited child."

This was shortly after the turn of the 20th Century, and she had perfected her artistic style and was busy as a book and magazine illustrator. While publishers mandated style to some extent, Pamela Colman Smith advocated the Arts and Crafts style, also known as the Secession style or, in the US, as the Craftsman or, especially in California, called the Mission style.

The Arts and Crafts Movement was a style which dominated in the years before World War I, and which was between the Art Nouveau style of the 1890s and the Expressionist style which would revolutionize art after the Great War. The Arts and Crafts Movement was an attempt to reject superfluous Victorian "wedding cake" adornment and to simplify things to the basics of simple lines and solid colors, in defiance of bourgeouis homeowners who wanted clutter.

For one brief moment, in the cosy years before the war, idealistic artists such as Pamela depicted a magical world in which machines did not dominate humankind. They were artists who sought to recreate pre-industrial, even primitive styles in art, architecture and decoration. Lines were simple. Colors were bold and earthy.


Pamela's generation of artists saw that a world driven by steam pistons was heading blindly, full-steam ahead for collision with the cold and immutable forces of nature. The Titanic disaster in 1912 was only a symbolic inevitable disaster waiting to happen, as far as these artists were concerned.

The Arts and Crafts Movement flourished in the first decade of the 20th Century, and Pamela managed to get by financially with her illustrations in that style. She also provided illustrations and even wrote articles for Gustav Stickley's "The Craftsman" magazine which was a leading purveyor of the style.

Not surprisingly, her Tarot cards are an enduring monument to the Arts and Crafts Movement and its philosophy which holds that a return to timeless styles in the Arts can help the human race return to timeless virtues and ageless wisdom. She was seeking to create a world in which racist thought and moral hypocrisy would vanish along with high-button shoes and celluloid shirt collars. She wanted everyone to sit on the floor, cross-legged, and discover the childlike magic of just being alive.

The cards were published with very little fanfare in December 1909. Only a few occultists took notice, and most of them were engaged in feuds with each other. The general public did not notice. Tarot cards were considered to be "French". The only Tarot cards hitherto available were from France, and they were considered only slightly less objectionable than saucy French porn postcards. Pamela was keenly aware that her cards were not going to make inroads into popular culture.


"Oh, the prudishness and pompous falseness of a great mass of intelligent people!" she wrote in an article for Stickley's "The Craftsman". It was an article aimed at inspiring young artists. "Lift up your ideals, you weaklings, and force a way out of that thunderous clamor of the steam piston, the hurrying herd of blind humanity, noise, dust, strife, seething toil!"


Those 78 cards are a veritable map of the place which she called "the unknown country" within an artist's heart. Many of her book illustrations are variations on that theme, such as "The Hill of Heart's Desire" at left.

To look at each card in succession is to take a trip through a magical land where cosmic wisdom and virtue prevail. You can spot  recurring landmarks, such as castles, bridges and towers, which recur from different vantage points throughout the "journey". This magical land is peopled by beings who at times wear Renaissance clothing and at other times wear chitons and togas. The whole magical world is a place beyond linear time and space.


Waite never adequately acknowledged her work. In the book accompanying the cards he failed to mention her by name, saying only that a "young woman artist" had illustrated them on his instructions. 
But in fact, Pamela had been a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn along with Stoker and Waite. In a way it was only natural since the English-speaking world's first esoteric book store, Watkins, had just opened its doors a few steps away from the Leicester Square theatre district.

Pamela never wrote about her initiation into occult mysteries. But the very first card in the deck, The Magician, is graphic proof that she was privy to occult knowledge of the most secret sort. In 1909 only a handful of people had read a badly translated copy of Das Buch Abramelin, a 15th Century German-language grimoire written by a German-Jewish sorcerer who claimed to have been initiated into ancient mysteries by a master living in a desert cave on the banks of the Nile.

Even now, a century after Pamela painted that card, very few people have read the Book of Abramelin, certainly not in the original German. To this day there is no full English translation. Those few who have read it immediately realize that The Magician card is a very precise portrait taken straight from the ancient book.

In it, the novice magician is instructed to wear a clean white tunic bound at the waist by a symbolic ouroboros serpent. He is to wear a  crimson mantle over the tunic while standing before a simple wooden table upon which are his magical tools. The book then says that, for best results, the magician's magical work space should look out over a witch's garden of flowers and magical herbs.

Whatever Waite thought of "his" cards — and he was very vague in  saying what their purpose should be other than clearly to aggrandize  himself — Pamela knew they were tools not for TELLING the future, but for SHAPING the future through ancient Abramelin magical spells. That occult secret, sealed in the colorful symbolism of her cards, was destined to die with her — to be rediscovered a century after she created the cards by priests of ANTINOUS THE GAY GOD.


With that first card, The Magician, and with Renaissance alchemical symbolism throughout the deck, Pamela shows she was highly knowledgeable in the occult arts.

The rest of her story is quickly told. The Titanic sank but the age of the steam pistons did not go down with it. Instead, the First World War swept aside the lofty dreams of Pamela's generation of artists. The Arts and Crafts Movement was the first casualty. By 1915 Gustav Stickley's "The Craftsman" magazine ceased publication and his design company went bankrupt.

Pamela's illustration assignments dried up. By the mid-1920s she was unable to get even one job a year. When a distant uncle died and left her a modest nest egg, she took the money and left London, buying a village cottage at the far western tip of England — not far, in fact, from the fictional location of Baskerville Hall, which had figured so prominently in Uncle Bill's Broadway-hit Sherlock Holmes plays.


She lived in isolation with a woman companion. She died penniless at age 72 on September 18, 1951. The cottage and all her possessions were auctioned to pay back taxes, leaving her companion with nothing.

In December 1909 she had told her New York gallerista friend Alfred Stieglitz that she would send him a pack of the Tarot cards which she said were being "printed in color lithography (probably very badly) as soon as they are ready" and that she would also "send over some of the original drawings as some people MAY like them." By "some people", she meant "buyers". But the original art work has never surfaced. Not one of the 78 originals is known to exist.

The printed card decks vanished into obscurity for decades until the  American playing card connoisseur Stuart R. Kaplan resurrected them in about 1970. It is largely thanks to him that anyone knows anything about this extraordinary artist, who created a single work which is ageless and timeless and which continues to appeal to new generations.

The final word belongs to Pamela Colman Smith, and it is a statement of inner strength which could just as easily be the catch-phrase of The Fool card in her Tarot:

"Banish fear, brace your courage, place your ideals high up with the  sun, away from the dirt and squalor and ugliness around you and let that power that makes the 'roar of the high-power pistons' enter into your work — energy — courage — life — love. Use your wits. Use your eyes. Perhaps you use your physical eyes too much and only see the mask. Find eyes within, look for the door into the unknown country."

Sunday, September 17, 2017

FRENCH EGYPTOLOGIST ALBERT GAYET
IS A SAINT OF ANTINOUS


WE are proud to consecrate French archaeologist Albert Gayet as a Messenger Saint of Antinous for his pioneering efforts to reclaim the city of Antinoopolis from the sands of oblivion.

The city that Hadrian built and dedicated to his lover Antinous flourished for hundreds of years before being looted and plundered and lost to the desert sands of Egypt.

Napoleon's French team of proto-archaeologists mapped and catalogued the remains at the turn of the 19th Century. 


But it was this rather curious and eccentric French bachelor who would make the lost city ... Antinoopolis ... famous again.

Antinoopolis became renowned around the world in 1895 when Gayet began exploring the vast necropolis burial grounds south of Antinoopolis. 


An estimated 40,000 mummies were buried in the Antinoé necropolis.

Between 1895 and 1911, Gayet worked tirelessly at Antinoé, the French name for the city which became synonymous with his own name. 


He stood out against the squalor of the wretched modern village and the moonscape of ancient ruins ... dressed impeccably in a three-piece black linen suit and tie, with a boater hat, a cane and white gloves ... more befitting a stroll on the Champs Élysée in Paris than overseeing Egyptian workers toiling in the blistering Egyptian sun as they unearthed mummies from the sands.

Gayet's crews worked day and night unearthing hundreds of mummies representing all social classes and historical epochs.

To his utter astonishment, many of the mummies were gilded, many were swathed in priceless woollen wraps and others wore Byzantine jewellery and headdresses.

He returned to Paris, where the most exquisite mummies were put on display at the Louvre, attracting throngs of visitors and spawning a "Coptic Craze" throughout Europe and America.

Antinoopolis embroidery and linens inspired Matisse, Renoir and the leading Paris fashion designers, who incorporated the rich colors and designs into their work.

But the craze soon waned. The mummies were packed away in storage, most of them to disintegrate or become lost. 


Gayet died in Paris at age 60, impoverished and embittered after having spent 20 years of his life trying to raise funds for further exploration of Antinoopolis. 

Unmarried, he bequeathed a number of Antinoopolis artefacts which he had kept for himself to his sister in Dijon, where the artefacts are in the local museum and a street is named after him.

Gayet's dream of a "Musee d'Antinoé" in Paris died with him.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

ANTINOUS THE GAY GOD


INVITES YOU TO TAKE HIS HAND
AND FLY WITH HIM OVER THE CITY OF ROME
AT THE HEIGHT OF HIS RELIGION
IN THE FOURTH CENTURY A.D.



TARRY A MOMENT WITH ANTINOUS IN HADRIAN's PANTHEON (4:00 min.)


Friday, September 15, 2017

A QUEER TEMPLE IN NEW YORK
PAYS TRIBUTE TO OSCAR WILDE



FOR us, Oscar Wilde is a beloved saint of Antinous.

Now the New York- and Ireland-based artist duo David McDermott and Peter McGough enshrined him in a new installation, The Oscar Wilde Temple, located in a church in Manhattan's West Village.

Upon entering the space, visitors find a first assembly of portraits depicting historical LGBT figures, many of whom championed gay rights or were otherwise killed because of their sexuality and gender identity.

Paintings of gay icons and activists Marsha P. Johnson, Harvey Milk, and Xulhaz Mannan become constellations of martyrdom adjacent to the installation’s main event: the hagiography of Wilde. 


They illuminate the twisted heritage of queer advancements and reactionary violence against those advancements.

It symbolizes how the queer community must often rejoice and suffer in equal measure.

And the dim mood lighting of the temple recalls that of a funerary chapel, creating an atmosphere of meditation and mourning.

The Victorian fabric covering many of the temple walls is florid but altogether muted in a silent, muddy palette. 


Votive candles in purple-tinted glass dot the temple’s landscape, asking us to remember the dead.

Turning to McDermott and McGough's main focus, the deification of Wilde, we see a variety of mementos and devotionals. Paintings, sculptures, and quotations argue for Wilde’s foresight and forbearance on queer history.


The most elaborate of these examples is Oscar Wilde Altarpiece (2017), which depicts Wilde as a kind of Roman god or Catholic saint. He stands in Victorian dandy garb, hands clasped and chin pushed slightly up to confer a sense of grace. 

He is perched above his prison number from Reading Gaol, C.33, in a triumphant yet relaxed posture.

Just behind the figure, a stained-glass image of Jesus peers into the temple, his image beckoning viewers to connect Wilde’s narrative to a number of Christian martyrs who willfully died for what they believed in.

This sly juxtaposition makes a case for Wilde's sanctification as an icon of queer suffering.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

ANTINOUS WORKS MIRACLES FOR YOU
WHILE YOU DAYDREAM AT WORK


NEXT time you have a difficult problem to solve, and concentrating on it just isn't getting you anywhere, consider this: Maybe you're thinking too hard.

"Walk over to a window and think about the people or cars going by for a few minutes, until you get bored," suggests Josh Davis, research director at the New York Neuro-Leadership Institute. 

"Let your mind wander."

How will that help? "Always being 'on' blocks the brain processes that occur when we daydream," says Davis. 

His new book, TWO AWESOME HOURS Science-Based Strategies to Harness Your Best Time and Get Your Most Important Work Done, draws on new discoveries in brain science.

The idea is certainly not new. The Ancient Priests of Antinous knew that zoning out for a few minutes allows your brain to tackle tasks it can't handle when you're busy. 

They called it the medium for Antinous to work miracles in your life.

In ancient times, Antinous was known as a miracle worker. His worshipers prayed to him for miracles, oracles, visions and answers to problems in their daily lives.

The Egyptian hieroglyphs on the OBELISK OF ANTINOUS state clearly that Antinous answers the prayers of all who call upon him through dreams and visions, for example.

The hieroglyphs also make cryptic references to his ability to work magic through his heart. This is a reference to the Ancient Egyptian concept of the "Intelligence of the Heart."

The Egyptians knew that the brain is the center of motor activity and sensory perception. 

But they believed the heart is the center of a form of intelligence which has baffled most mainstream Egyptologists ... who assume the Egyptians believed the heart was where cognitive thinking occurs.

But the Egyptians had a very different view of the universe from our rational, scientific view of the universe. 

We dissect facts and analyze them. But while the Egyptians were very good at analyzing facts, they also retained the Zen-like ability to see the whole ... which leads to contemplation ... not analysis.

The Egyptians understood that if you want to find an intelligent solution to a problem, your brain can do the work. You have all the necessary intelligence inside the bone in your skull.

However, most people use their brains the same way they use their muscles. You can strain your head just as if it were a muscle, and work very hard trying to arrive at an answer, but it doesn't really work that way.

When you really want to find an answer to something, what you need to do is contemplate the problem. Visualize your question as well as you can, and then simply wait.

If you don't, and if you instead try to find the solution through brute mental strength, you may be disappointed, because any solution that comes in that way is likely to be wrong.


But when you have waited for a while, the solution will come of itself. That is what the Egyptians called the Intelligence of the Heart ... using your heart instead of your head.

It will work for you in the same way your stomach will digest your food for you without your having to supervise it consciously. Our attempts to supervise everything consciously have all led to consequences that aren't too good for our stomach, and the reason for that is quite simple.

Conscious attention, which employs words, cannot think of very much. We are forced, therefore, to ignore almost everything while we are thinking. We think along a single track, but the world doesn't proceed along a single track.

The world is everything happening altogether everywhere, and you just can't take all that into consideration because there isn't time.

However, the Intelligence of the Heart can take it all into consideration because it is capable of handling innumerable variables at once, even though your conscious attention cannot...


The hieroglyphs on the Obelisk of Antinous promise that Antinous the Gay God enables us to discover the Intelligence of the Heart ... the Intelligence of HIM ... he opens his heart to you ....

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

ANCIENT ROMAN TOY SWORDS
UNEARTHED AT HADRIAN'S WALL FORT



TWO Roman swords, hundreds of military artifacts and a pair of 2,000-year-old wooden toys swords have been discovered at a fort in northern England.

The metal blades and wooden toy swords were unearthed during an excavation of a Roman cavalry barrack at Vindolanda on Hadrian's Wall.

Archaeologist Dr Andrew Birley said the finds were like "winning the lottery".


The items will all go on display in the site's museum in Northumberland in the autumn.

The first sword was found by volunteer Rupert Bainbridge in the corner of a living room of the barrack.

It had a bent tip and a Vindolanda spokesman said it was the "ancient equivalent of a modern soldier abandoning a malfunctioning rifle".
 

Mr Bainbridge said he was "excited" by finding "such an extraordinary artefact".

A second sword, without a wooden handle, pommel or scabbard but with the blade and tang intact, was found in a neighbouring room.

The weapon would have been valuable at the time, leading archaeologists to think its owner left the fort in a hurry.


In another room were two small wooden toy swords which he said are "almost exactly the same as those that can be purchased by tourists visiting the Roman wall today" (photo right).

Other items found in the barracks' floor included bath clogs, leather shoes, knives, brooches, arrowheads and ballista bolts.

Dr Birley said: "You can work as an archaeologist your entire life on Roman military sites and, even at Vindolanda, we never expect or imagine to see such a rare and special object as (the swords).

"It felt like the team had won a form of an archaeological lottery."

The finds are believed to date from about 120 AD when the fort was thought to be home to about 1,000 people.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

RUN LIKE PHEIDIPPIDES
JUST DON'T DIE LIKE PHEIDIPPIDES



ON September 12, 490 BC, 10,000 Greeks use superior tactics to push 100,000 Persians back into the sea at the Battle of Marathon Bay ... forever changing the course of Western Civilization.

Though outnumbered 10 to 1, the Greeks won thanks to their new tactics.

Instead of individual soldiers fighting one-to-one duels, the Greeks rolled out their "phalanx" battle line of Hoplite soldiers who fought as one impenetrable unit.

The Battle of Marathon was a watershed in the Greco-Persian wars, showing the Greeks that the Persians could be beaten; the eventual Greek triumph in these wars can be seen to begin at Marathon. 

The battle also showed the Greeks that they were able to win battles without the Spartans, as they had heavily relied on Sparta previously. 

This win was largely due to the Athenians, and Marathon raised Greek esteem of them. Since the following two hundred years saw the rise of the Classical Greek civilization, which has been enduringly influential in western society, the Battle of Marathon is a pivotal moment in history.

The battle is perhaps now more famous as the inspiration for the marathon race. 

Although thought to be historically inaccurate, the legend of the Greek messenger Pheidippides running to Athens with news of the victory became the inspiration for this athletic event, introduced at the 1896 Athens Olympics, and originally run between Marathon and Athens.

Pheidippides was a professional "hemerodrome" (foot courier) who was sent to Sparta to request help when the Persians landed at Marathon, Greece. 

He ran 240 km (150 mi) in two days. Thanks to him, the Persians were defeated. 

He then ran the 40 km (26 mi) from the battlefield near Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory over Persia in the Battle of Marathon (490 BC) with the words "Chairete, nikomen!" ("Rejoice, we are victorious!") ... before collapsing and dying ... uttering "Cairete" (Rejoice) with his final rasping gasp of breath.

Image at top of entry: "Man Runs First Marathon To Bring News of Greek Victory Over Persia" painting by Tom Lovell (1909–97)