Sunday, February 19, 2017

MODERN ENGINEERS CAN'T IMPROVE
ON ANCIENT ANTINOOPOLIS FLOOD PLAN



HADRIAN's ancient engineers created a flood-control system for Antinoopolis so perfect that modern engineers have decided to use it with only minimal upgrades for a 21st Century project to avert flash-flood damage for modern villagers at the site.

As you can see in the 18th Century geological survey map above, a wide dry-river wadi (arroyo, gully or ravine) flows from high cliffs east of the city (top of map) down through the site, emptying into the Nile (at bottom of map).

When rains occur, this arroyo drains an enormous amount of water from nearby desert through the center of the ancient city. 

Why did Antinous decide to build the city on a flash-flood drainage site? First of all, this was the site where Antinous tragically died in the Nile.


But there was another reason: Hadrian recognized that the gap in the cliffs each of the city represented the ancient Egyptian hieroglyph for "horizon" ... which is two hills separated by a canyon.

In Abydos and other Egyptian cities, it is believed the souls of the dead traverse this canyon to reach the next world.

"This is an interesting feature of Hadrian’s design and suggests he intended Antinoupolis to be a classical version of the sacred landscape at Abydos where the sacred wadi believed to contain the tomb of Osiris also has a close relationship to the city," says James B. Heidel, president of the Antinoupolis Foundation.

"Of course, Hadrian’s engineers incorporated an unstable, sometimes filled with flash flood water, wadi into the city with a specific hardscape design including a massive stone canalization and multiple bridges to connect the two halves of the city," he writes in his latest newsletter.


Professor Marcello Spanu has been studying these remains. 

We know about the canal walls and the bridges through a series of torrential flash floods and also illegal sand mining with bulldozers that have happened over the last six years or so, the project leader adds.

So, when Egyptian Irrigation Ministry engineers proposed digging a flash-flood control ditch, the Egyptologists showed them the stone works that Hadrian's engineers had put in place 1,900 years ago.

The Egyptian ministry engineers agreed that the ancient flood-control ditch could not be improved upon.

"After many hours of discussion with the quite affable engineer," Heidel says, "he came to understand that Hadrian's designers had already built a major flood control canal in the wadi, and through our urging he promised to simply dig out the ancient canal rather than build a new stone-lined ditch over the top of it."

This news comes only days after the mystery surrounding an INTENTIONALLY BURIED STONE STRUCTURE at Antinoopolis deepened with the discovery of not just one ... but three ... human skeletons interred in sand directly on top of the structure.

With the discovery of the first body last week, archaeologists reluctantly speculated about "human sacrifice" ... but now they believe humans were buried separately but along with sacrificial animals.

The team of archaeologists working at ANTINOOPOLIS in Egypt say the subterranean "stone structure," which they believe may be an underground mortuary temple, is covered by two meters of soil strewn with sacrificial pottery sherds, bones of livestock and a crocodile ... and the skeleton of at least three human beings.

None of the animals was mummified ... nor were the humans,
says James B. Heidel, president of the Antinoupolis Foundation.

Some of the animals ... livestock ... were ritually butchered as normal for a Roman-era sacrifice. But a crocodile was buried intact, without being mummified.

But the human bodies were interred intact, also without being mummified. One of the bodies was accompanied by pottery vessels and ushabti figurines ... small clay dolls representing spirits who tend the deceased in the afterlife. 
The experts are certain that the pottery vessels and the bodies date to the earliest days of the city which Hadrian founded at the site where Antinous died in the Nile.

None of the pottery is later than the 2nd or 3rd Century AD, the experts said ... meaning the sacrificial offerings were made at the time when the city was founded and under construction.

The archaeologists are also certain that the site is intact and has not been disturbed by looters over succeeding centuries.

They found bones of large livestock, which appear to have been butchered prior to burial. An intact crocodile skeleton is seen as proof that the site was used as a religious sacrificial offering venue ... since crocodiles were sacred to Ancient Egyptians and not a source of food.


But the human skeleton is a total mystery. In Roman times, human sacrifice was taboo, but the archaeologists say the human bones mixed in amongst the bones of sacrificial animals and pottery suggest a gruesome possibility.

"The human burial is sealed in the same clean sand layer as all the other offerings, and the not unreasonable, but somewhat uncomfortable, hypothesis must now be that at least one human was sacrificed and offered with the animals," says James B. Heidel, president of the Antinoupolis Foundation.

The pottery and bones are in soil which covers the mystery-shrouded "intentionally buried stone structure" which Heidel's team found in January 2017 in the heart of the city founded by Hadrian at the spot where Antinous died in the Nile.

Using ground-penetrating radar, the experts discovered the rectangular stone structure ... 12 by 22 meters in size ... which consists of three successive chambers. 

The archaeologists suggest it could be an OSIREION ... symbolic Tomb of Osiris ... raising hopes that this could be the Lost Tomb of Antinous.

The structure was detected with ground-penetrating radar.

It is located near the waterfront peristyle discovered last season.

It is within what possibly was the Great Temple of Antinous and is a rectangular chamber which is subdivided into three sub-chambers ... apparently an antechamber, a middle chamber and an inner sanctum.



Saturday, February 18, 2017

WE HONOR MICHELANGELO
AS A SAINT OF ANTINOUS


FEBRUARY 18th is the day when the Religion of Antinous honors Michelangelo, who died on this date.

Saint Michelangelo was the ultimate Renaissance Man, a painter/sculptor/architect/engineer, a man of art and science. A man torn between his passions and his religion. 


In the Renaissance, his voluptuous depictions of the male form were accepted as expressions of the Divine in art. 

It was the Victorians who went into denial over any hint that he may have been gay, despite the fact that he never married.

His male art is done with a passion for detail and obvious love of the male form. The only females he sculpted were maternal figures.

In 1532, he met a handsome young nobleman called Tommaso de Cavalieri. Michelangelo was struck by a romantic feeling that simply would not go away. He wrote sonnet after sonnet for the man as well as producing some rather "personal" sketches for his eyes only.

Michelangelo executed a number of exquisite ink sketches of Jove's Abduction of the beautiful youth Ganymede.

Michelangelo most certainly knew that Jove and Ganymede were synonymous with Hadrian and Antinous. As a man of art and science, all he had to do was look at the nighttime sky and see the Constellation of Antinous (formerly the Constellation of Ganymede).


An older man enthralled with a handsome youth. Our modern concept of "gayness" did not exist. But did he really have to spell it out to Tommaso any more clearly than that?

For thirty-odd years, the two were constant companions, but Michelangelo? s passions did not end there. During his relationship with Cavalieri, he also wrote about some deep feelings for other men in his life, including the 16-year-old Cecchino dei Bracci, for whom he wrote 48 funeral epigrams after his untimely death.

Here is an extract from one of his same-sex love sonnets:

"The love I speak of aspires to the heights; woman is too dissimilar, and it ill becomes a wise and manly heart to burn for her."

For his gentle genius and for his love of male beauty and for representing the best strivings of humanity, we proclaim Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni one of our Blessed Prophets of Homoeros.

Michelangelo reminds us that male beauty IS divine.

Friday, February 17, 2017

ANTINOOPOLIS TOMB MYSTERY DEEPENS
AS MORE BODIES FOUND IN PIT


THE mystery surrounding an INTENTIONALLY BURIED STONE STRUCTURE at Antinoopolis has deepened with the discovery of not just one ... but three ... human skeletons interred in sand directly on top of the structure.

With the discovery of the first body last week, archaeologists reluctantly speculated about "human sacrifice" ... but now they believe humans were buried separately but along with sacrificial animals.

The team of archaeologists working at ANTINOOPOLIS in Egypt say the subterranean "stone structure," which they believe may be an underground mortuary temple, is covered by two meters of soil strewn with sacrificial pottery sherds, bones of livestock and a crocodile ... and the skeleton of at least three human beings.

None of the animals was mummified ... nor were the humans,
says James B. Heidel, president of the Antinoupolis Foundation.

Some of the animals ... livestock ... were ritually butchered as normal for a Roman-era sacrifice. But a crocodile was buried intact, without being mummified.

But the human bodies were interred intact, also without being mummified. One of the bodies was accompanied by pottery vessels and ushabti figurines ... small clay dolls representing spirits who tend the deceased in the afterlife. 
The experts are certain that the pottery vessels and the bodies date to the earliest days of the city which Hadrian founded at the site where Antinous died in the Nile.

None of the pottery is later than the 2nd or 3rd Century AD, the experts said ... meaning the sacrificial offerings were made at the time when the city was founded and under construction.

The archaeologists are also certain that the site is intact and has not been disturbed by looters over succeeding centuries.

They found bones of large livestock, which appear to have been butchered prior to burial. An intact crocodile skeleton is seen as proof that the site was used as a religious sacrificial offering venue ... since crocodiles were sacred to Ancient Egyptians and not a source of food.


But the human skeleton is a total mystery. In Roman times, human sacrifice was taboo, but the archaeologists say the human bones mixed in amongst the bones of sacrificial animals and pottery suggest a gruesome possibility.

"The human burial is sealed in the same clean sand layer as all the other offerings, and the not unreasonable, but somewhat uncomfortable, hypothesis must now be that at least one human was sacrificed and offered with the animals," says James B. Heidel, president of the Antinoupolis Foundation.

The pottery and bones are in soil which covers the mystery-shrouded "intentionally buried stone structure" which Heidel's team found in January 2017 in the heart of the city founded by Hadrian at the spot where Antinous died in the Nile.

Using ground-penetrating radar, the experts discovered the rectangular stone structure ... 12 by 22 meters in size ... which consists of three successive chambers. 

The archaeologists suggest it could be an OSIREION ... symbolic Tomb of Osiris ... raising hopes that this could be the Lost Tomb of Antinous.

The structure was detected with ground-penetrating radar.

It is located near the waterfront peristyle discovered last season.

It is within what possibly was the Great Temple of Antinous and is a rectangular chamber which is subdivided into three sub-chambers ... apparently an antechamber, a middle chamber and an inner sanctum.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

TUT'S TOMB TO UNDERGO NEW TESTS
IN SEARCH OF HIDDEN CHAMBERS



THE search for secret chambers in the tomb of King Tutankhamun will resume later this year when a team of Italian researchers begin the most in-depth investigation ever of the boy king's burial site.

A team from the Polytechnic University of Turin will scan the tomb and its surroundings with advanced radar technology. The search seeks to determine if Queen Nefertiti might have been buried in the tomb.

"It will be a rigorous scientific work and will last several days, if not weeks," Franco Porcelli, the project's director and a professor of physics at the department of applied science and technology of the Polytechnic University in Turin, said.


"Three radar systems will be used and frequencies from 200 Mhz to 2 GHz will be covered."

The investigation of King Tut's tomb is part of a wider long-term project to conduct a complete geophysical mapping of the Valley of the Kings, the main burial site of Egypt's pharaohs, which is also being led by the group from the Polytechnic University of Turin.

Ground-penetrating radar, together with instruments based on electric resistance  tomography and magnetic induction, will scan depths of up to 32 feet to provide information on existing underground structures.

"Who knows what we might find as we scan the ground," Porcelli remarked.


The researchers plan to carry out the first preliminary survey of King Tut's tomb by the end of this month.

Last year, radar scans revealed some secrets, but experts cautioned an impatient world that the results require patient study before any firm details can be revealed.

Earlier, it was officially confirmed that the secret chambers behind hidden doorways in the tomb of Tutankhamun "contain either metal or organic material."

Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities announced that two previously un-discovered chambers have been revealed by scans of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

The Ministry said that the two chambers, on the North and Eastern walls of the tomb, contain either metal or organic material, according to scans carried out by Japanese radar specialist Hirokatsu Watanabu.

The revelations come months after Egypt's Minister of Antiquities said there was a 90 per cent chance that one or more hidden chambers were concealed in the tomb.

The latest findings, which lend credence to British archaeologist Nicholas Reeves' theory that NEFERTITI could be buried in those secret chambers.

At a news conference in November 2015, fittingly held at Howard Carter's Rest House on Luxor's West Bank, the Minister of Antiquities, Dr. Mamdouh El-Damaty, announced that the radar scans of Tutankhamun's Burial Chamber revealed there is A LARGE VOID behind what we now know is a false wall in Tutankhamun's Burial Chamber.


The radar scans revealed that the transition from solid bedrock to masonry is stark. There is a straight, vertical line - the line that Nicholas Reeves first spotted earlier this year on high-definition scans of the tomb wall.

It strongly suggests that the antechamber continues through the burial chamber as a corridor.

Reeves believes that what looks like a solid, painted wall, is actually a ruse designed to foil tomb robbers. 

A number of other tombs in the Valley of the Kings used the same device. Tutankhamun's seems to be the only one that worked.

But for now, let's congratulate Dr. Nicholas Reeves for the results so far. He spotted something that ancient thieves, Howard Carter, and hundreds of scientists since missed - the outline of a hidden doorway in Tutankhamun's tomb.

Not only was Nefertiti famous for her beauty, which remains evident through her world-renowned 3,300-year-old painted limestone bust housed at the Egyptian Museum in Berlin, but she was also the Great Royal Wife of the Pharaoh Akhenaten and his chief consort.

Nefertiti's burial site has long been a mystery as archaeologists have so far failed to find the queen’s tomb.

King Tutankhamun's tomb was found in 1922 under the supervision of another British archaeologist and Egyptologist, Howard Carter.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

ANTINOUS RUNS IN THE LUPERCALIA
IN MARTIN CAMPBELL'S BRILLIANT NOVEL



THE brilliant novel about the life of Antinous "The Love God" by Martin Campbell describes how Antinous joined Roman Patrician youths in running the Lupercalia on 15 February 127 AD as "luperci" runners. 

As part of the ancient ritual, a priest sacrificed a dog and a goat and then smeared their blood on each boy's forehead. Here is the passage from the book (edited for space):

"Hadrian wiped each boy's forehead with wool saturated in milk, stating, 'Romulus and Remus were saved by Lupa who howled her joy at receiving a fresh kill from the Gods. In return Romulus and Remus laughed for joy at receiving fresh milk from the teats of Lupa'."

(Then the priests wrapped the goat's skin around each boy's waist as a loin cloth.)

"This was perhaps the worst part for Antinous. He felt pretty sick as the warm, still bloody skin was tied around his precious nether regions.

"The boys now had to run around the edge of the inner city walls using the strips of goat skin to fake flog as many people as they saw. Each person flogged would receive luck and fertility for the coming year.

"Antinous found no shortage of willing subjects. There was much hilarity. Some offered hands, others offered naked behinds … some attractive, some distinctly not. The latter got the biggest laughs … particularly if they were older men or plump ladies.

"It took Antinous two hours to 'run' a very short distance. Everyone wanted to be flogged by him specifically.

"It was clear that although this was, in theory, a fun event, to be whipped ritually by Antinous was taking on a more serious meaning.

"Women in particular seemed to be calling out to him with some desperation as if calling out to a God...."

Martin Campbell's book "The Love God" is available in paperback or Kindle: CLICK HERE

ANTINOUS AND THE LUPERCALIA


EVEN Hadrian and Antinous would not have known the precise origins of the Lupercalia ... the ancient rite of spring when young nobles stripped off naked except for fur pelts and ran around the Palatine Hill flinging rawhide strips at females.

But Antinous might well have visited the cave-like grotto ... the Lupercale ... at the foot of the Palatine Hill. 


The cave-like structure was found a few years ago and experts are carrying out an extensive archaeological dig at a site which they believe is the ceremonial site of the Lupercale grotto where the caesars honored Romulus and Remus.

It is intriguing to think that Hadrian and Antinous took part in the rites in this subterranean chamber.

For centuries, the cave-like grotto was revered as the sacred site where the "She-Wolf" suckled the orphans Romulus and Remus. Young nobles called Luperci, taking their name from the place of the wolf (lupa), ran naked from the Lupercale grotto around the bounds of the Palatine, and used strips of hide to slap the hands or buttocks of girls and women lining the route ... reenacting a prank attributed to Romulus and Remus as randy teenagers.


Here is how Flamen Antonius Subia explains its significance for the Religion of Antinous:

"The Lupercalia is the festival of the wolf mother of Rome, and sacred festival of Antinous Master of Hounds. 


"The Lupercalia remembers the she-wolf who raised Romulus and Remus, twin sons of Venus and Mars, who later founded the city of Rome. 

"The wolf-like nature of the twins and of the Roman character was imparted through the milk of the wolf-mother. 

"The spirit transferred through the loving milk of the ferocious mother is celebrated on this day, and is integral to the concept of Antinous the Hunter. 

"Antinous took his place at Hadrian's feet, and accompanied him bravely and loyally through the forests and lived by the Emperor's side for seven years, which is equivalent to the life of a strong hunting dog. 

"The Canine nature of Antinous is celebrated on this day and is seen as an allegory for the Priesthood of the Religion of Antinous."

Antonyus goes on to explain that the Lupercalia festival is a purification rite, cleansing the way for Spring, nourishing the winter spirit of the dormant wolves within so as to fuel the ruthless courage of Roman warriors. A Dog and a Goat were sacrificed, and the young noble youths raced around the city naked except for goat, or wolf skins, whipping any girls or women who they encountered.


Antonius explains, "The Festival is also sacred to Faunus, the Roman Pan...the one who 'drives away the wolf from the flock.'...we usually think of Pan as Goat-horned and cloven hooved, but 'the one who drives away the wolf'...could quite possibly be a sacred Dog. Lupercalia is therefore quite possibly a dog festival...and it is interesting to note that it falls almost exactly opposite the calendar from the rise of the Dog Star."

Antonyus elaborates by adding, "For me, Lupercalia is a time of cleansing and light...the lighted lamp that preceeds the coming dawn of Spring...a preparation for the Flowering....

"So a celebration or ritual to observe the Lupercalia should focus on purification. ..self-purification primarily, but also the purification of the home, and surroundings. A cleansing of negative, stagnant, dusty, mildewy, settled, sedimentary influences that we are ready to clear away...from within and without."

He also outlines rituals for purification and cleansing which members of the worldwide Religion of Antinous will be performing this weekend.

Antonius says the Lupercalia harkens to the most ancient of rites of Spring, and he says the cleansing must come from within.

"And then look into your soul, observe your interactions. ..make changes for the better...be kinder, more polite, or just simply be friendlier to people...and do something strictly for your own pleasure," he says in his Lupercalia Epistle.


He stresses, "It is really a matter of deep and meaningful concentration on cleansing your mind and heart of negative internal influences...so as to strengthen your fortifications against external negative influences."

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

DID ANTINOUS MEET ST. VALENTINE?
BOTH IN ALEXANDRIA AT THE SAME TIME



IT is a little known fact that there is a connection between Antinous and the original St. Valentine ... Valentinus of Alexandria. Hadrian and Antinous visited Alexandria in the year 130 AD ... and could possibly have crossed paths with the man who would one day become one of Christianity's most misunderstood saints.

Here is how our own Flamen Antinoalis Antonius Subia explains our own special view of Valentine's Day ... the Day of Love:

"Valentinus was the Gnostic Father who was a bishop of the Catholic Church. He tried to change orthodoxy by introducing the Gnostic speculation.

"Valentinus was from Alexandria and was there, studying with his teacher Basilides, when the court of Hadrian and Antinous arrived.

"He believed that Love was the creator of the universe, and the cause for the fall of Sophia (wisdom) ...

"He believed that Jesus came to reverse the fall of Sophia, that Jesus was the consort of Sophia, the Aeon called Christos.

"The love between them was the reason that Jesus descended to save the world. Valentinus began his teaching in Rome, and gained so much support that he was even nominated for the Papacy but lost by a narrow margin.

"Eventually exiled for heresy, the Gnostic Father formed his own rival church that became an influential and widespread Gnostic sect, influencing Gnostic thought down to our own time.


"Because Valentinus was a witness of the Passion of Antinous, and because he attempted to change the Catholic Church, we sanctify his name and venerate him on this sacred day of Eros, the Day of Love."