Monday, July 31, 2017

HADRIAN'S VILLA IS REBORN
AS A VIRTUAL WORLD YOU CAN INHABIT



NOW you can follow in the footsteps of Antinous and stroll through Hadrian's Villa ... as a digital avatar.

Bernie Frischer, a digital archaeologist at Indiana University and one of the first academics to use 3-D computer modeling to reconstruct cultural heritage sites, spent five years leading the development of the extraordinary 3-D VIRTUAL HADRIAN'S VILLA

The virtual simulation interprets the entire 250 acres and the more than 30 buildings of the 2nd-Century site.

The image above shows the digital 3-D virtual recreation of the Piazza D'Oro and adjacent gardens at Hadrian's Villa. The other image shows the ruins which visitors to the site see today.

Using a live 3-D multi-user online learning environment, visitors can interactively explore the entire villa complex.

RELATED WEBSITE documents the state of the site today and gives the scholarly background needed to understand the virtual simulation. 

The project combines information garnered from scholarly studies of how the villa was used with the virtual world gaming platform Unity 3D.

Frischer and the Virtual World Heritage Laboratory, which he directs at IU's School of Informatics and Computing, worked with the Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts at Ball State University to offer visitors the opportunity to take on the roles of historically accurate avatars.

 That means you can slip into the avatar identity of members of the Imperial Court and Roman senators as well as soldiers and slaves. 

"The website makes it possible to study the state of the ruins today, including many sites on private land or in parts of the archaeological park closed to the public," Frischer said.

"The simulation shows how the site looked during the reign of Hadrian," he added. "It can be freely explored and used to support teaching and research." 

Non-playing characters also populate various places in the virtual villa, carrying out daily activities that would have occurred during the final years of Hadrian’s reign from 117 to 138 A.D. 

A visit to the website might include eavesdropping on an imperial audience, participating in a feast, bathing or worshipping. 

"A user can select from a variety of avatars representing class, gender and ethnicity, including courtiers, senators, scholars, freemen, soldiers and slaves," Frischer said.

"This avatar system was based on scholarly studies of the circulation and flow throughout the villa," he added. "The goal was to make everything evidence-based, from the avatars' costumes to their gestures."

For an example of the avatar experience, join Frischer on an eight-minute YouTube tour of the virtual villa, with Frischer playing the avatar's role of Hadrian:



Sunday, July 30, 2017

ANTINOUS THE FEATURE MOVIE



HERE is your chance to get in on the production of the first feature-length film about Antinous.

"Antinous" is a feature film directed by world renowned artist MARK BEARD

You can become a part of this production. Click on ANTINOUS FILM KICKSTARTER for more information and embedded videos on this thrilling project.

The screenwriter took a somewhat modern approach to the ancient story, giving it a similar vibe to what Baz Luhrmann did to Romeo and Juliet in the 90's.

The film focuses on Antinous' point of view.

For Antinous, the screenwriter was inspired by the pressures of being a young man, and his struggles with having an absent father growing up.

His goal was to bring more awareness to this subject in the hopes that it will inspire young men to stay strong.

As a successful artist, Beard brings a unique perspective to the overall aesthetic of the film. Beard's natural ability to understand the physical and emotional expressions of a young man are sure to create a lovely version of Antinous.

With collaborations like Abercrombie & Fitch, Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, Mark Beard has made a lasting impression in the art world, and is ready to make his directorial debut in film.

Beard is inspired by Tom Ford, who is living proof that an artist can successfully crossover into feature films.

It is important to note that Mark Beard often uses the artistic persona 'Bruce Sargeant'.
 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

WORLD'S OLDEST TEMPLE
ALIGNED WITH THE DOG STAR



THESE are the "Dog Days" when the Dog Star Sirius rises above the horizon ... and now an expert has determined that the world's oldest temple, Göbekli Tepe in southern Turkey, may have been built to worship Sirius.

The 11,000-year-old site consists of a series of at least 20 circular enclosures, although only a few have been uncovered since excavations began in the mid-1990s.

Each one is surrounded by a ring of huge, T-shaped stone pillars, some of which are decorated with carvings of fierce animals. Two more megaliths stand parallel to each other at the centre of each ring.

Giulio Magli, an archaeo-astronomer at the Polytechnic University of Milan in Italy, looked to the night sky for clues. After all, the arrangement of the pillars at Stonehenge in the UK suggests it could have been built as an astronomical observatory, maybe even to worship the moon.

Magli simulated what the sky would have looked like from Turkey when Göbekli Tepe was built. Over millennia, the positions of the stars change due to Earth wobbling as it spins on its axis. Stars that are near the horizon will rise and set at different points, and they can even disappear completely, only to reappear thousands of years later.

Today, Sirius can be seen almost worldwide as the brightest star in the sky – excluding the sun – and the fourth brightest night-sky object after the moon, Venus and Jupiter. Sirius is so noticeable that its rising and setting was used as the basis for the ancient Egyptian calendar, says Magli.

At the latitude of Göbekli Tepe, Sirius would have been below the horizon until around 9300 BC, when it would have suddenly popped into view.


"I propose that the temple was built to follow the 'birth' of this star," says Magli. "You can imagine that the appearance of a new object in the sky could even have triggered a new religion."

Magli used existing maps of Göbekli Tepe and satellite images of the region.


Magli drew an imaginary line running between and parallel to the two megaliths inside each enclosure. Three of the excavated rings seem to be aligned with the points on the horizon where Sirius would have risen in 9100 BC, 8750 BC and 8300 BC, respectively (arxiv.org/abs/1307.8397).

The results are preliminary, Magli stresses. More accurate calculations will need a full survey using instruments such as a theodolite, a device for measuring horizontal and vertical angles.


Also, the sequence in which the structures were built is unclear, so it is hard to say if rings were built to follow Sirius as it rose at different points along the horizon.

Friday, July 28, 2017

THE HELIACAL RISING OF THE DOG STAR


THE "Dog Days" are here! In Ancient Egypt, the "Heliacal Rising of Sirius" occurred in mid-July ... but over the course of many centuries it now occurs in late July or early August (in the Northern Hemisphere). 

But depending on where you live on our planet, you may see Sirius/Sothis rising just before dawn any day now ... as nighttime turns to daytime.

During the daytime, look to the sun and you see Antinous conjoined with Ra-Herakhte, Apollo, Invictus, Horus, Mithras, Belenus, Balder, Huitzilopochtli and countless other solar deities. ANTONIUS SUBIA offers this prayer: 

Arise in Me…Sothis,

Let me be cleansed

Let me be renewed

Let the Inundation flood

Across the heart

Dog Star Returns

A New Antinous coming forth

To set the soul in order

To purify with clear water

That we may be whole again


~FLAMEN ANTONIUS SUBIA

Thursday, July 27, 2017

THOUSANDS OF UNLISTED TREASURES
LANGUISH IN EGYPTIAN WAREHOUSES



THOUSANDS of Egyptian antiquities are languishing unrecorded and unregistered in dozens of warehouses throughout Egypt, the government in Cairo admits.

In response, Gharib Sunbul, head of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities' central administration for maintenance and restoration, announced that a massive inventory of 5,000 artifacts is now underway at the warehouses.

He said that a team of specialists are studying, documenting and carefully repackaging the items as well as planning for any needed restoration.

There are 72 archaeological warehouses in Egypt. Of them, 35 are museum warehouses, 20 are expedition warehouses and 17 are smaller on-site warehouses spread across Egypt’s governorates. Only 14 warehouses out of 72 have ever been inspected.


Monica Hanna, the head of the archeology and cultural heritage department at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport in Aswan, told Al-Monitor news organization that the warehouses hold hundreds of thousands of artifacts about which nothing is known. Visitors are not allowed access to them.

She said, "The artifacts contained in these warehouses far outnumber those found in museums, but they are neglected and often get stolen under the ministry’s neglect."

The warehouses were established by the ministry of antiquities, which assigns a guard to protect them. However, the guards are unarmed and often unable to prevent theft.

Since the revolution in Egypt, there have been numerous break-ins at warehouses.

Hanna said of the recent inventory efforts, “This is a good step toward salvaging Egypt's archaeological treasures. … But this campaign can only succeed if all obstacles are addressed. This requires making archaeological artifacts available to researchers and academics for scientific publication. When artifacts are documented in international libraries, their recovery becomes easier if stolen.”


She added, “The other crisis is that there are thousands of artifacts not registered with the ministry of antiquities, and there are archaeological warehouses that have never been inspected.

So long as [the artifacts] found in these stores are not registered and documented with the ministry of antiquities, the ministry won’t be able to recover them if stolen.”

The third and most important step is for the ministry to change the security system in place. It is unreasonable for the ministry to rely on two security personnel for every archaeological store without any weapons or security resources to deal with criminals.

"Modern surveillance cameras are needed to monitor robbery attempts. Without these steps, Egyptian antiquities will remain neglected and no attempts to protect them will succeed," she warned.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

THE BIRTHPLACE OF ANTINOUS
IS THE HOME OF 'MAD HONEY'




TURKEY's hallucinogenic "Mad Honey" is produced when bees pollinate rhododendron flowers in the remote mountainside towns of the Black Sea region ... where Antinous was born and spent his childhood.

After his death and deification, Antinous was identified with ARISTAEUS (below right), the inventor of beekeeping, so it is likely that he knew about the effects of Bithynian "Mad Honey."

He must have seen beekeepers hauling their hives up the slopes of the mountains of his homeland until they reach vast fields of cream and magenta rhododendron flowers. 

Here, they unleashed their bees, which pollinated the blossoms and made a kind of honey from them so potent, it has been used as a weapon of war.

The dark, reddish "Mad Honey," known as "deli bal" in Turkey, contains an ingredient from rhododendron nectar called grayanotoxin ... a natural neurotoxin that, even in small quantities, brings on light-headedness and sometimes, hallucinations. 

Throughout the ages, Bithynia has traded this potent produce with Greece and Rome and (in later centuries) Western Europe, where the honey was infused with drinks to give boozers a greater high than alcohol could deliver.

When over-imbibed, however, the honey can cause low blood pressure and irregularities in the heartbeat that bring on nausea, numbness, blurred vision, fainting, potent hallucinations, seizures, and even death, in rare cases. 

Nowadays, cases of mad honey poisoning crop up every few years ... oftentimes in travelers who have visited Turkey.

Rhododendron flowers occur all over the world, and yet mad honey is most common in the Bithynia region ... the biggest honey-producing region in Turkey.

"There are more than 700 different species (of rhododendron) in the world, but according to our knowledge just two or three include grayanotoxin in their nectars," says Süleyman Turedi, a doctor at the Karadeniz Technical University School of Medicine in Trabzon, Turkey, who studies deli bal's effects and has witnessed more than 200 cases of mad honey poisoning.

In Turkey, not only do the poisonous rhododendrons abound, but the humid, mountainous slopes where Antinous grew up provide the perfect habitat for these flowers to grow in monocrop-like swaths. 

When bees make honey in these fields, no other nectars get mixed in ... and the result is deli bal, potent and pure.

Although the product makes up only a tiny percentage of Bithynia's honey production, it has long held a strong Turkish following.

"People believe that this honey is a kind of medicine," Turedi says. “They use it to treat hypertension, diabetes mellitus and some different stomach diseases. And also, some people use deli bal to improve their sexual performance."

The honey is taken in small amounts, sometimes boiled in milk, and consumed typically just before breakfast, he adds ... not slathered on toast or stirred generously into tea the way normal honey would be.

Its value to customers has given beekeepers an incentive to keep visiting those rhododendron fields and producing it alongside their normal honey products.

Johnny Morris, a travel journalist from the United Kingdom, puts its Turkish predominance partly down to history, too. In 2003, for his popular travel column called "Grail Trail," he went to taste mad honey in Trabzon, a Turkish city that’s backed by mountains and faces the Black Sea.

"It’s got a long history in Turkey," he says. "It was used as a weapon of mass destruction for invading armies."

Indeed, in 67 B.C. Roman soldiers invaded the Black Sea region under General Pompey's command, and those loyal to the reigning King Mithridates secretly lined the Romans' path with enticing chunks of mad honeycomb. 

The unwitting army ate these with gusto, as the story goes.

Driven into an intoxicated stupor by the hallucinogenic honey, many of the flailing soldiers became easy prey, and were slain.

Mad Honey is still sold under the counter at shops in the area today. Turedi explains that Turks in the region have the know-how to consume it responsibly.

"Local people are able to distinguish mad honey from other honeys. It causes a sharp burning sensation in the throat and thus it’s also referred to as bitter honey," he says.

People who have tried is say that even a drop or two of it on the tongue has a numbing effect. Experts say deli bal retains its numbing, head-spinning traits because it is untreated, unprocessed, and essentially pure.

"We know that if you eat more than one spoonful of honey including grayanotoxin, you are at risk of Mad-Honey poisoning," Turedi says.

"In spring and summer, the honeys are fresh and may include more grayanotoxin than in other seasons." 

If that doesn’t dissuade the adventurous foodie, then Turedi says to limit intake to less than a teaspoon, "and if you feel some symptoms associated with mad honey, you should get medical care as soon as possible."

For adherents of Antinous on pilgrimages to the land of his birth, the dangerously sweet syrup retains its ancient mystery, tucked away in shops that are difficult to find.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

THE INUNDATION OF THE NILE
WAS SEEN AS THE FIRST MIRACLE
OF ANTINOUS THE GOD


ON JULY 25 the Religion of Antinous joyfully commemorates the First Miracle of Antinous — the Bountiful Inundation of the Nile which ended a drought which had caused food shortages throughout the Empire.

The famine had overshadowed the tour of Egypt by the Imperial entourage in the year 130. The half-starved Egyptians looked to Hadrian, whom they worshipped as pharaoh, to perform a miracle which would end their misery.

But as Hadrian and Antinous traveled up the Nile during the summer and autumn of 130, the Nile once again failed to rise sufficiently to water the fields of Egypt — Rome's "Bread Basket" and chief source of grain and other staple foodstuffs.

It was a humiliating disappointment for the Emperor following the jubilant welcome by peoples during the earlier part of his tour through the Eastern Empire. In Ephesus and other cities he had been welcomed as a living god.

But the Egyptians had given him and his coterie what little they had in the way of food and wine — and he had failed to convince the Inundation Deity Hapi to bless them with bounty. Hapi is one of the most extraordinary deities in the history of religion.

Hapi is special to us especially because Hapi is hermaphroditic. With many other such deities, the gender division is down the middle of the body (like some Hindu deities) or the top half is one gender and the bottom half is the other.

But Hapi is very complex and the genders are mixed throughout his/her body. Male deities invariably have reddish-orange skin in Egyptian Art and female deities have yellowish skin. Hapi has bluish-green skin. Hapi has long hair like a female deity but has a square jaw and a beard. Hapi has broad shoulders yet has pendulous breasts like a nursing mother. Hapi has narrow hips and masculine thighs, but has a pregnant belly. Nobody knows what sort of genitals Hapi has, since they are covered by a strange garment reminiscent of a sumo wrestler's belt.

Hapi is both father and mother to the Egyptians. Hapi provides them with everything necessary for life. As Herodotus wrote, "Egypt is the gift of the Nile". Hapi wears a fabulous headdress of towering water plants and she/he carries enormous offering trays laden with foodstuffs.

The Ancient Egyptians had no problem worshipping a mixed-gender deity. I think it is very important to draw the connection between Hapi and Antinous, especially since the First Miracle that Antinous performed as a god involved Hapi. The Egyptians accepted Antinous into their own belief system immediately and were among the most ardent followers of Antinous.

They had no problem worshipping a gay deity who had united himself with a hermaphroditic deity. It must have seemed very logical and credible to them.

It made sense to them and enriched their belief system, made it more personal since they could identify more easily with a handsome young man than with a hermaphrodite wearing a sumo belt (Hapi forgive me!).

Herodotus also said he once asked a very learned religious man in Egypt what the true source of the Nile was.

The learned man (speaking through an interpreter, since most Greeks never bothered to learn Egyptian) paused and finally told him the true source of the Nile is the thigh of Osiris.

We think of it as a strange answer. We think of the Nile as an "it" and the source as a "geographical location". But the Egyptians thought of the Nile as "us" and its true source as "heka" — the magical semen of the creator.

So, a learned Egyptian would have assumed that a learned Greek would understand what was meant: That Hapi is the equivalent of Dionysus, who was "incubated" in the inner thigh of Zeus after his pregnant mortal mother Semele perished when she could not bear the searing sight of her lover Zeus in all his divine panoply.

It's a very poetic way (a very Egyptian way) of saying that the "true source" of the Nile, which is to say Egypt itself, is the magical heka/semen from the loins of the original creator.

We will never know what happened during that journey up the Nile along the drought-parched fields with anxious Egyptian farmers looking to Hadrian for a miracle. All we know is that Antinous "plunged into the Nile" and into the arms of Hapi in late October of the year 130.

And then the following summer, Hapi the Inundation Deity provided a bountiful Nile flood which replenished the food stocks of Egypt — and the Roman Empire.

Our own Flamen Antinoalis Antonius Subia explains the more esoteric aspects of this special Religious Holy Day:

"The Dog Star Sirius appears, and the sacred Star of Antinous begins to approach its zenith in the night sky of the northern hemisphere. The appearance of the Dog Star once announced the rise of the Inundation of the Nile, though it no longer does due to the precession of the Equinox, which is the slight alteration of the position of the stars.
"After the Death and Deification of Antinous, the Nile responded by rising miraculously after two successive years of severe drought. It was on this day, July 25th, in the year 131 that the ancient Egyptians recognized that Antinous was a god, nine months after his death, following their custom of deifying those who drowned in the Nile, whose sacrifice insured the life-giving flood.

"Sirius is the brightest star in the sky, it is part of the constellation Canis Major, or the big dog, which is the hunting dog of Orion. Mystically, Sirius and the constellation Canis Major is Antinous Master of Hounds and Orion is Hadrian the Hunter.

"The position of Orion, along the banks of the Milky Way, our galaxy in relation to Sirius is a mirror image of Pyramids along the bank of the Nile, which is the same relationship as Antinoopolis to the Nile, with the Via Hadriani, the road which Hadrian built across the desert to the East, linking the Nile with the Red Sea — Rome to India.

"We consecrate the beginning of the Dog Days of Summer to the advent of the Egyptian deification of Antinous and the miracle of the Inundation of the Nile."

The First Miracle of Antinous the Gay God is enshrined in the hieroglyphic inscription on the OBELISK OF ANTINOUS which stands in Rome.

The East Face of the Obelisk, which is aligned to the rising sun Ra-Herakhte, speaks of the joy that fills the heart of Antinous since having been summoned to meet his heavenly father Ra-Herakhte and to become a god himself.

Then the inscription tells how Antinous intercedes with Ra-Herakhte to shower blessings upon Hadrian and the Empress Sabina Augusta.

And Antinous immediately calls upon Hapi ...

Hapi, progenitor of the gods,
On behalf of Hadrian and Sabina,
Arrange the inundation in fortuitous time
To make fertile and bountiful, the fields
Of Both Upper and Lower Egypt!
We joyfully celebrate this, the First Miracle of Antinous!

Monday, July 24, 2017

WE CELEBRATE THE FIESTA OF XOCHIPILLI
GAYEST OF ALL THE AZTEC GODS


JULY 24th is the festival of Xochipilli, the Aztec god of pleasure. His name means "Flower Prince" or even "Flower Child". He is a deity of creativity, the arts, music, dance, celebration and pleasure. His main aim is to help us relax, chill out and step back from taking life too seriously. 

Xochipili is also the protector and patron of homosexuals and male prostitutes.

His statues were carved with psychoactive flowers and plants. His offerings are flowers and his symbol is a teardrop shaped pendant crafted from Mother of Pearl.

24 de julho é a festa de Xochipilli , deus asteca do prazer. Seu nome significa " flor Príncipe " ou mesmo " Criança de flor " . Ele é uma divindade da criatividade , das artes , música, dança , celebração e prazer. O seu principal objectivo é o de nos ajudar a relaxar , relaxar e voltar de tirar a vida muito a sério. Xochipilli também é o protetor e padroeiro dos homossexuais e prostitutas do sexo masculino e suas estátuas foram esculpidas com flores e plantas psicoativas. Suas ofertas são flores e seu símbolo é um pingente em forma de lágrima trabalhada a partir de madrepérola.

24 de julio es la fiesta de Xochipilli , dios azteca de placer. Su nombre significa " Príncipe de la flor" o incluso " Niño de flor " . Él es una deidad de la creatividad , las artes , la música , la danza , la celebración y el placer. Su objetivo principal es ayudar a relajarse , descansar y un paso atrás de tomar la vida demasiado en serio . Xochipili es también el protector y patrono de los homosexuales y prostitutas masculinas y sus estatuas fueron talladas con flores y plantas psicoactivas . Sus ofertas son las flores y su símbolo es un colgante en forma de lágrima elaborado a partir de Nácar .


Sunday, July 23, 2017

A TURNING POINT OF CIVILIZATION
WHEN HADRIAN BANNED CIRCUMCISION



A turning point in Western Civilization was when Emperor Hadrian banned circumcision in a crackdown on radical Jews … in effect, banning Judaism.

As far as we know from the historical record, the land of the pharaohs pioneered circumcision … which is where the Hebrew slaves first encountered the practice and where they presumably adopted it. 

The earliest reference to the procedure dates back to around 2400 BC. A bas-relief in the ancient tomb of the nobleman Ankhmahon at Saqqara depicts a series of medical scenes, including a flint-knife circumcision and a surgeon explaining, "The ointment is to make it painless," likely referring to some form of topical analeptic.

Ancient Egyptian circumcisions were not done in infancy, but instead marked the transition from boyhood to adulthood, just as they do in Islam.

The Greeks saw the Egyptian tradition as rather bizarre. 

In the 5th Century BC, Herodotus made his opinion known in his work "The History of Herodotus."

"They practice circumcision for the sake of cleanliness," he wrote of the Egyptians, "considering it better to be cleanly than comely."


However, Egyptologists believe circumcision had a ritual meaning to promote virility instead of being a hygienic practice as traditionally has been thought.

This explains better the meaning of the presence of this scene in the dignitary’s tomb, if it refers to himself or to his children, but doesn’t explain the meaning of the dialogue written in hieroglyphs.

The practitioner squatting on the floor on the left tells his assistant, who’s holding the patient’s arms: “Hold him firm, fast, don’t let him fall.”

He answers: “I’ll do as you want.”

On the right, instead, the patient says: “Rub it well, to make it efficacious,” and the physician answers: “I’ll make it painless, pleasant.”

These last sentences let us suppose that the object in the physician’s hands, on the right, had an anesthetic use. Perhaps it was a tube of ointment.

Others say it looks more like a knife or other tool for removing the foreskin.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

HADRIAN ALIGNED TEMPLE OF ANTINOUS
TO CATCH DAWN RAYS ON THIS DATE



HADRIAN designed the Antinous Mortuary Temple at his Villa outside Rome so that the rays of the rising sun would illuminate the inner sanctum on the Egyptian festival of the Nile Inundation, according to a US research team.

The new findings come on the heels of studies by other researchers showing that Emperor Hadrian, a skilled architect and astronomer/astrologer in his own right, aligned the Pantheon and the observatory at his Villa to the Solstices.

The new findings are the first indicating a celestial configuration for the Mortuary Temple of Antinous at Hadrian's Villa.

Archaeo-astronomers at Ball State University in the United States say the mystery-shrouded temple, called the ANTINOEION, was aligned so that the first rays of the rising sun would illuminate the East Face of the OBELISK OF ANTINOUS, which would then cast a shadow across a monolithic statue of Antinous-Osiris deep in the inner sanctum of the temple.

Using "solar tracking" technology and highly sophisticated 3-D computer imaging, the Ball State experts say that this sunrise configuration only occurs on July 20th each year.

July 20th was when the Egyptians, at that point in their long history, celebrated the annual Inundation of the Nile, the flood waters which brought nutrient-rich sediment down the river to Egypt to ensure bountiful crops for the coming year.

At other points in Egyptian history, that "Egyptian New Year" festival was celebrated on other dates, owing to vagaries of ancient calendars. But according to Roman writer Censorinus, the Egyptian New Year's Day fell on July 20th in the Julian Calendar in 139 AD, which was a heliacal rising of Sirius in Egypt.

The Ball State University findings are all the more interesting because the First Miracle of Antinous, the July after his death in October 130 AD, was the NILE INUNDATION MIRACLEwhich ended a years-long drought which had threatened the entire empire with famine since Egypt was Rome's "breadbasket" for grain and produce.



The Obelisk is now located atop the Pincian Hill in Rome, but it almost certainly originally stood at the Antinoeion within the Hadrian's Villa compound. The plinth for the obelisk is still visible.

The Obelisk is covered in Egyptian hieroglyphs which constitute a prayer of praise for Antinous the God, describing his blessings.

The Egyptian hieroglyphs on the East Face of the Obelisk quote Antinous the God as asking Ra-Herakhte the sun god for blessings on Hadrian, and also asking Hapy, the Nile Inundation deity, to bring about a bountiful inundation on his behalf.

In effect, the rays (or "hands") of the sun god "activate" the Egyptian hieroglyphs, bringing this divine prayer to religio-magical life, as the shadow of the Obelisk covers the statue of Antinous-Osiris, master of death and transfiguration.

The Ball State University findings have yet to be verified independently, and the researchers said further studies are underway.


It is possible, of course, that the date July 20th had another significance of a more personal nature involving Hadrian and Antinous. 

On the final leg of a three-year tour of the Eastern Empire, Hadrian and his Imperial entourage arrived in Egypt in the summer of the year 130 AD. 

It is known that Hadrian and Antinous spent time in Alexandria, as well as in the coastal resort of Canopus. And they also slew a man-eating lion in Egypt in the summer of 130 AD.

So July 20th could refer to one of those events. It could, of course, also refer to something of a more intimate nature between the two men which transpired on that date.


Perhaps Hadrian and Antinous took part in celebrations for the Nile Inundation on July 20th of 130 AD in Egypt at which drought-weary Egyptians looked to Emperor Hadrian, as their pharaoh, to provide a miracle. 

Ancient writers speculated that Antinous may have been eager to find a religio-magical way to help his beloved Hadrian, possibly sacrificing his life in return for blessings on the Emperor.

Whatever the date may signify, we know that, barely three months later, Antinous drowned in the Nile, and that grief-stricken Hadrian proclaimed him a God, the last Classical Deity before the Fall of Rome.
 

He died under mysterious circumstances, with Hadrian saying only that he "fell into the Nile." The Inundation Deity Hapy ensured that the Nile overflowed its banks generously the following July 20th.

A walk-through of the Ball State University computer model of the Antinoeion and explanation of the July 20th solar alignment is provided in this YouTube video:


Friday, July 21, 2017

WE REMEMBER HEROSTRATUS
THE ULTIMATE NOTORIETY SEEKER



ON 21 July we remember Herostratus, whose name is synonymous with all persons who commit heinous crimes for the sole purpose of making their names notorious ... the eternally aggrieved ego ... the call for damnatio memoriae ... destroyer of beauty, youth and success perceived as insults to the entitled outsider.


Herostratus was a 4th Century BC Greek arsonist who sought notoriety by destroying one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, prompting a law forbidding anyone to mention his name.

His name has become a metonym for someone who commits a criminal act in order to become famous.

On 21 July 356 BC, seeking notoriety, he burned down the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus in Asia Minor (now Turkey).

Antinous and Hadrian visited TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS in June of 129 AD.

The temple honoured a local goddess, called Artemis by the Greeks, their version of Diana goddess of the hunt, the wild, and childbirth. 

The temple was constructed of marble and was built by King Croesus of Lydia to replace an older site destroyed during a flood. Measuring 130 meters long (425 feet) and supported by columns 18 meters high (60 feet), it was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Far from attempting to evade responsibility for his act of arson, Herostratus proudly claimed credit in an attempt to immortalise his name. 

To dissuade those of a similar mind, the Ephesian authorities not only executed him, but attempted to condemn him to a legacy of obscurity by forbidding mention of his name under penalty of death. However, this did not stop Herostratus from achieving his goal because the ancient historian Theopompus recorded the event and its perpetrator in his Hellenics.

Herostratus' name lived on in classical literature and has passed into modern languages as a term for someone who commits a criminal act in order to bask in the resultant notoriety.

HART CRANE
SAINT OF ANTINOUS


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Thursday, July 20, 2017

ALEXANDRIA ALIGNED TO SUN
ON ALEXANDER THE GREAT'S BIRTHDAY



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

He would later go one to conquer the entire Eastern world, Asia Minor, Syria, Judea, Egypt, and all of Persia, as far East as India.


The Empire of Alexander spread Greek culture throughout the world, and made the communication of far-distant ideas possible so that the new Hellenistic culture that he created, was a combination of classical Greece and of the exotic cultures that were imported from every corner.

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

THE BIRTH OF ALEXANDER


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

KING TUT'S WIFE MAY BE BURIED
IN NEWLY DISCOVERED TOMB



FAMED archaeologist Zahi Hawass and his team say they have found evidence of a tomb that could belong to King Tut's wife.

In related developments, tests are ongoing at the tomb of Tutankhamun in search of HIDDEN CHAMBERS which could be the resting place of Nefertiti.

The archaeologists eventually plan to excavate the new tomb, which is located near the tomb of the pharaoh Ay (1327-1323 BC) in Egypt's Valley of the Kings, Hawass told Live Science.

"We are sure there is a tomb there, but we do not know for sure to whom it belongs," Hawass told Live Science in an email. On July 7, National Geographic Italia published an article in Italian suggesting that a team led by Hawass had found a new tomb in the Valley of the Kings, and Hawass confirmed that discovery to Live Science.

"We are sure there is a tomb hidden in that area because I found four foundation deposits," Hawass said, explaining that the foundations are "caches or holes in the ground that were filled with votive objects such as pottery vessels, food remains and other tools as a sign that a tomb construction is being initiated."

"The ancient Egyptians usually did four or five foundation deposits whenever they started a tomb's construction," Hawass said. Additionally, "the radar did detect a substructure that could be the entrance of a tomb."

As for whose remains were buried there, Hawass said the tomb could belong to Ankhesenamun, who was the wife of Tutankhamun (reign 1336-1327 BC). 

Ankhesenamun married Ay after King Tut died, so it's possible that her tomb is located near Ay's, Hawass said.

Hawass said he will direct the future excavations at the site.

Hawass was head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities between 2002 and 2011, and was Egypt's first minister of state for antiquities after the post was created in January 2011. He resigned from the post in July 2011. Currently, Hawass is Director of the Italian expedition in the Valley of the Kings.

THE SACRED GAY MARTYRS OF IRAN



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

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

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

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

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

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

The photo at left is a shocking depiction of anti-homosexual violence.

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

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

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

CARAVAGGIO, SAINT OF ANTINOUS


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Monday, July 17, 2017

'THE LOVE GOD' BY MARTIN CAMPBELL
IS A BRILLIANT NOVEL ABOUT ANTINOUS


THE most brilliant novel about Antinous to appear in over half a century ... THE LOVE GOD ... is authored by our own MARTINUS CAMPBELL, priest of Antinous.

While that sounds like biased praise, we Antinomaniacs are hard to please and would not hesitate to pick apart a poorly researched book or one that denigrated Antinous, even if it were written by one of our best friends ... perhaps especially if it were. 

At the same time, a sycophantic book that presented Antinous as being cloyingly sweet and angelic would be unbearable and not believable.

So we are gratified (and greatly relieved) to report that this book truly is a remarkable work of historical fiction right up there with Marguerite Yourcenar's landmark MEMOIRS OF HADRIAN 60 years ago.

Martin traces the life of Antinous from the moment his tousle-haired head emerges from his mother's womb under auspicious stars in Asia Minor to the moment his head sinks beneath the swirling waters of the Nile on a starry evening in Egypt.

Antinous comes to life as a young man of breath-taking beauty who is filled with conflicting passions and loyalties. He is a young man who at times is naive, yet at other times worldly wise with an ability to see the world as it is ... and to describe it with at times brutal honesty to the most powerful man in the world.

Above all, this is a gentle love story between Antinous and Emperor Hadrian, himself a man of contradictory passions and priorities.

Martin himself is a man shares these passions. He has rebounded from a series of debilitating strokes to resume a daunting array of political activism for LGBTIU health and rights issues ... while working on this novel.

Based in a hilltop home overlooking the sea in Brighton England, he spent the best part of a decade researching this novel, retracing the footsteps of Antinous across Greece and Italy, as far north as Hadrian's Wall and as far south as the Nile in Upper Egypt.

Historical facts are excruciatingly accurate ... even the positions of the stars and planets at the moment of the birth of Antinous have been calculated to precision.

An academic scholar can read this book with satisfaction, noting obscure and arcane references which only the experts in the field of Antinology fully appreciate.

At the same time, however, this is a fun book to read even for those who have never heard of Antinous in their lives and who have no firm grasp of Roman civilization in the 2nd Century AD.

There is intrigue, skulduggery, near-death by lightning, getting lost in a subterranean labyrinth, a storm at sea, earthquakes ... and some fairly hot man sex as well, albeit tastefully brought to the page.

The narrator is the Classical Love God himself: Eros. He shoots his amorous arrows and ensures that Antinous and Hadrian fulfill the destiny which the Fates have in store for them ... despite efforts by certain people in the Imperial Court to thwart the Fates.


But the genius of this book is that there are no black-and-white villains or heroes. Antinous is a young man with all the problems and drives of late adolescence. Hadrian is a man with a mid-life crisis of doubt and regret.

Others such as Empress Sabina and her constant companion Julia Balbilla and their coterie of fawning courtiers and freedmen are not really hateful towards Antinous so much as they are simply perplexed by him. 

They view him the way some members of the Royal Household might look at the favorite Corgi of the Queen, unable to comprehend her affection for it, her grief when it dies.


They whisper amongst themselves: What hold does Antinous have over Hadrian? 

Just who does he think he is? And is he a threat to them? 

What is so different about Antinous that Hadrian doesn't grow weary of him ... as he always has with previous toy boys? 

Because they cannot understand how he fits in the scheme of Imperial court life, some really rather wish he would just disappear ... voluntarily or otherwise. 

And through it all is the boyhood friend of Antinous who has accompanied him on this long journey with mixed feelings and with growing envy and jealousy. 

The boiling emotions all stem from Eros, who winks knowingly at the reader as he shoots one arrow after another with unerring accuracy to ensure that Antinous fulfills his destiny ... to take his place alongside Eros as a God of Love.

The result is a richly entertaining and beautifully written novel which appeals to those seeking authoritative scholarly accuracy as well as readers who just want a riveting and memorable adventure yarn.

The Love God is available as Kindle and as a paperback ... CLICK HERE to order.