Posted by: aediculaantinoi | July 25, 2013

The Dog Days Begin: Hermanubis, and Antinous Kynegetikos

While the weather across the U.S. (and elsewhere!) has been rather sizzling this July, today would have marked the “official” beginning of the Dog-Days of Summer in many premodern cultures, especially in Europe. And with that, we have various traditions that are observed here: you can read about these, and some of the poems written for the occasions, here, here, and here.

And now, for this year’s poetic offerings…

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Hermanubis of Antinoöpolis

The city rises from Egypt’s burning sands
like Atum from the waters on his mound,
the shining marbles’ guard and guide he stands.

Promised better lives, the citizen bands
with fervent footsteps roads on earth did pound–
the city rises from Egypt’s burning sands–

and strong arms guided with more gentle hands
to the place where young god’s body was found–
the shining marbles’ guard and guide he stands–

while fierce canid god’s eyes glances commands
all infernal spirits to flee the ground–
the city rises from Egypt’s burning sands–

and best, most able priests from all the lands
came with their gods so new god’s hymns might sound–
the shining marbles’ guard and guide he stands.

It made great sense for those who understand
Hermanubis’ god-form, which would astound–
the city rises from Egypt’s burning sands–

that he was their guiding light like fire-brands
and to the city’s paving stones he’s bound–
the shining marbles’ guard and guide he stands.

Just one day from the year his cult demands
as Sirius rises in its great round,
and Nile’s floodings are not reprimands
from the protective god with head of hound:
the city rises from Egypt’s burning sands–
the shining marbles’ guard and guide he stands.

antin443

Kynegetikos

Come, Antinous, come great hunter,
come commander of fine packs of hounds;

The sky itself is faded from sun
and the parched earth cracks beneath.

The gardens of Adonis shrivel and wilt
like the young dying god himself;

the scent of pollens brings swarms of bees
that Aristaios taught humans to cultivate;

salmon swim circles offshore, waiting,
for the rains to signal their upstream journey.

The earth cries tears of dust
for the absent bereavement of vivifying rain.

Therefore, come, Antinous, trailing your dogs
and hunt across the faded sky;

with your arrows, wound the clouds
and drive them with your howling packs

to a place where you will pierce them, striking
with your adamntaine spear-point

and make them bleed upon the earth
with every drop of sky-blood within them.

Come, Antinous, come great hunter,
come on this day in the Dog Days

and do not let the fierce mastiffs of sunlight
overtake us, nor leave them to ravage our land.


Responses

  1. Excellent poetry, as always!

  2. Very nice. The Dog Days are always a rather interesting time. I have been thinking a lot recently about the connection/tension between Sirius and Vega.

    “Just one dya from the year his cult demands
    as Sirius rises in its great round,
    and Nile’s floodings are not reprimands
    from the protective god with head of hound:
    the city rises from Egypt’s burning sands–
    the shining marbles’ guard and guide he stands.”

    Protective god with head of hound indeed. Balanced, perhaps, by protective goddess with had of cat? Sehkmet guardian of Ma’at? I shall cease my babbling, but I enjoyed your poetry and your recent piece over at PatheosPagan.

    • Thank you!

      While I certainly agree that Sekhmet (and Bast, and and and…!?!) could equally well be said to have this role, because the focus here is Hermanubis, and the city of Antinoöpolis in particular, there is no recorded (at least to my knowledge) presence of Sekhmet or any of the feline-headed deities in that location, before or after the city’s foundation. Hathor is most certainly there, but I don’t think Hathor automatically equals Sekhmet or assumes the potential presence of her.

  3. […] falls within the vague period of the Dog Days of Summer, which officially was recognized with the Festival of Hermanubis and likewise was acknowledged on Lugnasad/Iuchar with my prayer for rain this year, which did work […]

  4. Thought I’d just tuck this here—there’s a useful article on Hermanubis in this volume, available as a free PDF: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/i/icp/

    • Thank you for that!

      I actually had that article (but only got it/found out about it recently), but I’m glad to have the whole volume available now, because there’s a lot of interesting stuff in there it looks like! Plus, it is good to see a volume honoring Traianos Gagos, who I was able to meet briefly when I was at U of M in 2010. (I was at his memorial service at the university, which occurred in the last few days that I was there…and, I had a very nice dinner with one of the contributors to that volume afterwards.)


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