I have a few things of substance I’d like to post about in the near future, but I am running preciously low on neurotransmitters at the moment, so this is about all I can get out at the moment, I fear. I need some more sleep, I think.
In any case…
I often look at the search term that people use to find my blog, and some of them can be rather intriguing. In the last week, at some stage, someone used the search phrase of “Antinous son of Aphrodite” in order to find this blog, which I find intriguing for a number of reasons.
One reason is that the Citharoedic Hymn of Curium refers to Antinous as “offspring of the Gold-Winged Mother,” which refers to Aphrodite, and which would then make Antinous equal to Eros or perhaps syncretized to him. That certainly makes sense…
But, another possibility which suggests itself is that, with the parentage of Antinous suggested in the epic poem fragment from Oxyrhynchus that lists him as a son of the Argus-SLayer (i.e. Hermes), if we took the parentage of Aphrodite into consideration alongside this, that would then make Antinous equal to or syncretized with Hermaphroditos–which is very intriguing indeed!
Another hymn from Oxyrhynchus suggests that Antinous’ mother’s name was Mantinoë, which not only connects him to his Arcadian origins in Mantineia, but also further suggests the female heroine foundress of that city-state, Antinoë (which was also a by-name of the city of Antinoöpolis as well).
When we bring the city of Antinoöpolis into the equation, then we have a further suggestion of the possibility of Hathor as a mother goddess to the city, or to Antinous himself, which further links to Aphrodite via the common Graeco-Egyptian syncretism of the two goddesses.
And, if we bring Thrace into the picture, then Bendis also suggests herself as the Thracian mother-goddess who might have some connection to Antinous.
Jumping back to Egyptian and Graeco-Egyptian syncretistic matters, I’ve often said that as a fellow super-syncretistic deity, Serapis is like the grandfather of Antinous; and if we bring in Thracian super-syncretism, then Sabazios might fulfill a similar role. Or, perhaps Antinous is the nephew of one of these gods rather than the grandson…?!?
Bring in Eleusis, and Antinous could well be the son of Demeter, or “Mother Antaia” as the Orphic Hymns calls her at one point. That has various other implications that are also intriguing…
But, that’s the problem: we don’t know with any certainty what Antinous’ human parents were called; and yet, he may have any number of divine parents, even if they are not literally his divine parents and brought him into existence by having sex with one or the other of his human parents. There is room for notions of divine adoption, not unlike what Hera did for Herakles, and there are even some connections of Herakles being suckled by Hera to flowers, oil from those flowers, and deification by drowning, it turns out…I’ll perhaps speak more about those things later, once I have a bit more information on them.
Meanwhile, it seems that the Tetrad++ Group are not the only deities with multiple potential parentage far beyond the usual numbers we’re accustomed to seeing with human parentage! Perhaps they take after their father and grandfather Antinous in that very respect, indeed!
What do you think? Whom might be reckoned as the divine father and mother of Antinous? (And I’d be especially interested in knowing your thoughts on this outside of Greek, Roman, and Egyptian cultural mythological contexts…!)