So, at about this time last night, I started the first post that is thirty days of devotion concentrated down into three, with a few caveats and self-imposed limitations to try and challenge myself with…and, I think I did pretty good for the first day. This second day’s topics are ones that I have not necessarily covered before, though, so this should be interesting–and, maybe these short seeds will become full-fledged posts in the future–who knows?
Without further ado…
XI. Festivals, days, and times sacred to this deity
From the ancient world: Foundation Day (October 30), his birth-date (November 27), and the Megala Antinoeia (which was celebrated at different times around the Empire, though we often don’t have exact dates…there were games to him on one occasion on October 28th, though, in the early 3rd century CE in Egypt). We’ve developed many others in the modern cultus, which can be seen here.
XII. Places associated with this deity and their worship
While he had temples in more than a dozen places that we know of, I think the places most associated with him would be: the Antinoeion at Hadrian’s Villa (likely his place of burial); Antinoöpolis in Egypt; Lanuvium (where he shared a temple and a collegium with Diana); his birthplace of Bithynion-Claudiopolis, where mysteries and games were held for him; and Mantineia in Arcadia, which also had a temple to him and games.
XIII. What modern cultural issues are closest to this deity’s heart?
Queer rights, equality, and advocacy; gender equality and advocacy (including not just those who are gender-variant, but also what might be considered “feminism” by some, even if that word is becoming unpopular and the concept itself sometimes gets used in ways that might seem negative); anti-youth suicide (and not just for LGBTQ youths). General advocacy for the downtrodden and discriminated-against, as well as conservation/environmentalism, also seem to be on the radar for Antinous.
XIV. Has worship of this deity changed in modern times?
Oh dear gods, yes: the lack of temples is a major factor in how his worship has changed; and, the internet–for all of its good and bad points–has both facilitated his modern cultus, but also has hampered it in the sense that some people mistake reading things on blogs or interacting with e-mail groups and the like as cultus, when it’s instead communal interaction (which is definitely a part of religion, but not the only part of it, nor the most important part of it).
XV. Any mundane practices that are associated with this deity?
It depends on what one means by “mundane”; but, athleticism of various sorts, I suspect, would fall into this category (even though it’s something I’m limited in my experience, ability, and interest with).
XVI. How do you think this deity represents the values of their pantheon and cultural origins?
Very well! As a polytheist and a super-syncretistic deity, he demonstrates the best ideals of the pluralism of Graeco-Roman-Egyptian cultures, both collectively and separately, in a fashion that can only be considered exemplary, I think.
XVII. How does this deity relate to other gods and other pantheons?
Incredibly well–I know of no definite deity who has come into contact with him yet, from any pantheon, that has not been able to get along exceedingly well with him, even though there are sometimes small conflicts, misunderstandings, or rivalries (including a recent one), especially when he is not respected as a deity and is instead treated as if he’s “only” an ancestor and his previous mortality is held against him.
XVIII. How does this deity stand in terms of gender and sexuality? (historical and/or UPG)
Historically, we know of only one relationship with which he was involved, i.e. that with his lover Hadrian, and therefore he was homoerotically inclined; however, it is likely that, just like almost everyone else in his culture, he would have also had attractions for females and would have eventually been married at some point, if for no other reason than in order to produce beautiful and virtuous children. We have one text that suggests the goddess Selene fell in love with him, and so perhaps his feelings were reciprocated on that matter. He was not himself gender-variant or in any way unusual in his own culture (despite the modern tendency of some pagans to want to characterize him as “androgynous” or “hermaphroditic”), and the only people who seemed to think he was in any way “unmanly” or odd in this matter were Christians, who thought anyone–especially a youth in a homoerotic relationship–was passive, womanly, and therefore “against nature.” He is a champion of anyone who is homoerotic, though (thus gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, etc.), and also is an ally and champion of anyone who is gender-variant.
XIX. What quality or qualities of this god do you most admire? What quality or qualities of them do you find the most troubling?
Admiration is difficult–my admiration of him, which is extensive and I think at this point unquestionable, is not based on anything like “he’s cute” or “I find him attractive” or “he’s so nice” or any particular and specific matter; it’s something I can’t even put into words or express in any logical fashion, it simply is, and I don’t question that nameless gnosis that I have for my admiration of Antinous’ existence, persistence, and power in my life. The thing I find the most troubling about him is that he was in a relationship with Hadrian which, in modern terms, would be considered illegal, immoral, and even abusive, despite the fact that I have no doubt that in its own cultural context and in this particular iteration of the cultural norm of its time, there was no exploitation or abuse going on at all. It makes it difficult to explain to both modern critics and also potential devotees, however…
XX. Art that reminds you of this deity
For that, I suggest you look at this site, as all of it actually depicts him; however, there are other pieces of art that remind me of him but don’t directly portray him…which I know when I see, but now I can’t remember any of them specifically…Aaah! In all honestly, almost all ancient Greek and Roman art, even when it has nothing to do with Antinous, reminds me of him to some extent, from vase paintings to relief sculptures to statues to paintings. To say that my mind has not been focused on Antinous for several hours every day, and drifts to him quite quickly and easily with the slightest indications in the world around me, would be absolutely true for the last eleven plus years of my life.
Ave Ave Antinoe–Haec est unde, Haec est unde, Haec est unde vita venit!