Guess who’s the birthday boy today?
The above statue of Antinous is not from the ancient cultus; it dates to no earlier than 1700. Nonetheless, it’s the most youthful image of him that I know of…though he’s 1904 years old now (in Roman inclusive counting), nonetheless, birthdays always put one in the mind of a person when they were born, at least in this one’s mind.
Here is the oldest “younger-looking” statue of him, however, from Olympia, which is the basis for the Antinous Olympic pin that I wear at all times:
I’ve made offerings twice today already, and also sang him Felix Natalis twice…
I was hoping to have a feast with various Mystai and co-religionists this evening, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen; I may have the feast on my own, though, depending on a few things. Bathing with oil at the public baths (as they did at Lanuvium) and horse-rites (as they did at Antinoöpolis), likewise, are pretty much right out, unfortunately.
More often than not, I’m finding, I’ve not been able to do as much as I’d prefer ritual-wise on this day; even though it is pretty much the second-most-important holy day of our ritual year, it’s one that not too many modern devotees have taken much of an interest in, alas. The best one I had, I think, was in 2007, when I was able to have the feast with three other individuals, of whom two went on to become Mystai of Antinous within a few months, and the other was among the first of the Assistai. (Thus the dangers, perhaps. of joining in this feast…!?!)
The poem I wrote for this occasion last year is a good one; but, it’s never enough to simply rest on one’s earlier poetic laurels, as it were, so I shall have another for this year below, complete with music that I associate with this date and occasion that you can have play along as you read, if you like.
A Light in Bithynia
Chiron the centaur, fosterer of heroes
shone on the city gifted with pines,
the seed of Arcadia in Bithynia.
Men’s waxing gibbous face watched
as Mantinoë gave birth to Antinoë’s descendant,
foster-child of Bendis and Sabazios, Pan and Hermes.
And from the brightness of the celestial orb,
Selene watched as intently as the other gods
under the cloak of Nyx on his first night of breathing.
Apollodorus began the Forum of Trajan in Rome,
but the Emperor’s foster-son Hadrian did not approve,
thought it too conservative, too Roman.
His eyes cast themselves to the East,
the provinces he saw before and during the war
with the Dacians and their wolves of battle.
In time, Fate’s spun strings would entwine the two,
would bring future Emperor to the child just born,
after years of growth, learning, and riding horses.
Helios would come to be glad at his sight daily,
and all the heroes amongst the stars each night
would give their light to the hero, still a child.
Under the four pillars of Nut and the wings of Isis,
child favored of the gods and delight to the people,
sleep well on this night, sweet one.
Ave Ave Antinoe–Haec est unde vita venit!
Today, in Neos Alexandria, is also the festival of the Finding of Osiris by Isis. These two festivals converged a few years ago as well. The death and birth of Antinous are about four weeks from one another; so, to have Isis and Osiris’ holy festivals of death and rebirth around this time as well each year is apt, and very likely no coincidence.
So, if you can, honor them as well on this day!
Dua Wesir! Dua Aset!