Today is U.S. Independence Day, on which some interesting posts have been made from a pagan perspective by Jason Pitzl-Waters at The Wild Hunt and by T. Thorn Coyle. But in the context of Antinous, the Ekklesía Antínoou, and the complex pantheon of gods, heroes, Divi, and Sancti associated with him, it’s also something far more important: the dies natalis of Diva Matidia Augusta, the mother of Diva Sabina Augusta, mother-in-law of Divus Hadrianus, daughter of Diva Marciana Augusta, and niece of Divus Traianus. You can read about last year’s version here, and more about Diva Matidia here.
Today my pocket contents are a bit heavier, because I’m carrying the above (replica) coin representing Diva Matidia along with the others I always carry for Antinous (x2), Hadrian (x2 usually, but x3 today), Disciplina, Hermes, and Cú Chulainn.
If you haven’t read it before, I’d strongly recommend taking a look at Hadrian’s funeral oration for Matidia, which I gave in last year’s post, and which can also be found in Devotio Antinoo: The Doctor’s Notes, Volume One.
This year, I’m mindful not only of the “founding fathers” of the United States, but also of the founding mothers and all the women who could be reckoned among them: Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Dolly Madison, and–though some might think it is controversial to suggest this, I don’t think she should be forgotten–Sally Hemmings, as well as any number of other women whose names we know and whose stories we remember as well as those we’ll never know. Diva Matidia, Diva Plotina, and Diva Sabina were all as important to Hadrian and to his principate as Trajan–if not even more so, in certain respects–and it thus seems amiss to me, with the coincidence of July 4th as the birth of Matidia and the “birth” of the U.S. to forget that there were mothers as equally as there were fathers as part of that birth.
So, as you enjoy the barbecues and the fireworks and other festivities tonight–if in fact you do that at all–recall Diva Matidia in your celebrations, raise a glass and pour a libation to her, and remember her as one of the mothers of the principate of Hadrian, without which we would not have had a cultus of Antinous!
Ave Diva Matidia Augusta! Ave Dive Hadriane Auguste! Ave Ave Antinoe!