Posted by: aediculaantinoi | January 28, 2013

Antinous and Spiders; Palaimon and Fish-Men…!

Nothing major practice-wise to report on today, so instead, I bring you these two interesting things that have come to my attention in the last few hours.

First, ARACHNOPHOBES, AVOID THE VERY BOTTOM OF THIS LINK! And the link is here: it is to a poem written by Sannion called “A Song of p. Antinous.” It, of course, refers to Pamphobeteus antinous, the “most beautiful” spider of South America. Until now, not a lot has been written about the mythology of Antinous and/as Spider, but I think this is the definitive work on the matter now, and very likely for a long time to come.

They say that when he left the house of shadows near to the land of dreams
he put on a new form, exchanging his handsome human face for an even lovelier spider’s body.
Black like the soil carried by the Nile, black like the cloak of Night,
black like the heart of desire is he.
Largest of all the jungle spiders, capable of feasting on birds
– he is truly a sight to behold and fills the natives with reverent awe.
They call him Pamphobeteus* for he overcame all fears to become a god
and his countenance to some is more terrible
than any nightmare that assails the mind of those who slumber.

And it only gets more awesome from there! (And is equally awesome before that!)

Beautifully done, Sannion–as beautiful as Antinous and this (and other) spiders themselves!

fish man of Lierganes

And, next, thanks to an Neos Alexandria colleague, may I introduce you to the Fish-Man of Liérganes! Read his full story here! Not unlike many drowned youths, he had an interesting “afterlife,” you might say, which reminds me of a great many things–Palaimon/Melikertes most prominently, but also Lí Bán/Muirgeilt–who, it turns out, has her holy day yesterday! (So much for “nothing going on practice-wise…!?!) Isn’t it funny how often the gods, heroes, and ancestors often keep themselves in our thoughts at the right time?…or, as in the present case, a day late? (Damn…well, better late than never, maybe?)

But, what is also intriguing to me, beyond these comparisons, is that Cadiz (where the discovery of the Fish-Man took place) is the city of Gades, which is where Hadrian was from. He favored it in various ways after he was Emperor, despite barely having set foot there during his life. Hadrian also favored Palaimon/Melikertes in Corinth…and while making a connection between them 1400+ years later based on these matters is pretty specious, nonetheless it’s interesting that this cluster of motifs (of the drowned youth returned) have these connections to each other across time and space in various ways that are closer or further depending on one’s particular inclinations. 😉

Hail Antinous the Spider Beyond Fear!
Ave Coventina!
Victory and Blessings to Lí Bán, the muirgeilt and muirgen!
Granizo y Acordamos del Hombre Pez!


  1. The link to the story of the Fishman isn’t working properly, it lead right back to this blog post.

    • Oops…my apologies. It’s fixed now.

      • No apologies required, just a hint.

  2. I only want to add that Cantabria, the region where this story of the fish-man originates is of astounding beauty, and I have only visisted a small part of its coast line. Cudillero, where I stayed for a couple of days, is the exact sort of place you would expect this figure to wash up.

  3. If you do a Google search for “Antinous”, you find entries for a South American spider known as the Antinous Tarantula ? Pamphobeteus antinous, the zoological name for which refers to The Beloved Boy. The Indios have many other names ? such as Blue Legged Bird-Devourer.

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