Due to computer availability complications and travel, I did not get to post on this day last year; however, I did in 2011; and while the information there is still good, there have been quite a few changes in the list of Sancti in terms of when they are celebrated and such. Nonetheless, here we are…
Look closely, and you will see the only definite surviving painting of Antinous from the ancient world, depicting him as Osirantinous, the syncretized form of Antinous and Osiris, which was depicted in Egyptian style on the Obelisk of Antinous, and here in the Greek style on the burial tondo of two young men from the Graeco-Roman-Egyptian city of Antinoöpolis. Who were these young men, you might ask? Easily told…or, rather, shown.
As I’ve said on many occasions before, we are fortunate to know as much as we do about the cult and cultists of Antinous in the late antique world, including many of the names of dedicants (among them several who were not political figures who were otherwise known). But, we are also very lucky because here, staring back at us from across the horizon of centuries, are two young men who were involved in the cultus of Antinous to at least one degree or another. The young man on the left is probably of Greek or Graeco-Egyptian descent, and over his shoulder is the depiction of Osirantinous, and the date 15 Pachons–but, what does that date mean? Was it the date of his birth? Was it the date of his death? Was it the date of his marriage to his partner? We don’t really know. The darker man on the right may be of mainly Egyptian descent, or mixed Greek and Egyptian heritage, or perhaps he’s even Ethiopian or Nubian, and over his shoulder is a depiction of Hermanubis, the syncretized Graeco-Egyptian form of Hermes Chthonios and Anubis. (My own theory is that he might be at least partially Nubian, and I suspect there might be a bit of a pun in terms of showing he is Nubian by having Hermanubis there…but, it’s just a dumb theory! I mean, they knew from Nubians, and thus why not Apedemak or Mandulis? Anyway…!?!)
But, do we know anything more about them? Apart from inferences (based on comparisons with Graeco-Roman funerary art) that they were likely a married couple, and the fellow on the left was younger than the one on the right, no.
So, whatever the significance of 15 Pachons happened to be for them, this is the day that we celebrate the Antinoöpolitan Lovers, and all other Sancti of the Ekklesía Antínoou for whom we do not have definite dates of birth or death, or who have not been assigned to another festival for their dies sancti as a result of a particular association we know they had. You can consult our list of Sancti for further information on who, specifically, these individuals are; and you can honor them collectively or individually as you see fit on this day. For the Sancti whose dates we know, or have established, you can consult our Calendar of the Sancti (to which a few additions need to be made: namely, Gad Beck and Jeanne Manford).
Sing Ignis Corporis Infirmat, Ignis sed Animae Perstat for all the Sancti of the Ekklesía Antínoou, known and unknown and yet to be discovered!