This is my 1500th blog post. Hurrah! It’s amazing that it has happened this fast…and I had no idea which blog post it would end up being. May this bode well for the next 500 posts!
Today is the Faunalia in the Roman calendar. As the festival of Bona Dea, who is sometimes syncretized with Fauna, was two days ago, thus it might make sense for Faunus to be celebrated in close proximity.
But, why else, O worshippers of Antinous, might we be interested in Faunus if he is not directly syncretized with Antinous (which he isn’t)? There are many possible reasons: let’s look at a few.
–Faunus was syncretized and sometimes confused with the Roman god Silvanus, who was syncretized with Antinous; likewise, he was (along with Silvanus) considered the Roman equivalent of Pan (who is also syncretized with Antinous), and was further syncretized with or considered equivalent to the Roman Inuus, and the Gaulish Dusios.
–In Roman euhemerized historico-mythology, Faunus was also a king that was a son of Picus, and was worshipped after death, where he gave oracles and became associated with the Tiburtine Sibyl–an oracle located near Tibur, the location of Hadrian’s Villa.
–Faunus is also thought to have been the “real identity,” at least according to some ancient Romans, of the god “Lupercus,” the recipient of honors on Lupercalia. As there is a great deal of wolf connection in Faunus’ etymologies and potential origins, this makes sense, even if it doesn’t play out on an actual etymological or etiological level.
–He is also a deity associated with dream oracles, and thus could be seen as being connected to incubatory practices.
–Faunus and Fauna make an interesting appearance in All-Soul, All-Body, All-Love, All-Power: A TransMythology, the first iteration of the Tetrad++ Group’s mythology.
–There’s at least one poem for Faunus in The Phillupic Hymns, which if I remember correctly has references to the many unique epithets of Faunus witnessed at the Romano-British site of Thetford, where a hoard included many inscribed spoons celebrating Faunus. Perhaps I’ll give that poem later when I have access to the text this evening again…?!? (That might be an interesting activity to try at some point: inscribing spoons with the names of deities or their epithets, and perhaps even generating new ones!)
So, there’s all sorts of reasons why Antinoans might want to consider doing cultus to Faunus, as there are many connections between him and Antinous, Hadrian, and various other divine figures associated with them.