As you know, I was at Kalamazoo for the last few days…and Saturday the 10th was a very busy day. (But I did happen to obtain a book about Disocorus of Aphrodito that day, and he is one of our Sancti!)
However, that is no excuse for missing something as important as our festival of the Antinoöpolitan Lovers and Dies Sancti Ignoti–and though some might say that a day for “unknown saints” is one that is apt to be easily forgotten, we are servants of Mnemosyne here, not willing imbibers of the beverages of Lethe, no matter how appealing they might seem to some.
Therefore, though it is no substitute for timeliness, here is a little bit on those two in particular:
I always feel as if this painting is a kind of candid portrait–even though it is totally posed!–because the young man on the left looks a bit surprised to be there. We still have no idea who they are, and likely never will; nor do we know the significance of this date, written just under the image of Antinous above the fellow on the left’s right shoulder, as you can see here.
And, while some have said this is an Osiris-Antinous figure, it seems that might equally well be Antinous Harpocrates, given that Osiris doesn’t tend to be portrayed nude (other than when he’s being mounted by Isis–and even then, he’s mummiform a lot of the time!). It is an intriguing and important image, in any case…
Therefore, let us remember them in the way I have enshrined Memory so often:
There is mystery even in specificity,
there are enigmas even in clarity.
Their eyes say a great deal, and yet
no one speaks the language of eyes.
Their faces had seen what cannot be fathomed
because so many have seen so much–
which of the billions of things known
did the one or the other see in his life?
Did one of them watch his lover
drown in the Nile, helpless,
or did the other see his beloved fall
from a horse at the hippodrome?
Did one have Hermanubis as his patron god
for his service in the military,
or did the other take Antinous as his guide
because of his love for red lotus flowers?
How many more Holy Ones did each know,
see, touch, and speak with in those days
when they walked the streets of Antinoöpolis
and breathed the dry air of Egypt?
Let neither of them drown in Lethe any longer,
but instead in the abundance of Mnemosyne:
to drown upon her spring’s waters
is to choke on a plentitude of images,
of names, of notions, of holy things seen
and never forgotten–and so, thus, may we drown.
Ignis Corporis Infirmat; Ignis sed Animae Perstat!