Thursday, November 23, 2017

NEW STUDY SHEDS LIGHT ON BOYHOOD
IN ROMAN-ERA EGYPT NEAR ANTINOOPOLIS


IN Roman Egypt, 14-year-old boys were enrolled in a youth organization in order to learn to be good citizens, according to a new study into a field that has never properly been studied until now … boyhood in Roman-ruled Egypt.

The researchers from the University of Oslo and Britain's University of Newcastle, have unearthed papyrus documents from the 5th Century AD from OXYRHYNCHUS Egypt. 

(Image: Head of a 2nd Century AD Roman-era boy with Egyptian-style "Sidelock of Horus" in Oslo Museum of Cultural History)

The documents shed new light into boyhood in Egypt in the heyday of Antinoopolis, which was located only a short distance from Oxyrhynchus (also spelled Oxyrhynchos).

Only boys born to free-born citizens were entitled to be members of the town's youth organization, which was called a "gymnasium." These boys were the children of local Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. 

Their families would necessarily have been quite prosperous, and have had an income that placed them in the "12 drachma tax class." 

It is uncertain how large a proportion of the population would have qualified, probably somewhere between 10 and 25 per cent, says social historian and historian of ideas Ville Vuolanto.

Girls were not enrolled as members of the gymnasium, but are often mentioned in the administrative documents as being the boys' siblings. This may have had to do with family status or tax class. Both girls and women could own property, but in principle they had to have a male guardian.


For boys from well-off families of the free-born citizen class, the transition to adult life started with enrollment in the 'gymnasium'.

Other boys started working before reaching their teens, and might serve an apprenticeship of two to four years. 

(Illustration by Roger Payne)

The researchers have found about 20 apprenticeship contracts in Oxyrhynchus, most of them relating to the weaving industry since Oxyrhynchus was a major weaving center in Egypt. 

Males were not reckoned to be fully adults until they married in their early twenties.

Slave children could also become apprentices, and their contracts were of the same type as for the boys of free-born citizens. Slaves lived either with their owners or in the same house as their master, while free-born children generally lived with their parents.

But life was different for slave children nonetheless. Vuolanto says they have found documents to show that children as young as two were sold and separated from their parents.

(Image: Boys learning to write)

In one letter, a man encourages his brother to sell the youngest slave children, and some wine ... whereas his nephews should be spoiled. He writes "…I am sending you some melon seeds and two bundles of old clothes, which you can share with your children."

Little is known about the lives of children until they turn up in official documents, which is usually not before they are in their early teens. 

It seems that children began doing light work between the ages of seven and nine. Typically, they might have been set to work as goatherds or to collect wood or dry animal dung for fuel.

There were probably a good number of children who did not live with their biological parents, because the mortality rate was high.

"It's like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. By examining papyri, pottery fragments with writing on, toys and other objects, we are trying to form a picture of how children lived in Roman Egypt," explains Vuolanto.

The documents originate from Oxyrhynchus in Egypt, which was a large town of more than 25,000 inhabitants. 

(Image: Mummy-face portrait of a young boy from Antinoopolis)

Oxyrhynchus was so important that Antinous and Hadrian visited the city only a few days before Antinous died in the Nile in 130 AD.

The city had Egypt's most important weaving industry, and was also the Roman administrative centre for the area.

Researchers possess a great deal of documentation precisely from this area because archaeologists digging one hundred years ago discovered thousands of papyri in what had once been the city's rubbish dumps.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

WE PRAY TO ANTINOUS/DIANA
TO GUIDE US IN OUR HUNT BY MOONBEAMS


TONIGHT, November 22,  is one of the festivals of Diana goddess of the Moon and hunting. 

She is goddess of wild places and wild animals and the protector of young women, pregnant women and those giving birth. 

Diana is the twin sister of Apollo. 

As Antinous is often assimilated to Apollo, he therefore substitutes as the twin of Diana, though he can often be viewed as her male double, so that Antinous is Diana. 

Antinous and Diana are both hunters, and moon deities, and they are also gods of magic and darkness. 

Diana is often compared to Hecate, the supreme goddess of Theurgian magicians, who rose to prominence during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. 

Antinous therefore is the male equivalent of Hecate.

ANTONIUS SUBIA says: "We pray to Diana to guide us in our hunt and to illuminate our nights with the silver light of her sublime power. We recognize that the Moon of Diana is the Moon of Antinous."

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

SEE ANTINOUS IN A NEW LIGHT
AT CAMBRIDGE'S FITZWILLIAM MUSEUM



THE famous Lansdowne bust of Antinous as Dionysus can be seen in a new light … literally … during a new lighting instillation at the FITZWILLIAM MUSEUM in Cambridge, England.

The artist Hugo Dalton will be projecting his dramatic lightdrawings onto sculptures in the Greece and Rome Gallery.

His works will interact with the architecture of the surrounding gallery to create a series of immersive installations.

Dalton’s work has previously been shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Today Art Museum in Beijing and he has created a stage set at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in Britain.

The lighting installation opened 21 November 2017 and runs through 14 January 2018. Admission is free of charge.

QUENTIN CRISP
SAINT OF ANTINOUS


ON November 21st the Religion of Antinous honors Saint Quentin Crisp, who died on this day in 1999. He was born on Christmas Day in 1908. 

He became a gay icon in the 1970s after publication of his memoir, The Naked Civil Servant, his true-life account of his defiant exhibitionism and longstanding refusal to conceal his homosexuality.

John Hurt helped to make Quentin Crisp a media star in the movie adaptation of The Naked Civil Servant in the 1970s. In a sequel 30 years later Hurt made him a screen legend, very much in keeping with the lifelong ambition of Quentin Crisp.

In the second film, An Englishman In New York, Hurt portrayed the elderly Quentin Crisp as the New York gay icon based in Manhattan's funky-gritty Lower East Side in the 1980s and '90s.


At an age when most people would retire to a nursing home, Quentin Crisp left his native England and moved to New York City, where he pursued a career as a bon vivant and raconteur.

Asked by a BBC interview if he intended to die in New York, Saint Quentin emphatically said: "Oh no, I didn't come to New York to die. I came to New York to LIVE."

Arriving in New York in his 70s, he lived in his accustomed artistic squalor in a Lower East Side walk-up with a view through a grimy window pane of the next door neighbor's grimy bedroom window.


Every bit the considerate Englishman, he turned off his bare-bulb light at 11 p.m. and sat in the dark, lest the neighbor complain the glare from the 60-watt bulb (through two filthy window panes) kept him awake.

Saint Quentin experienced a meteoric rise after his cunning agent launched him into a career as a raconteur in an off-Broadway one-man show and he became a movie reviewer for a Christopher Street magazine.

But he experienced a meteoric fall from grace when, during one of his frequent TV talk-show appearances, he flippantly remarked that AIDS was "just a fad" which would soon be out of fashion, and the gay community viciously turned on him. Quentin, who had never apologized for anything in his life (and was not about to start apologizing), was perplexed when he was dropped by his agent and editor until his eyes were opened when he got to know young artist Patrick Angus, who later died of AIDS.

But in a Hollywood happy ending, Quentin was rescued by performance artist Penny Arcade, who put him back on stage, and Christopher Street re-hired him, paving the way for a glorious comeback and reconciliation with the gay community when he was in his 90s. 


It is fitting that most people know Saint Quentin only through these two films. As might be expected, the best recommendation for the films comes from Quentin Crisp himself, who once famously said: "Any film, even the worst, is better than real life."

Monday, November 20, 2017

FINDS SUGGEST ROMANS USED CAMELS
EVEN IN ROMAN BRITAIN



DID Antinous ride a camel … in Roman Britain?

In a new blog post by Dr. Caitlin Green, the historian explores the prevalence of camels across the Roman Empire, based on a number of camel remains excavated in areas such as Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia and the Balkans ... and possibly even in Britannia. 

As she notes, the remains are dated to between the 1st and 5th centuries CE, with many coming from the third century or later. 

Also, Dr. Green remarks on the variant use of different types of camels across the empire: 

"Recent surveys by both Pigière & Henrotay and Tomczyk indicate that, where identification is possible, the evidence points to dromedaries or Arabian camels being dominant in the western half of Roman Europe whilst Bactrian camels were mainly found in the east, although the split was not absolute … for example, a near-complete skeleton of a Bactrian camel is known from a Roman urban context at Saintes, France, and dromedary remains have been recovered from Kompolt-Kistér, Hungary."

Archaeological evidence indicates that camels were used across the Roman empire well into the early medieval period.

As historian Caitlin Green suggests, this includes the island province of Britannia.

In Roman antiquity, the camelus (from the Greek word κάμηλος) could come with one hump or two. 

The single humped camel is commonly called a dromedary. The dromedary was usually from the Arabian Peninsula and the African steppe regions.

The two-humped camel was the Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus), which generally hailed from the colder desert regions of Asia. 

There is strong evidence to support the hybridization of these two types as early as the 1st millennium BC, which produced a sturdier one-humped animal that could carry about 100 kg more per day.

From the Hellenistic to the Roman period, dromedaries were used to carry not only freight, but also mail along roads often protected by a police force. 

This was a camel mail service model inspired by the earlier Persian Empire. A number of overland trade routes stemming from the Red Sea ports used these pack animals to transport freight to the East, in order to connect to the Nile.

Yet bone evidence for camels within the empire has now expanded our view of these animals to include an area far beyond just the Red Sea region.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

FLUSHED WITH PRIDE, WE OFFER
THE LATEST POOP ON WORLD TOILET DAY



TODAY November 19 is WORLD TOILET DAY and we are flushed with pride to have kept you on the edge of your seats for five years with headlines on what's new in ancient toilets.

In Ancient Rome, many people believed demons lurked in the sewers ... which meant going to the latrine exposed very delicate parts of the anatomy to demonic attack.

For that reason, lavatories in Rome sometimes featured frescoes emblazoned with protective deities and apotropaic serpents shielding a person squatting in a vulnerable position ... to ward off evil.

In the fresco above, some ancient visitor to a lavatory scrawled graffiti saying: "Cacator cave malum" which means "He who defecates here, beware of evil!"

We were the first to report the discovery by Philippe Charlier, a Parisian forensic expert, that Ancient Greek ceramic discs which hitherto had been thought to be gaming pieces may actually have been used as a form of ANCIENT TOILET PAPER.


Charlier (pictured here) presented among other things, a Greek proverb stating, "Three stones are enough to wipe one's arse," as evidence that such stones were used to clean up after going to the bathroom.

This blog also was among the first to report on the discovery of the world's oldest WOODEN TOILET SEAT in September 2014 at Vindolanda Roman Fort near Hadrian's Wall in northern England.

Experts at Vindolanda believe it is the only find of its kind and dates from the 2nd Century, which dates to the time when the Emperor and Antinous may have visited on an inspection tour.

The site, near Hexham, has previously revealed gold and silver coins and other artefacts of the Roman army. The seat (at right) was discovered in a muddy trench, which was previously filled with rubbish.

Dr Andrew Birley, director of excavations at Vindolanda, told the BBC: "We know a lot about Roman toilets from previous excavations at the site and from the wider Roman world, which have included many fabulous Roman latrines.

"But never before have we had the pleasure of seeing a surviving and perfectly preserved wooden seat.


"As soon as we started to uncover it there was no doubt at all on what we had found. It is made from a very well worked piece of wood and looks pretty comfortable. Now we need to find the toilet that went with it as Roman loos are fascinating places to excavate ... their drains often contain astonishing artefacts," he said.

"Let's face it, if you drop something down a Roman latrine you are unlikely to attempt to fish it out unless you are pretty brave or foolhardy."

Dr Birley said many examples of stone and marble toilet benches existed from across the Roman Empire, but this is believed to be the only surviving wooden seat.

He said it was probably preferred to a cold stone seat given the "chilly northern location".

Saturday, November 18, 2017

IS THIS A TEMPLE TO ANTINOUS?



IS this a small temple to Antinous in Newcastle England? 

This small temple is dedicated to a curly-haired boy god called ANTENOCITICUS ... a deity worshiped by soldiers and local people at the eastern end of Hadrian's Wall.

Antinous in the guise of Antenociticus is not mentioned at any other Romano-British site or on any inscriptions from Europe, which is why it has been identified as a local deity.

Antinous priest and writer MARTINUS CAMPBELL, author of THE LOVE GOD about the life of Antinous, says it is highly possible Antenociticus is a local aspect of Antinous ... perhaps in honor of a visit to this outpost by Antinous and Hadrian.

Martinus says: "Archaeologically there is a period of time in AD 126 to 127 when we have no record of where Hadrian was. We do know, however, that the wall was completed in Ad 128."

He says: "It is believed he would have come to Britannia to oversee the final stages of the wall. It is further believe he would have brought Antinous with him."

Martinus adds: "That is why the locals (mostly of mixed Roman and British blood, by then) connected Antinous to a local deity Citicus and re-named him Antenociticus."  Stone heads of Antenociticus have been found nearby.