I wrote and offered this poem for Hadrian on August 11, a date the Ekklesia Antínoo marks as the Accession of Hadrian. Hadrian had climbed Mt. Casius at night, a sacred mountain whose local deity was syncretized eventually with Zeus, desiring to see the sunrise from the summit. Today the mountain is in southern Turkey near the Syrian border.
Baal Hadad had long protected that
mountain on which the sailors depended,
his lapis place striped with silver dispensing
a summit that would draw
Hadrian’s interest during the waiting game when
Trajan, his great uncle, was dying. Years later,
sacrifice, the Graeculus, would offer beside Antinous
in the high and sacred place
where the sacred rock sat in open temple’s embrace.
Storm gathering the peak
had been since immemorial ages past,
long forgotten Hittite lords had here come
and now he who held the
imperium of Rome,
came with attendant and victim,
treading up the mountain, reaching
summit as ferocious storm
the sky a theophany of lightning,
the dark abyss of night
The emperor and beloved were unhurt,
the victim taken and the attendant too; but
Hadrian knew sovereignty was still his in that dawn.
On August 13th we celebrated the Birthday of the goddess Diana (Dies Natalis Dianae) at Lanuvium West. Hippolytus, the young man she deified, was honored too. Here are some photos:
Important holy days are upcoming on August 21st and 2nnd: the Lion Hunt and the Festival of the Red Lotus.
I’d like to point out this commemoration of a lion hunt for a human-eating lion in the 2nd century CE absolutely in no way condones lion hunting today! We live in a very different world and today’s trophy hunters of endangered species are some of the vilest people we are unfortunately sharing our planet with.
And here are some photos of my Antinous shrine in the grove: