Some Antinoan Matters

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

heaven’s brightness,

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

launched itself,

the sky a theophany of lightning,

the dark abyss of night

illuminated by

thunderbolts hurling

Zeus Kasios.

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:


These are Steven Postoff images from The Sacred Antinous..
These are Shawn Postoff images from The Sacred Antinous..
The Antinous Tree.
The Antinous Tree.

2 thoughts on “Some Antinoan Matters

  1. Two small things:

    It’s Shawn Postoff, not Steven.

    Also, Hadrian visited Mt. Kasios several times (and we have an inscription that he wrote for some trophies Trajan dedicated there during/after the Dacian Wars!); but, the time that the priest and the victim were killed by lightning was not until the late 120s, when he was there with Antinous.

    Nonetheless, your poem is beautiful, and an excellent tribute to the Divine Emperor and the other Deities honored at that place through time! 🙂

    1. Hmm, shows what a mess I make when I try to do a blog post on the run. A few edits hopefully have helped. And when I wrote the poem I caught myself thinking how did he get from Mt Casius to Nicomedia so fast.
      Thank you for catching these things!

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