Recently, I’ve noticed some interest amongst Queer men (and some others) in on-line Hellenic (and Graeco-Roman-Aegyptian) circles in the revived cult-worship of Roman Emperor Hadrian’s deified beloved, Antinous (Antinoos in Greek). To a rather small group of individuals, this mere idea is controversial, at best (though they tend to describe it as “Ew! Icky for-een cultus to a Kept Boy™! get it away from MY Hellenismos!” — oi theoi, I almost wish I was joking). I’m going to ignore them, mainly just for being generally unpleasant, but also because 1) they ignore the fact that within the Hellenic religion, “foreign” cults were embraced often-enough that two rather famous ones, Kybele and Adonis, are generally considered thoroughly Hellenised (and really, it seems Antinoos’ only “crime”, in his veneration, is being born far too late for these people); and 2) even if one doesn’t consider Antinoos of ta theoi, his veneration doesn’t seem out of line with certain schools of ancient hero-worship. That said, well, if certain people wish to continue to breathe farts and talk poopie, I’m hardly going to stand in their way — free country and all that.
Now, I’m on this one Antinoos e-mail list (which I’ve been essentially a “silent lurker” to until about an hour ago) and it hit me as I went back to a few sites of info that, while often likened to Dionysos, I see a closer relationship to Hyakintos in Antinoos. Hell, if I wanted to tke a lead from my Token Hindu Friend™, I may even venture to posit the idea that Antinoos was an “avatar” of Hyakintos.
This is pretty much just one of those ideas that just popped into my head in the last hour, and I thought I’d share, cos there’s no real reason not to.
Also, from that same list, Phillupus had this to say:
Interestingly, Antinous is compared to Hyakinthos (and other flower-boys of Greek myth), but never syncretized to him…In several texts, in fact, Antinous is said to be “better” than these other flower boys (Hylas, Narcissus, Hyakinthos, &c.) for various reasons.
Whether one interprets Antinous’ ancient cultus as heroic or deific, the fact is that he was called “Heros” at some places (e.g. Delphi, Socanica, &c.), and “Theos” (e.g. Rome, Leptis Magna, Mantineia, Antinoopolis, Hadrian’s Villa, &c.) in others…those who dispute this are simply at odd with the facts. His cultus was not a foreign import, he was of Greek ethnicity and culture himself, and he is called a “native god” in places like Mantineia, Arcadia generally, and back home in Bithynia. Again, those who assert otherwise are doing so in ignorance of the facts as they are available on the most reliable sources on this matter.
And, Thespiae does have a definite connection to the cultus, at least as I see it. Hadrian’s bear-hunt trophy was dedicated in the Eros temple in Thespiae, asking for the kharis of Aphrodite-Ourania (patroness of male homoerotic love) in finding a young eromenos, and this was right around the time (c. 123-124 CE) that he would have met Antinous, by most estimates.