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Antinous is the Reason for the Season

By P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

Today, Saturday November 27, is for most people in the U.S. the “day after Black Friday,” a non-descript day at one side of the “biggest shopping day of the year” in the lead-up to Christmas. That happens to be the case this year, 2010; depending on when November 27 falls, it can be Thanksgiving itself, or one of the days before or after it. Even to the majority of Pagans, it’s just another day.

For myself, it’s a far more important day, and it happens every year whether or not the 27th falls on the day of, before, or after Thanksgiving. It is the Natalis Antinoi, the birthdate of Antinous, and one of a very small number of festivals which have come down to us with certainty from the late antique cultus of the god Antinous.

Antinous (his name has four syllables in both the Latin form and the Greek form, Antinoös) was a young ethnic Greek man of Arcadian ancestry who was born in the Roman province of Bithynia, became attached to the entourage of the Emperor Hadrian, and was the Emperor’s youthful lover until his death in late October of 130 CE, when he drowned in the Nile. Because of the customs of the day, drowning in the Nile conferred deification on whoever it happened to automatically, and so an immediate cultus of Osiris-Antinous came about; but because the Emperor’s grief at his loss was excessive, and the Emperor was the important person he was, the cultus ended up spreading all over the empire, where it persisted in some cases long past the “triumph” of Christianity in the late fourth century.

Read the original article at: Pantheon

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