|Antinous bust in Potsdam, April 2014.|
I will be one of those presenting a research paper at the conference, in my case on "The Revived Cult of Antinous", in which I delve into one of the smaller forms of contemporary Paganism to have emerged over the past few decades: Antinoan religion. Antinous was of course a real human being, being the young lover of Hadrian, one of the "five good emperors" of Rome. Upon Antinous' early death, Hadrian proclaimed him to be a divinity, resulting in a cult devoted to his worship spreading across the Empire. Although that particular religious movement subsequently fell to the rise of Christianity, Antinous remained a significant figure in European culture, and in the latter part of the 20th century and early years of the 21st, various individuals set about to revive his worship. Due to the same-sex nature of the relationship between Hadrian and Antinous, the Antinoan new religious movement attracts a largely gay following, with some practitioners having openly declared Antinous to be "the Gay God". Based upon my own first-hand research into the movement, my paper will outline its development, as well as the beliefs and practices of its followers, and the manner in which it has made use of archaeological evidence in crafting a religion for the present day.