The above image is by Mr. Nox, at Harlequinade Art. I asked him about what it was payment for, and he explained that it's a kind've lubrication – a sign of goodwill. Hearing this delighted me to no end.
And now, a quote:
“Of the various classes of divine being that existed for the Greeks, heroes are an interesting further option. Gods are gods (let us take what this means for granted!), and demigods are often born of a god and one mortal parent, though very few are recognized as such in cultus. Dionysos, for example, is never called a demigod, though Semele (his “final” mother) was mortal (though eventually made immortal as well). However, Herakles and Perseus are both sons of Zeus, and the latter is never considered a god and is only a hero, whereas the former hero was eventually deified and underwent apotheosis. The Dioskouroi seem like they ought to be heroes, but in fact they are considered gods more often than not. However, many heroes seem to have started out as strictly mortal. Whatever the cultic or theological reality may be in each individual case, perhaps the main distinction is that most gods have a timeless and eternal quality about them, whereas heroes have a beginning and end in death, but a very productive afterlife...
In the modern world, we should do all we can to cultivate the knowledge of the heroes and enact cultus for them, not only amongst our attested heroes from antique history and mythology, but also from our own beloved dead and ancestors, local and national figures, from George Washington to Ivar Haglund; and slain warriors and innocent causalties of war and terrorism as well. The various Sancti of the Ekklesia Antinoou are commemorated in an effort to open and continue the list of heroic people of the past. There are living heroes among us of various types, from emergency service personnel to returning veterans of past and present military service (both during wartime and not), from great teachers and influential thinkers to philanthropists and everyday virtuous people. The idea of hero cultus and her worship should not be something suppressed, but instead should be expanded, because exemplary action in many individuals inspires others to exemplary action. If realizing one's own divinity and virtue and heroism can occur because another heroic individual showed the way towards such a style of life, then it should be encouraged and promoted, rather than diminished by just saying these are “ordinary people” or that “they were just doing their jobs.” Heroes are different and special for not only doing extraordinary things, but for doing the ordinary things in an extraordinary way, and we all have the potential to become heroes, therefore, by doing our best at all times. Virtue requires no less.”
Mr. Virius Lupus is a fellow who I have prominently linked on this blog, and whose work I find myself reading quite often. He is a founding member of the aforementioned Ekklesia Antinoou, a revival of the Cult of Antinous. I have read both his Phillupic Hymns and (well, most of) the book I've quoted from above. Both are excellent, and I may seriously apply myself to reviewing the latter at some point when slaying dragons in a video-game isn't something I'm wasting my time with. Until then, I feel like saying this:
The book has a number of great topics, and Mr. Virius Lupus has a number of startlingly enjoyable insights on topics ranging from “syncretism in antiquity” to the hero cults, flower heroes, and even relations between Antinous and the Agathos Daimon are given in one chapter.
Read the man's blog. Buy his books, if you find yourself interested in any of the above. They're worth every penny that you'll pay. And in the event you can catch a panel with him involved at P-con, tell him that he's awesome.
To everyone else: spend tomorrow lavishing affection on those you love, and have an enjoyable weekend.