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Culture: Mythology Themes - Gods in Ancient Rome


AureliaeLacrimae
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Culture: Mythology Themes - Gods in Ancient Rome

Part 2: The Cult of Mithras

 

When I was studying the history of Ancient Britain, I found it curious that there was a cult of Mithras which had been brought to Britain sometime in the late Pre-Christian era. The Romans were responsible for this new exotic cult. I say exotic because Mithras is a Persian deity and it is curious that he also appears in Roman mythology. Here are some interesting facts about it:

 

Mithras as a Roman deity appeared somewhere in the Anno Domini era, from 1st century to 4th century, when it completely disappeared. Though there are few mythological sources about it, there are many depictions in caves. They mostly illustrate Mithras as a “bull-slayer.” In antiquity, the text usually refer to the “mysteries of Mithras” and it is often linked with the Persian deity. Many do not believe this, but we still have to note that sometimes Mithras appears with another figure, a mysterious lion-headed figure, who may have been the Arimanius (Avestan god of Zoroastrism, the evil spirit) himself. The temples for Mithras were often built in caves (this is why the depictions are found in caves as well). These underground temples have been built in the 1st century AD when the cult of Mithras is believed to have appeared in Ancient Rome.

 

This cult, though not very long lasting, was still influential, considering that it had gone as far as Ancient Britain (which was, at that point in history, a part of the Roman empire). This is why it should be mentioned, considering that it is a part of the Ancient Roman pantheon.

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