Later we find the worship of Isis and of Cybele,the latter being especially flourishing, with large corporations of dendrophori (priests who carried branches of trees in procession) and cannofori (basketcarriers); the worship of Mithras, too, had a large number of followers.
Mithras), the person so glorified being identified with the sun and represented in the sun's image; so the aureole is the Hvareno of Mazdaism.
Speculations about the Perso-Hellenistic Mithras appear to have been transferred to the Gnostic Abraxas.
MITHRAS, a Persian god of light, whose worship, the latest one of importance to be brought from the Orient to Rome, spread throughout the empire and became the greatest antagonist of Christianity.
Modified though never essentially changed, (1) by contact with the star-worship of the Chaldaeans, who identified Mithras with Shamash, god of the sun,(2) by the indigenous Armenian religion and other local Asiatic faiths and (3) by the Greeks of Asia Minor, who identified Mithras with Helios, and contributed to the success of his cult by equipping it for the first time with artistic representations (the famous Mithras relief originated in the Pergamene school towards the 2nd century B.C.), Mithraism was first transmitted to the Roman world during the 1st century B.C. by the Cilician pirates captured by Pompey.
The cult of Mithras began to attract attention at Rome about the end of the ist century A.D.
Mithras, identified with Sol Invictus at Rome, thus became the giver of authority and victory to the imperial house.
Finally, philosophy as well as politics contributed to the success of Mithraism, for the outcome of the attempt to recognize in the Graeco-Roman gods only forces of nature was to make the Sun the most important of deities; and it was the Sun with whom Mithras was identified.
The simplicity and smallness of the Mithraic temples are to be accounted for by structural and financial reasons; an underground temple was difficult to construct on a large scale, and the worshippers of Mithras were usually from the humbler classes.
The second group represents, first, the birth of Mithras; then the god nude, cutting fruit and leaves from a fig-tree in which is the bust of a deity, and before which one of the winds is blowing upon Mithras; the god discharging an arrow against a rock from which springs a fountain whose water a figure is kneeling to receive in his palms; the bull in a small boat, near which again occurs the figure of the animal under a roof about to be set on fire by two figures; the bull in flight, with Mithras in pursuit; Mithras bearing the bull on his shoulders; Helios kneeling before Mithras; Helios and Mithras clasping hands over an altar; Mithras with drawn bow on a running horse; Mithras and Helios banqueting; Mithras and Helios mounting the chariot of the latter and rising in full course over the ocean.
The head of the divine hierarchy of Mithras was Infinite Time - Cronus, Saturn; Heaven and Earth were his offspring, and begat Ocean, who formed with them a trinity corresponding to Jupiter, Juno, and Neptune.
Mithras was the most important member of the circle.
The Mithras legend has been lost, and can be reconstructed only from the scenes on the above described relief.
Mithras was born of a rock, the marvel being seen only by certain shepherds, who brought gifts and adored him.
Mithras was through his deed the creator of life.
Mithras defeated his purpose by discharging an arrow against a rock and miraculously drawing the water from it.
Mithras, his work accomplished, banqueted with the Sun for the last time, and was taken by him in his chariot to the habitation of the immortals, whence he continued to protect the faithful.
The scorpion, attacking the genitals of the bull, is sent by Ahriman from the lower world to defeat the purpose of the sacrifice; the dog, springing towards the wound in the bull's side, was venerated by the Persians as the companion of Mithras; the serpent is the symbol of the earth being made fertile by drinking the blood of the sacrificial bull; the raven, towards which Mithras turns his face as if for direction, is the herald of the Sun-god, whose bust is near by, and who has ordered the sacrifice; various plants near the bull, and heads of wheat springing from his tail, symbolize the result of the sacrifice; the cypress is perhaps the tree of immortality.
The ceremony was probably commemorative of the banquet of Mithras and Helios before the former's ascension, and its effect strength of body, wisdom, prosperity, power to resist evil, and participation in the immortality enjoyed by the god himself.
What in the opinion of Albrecht Dieterich (Eine Mithrasliturgie, Leipzig, 1903) is a Mithras liturgy is preserved in a Greek MS. of Egyptian origin of about A.D.
It is the ritual of a magician, imbedded in which, and alternating with magic formulae and other occult matter, are a number of invocations and prayers which Dieterich reconstructs as a liturgy in use by the clergy of Mithras between A.D.
Each day of the week was marked by the adoration of a special planet, the sun being the most sacred of all, and certain dates, perhaps the sixteenth of each month and the equinoxes, in conformity with the character of Mithras as mediator, were set aside for special festivals.
Mithras was ever on the side of the faithful, who were certain to triumph both in this world and the next.
The doctrine of the immortality of the soul was accompanied by that of the resurrection of the flesh; the struggle between good and evil was one day to cease, and the divine bull was to appear on earth, Mithras was to descend to call all men from their tombs and to separate the good from the bad.
The bull was to be sacrificed to Mithras, who was to mingle its fat with consecrated wine and give to drink of it to the just, rendering them immortal, while the unjust, together with Ahriman and his spirits, were to be destroyed by a fire sent from Heaven by Ormazd.
See further, Greek Religion; Mithras; Etruria, Religion; and articles on the deities, festivals and colleges.
But the form in which the whole is set forth is Oriental, and it must be carefully noted that the Mithras mysteries, so closely connected with the Persian religion, are acquainted with this doctrine of the ascent of the soul through the planetary spheres (Origen, Contra Celsum, vi.
Before Mani, Zarvan accompanied Mithras in all his westward migrations.
Mihr or Mithras and Feridoun or Thraetaona, the slayer of Ajis (or Azi) Dahaka, also Nariman, spelled Nairimanau, are familiar figures in the old Persian pantheon.
38 is as follows: "Mithras (MS. Mitra) great ...
The "soldiers" of Mithras, says Tertullian, were signed or sealed on their foreheads.
V.), that the votaries of Isis and Mithras were initiated per lavacrum, " through a font," and that in the Ludi Apollinares et Eleusinii, i.e.
Dieterich, Eine Mithras Liturgie (Leipzig, 1903); J.
It was in the third century that the cult of Mithras, with its mysteries and a theology evolved from Zoroastrianism, attained the widest diffusion in all Latin-speaking provinces of the Roman dominion; and it even seemed for a while as though the Sot invictus Mithras, highly favored by the Caesars, would become the official deity-in-chief of the empire.
Here the opposition between the good spirit of light and the demons of evilbetween Ormuzd and Ahrimans till remained the principal dogma of the creed; while all other gods and angels, however estimable their aid, were but subordinate servants of Ormuzd, whose highest manifestation on earth was not the sun-god Mithras, but the holy fire guarded by his priests.
In the religion of the people, these divinities always survived; and the popularity of Mithras is evinced by the numerous Aryan proper names thence derived (Mithradates, &c.).
1.131, where the names of Mithras and Anaitis are interchanged); and religious prostitution is transferred to her service (Strabo xi.
At her side stands the sun-god Mithras, who is represented as a young and victorious hero.
The festival of Mithras is the chief festival of the empire, at which the king drinks and is drunken, and dances the national dance (Ctes.
Iranian divinities, however, predominate on his currency: Mithras (Mihro or Hel-ios); the Moon Mah (also Selene); Athro, the Fire; Orthragno (Verethragna); Pliarro =Farna (hvarna), the majesty of kingship; Teiro =Tir (Tistrya the archer); Nana (Nanaia); and others.
Here, then, we have a perfect example of syncretism; as in the Mithras cult in Armenia, Asia Minor, and still further in the Roman Empire.
A great number of godsAsura, Mithras, the Dragon-slayer Verethraghna (the Indra of the Indians), the Water-shoot Apam napat (the lightning), &c.date from this era.