Tuesday, 12 September 2017
The Roman Cult of Mithras
Mithraism, also known as the Mithraic mysteries, was a mystery religion centered around the god Mithras that was practiced in the Roman Empire from about the 1st to the 4th century CE. The religion was inspired by Persian worship of the god Mithra (proto-Indo-Iranian Mitra), though the Greek Mithras was linked to a new and distinctive imagery, and the level of continuity between Persian and Greco-Roman practice is debated. The mysteries were popular in the Roman Military.
Worshippers of Mithras had a complex system of seven grades of initiation and communal ritual meals. Initiates called themselves syndexioi, those “united by the handshake”. They met in underground temples, called Mithraea, which survive in large numbers. The cult appears to have had its centre in Rome.