Friday, April 14, 2006

Mithraism: An Essay by David Fingrut

Mithraism: An Essay by David Fingrut. This is a general survey of Mithraic religion, with bibliography and photograph of a 2nd-century Roman Mithraic marble statue from the British Museum. Mithraism was the Roman Empire's last Pagan state religion.

From the site:

For over three hundred years the rulers of the Roman Empire worshipped the god Mithras. Known throughout Europe and Asia by the names Mithra, Mitra, Meitros, Mihr, Mehr, and Meher, the veneration of this god began some 4000 years ago in Persia, where it was soon imbedded with Babylonian doctrines. The faith spread east through India to China, and reached west throughout the entire length of the Roman frontier; from Scotland to the Sahara Desert, and from Spain to the Black Sea. Sites of Mithraic worship have been found in Britain, Italy, Romania, Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, Turkey, Persia, Armenia, Syria, Israel, and North Africa.

In Rome, more than a hundred inscriptions dedicated to Mithras have been found, in addition to 75 sculpture fragments, and a series of Mithraic temples situated in all parts of the city. One of the largest Mithraic temples built in Italy now lies under the present site of the Church of St. Clemente, near the Colosseum in Rome.

The widespread popularity and appeal of Mithraism as the final and most refined form of pre-Christian paganism was discussed by the Greek historian Herodotus, the Greek biographer Plutarch, the neoplatonic philosopher Porphyry, the Gnostic heretic Origen, and St. Jerome the church Father. Mithraism was quite often noted by many historians for its many astonishing similarities to Christianity.


squeehunter said...

I'm not sure why this was posted but this paper is from the work of a kid in high school. It also uses Cumont as it's main source and there's been much much work on Mithraism since he's been around.

Dredd said...

The child prodigy is quite mature by high school, to the point of being more adept than those in colleges, or beyond.