Ca. 200 AD. Very rare Ancient Roman bronze statuette of a seated God Mithras. The Roman deity Mithras appears in the historical record in the late 1st century A.D. and disappears from it in the late 4th century A.D. Unlike the major mythological figures of Graeco-Roman religion, such as Jupiter and Hercules, no ancient source preserves the mythology of the god. All of our information is therefore derived from depictions on monuments, and the limited mentions of the cult in literary sources.
Very fine details; great patina and details. on a custom stand; 80 x 40 mm; 3.1496x1.5748 in; 140g; Provenance: From an old British collection, acquired on the UK art market in the 1980s.
Mithras is a deity originally worshiped in the east (Iran). In the 1st century BC, Mithras was already invoked by Roman soldiers on a conquest in the east. Mithras worship found its way to Rome via Asia Minor. However, the cult, which reached our territories through traders, officials and soldiers from the 1st century, is a new "Roman" version.
Legend has it that through a raven, Mithras was instructed by the gods to kill the divine bull. Mithras hunted to catch the bull. Then he dragged the animal to the cave where he lived and killed it by cutting its throat. By killing the bull, Mithras became immortal and invincible. Another important event from the legend, which can be found in the cult acts, is the meal of Mithras with the sun god Sol in the cave.
The cult sites for Mithras, the depictions, the hierarchy of the faithful and the initiation rituals, were strictly regulated. The cult buildings were supposed to depict the cave of Mithras and were cut out of the rock if possible. In places where no natural rocks were present, the buildings were partially excavated in the ground.
The initiation rituals took place here, while the spectators were on the higher aisles or benches. The representation of Mithras killing the bull mostly was depticted on, or against the wall on the western side, facing east where the entrance was. When the initiates entered the building, they looked straight at the statue, relief or mural of Mithras, the bull-slayer.
In the 3rd century there were great tensions between the Mithras cult and Christianity. There are therefore some known mithrea that were violently destroyed. Also in the Early Christian literary sources the mithrea and the cult of Mithras were put in a negative light by labeling them as "dark holes" where dark practices took place. This refers to the initiation rituals that were performed to obtain a degree in the cult community. The seven degrees in ascending hierarchy are: Corax or Raven, Nymphus or Bride, Miles or Soldier, Leo or Lion, Perses or Persian, Heliodromus or Sun Runner, and a figure called the Father. Certain tests had to be passed by the neofytes or the followers of the god in order to obtain a higher degree.
- Ancient Roman
- Figurine of Mithras, a Military God
- Century/ Timeframe
- Circa 200 A.D.
- Good Condition, See Photo