Mithraism


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to Mithraism: Zoroastrianism

Mithraism

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Mithras, God of the Morning, our trumpets waken the Wall! Rome is above the nations, but Thou art over all! ("A Song to Mithras," by Rudyard Kipling)

Mithras, "the soldier's god," was worshiped in Rome for more than three hundred years. Because the rites were so secret, there is no written record and very little other evidence indicating what that worship consisted of. Tradition identifies him with a Persian god who belonged to the pantheon ruled over by the great god, Ahura Mazda (see Ahura Mazda/Ahriman), the god of goodness. Ahura Mazda fought the evil god Ahriman for the souls of humanity and the fate of the world. As the incarnation of Ahura-Mazda on earth, Mithras's job was to be the "judger of souls." He labored to protect the souls of the righteous from the demonic hoard of Ahriman. Persian tradition said Mithras was the one born of Anahita, the immaculate virgin called "the Mother of God." She conceived him from the seed of Zoroaster (later called Zarathustra by the Greeks) that had been preserved in the waters of Lake Hamun in the province of Sistan in Persia. Called "the Light of the World," Mithras was the mediator between heaven and Earth. Born in midwinter, he remained celibate all his life. Striding forth into the coldness of the world, he killed the sacred bull and offered the blood of the sacrifice to his followers. In ritual celebration, they drank wine that was said to have turned into blood and ate the bread of the sacrifice after an initiation ceremony consisting of a ritual baptism. They worshiped on Sunday and celebrated the birth of the Hero, Mithras, on December 25th. After Mithras finished the work he had been sent to do, he ate a last supper with his followers and ascended into heaven to watch over them until the Day of Judgment, when good and evil would be separated.

The resemblance to Christianity is remarkable. And Mithraism arose in the Roman world at the same time Christianity did. Origen and Jerome, early Church fathers, noted the amazing resemblance and commented on it.

Although no written records have survived, many inscriptions to Mithras have been discovered and a series of Mithraistic temples in Italy have been excavated, one existing right under the present Church of Saint Clemente, near the Coliseum in Rome.

No one has seriously suggested that Mithraism was the sole inspiration for Christianity. Early Christian sources are simply too well documented. But the resemblance and the timing is too perfect to be totally coincidental. Early Christianity borrowed from many religious traditions (see Christianity, Development of) and very probably was influenced in some way by Mithraism.

References in periodicals archive ?
See Pizler, supra note 13, at 362 (clarifying combination of religions creating Yazidi); Jalabi, supra note 1 (discussing Yazidi as blended religion); see also Mithraism Definition, Encyclopaedia Britannica, http://www.
Although many of sport branches which have been mentioned whether in Mithraism or relating myths, but they are just today recognized as a sport branch and they are used to be considered as martial skills in the past, but considering Zoorkhaneh sport as we will see, a specific physical exercises were done for being trained in martial skills that can be categorized as physical education.
Perhaps most alarming was his campaign to eradicate Manichaeism, an even newer religion similar in certain respects to Christianity (and, like Mithraism, regarded by early Christians as a satanic counterfeit of Christianity).
Representative of the Syrian side in the expedition Nadim al-Khouri pointed out that the Horta site has two levels, one Roman and one Byzantine, and that excavations for this season focused on uncovering a temple dedicated to the god Mithras, the principal figure of the Greco-Roman religion of Mithraism.
Similarly, there are frequent discussions of Zoroastrianism, Mithraism, and Manichaeism, and their interaction with Christianity and Judaism.
Recognising Campbell, in Jameson's formulation, as an "anti-modern modernist" (162), Meihuizen proposes that Campbell embraces "the paradox [of] the form of the endless" (159) as the principle of his work: Futurism, Lucretian Epicureanism, Mithraism, perhaps Fascism, all given expression in the strictest of traditional forms, thus seem to lead almost inevitably to the conversion to Catholicism.
One such religion was called Mehr Parasty or Mithraism.
Cumont, who enjoyed a position of preeminence due to his work on the mysteries of Mithras, argued in his 1956 monograph that the Liturgy was not a product of Mithraism proper, much less the standard liturgy of the Mithraic cults.
Likewise, henotheism is, strictly speaking, not monotheism; but, for the moment, let us add ancient Israelite religion, Aten-worship, the Cult of Isis, Mithraism, and Platonism to the list as well.
Mithraism switched very easily to Christianity, as proved by the temples of Mithras still preserved in some of the churches of Rome.
The main difference is that Mithraism was open to other deities, while Christianity developed the notion of correct doctrines.
The Yezidis' distinctive religious oral tradition incorporates motifs from Mithraism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Gnosticism.