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(mĭth`rə), ancient god of Persia and India (where he was called Mitra). Until the 6th cent. B.C., Mithra was apparently a minor figure in the Zoroastrian system. Under the Achaemenids, Mithra became increasingly important, until he appeared in the 5th cent. B.C. as the principal Persian deity, the god of light and wisdom, closely associated with the sun. His cult expanded through the Middle East into Europe and became a worldwide religion, called Mithraism. This was one of the great religions of the Roman Empire, and in the 2d cent. A.D. it was more general than Christianity. Mithraism found widest favor among the Roman legions, for whom Mithra (or Mithras in Latin and Greek) was the ideal divine comrade and fighter. The fundamental aspect of the Mithraic system was the dualistic struggle between the forces of good and evil. Mithra, who gave to his devotees hope of blessed immortality, represented the fearless antagonist of the powers of darkness. The story of Mithra's capture and sacrifice of a sacred bull, from whose body sprang all the beneficent things of the earth, was a central cultic myth. The ethics of Mithraism were rigorous; fasting and continence were strongly prescribed. The rituals, highly secret and restricted to men only, included many of the sacramental forms common to the mystery religions (e.g., baptism and the sacred banquet). Mithraism, which bore many similarities to Christianity, declined rapidly in the late 3d cent. A.D.


See F. Cumont, The Mysteries of Mithra (reissued, 1956) and M. J. Vumaseren, Mithras, the Secret God (1963).

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Mithra (Mithras)

god of sunlight. [Persian Myth.: EB, VI: 944–945]
See: Sun
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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In 2018, Mithra signed an exclusive long-term license and supply agreement with Gedeon Richter for the commercialization of Estelle in Europe and Russia, as well as further agreements in Japan/ASEAN, Brazil, Canada, South Africa, South Korea and Middle East.
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Among many sun-gods and sons-of-god Attis, Dionysus, Prometheus, Horns, Hercules, Mithras, Sandan, Buddha and Krishna to name a few--Constantine chose the Christ character despite the schizophrenic, violent and even racist (15) nature of Jesus recorded in the Gospels.
In this research we will initially look through the footmark of sport in Mithraism in Iran and Rome, especially in sports such as archery, Javelin throw, Chariot race and Zoorkhaneh then, the relationship between Iran and Rome and, consecutive peace and battles are investigated and at the end, the effects of Roman-Persian wars on the worship of deity Mithra on one hand, and sport in both empires on the other hand will be surveyed to find an answer for this fundamental question that, to what extend have the athletic activities been shaped in relation to martial skills and long-term battles between Persian and Roman and also, how prominent has been the role of deity Mithra in such events.
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