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Related to Mithraism: Zoroastrianism


(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.

The Religion Book: Places, Prophets, Saints, and Seers © 2004 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(16.) 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, topic/386080/Mithraism (last visited Sept.
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.
Mithraism was an unofficial religion that was widespread throughout the Roman Empire in the early centuries of our era.
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).
Christianity was no more than a sect imported from the Eastern Mediterranean region - together with Platonism, Manichaeism, Zoroastrianism, Mithraism, Judaism, and Neo-Platonism.
Pourshariati argues that far from being characterized by an artificially imposed "orthodox" creed, the religious scene of Sasanian Iran can be viewed as a mosaic in which a variety of Iranian systems of belief, including Zoroastrianism and Mithraism, coexisted side-by-side with the Iranian Judaic and Christian communities.
The author covers important pages dealing with this last issue, analyzing from an anthropological perspective the interaction between Mithraism, respectively Orphism (on the one hand) and Christianity (on the other hand).
The fear of idolatry, for Tertullian, was rooted not only in the cult of Mithraism, popular among the soldiers, but specifically in rituals of the Roman army that bore religious significance under the rubric of abstract deities such as Honor (Honos), Courage (Virtus), and Reverence (Pietas).
In Mysteria Mithra: Proceedings of the international seminar on the 'Religio-historical character of Roman Mithraism, with particular reference to Roman and Ostian sources' 28-31, March 1978, 3-47.
Governorates (SANA) -- The excavations of the National-Polish Joint Expedition during 2009 in the site of Horta, 15 kilometers north of the ancient city of Apamea in Hama, uncovered a number of clay lamps and glass kohl jars dating back to the Roman and Byzantine periods.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.A big part of the temple was uncovered, particularly the altar and the main hall.
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.