Mithras
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Basic Information

In the 1st century AD, two new religions were spreading rapidly through the Roman Empire. One was Christianity, the other was the Mithraic Cult. Mithras was a Sun God imported from the east (coming from India or Iran) and adapted via the process/philosophy known interpretatio romana. The Mystery Cult of Mithras quickly gained in popularity among the ranks of soldiers deployed throughout the Empire. Mithraism eventually died out, leaving no surviving texts written by worshipers, so all we know about it is outsider views written by members of the competing contemporaneous religions.

Here's a few things we know about the god and the religion: Mithras seems to have been inspired by and adapted from Mithra of Zoroastrianism, but quickly turned into something else entirely once left in the gnostic hands of the Mystery Cult. Mithras was said to be born from rock or stone. Evidence suggests he was not originally a sun-god, that seems to have been added later. His name literally means "contract" and he was regarded as a god of justice who disliked liars. His worship involved the sacrifice of bulls, and rituals designed to induce altered states of consciousness. An initiate to the cult would first undergo a rebirth ritual, making them born again. A temple of Mithras is known as a Mithraeum. Several surviving pieces of artwork depict Mithras as an archer or hunter. He is sometimes associated with another Roman deity, Sol Invictus (the conquering sun).

Sources

Bibliography
1. Bull Killer, Sun Lord @Archaeology.org

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