The extant evidence for the religion that does exist is overwhelmingly archaeological and iconographic. These remains reveal a practice that was spread throughout the Roman Empire though its epicenter appears to have been in Rome.
The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire
Scholars estimate there were as many as temples there in late antiquity although only eight are extant today. The most famous one lies two levels below the current San Clemente church near the Roman Colosseum.
As many as eighteen extant Mithraea survive in moderately good condition in Rome's ancient port of Ostia Antica alone, suggesting the above estimate is not an exaggeration. With such abundant material remains and few texts, Mithraism offers an ideal starting place for the student of late antiquity to learn how visual representations, as well as Merleau-Ponty's approach to the perception of space offers an appropriate theoretical framework for understanding how initiates used to perceive and experience the sacred space of the mithraeum. Further, the Lakoff and Johnson approach to the metaphorization and conventional conceptions of time is applied illustrating the way in which the initiates into the mithraic mysteries perceived and conceptualized time.
In particular, it is suggested that conventional metaphorical mappings, imbuing the conceptual systems of Mithraists, functioned as a means of conceptualization of the initiatory experience in relation to the perception of space and time.
Mithras; Mithraism; mithraeum; mysteries; initiation; perception of space; perception of time; metaphor; ritual; cognition; phenomenology. De Antro Nympharum.
13 Greco-Roman Astrologers, the Magi, and Mithraism in: The Star of Bethlehem and the Magi
Tetrabiblos ed. Rome: Bretchneider, 29— DOI An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while. No cover image.
click Read preview. Synopsis A study of the religious system of Mithraism, one of the 'mystery cults' popular in the Roman Empire contemporary with early Christianity.
Roger Beck describes Mithraism from the point of view of the initiate engaging with the religion and its rich symbolic system in thought, word, ritualaction, and cult life. He employs the methods of anthropology of religion and the new cognitive science of religion to explore in detail the semiotics of the Mysteries' astral symbolism, which has been the principal subject of his many previous publications on the cult.
Excerpt This book has been many, many years in the making.