The Mysteries of Mithra
The Definitive Account of a Crucial Historical Moment when a Colorful Oriental Religion Swept over the Roman Empire
First published in 1956, this seminal study, by the great Belgian scholar Franz Cumont, remains the definitive coverage of a great ideological struggle between the West and the Orient in the first centuries of the Christian era. Mithraism, a mystery religion originating in Persia, spread rapidly through the Roman Empire, and achieved such strength that Europe almost became Mithraic. Dr. Cumont, the world’s’ greatest authority on aspects of classical religions, here discusses the origins of this colourful oriental religion, and its association with the Roman army. Then utilizing fragmentary monuments and texts, in one of the greatest feats of scholarly detection, he reconstructs the mystery teachings and secret doctrines, the hidden organization and cult of Mithra. This volume includes 70 illustrations.
Table of Contents
1. The Origins of Mithraism. 2. The Dissemination of Mithraism in the Roman Empire. 3. Mithra and the Imperial Power of Rome. 4. The Doctrine of the Mithraic Mysteries. 5. The Mithraic Liturgy, Clergy and Devotees. 6. Mithraism and the Religions of the Empire. 7. Mithraic Art.