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Mithraism

Mithra and the bull.

Introduction


Separate from Roman State Religion was the cult of Mithra, the ancient Persian god of light and wisdom, that came to Rome and became a popular religion in the Imperial period of the Roman Empire.

In ancient Persia, Mithra was the most important god. In the Zoroastrian sacred book, the Avesta, Mithra appears as a good spirit, and ruler of the world. After the Persian conquest of Assyria and Babylonia by the 6th century BCE, Mithra became the god of the sun. The Greeks of Asia Minor, identified Mithra with Helios, the Greek god of the sun, and helped to spread the cult. It was brought to Rome about 70 BCE. With a Roman Platonic interpretation, the cult spread rapidly throughout Italy and the Roman provinces during the period of the early Empire, and became especially popular in the Roman Legions and in the large cities and seaports.

Mithraism teaches the ideals of humility and brotherly love, the immortality of the soul, the last judgment, and the resurrection of the dead. Sunday was a weekly holy day and Mithra's birthday, December 25, was also holy, and his birth was noted by the adoration of shepherds. They had a baptism ceremony and a rite of communion. They used holy water and their priests were called father.

The Catholic church has always denied that Catholic beliefs or practices originate from Mithraism. They must think that it is all somehow coincidental.





The four elements and four directions.



Moon through the trees.

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