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The Pagan God - Mithras (The Mithraeum of Capua)


 The sign above the entrance

    The humble sign above the door of the entrance can be seen on the right.  The Mithraeum is a subterranean temple devoted to the pagan god Mithras. 

    Mosas Hadas wrote quite eloquently about Mithraism.  Here is a quote from his book, Imperial Rome:   "It was one of three eastern religions which had an important influence in Rome.  It was the most popular of the three and had, by far, the highest moral tone.  The origins of the God Mithras are shrouded in antiquity; by the time the Romans met him he had become associated with Persian Zoroastrianism, and was a deity of truth and light.  Mithraism introduced Romans to the idea of a world divided between good and evil, the powers of light and the powers of darkness.  Its followers joined Mithras in his militant fight against evil.

     Mithraism was a man's religion (perhaps it's fatal flaw -dp) rigorous and virile, with orders of membership somewhat similar to the degrees of modern Freemasonry.  With its sense of fraternity and its emphasis on combat in the cause of good, the cult of Mithras spread like wildfire through the Roman army; by the Third Century AD it was practically the army's unofficial religion.  Even the Emperor Commodus was reputed to have been an adherent.  In certain superficial elements its rites were not unlike Christianity's; there was, for example, a ceremony similar to baptism.  In fact the two were, for a time, competitors for the religious affections of Rome."

This is where the drillers broke into the chamber

     On the left you can see a patched wall.  This is where the Mithraeum was discovered.  Men digging a well in search of water instead found this ancient chamber.  (2.5m x 5m)

     The black and white picture in the lower left may be a depiction of ceremonies performed in the temple.

  The picture below shows Mithras slaying the bull.  As the story goes...  Mithras and the bull were alone on a barren world.  Mithras killed the bull to release the life which was within it.  As the bull's blood spilled upon the earth all of the forms of life we know today sprung forth into existence. (Nucci)

Note:   If you find yourself in Capua, and you would like to visit the Mithraeum you must ask the ticket seller at the amphitheater to take you there.

B/W - Faint remnants of  a mural depicting a ritual of some kind

A mural depiction of Mithras slaying the Bull

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