‘On Neo-Mithraism…’

Double-faced Mithraic relief. Rome, second to third century CE. Louvre Museum.

Double-faced Mithraic relief. Rome, second to third century CE. Louvre Museum.

Having an interest in such matters I was intrigued to come across the phenomenon of Neo-Mithraism. Although popularly considered to be an ancient Iranian mystery religion which was exported to the Roman Empire there is debate in scholarly circles as to whether Mithraism started in Iran at all. For example Roger Beck says in the Encyclopædia Iranica that 

 For most of the twentieth century the major problem addressed by scholarship on both Roman Mithraism and the Iranian god Mithra was the question of continuity. Did Mithra-worship migrate from Iran to the Roman Empire in some institutional form or was Mithraism invented in the West (with a few Iranian trappings) as a new institution altogether?

Whatever it’s ultimate origins there seems be a revival of interest in Mithraism with a number of new books and journals being published recently. This includes one written by Anglo-Iranian author Payam Nabarz called ‘The Mysteries Of Mithras’. I wish the revival of Mithras good luck- though personally I favour a faith that originated in Iran more recently…

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