Chapter

The Mithraic Mysteries as Symbol System: II. The Mithraeum

ROGER BECK

in The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780199216130
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191712128 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199216130.003.0008
The Mithraic Mysteries as Symbol System: II. The Mithraeum

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This chapter explores the initiate's understanding of his mithraeum as ‘an image of the universe for induction into a mystery of the descent and departure of souls’. The mithraeum is analyzed in detail using both the evidence from Porphyry's On the Cave and the archaeological sites to construct a normative template for the mithraeum. Other ‘images of the universe’ from antiquity are compared: the Pantheon, Nero's Domus Aurea, Varro's aviary, the circus, orreries, and sundials. Finally, the concept of the ‘cognized environment’ is taken from Biogenetic Structuralism to treat the mithraeum as the material representation of the initiate's cognized universe.

Keywords: mithraeum; image of universe; Porphyry On the Cave; Pantheon; Domus Aurea; Varro's aviary; circus; orreries; sundials; Biogenetic Structuralism

Chapter.  24912 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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