Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mithra(s) in Antioch

I have written in the past of the possibility of a Mithraic shrine in Antioch here. As the city was a major military base it makes sense that there should be one of more Mithraeums in the vicinity. 

In thinking about the theme some more I went back to the most extensive research on the theme of temples and cults in the city, namely Fred Norris' masterwork "Antioch as a Religious Center. I. Paganism before Constantine" published in ANRW, Teil II, Band 18, Berlin, Walter de Gruyter, 1990.

In this work he has to say:"Libanius has a legend which credits Cambyses with setting up a shrine to Mithra in Antioch. In accordance with the plan of his treatise, he most likely knew of the influence of the god in the city, and wanted to give it a proper place in his oration of praise to Antioch. Unfortunately this is the only reference to Mithra in the Antiochene literature. Since the Campus Martius was not thoroughly excavated, we can only suggest by analogy that Roman troops worshiped Mithra in Antioch as they did elsewhere.".

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