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The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries - Cosmology and Salvation in the Ancient World | Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries: Cosmology and Salvation in the Ancient World

David Ulansey


This book argues that the Roman cult of Mithras did not originate in Persia, as previously thought. Instead, the author suggests that the cult was triggered by the reaction of a group of Tarsian intellectuals to the discovery in 128 BCE of the Precession of the Spheres. To these fatalistic Stoics the only possible explanation for this phenomenon was the existence of a divinity powerful enough to shift the heavens, and this was to become the revelation at the heart of the Mithraic mysteries. This information was then married to the astrology of the zodiac and to the symbolism of popular Tarsian ... More

Keywords: Roman cults, Mithras, Mithraic mysteries, Persia, Tarsian myths, Precession of Spheres, Stoics, zodiac, Perseus

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 1991 Print ISBN-13: 9780195067880
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195067880.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

David Ulansey, author
Boston University