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The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman EmpireMysteries of the Unconquered Sun$
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Roger Beck

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199216130

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199216130.001.0001

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The Mithraic Mysteries as Symbol System: II. The Mithraeum

The Mithraic Mysteries as Symbol System: II. The Mithraeum

Chapter:
(p.102) 7 The Mithraic Mysteries as Symbol System: II. The Mithraeum
Source:
The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire
Author(s):

ROGER BECK

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199216130.003.0008

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

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