• The Roman Cult of Mithras: The God and His Mysteries

    The Roman Cult of Mithras: The God and His Mysteries (Hardback) By (author) Manfred Clauss, Translated by Richard Gordon

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    DescriptionSince its publication in Germany, Manfred Clauss's introduction to the Roman Mithras cult has become widely accepted as the most reliable, as well as the most readable, account of its elusive and fascinating subject. For the English edition the author has revised the work to take account of recent research and new archaeological discoveries. The mystery cult of Mithras first became evident in Rome towards the end of the first century AD. During the next two centuries, carried by its soldier and merchant devotees, it spread to the frontier of the western empire from Britain to Bosnia. Perhaps because of odd similarities between the cult and their own religion the early Christians energetically suppressed it, frequently constructing churches over the caves (Mithraea) in which its rituals took place. By the end of the fourth century the cult was extinct. Professor Clauss draws on the archaeological evidence from over 400 temples and their contents including over a thousand representations of ritual in sculpure and painting to seek an understanding of the nature and purpose of the cult, and what its mysteries and secret rites of initiation and sacrifice meant to its devotees. In doing so he introduces the reader to the nature of the polytheistic societies of the Roman Empire, in which relations and distinctions between gods and mortals now seem strangely close and blurred. He also considers the connections of Mithraicism with astrology, and examines how far it can be seen as a direct descendant of the ancient cult of Mitra, the Persian god of contract, cattle and light. The book combines imaginative insight with coherent argument. It is well-structured, accessibly written and extensively illustrated. Richard Gordon, the translator and himself a distinguished scholar of the subject, has provided a bibliography of further reading for anglophone readers.


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  • Full bibliographic data for The Roman Cult of Mithras

    Title
    The Roman Cult of Mithras
    Subtitle
    The God and His Mysteries
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Manfred Clauss, Translated by Richard Gordon
    Physical properties
    Format: Hardback
    Number of pages: 256
    Width: 156 mm
    Height: 234 mm
    Thickness: 25 mm
    Weight: 543 g
    ISBN
    ISBN 13: 9780748612307
    ISBN 10: 0748612300
    Classifications

    BIC E4L: REL
    BIC subject category V2: HBJD, HBLA
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T6.6
    BIC geographical qualifier V2: 1QDAR
    BIC subject category V2: HRKP, HDDK
    BISAC V2.8: SOC003000, REL072000, HIS010000, HIS002020, HIS002000
    DC21: 292.2113
    BISAC V2.8: REL114000
    Thema V1.0: NHD, NHC, NKD, QRS
    Publisher
    EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY PRESS
    Imprint name
    EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY PRESS
    Publication date
    27 July 2000
    Publication City/Country
    Edinburgh
    Author Information
    Manfred Clauss is Professor of Ancient History at the Free University of Berlin.
    Review quote
    In what he explains and demonstrates of the Roman version of the faith, Clauss can hardly be faulted ... [He] gives a good indication of the sociological implications of the religion in Europe, delineating the interaction of the community of its believers with Roman society ... The book is richly illustrated [with] good graphic material: an instructive map and fine outline drawings of rock and temple motifs and depictions, as well as ground plans of a temple. There are excellent and lucidly outlined descriptions of the initiation, the rituals and the seven grades, with the meaning of the symbolism and the text of inscriptions explained in a vivid way for the lay person ... [Clauss's] work constitutes the first simply written guidebook for the reader of this age and therefore has great merit as a work that is well organised and highly readable. This book is a welcome addition to Mithraic scholarship in English. [Clauss's] presentation is careful and concise, and gives a detailed presentation of the material evidence. A model of clarity. The author has included mention of important new finds in the notes of this English translation. There is a good up-to-date bibliography, compiled by Gordon, of works in English. The translation itself is very readable and smooth. The volume is attractively produced and carefully edited. Illustrations are well chosen and for the most part appear clear and sharp in the printed text. The book belongs in all college and university libraries ! The Roman Cult of Mithras is by far the best introduction to the subject now available in English, and advanced scholars will return to it constantly. In what he explains and demonstrates of the Roman version of the faith, Clauss can hardly be faulted ... [He] gives a good indication of the sociological implications of the religion in Europe, delineating the interaction of the community of its believers with Roman society ... The book is richly illustrated [with] good graphic material: an instructive map and fine outline drawings of rock and temple motifs and depictions, as well as ground plans of a temple. There are excellent and lucidly outlined descriptions of the initiation, the rituals and the seven grades, with the meaning of the symbolism and the text of inscriptions explained in a vivid way for the lay person ... [Clauss's] work constitutes the first simply written guidebook for the reader of this age and therefore has great merit as a work that is well organised and highly readable. This book is a welcome addition to Mithraic scholarship in English. [Clauss's] presentation is careful and concise, and gives a detailed presentation of the material evidence. A model of clarity. The author has included mention of important new finds in the notes of this English translation. There is a good up-to-date bibliography, compiled by Gordon, of works in English. The translation itself is very readable and smooth. The volume is attractively produced and carefully edited. Illustrations are well chosen and for the most part appear clear and sharp in the printed text. The book belongs in all college and university libraries ! The Roman Cult of Mithras is by far the best introduction to the subject now available in English, and advanced scholars will return to it constantly.