The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries

The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries : Cosmology and Salvation in the Ancient World

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This book sets forth an entirely new explanation of the meaning of one of the most popular religions of the Romans. The so-called "mystery religion" of Mithraism began to spread in the Roman Empire in the first century CE, reached its peak in the third century, and finally succumbed to Christianity at the end of the fourth century. At its height, the cult could be found "from the Black Sea to the mountains of Scotland", and it was evidently one of the principle competitors of early Christianity. Yet because of the great secrecy surrounding the practice of Mithraism almost nothing is known about the beliefs of the cult. The dominant theory about Mithraism has held it to derive from the ancient Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. In this groundbreaking work, however, David Ulansey argues its true origins lie in ancient astronomy and cosmology. All the iconography of the god Mithras, he shows, clearly correlates with contemporary representations of Perseus and the constellations that surround him.Based on this discovery, Ulansey constructs a fascinating and persuasive hypothesis concerning the time and place in which the mystery cult arose, and the events that stimulated its expression.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 166 pages
  • 152.4 x 218.44 x 20.32mm | 385.55g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Ill.
  • 0195054024
  • 9780195054026

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155 ratings
3.76 out of 5 stars
5 28% (44)
4 33% (51)
3 28% (43)
2 8% (13)
1 3% (4)
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