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Mithraism in Northern Europe

Again an article about the time of the beginning of our era. Mithraism has been a subject of articles within these pages more often recently, every time in another context. This time I want to speak about the German and Celtic tribes and their lives with the Romans, working towards interesting similarities in symbology of different convictions. The native peoples had strange relationships with the Roman empire. In 387 BCE the Celts managed to shortly conquer Rome. The Germans fought Rome a lot and the Bastarnae -for example- allied with the Cilician kings Perseus and later different kings Mithridates (I to IV) against Rome around 168 BCE. Teutons and Ambrones (German tribes) fought against Rome as well, but on the other hand Caesar writes in his ‘Bello Gallico’ that some German tribes helped him to fight the Celts. This friendly/hostile relationship-changes continued until the fall of the Roman empire. It… Read More »Mithraism in Northern Europe

Some information about Mithraism

There is plenty information about the cult of Mithras on the internet, but I was writing this short article in Dutch anyway, so why not translate it to English and put it here as well? My aim was a very general and short article, so I do not go into things too deeply. There is no longer scientific agreement on the origin of religion of Mithras. Actually I find the term “religion” not too suitable. The cult of Mithras was more like the mysteries of Eleusis, Isis, Bachus or Cybele than a religion such as Christianity. On the other hand, Mithraism may be more of a religion than the mysteries that I named. Mithraism was an initiation cult that had its peak in the Roman empire under soldiers and tradesmen. It didn’t originate in the Roman empire though. About 100 years ago, the Belgian scholar Franz Cumont (1868-1947) was the… Read More »Some information about Mithraism

Where did archeologists find Mithraeums?

In his Mysteries Of Mithra Cumont has a map from Roman times and notes where Mithraic findings have been done by archeologists and where Mithras-temples (“Mithraeums”) have been found. For years I have wanted to visit one of these temples and some of the marks on the map are even not that far away from where I live. The closest Mitraeum is marked at “Vetera”. It took some investigation to find out that nowadays this is Xanten in Germany not too far from the Dutch border. My girlfriend knew about an archeological park in Xanten where a Roman city is being excavated. Still, nowwhere could I find information about a Mithraeum in this park. Digging up old folders of the time that my girlfriend visited the park as a girl proved that the park is called “Colonia Ulpia Traiana” after the city, but that “Vetera” was an army-camp a few… Read More »Where did archeologists find Mithraeums?

the mithraeum of Saarbrücken – report of a visit

During my summer 2005 holidays in Germany, I paid a visit to the Mithraeum of Saarbrücken, or to be more correct: what is left of it. As I wrote in my article about Mithraeums, most have been smashed to bits. I didn’t have a whole lot of information about any of the Mithraums and the same was the case with Saarbrücken. This site has a few nice photos and a description of how to get there which was very helpfull. A few remarks about the route. The site that I refer to says (in my interpretation): – From Saarbrücken downtown follow the A 620 in the direction of Mannheim; – Pass the Bismarck-bridge; – Go left on the roundabout; – Then take the second street on the right (Mainzerstrasse). This is the hardest part. A map of the city is more than helpfull, because however we came from the centre… Read More »the mithraeum of Saarbrücken – report of a visit