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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: Mithraism

DEFINITIONS

Mithraism:

The practices and beliefs of a mystery religion that developed in the Roman Empire between 100 c.e. and 400 c.e. The name comes from the Persian deity Mithras. Following in a legend attributed to Mithras, part of the initiation may have included a grate under which initiates stood. A Bull was sacrificed above them, allowing the blood to rain on the new initiates. It had seven initiatory degrees, and due to its popularity among the Roman military, it was spread throughout the empire. Although even the Romans considered the religion to be based on Persian sources, the actual Persian Mithraic mysteries seem to have been different and what we know as Mithraism is probably exclusively Roman in origin.




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