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The architecture of Mithraic sanctuaries

July 16, 2013

There is no monograph about the inner and outer architecture of the Mithraic sanctuaries. After a secular debate on the mythological and theological definition of what a mithraeum means (from Cumont to Roger Beck’s star talk and the inner sacral geography of a Mithras temple), the new archaeological finds urgent the analysis of the physical architecture of the buildings too.

Some questions regarding this topic, partially answered or unresolved:

– what are the diffrences between a spelaeum, templum, aedes in Mithraic context?

– how and where the Mithraic banquet happened? Inside or outside? What alternatives do we have?

– where the food for the banquets was prepared?

-what kind of buildings they transformed as mithraeums and what was the function of the annexed buildings?

– how was the ceiling, walls and the other elements of the inner sacral geography colored? (policromy in antiquity and Mithraism)

– was the orientation, location and exterior of a sanctuary important and relevant in theological terms?

– do we know sacred areas near Mithraic temples?

– how a Mithras sanctuary was built (technique) and installed (rite)?

-why appears so many times cemeteries or graves near some Mithraic temples (Tienen, Fertőrákos, Grosskrotzenburg, Wiesloch)?

– what was the fate of the building after the Roman times? Were the sanctuaries affected by the rise of the Christianity?

Some plans of Mithraic sanctuaries:

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