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Mithraic vessel from Ballplatz

November 23, 2015

One of the most outstanding discoveries related to the religious experience within a mithraeum was discovered in Ballplatz, Mainz. First published in 1994 by Günter Horn, the importance of the find was highlighted only a year later by R. Merkelbach, doyen of the Mithraic studies at that time. The vessel and the context was published in details by I. Huld-Zetsche in 2008 in a monograph.

The importance of the find lies in the reliefs of the vessel, representing  seven figures, symbols of the initiation grades. The figures are presented in a very delicate, expressive way, showing certain movements or even sequences from the initiation ritual. Although many of the figures and scenes are represented on reliefs, the Ballplatz vessel is unique, because it represents also movements and an outstanding lived religious experience of the worshipers.

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