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Reconstructed Mithraea in modern museums and archaeological parks

October 21, 2018

Ancient people of the Roman Empire created hundreds of spaces dedicated to Mithras, known commonly as sanctuaries of Mithras (the modern notion of mithraeum was never used by ancients, instead they labeled their spaces as templum, aedes, spelaea). Although the archaeological material from these spaces are extremely rich and due to the recent discoveries in the last decades we know much more about the archaeology of mithraea and their interior (mosaics, frescos, ceramic material, soundscape, position of statues and altars, repetitive or non-repetitive actions within the naos or outside of it), there are still big questions how a mithraeum looked like in antiquity. How dark was it? What kind of sounds they tried to immitate? Where the food was prepared for the banquets? How they sit on the benches? How many people participated and how often in such events? How often did they meet and how widespread were the acts of initiation in provincial contexts?

Some modern reconstructions of mithraea tries to anwer on these big questions of classical archaeology and religious studies by re-creating the interior of the sanctuaries. Some of them are from the early 20th century, others are from the 21st century. In any case, it is good to compare them and to find an aurea mediocritas, a solution which might be the closest to ancient realities.

From → Actualities

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