MITHRAISM AND MITHRAS: THEIR ORIGIN, HISTORY, SPREAD IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE AND RELATION TO CHRISTIANITY

MITHRAISM


mosaic with Mithras

Mithraism was one of best known foreign cults in the late Roman Empire. Professor Roger Beck of the University of Toronto Mississauga wrote for the BBC: “The Mithraists were worshippers of the ‘Unconquered Sun God Mithras’, as the inscriptions call him. We know a good deal about them because archaeology has disinterred many meeting places together with numerous artifacts and representations of the cult myth, mostly in the form of relief sculpture. “From this evidence we know that the cult was the last of the important mystery cults to evolve and that it thrived in the second and third centuries A.D. and waned in the fourth as élite patronage was gradually transferred to Christianity. [Source: Professor Roger Beck, BBC, February 17, 2011 |::|]

According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art: “Unlike the public rituals and processions dedicated to Cybele and Isis in Imperial Rome, the worship of Mithras was secret and mysterious. At the end of the first century A.D., the Iranian god Mithras, creator and protector of animal and plant life, began to appear in Italy, becoming especially popular with Roman legionaries, imperial slaves, and ex-slaves. Not limited to the class of soldiers, however, Mithraists could also be found in the circles of the imperial households. In the absence of Mithraic literature, evidence of the cult, its rituals, and customs comes from archaeological finds and depictions of the god.” [Source: Claudia Moser, Metropolitan Museum of Art, April 2007, metmuseum.org \^/]

David Fingrut wrote: “For over three hundred years the rulers of the Roman Empire worshipped the god Mithras. Known throughout Europe and Asia by the names Mithra, Mitra, Meitros, Mihr, Mehr, and Meher, the veneration of this god began some 4000 years ago in Persia, where it was soon imbedded with Babylonian doctrines. The faith spread east through India to China, and reached west throughout the entire length of the Roman frontier; from Scotland to the Sahara Desert, and from Spain to the Black Sea. Sites of Mithraic worship have been found in Britain,a Italy, Romania, Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, Turkey, Persia, Armenia, Syria, Israel, and North Africa. In Rome, more than a hundred inscriptions dedicated to Mithras have been found, in addition to 75 sculpture fragments, and a series of Mithraic temples situated in all parts of the city. One of the largest Mithraic temples built in Italy now lies under the present site of the Church of St. Clemente, near the Colosseum in Rome.” [Source: David Fingrut in conjunction with a high-school course at Toronto's SEED Alternative School, 1993, based largely on the work of Franz Cumont (1868-1947) */*]

Dr Nigel Pollard of Swansea University wrote for the BBC: “While Mithraism displays some Iranian elements and influences, in its Roman form it may have been a quasi-oriental cult that took on its own distinctive character within the multicultural environment of the Roman empire. It was widespread in the second and third centuries AD. In Britain, for example, mithraic temples have been discovered in London and on Hadrian's Wall. Many (but not all) of the worshippers of Mithras were soldiers and lower-ranking government officials. The cult required individual initiation (by revelation of secrets - hence these religions collectively are often known as 'mystery religions') and promised personal salvation, in contrast to the state cults. [Source: Dr Nigel Pollard of Swansea University, BBC, March 29, 2011 |::|]

David Ulansey wrote in “The Cosmic Mysteries of Mithras”: The Mithraic mysteries has captivated the imaginations of scholars for generations. There are two reasons for this fascination. First, like the other ancient "mystery religions," such as the Eleusinian mysteries and the mysteries of Isis, Mithraism maintained strict secrecy about its teachings and practices, revealing them only to initiates. As a result, reconstructing the beliefs of the Mithraic devotees has posed an enormously intriguing challenge to scholarly ingenuity. Second, Mithraism arose in the Mediterranean world at exactly the same time as did Christianity, and thus the study of the cult holds the promise of shedding vital light on the cultural dynamics that led to the rise of Christianity.” [Source: David Ulansey: “The Cosmic Mysteries of Mithras”, (Oxford University Press, 1991), Well.com ++]

“Owing to the cult's secrecy, we possess almost no literary evidence about the beliefs of Mithraism. The few texts that do refer to the cult come not from Mithraic devotees themselves, but rather from outsiders such as early Church fathers, who mentioned Mithraism in order to attack it, and Platonic philosophers, who attempted to find support in Mithraic symbolism for their own philosophical ideas. However, although our literary sources for Mithraism are extremely sparse, an abundance of material evidence for the cult exists in the many Mithraic temples and artifacts that archaeologists have found scattered throughout the Roman empire, from England in the north and west to Palestine in the south and east. The temples, called mithraea by scholars, were usually built underground in imitation of caves. These subterranean temples were filled with an extremely elaborate iconography: carved reliefs, statues, and paintings, depicting a variety of enigmatic figures and scenes. This iconography is our primary source of knowledge about Mithraic beliefs, but because we do not have any written accounts of its meaning the ideas that it expresses have proven extraordinarily difficult to decipher.” ++

Websites on Ancient Greece and Rome: Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Greece sourcebooks.fordham.edu ; Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Hellenistic World sourcebooks.fordham.edu ; BBC Ancient Greeks bbc.co.uk/history/; Canadian Museum of History historymuseum.ca; Perseus Project - Tufts University; perseus.tufts.edu ; ; Gutenberg.org gutenberg.org; British Museum ancientgreece.co.uk; Illustrated Greek History, Dr. Janice Siegel, Department of Classics, Hampden–Sydney College, Virginia hsc.edu/drjclassics ; The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization pbs.org/empires/thegreeks ; Oxford Classical Art Research Center: The Beazley Archive beazley.ox.ac.uk ; Ancient-Greek.org ancientgreece.com; Metropolitan Museum of Art metmuseum.org/about-the-met/curatorial-departments/greek-and-roman-art; The Ancient City of Athens stoa.org/athens; The Internet Classics Archive kchanson.com ; Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Rome sourcebooks.fordham.edu ; Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Late Antiquity sourcebooks.fordham.edu ; Forum Romanum forumromanum.org ; “Outlines of Roman History” forumromanum.org; “The Private Life of the Romans” forumromanum.org|; BBC Ancient Rome bbc.co.uk/history; The Roman Empire in the 1st Century pbs.org/empires/romans; The Internet Classics Archive classics.mit.edu ; Bryn Mawr Classical Review bmcr.brynmawr.edu; De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors roman-emperors.org; Cambridge Classics External Gateway to Humanities Resources web.archive.org/web; Ancient Rome resources for students from the Courtenay Middle School Library web.archive.org ; History of ancient Rome OpenCourseWare from the University of Notre Dame /web.archive.org ; United Nations of Roma Victrix (UNRV) History unrv.com

Persian Origins of Mithraism


Persian relief

David Fingrut wrote:“In order to fully understand the religion of Mithraism it is necessary to look to its foundation in Persia, where originally a multitude of gods were worshipped. Amongst them were Ahura-Mazda, god of the skies, and Ahriman, god of darkness. In the sixth and seventh century B.C., a vast reformation of the Persian pantheon was undertaken by Zarathustra (known in Greek as Zoroaster), a prophet from the kingdom of Bactria. The stature of Ahura-Mazda was elevated to that of supreme god of goodness, whereas the god Ahriman became the ultimate embodiment of evil. [Source: David Fingrut in conjunction with a high-school course at Toronto's SEED Alternative School, 1993, based largely on the work of Franz Cumont (1868-1947) */*]

“In the same way that Akhenaton,º Abraham, Heliogabalus, and Mohammed later initiated henotheistic cults from the worship of their respective deities, Zarathustra created a henotheistic dualism with the gods Ahura-Mazda and Ahriman. As a result of the Babylonian captivity of the Jews (597 B.C.) and their later emancipation by King Cyrus the Great of Persia (538 B.C.),d Zoroastrian dualism was to influence the Jewish belief in the existence of HaShatan, the malicious Adversary of the god Yahweh, and later permit the evolution of the Christian Satan-Jehovah dichotomy. Persian religious dualism became the foundation of an ethical system that has lasted until this day. */*

“The reformation of Zarathustra retained the hundreds of Persian deities, assembling them into a complex hierarchical system of 'Immortals' and 'Adored Ones' under the rule of either Ahura- Mazda or Ahriman. Within this vast pantheon, Mithras gained the title of 'Judger of Souls'. He became the divine representative of Ahura-Mazda on earth, and was directed to protect the righteous from the demonic forces of Ahriman. Mithras was called omniscient, undeceivable, infallible, eternally watchful, and never-resting.” */*

Did Mithraism Really Come from Iran


Zoroastrian symbol

David Ulansey wrote in “The Cosmic Mysteries of Mithras”: “For most of the twentieth century it has been assumed that Mithraism was imported from Iran, and that Mithraic iconography must therefore represent ideas drawn from ancient Iranian mythology. The reason for this is that the name of the god worshipped in the cult, Mithras, is a Greek and Latin form of the name of an ancient Iranian god, Mithra; in addition, Roman authors themselves expressed a belief that the cult was Iranian in origin. At the end of the nineteenth century Franz Cumont, the great Belgian historian of ancient religion, published a magisterial two- volume work on the Mithraic mysteries based on the assumption of the Iranian origins of the cult. Cumont's work immediately became accepted as the definitive study of the cult, and remained virtually unchallenged for over seventy years. [Source: David Ulansey: “The Cosmic Mysteries of Mithras”, (Oxford University Press, 1991), Well.com]

“There were, however, a number of serious problems with Cumont's assumption that the Mithraic mysteries derived from ancient Iranian religion. Most significant among these is that there is no parallel in ancient Iran to the iconography which is the primary fact of the Roman Mithraic cult. For example, as already mentioned, by far the most important icon in the Roman cult was the tauroctony. This scene shows Mithras in the act of killing a bull, accompanied by a dog, a snake, a raven, and a scorpion; the scene is depicted as taking place inside a cave like the mithraeum itself. This icon was located in the most important place in every mithraeum, and therefore must have been an expression of the central myth of the Roman cult. Thus, if the god Mithras of the Roman religion was actually the Iranian god Mithra, we should expect to find in Iranian mythology a story in which Mithra kills a bull. However, the fact is that no such Iranian myth exists: in no known Iranian text does Mithra have anything to do with killing a bull.

“Franz Cumont had responded to this problem by focusing on an ancient Iranian text in which a bull is indeed killed, but in which the bull-slayer is not Mithra but rather Ahriman, the force of cosmic evil in Iranian religion. Cumont argued that there must have existed a variant of this myth-- a variant for which there was, however, no actual evidence-- in which the bull-slayer had been transformed from Ahriman to Mithra. It was this purely hypothetical variant on the myth of Ahriman's killing of a bull that according to Cumont lay behind the tauroctony icon of the Roman cult of Mithras.

“In the absence of any convincing alternative, Cumont's explanation satisfied scholars for more than seventy years. However, in 1971 the First International Congress of Mithraic Studies was held in Manchester England, and in the course of this Congress Cumont's theories came under concerted attack. Was it not possible, scholars at the Congress asked, that the Roman cult of Mithras was actually a new religion, and had simply borrowed the name of an Iranian god in order to give itself an exotic oriental flavor? If such a scenario seemed plausible, these scholars argued, one could no longer assume without question that the proper way to interpret Mithraism was to find parallels to its elements in ancient Iranian religion. In particular, Franz Cumont's interpretation of the tauroctony as representing an Iranian myth was now no longer unquestionable. Thus from 1971 on, the meaning of the Mithraic tauroctony suddenly became a mystery: if this bull-slaying icon did not represent an ancient Iranian myth, what did it represent?

Origin of Mithraism


Mithraic sculpture

The deity Mithras was mentioned in very old Hindu and Zoroastrian religious texts. Mithra was the Zoroastrian angelic divinity of Covenant, Light, and Oath. Zoroastrian has been firmly dated to the 5th century B.C. and may have roots in the second millennium B.C. In Artaxerxes II's (r. 404 - 358 B.C.) trilingual inscription at Susa and Hamadan, the Persian Emperor Artaxerxes II appeals to "Ahuramazda, Anahita, and Mithra protect me against all evil". The Rigveda, a Hindu text s likely composed between roughly 1700 to 1100 B.C., has solar divinities that are not distinct from Mithra. In the Atharvaveda, a Hindu text, complied between 1200 and 1000 B.C., Mitra is associated with sunrise. The Sun Salutation, still used yoga today, is preceded by chanting 'OM Mitraya Namaha'. 'Mitraya' is the dative of the name 'Mitra,' one of the 108 Names for Lord Surya/Sun God. R. D. Barnett has argued that the royal seal of King Saussatar of Mitanni from c. 1450 BCE. depicts a tauroctonous (bull ritual) of Mithras. [Source: Wikipedia +]

Mithraism was described by the 5th century Greek historian Herodotus, the 4th century historian Xenophon, the A.D. 1st century Greek biographer Plutarch and the neoplatonic philosopher Porphyry. In 440 B.C., Herodotus wrote in Histories, book 1, ch. 131: “ Others are accustomed to ascend the hill-tops and sacrifice to Zeus, the name they give to the whole expanse of the heavens. Sacrifice is offered also to the sun and moon, to the earth and fire and water and the winds. These alone are from ancient times the objects of their worship, but they have adopted also the practice of sacrifice to Urania, which they have learned from the Assyrians and Arabians. The Assyrians give to Aphrodite the name Mylitta, the Arabians Alilat and the Persians Mitra.” Xenophon (ca. 397-340 B.C.) wrote in Oeconomicus, IV. 24:. Cyrus the Younger, addressing Lysander: “Do you wonder at this, Lysander? I swear to you by Mithra that whenever I am in health I never break my fast without perspiring.”

The colossal statuary erected by the Commagene King Antiochus I (69–34 B.C.) at Mount Nemrut in present-day Turkey, Mithras is shown beardless, wearing a Phrygian cap and Iranian (Parthian) clothing, and was originally seated on a throne alongside other deities and the king himself. On the back of the thrones there is an inscription in Greek, which includes the name Apollo Mithras Helios. According to the archaeologist Maarten Vermaseren, 1st century B.C., evidence from Commagene demonstrates the "reverence paid to Mithras" but does not refer to "the mysteries". Vermaseren also reports about a Mithras cult in 3rd century B.C. Fayum, Egypt. +

History of Mithraism

David Fingrut wrote: “Mithras was 'The Great King' highly revered by the nobility and monarchs, who looked upon him as their special protector. A great number of the nobility took theophorous (god-bearing) names compounded with Mithras. The title of the god Mithras was used in the dynasties of Pontus, Parthia, Cappadocia, Armenia and Commagene by emperors with the name Mithradates. Mithradates VI, king of Pontus (northern Turkey) in 120 63 B.C. became famous for being the first monarch to practice immunization by taking poisons in gradually increased doses. The terms mithridatism and mithridate (a pharmacological elixir) were named after him. The Parthian princes of Armenia were all priests of Mithras, and an entire district of this land was dedicated to the Virgin Mother Anahita. Many Mithraeums, or Mithraic temples, were built in Armenia, which remained one of the last strongholds of Mithraism. [Source: David Fingrut in conjunction with a high-school course at Toronto's SEED Alternative School, 1993, based largely on the work of Franz Cumont (1868-1947) */*]


Mithraic zodiac

“The largest near-eastern Mithraeum was built in western Persia at Kangavar, dedicated to 'Anahita, the Immaculate Virgin Mother of the Lord Mithras'.1 Other Mithraic temples were built in Khuzestan and in Central Iran near present-day Mahallat, where at the temple of Khorheh a few tall columns still stand. Excavations in Nisa, later renamed Mithradatkirt, have uncovered Mithraic mausoleums and shrines. Mithraic sanctuaries and mausoleums were built in the city of Hatra in upper Mesopotamia. West of Hatra at Dura Europos, Mithraeums were found with figures of Mithras on horseback. */*

“Persian Mithraism was more a collection of traditions and rites than a body of doctrines. However, once the Babylonians took the Mithraic rituals and mythology from the Persians, they thoroughly refined its theology. The Babylonian clergy assimilated Ahura-Mazda to the god Baal, Anahita to the goddess Ishtar, and Mithras to Shamash, their god of justice, victory and protection (and the sun god from whom King Hammurabi received his code of laws in the 18th century B.C.) As a result of the solar and astronomical associations of the Babylonians, Mithras later was referred to by Roman worshippers as 'Sol invictus', or the invincible sun. The sun itself was considered to be "the eye of Mithras". The Persian crown, from which all present day crowns are derived, was designed to represent the golden sun-disc sacred to Mithras.” */*

L. Michael White of the University of Texas at Austin told PBS: “In the Roman empire, we don't really hear much about the Mithras cult before the second century about the same time that Pliny starts to recognize Christians. But by the end of the second century there are Mithraic chapels. .... Mithraic chapels spread throughout most of the major cities, especially in the Western part of the empire. Now this Mithras is actually a deity that we hear of in very old Hindu and ... Zoroastrian religious texts. So the name has been around for many, many centuries, but by the second century of the Common Era in the Roman world the Mithras cult becomes a new expression of a kind of Eastern religiosity and Eastern spirituality that was finding a great deal of popularity among Greeks and especially among Romans. [Source: L. Michael White, Professor of Classics and Director of the Religious Studies Program University of Texas at Austin, Frontline, PBS, April 1998]

David Ulansey wrote in “The Cosmic Mysteries of Mithras”: “Our earliest evidence for the Mithraic mysteries places their appearance in the middle of the first century B.C.: the historian Plutarch says that in 67 B.C. a large band of pirates based in Cilicia (a province on the southeastern coast of Asia Minor) were practicing "secret rites" of Mithras. The earliest physical remains of the cult date from around the end of the first century A.D., and Mithraism reached its height of popularity in the third century. In addition to soldiers, the cult's membership included significant numbers of bureaucrats and merchants. Women were excluded. Mithraism declined with the rise to power of Christianity, until the beginning of the fifth century, when Christianity became strong enough to exterminate by force rival religions such as Mithraism.” [Source: David Ulansey: “The Cosmic Mysteries of Mithras”, (Oxford University Press, 1991), Well.com]

Mithras


Mithras with a Phrygian cap

Mithras was also known as Mitra, Meher, Meitros, Mihr, and Mehr. He was a kind of sun god. associated with the unconquerable or invincible sun. David Fingrut wrote: “The faithful referred to Mithras as "the Light of the World", symbol of truth, justice, and loyalty. He was mediator between heaven and earth and was a member of a Holy Trinity. According to Persian mythology, Mithras was born of a virgin given the title 'Mother of God'.c The god remained celibate throughout his life, and valued self-control, renunciation and resistance to sensuality among his worshippers. Mithras represented a system of ethics in which brotherhood was encouraged in order to unify against the forces of evil. [Source: David Fingrut in conjunction with a high-school course at Toronto's SEED Alternative School, 1993, based largely on the work of Franz Cumont (1868-1947) */*]

“As a deity connected with the sun and its life-giving powers, Mithras was known as 'The Lord of the Wide Pastures' who was believed to cause the plants to spring forth from the ground. In the time of Cyrus and Darius the Great, the rulers of Persia received the first fruits of the fall harvest at the festival of Mehragan. At this time they wore their most brilliant clothing and drank wine. In the Persian calendar, the seventh month and the sixteenth day of each month were also dedicated to Mithras.

Franz Cumont wrote in “The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism: "Astrology, of which these postulates were the dogmas, certainly owes some share of its success to the Mithraic propaganda, and Mithraism is therefore partly responsible for the triumph in the West of this pseudo-science with its long train of errors and terrors." [Source: Cumont, Franz. “The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism,” Dover Publications, Inc. New York, 1956].

“The Persians called Mithras 'The Mediator' since he was believed to stand between the light of Ahura-Mazda and the darkness of Ahriman. He was said to have 1000 eyes, expressing the conviction that no man could conceal his wrongdoing from the god. Mithras was known as the God of Truth, and Lord of Heavenly Light, and said to have stated "I am a star which goes with thee and shines out of the depths". */*

“Mithras was associated with Verethraghna, the Persian god of victory. He would fight against the forces of evil, and destroy the wicked. It was believed that offering sacrifices to Mithras would provide strength and glory in life and in battle. In the Avesta, Yasht 10, it reads that Mithras "spies out his enemies; armed in his fullest panoply he swoops down upon them, scatters and slaughters them. He desolates and lays waste the homes of the wicked, he annihilates the tribes and the nations that are hostile to him. He assures victory unto them that fit instruction in the Good, that honour him and offer him the sacrificial libations."” */*

Creation of Mithras


Mithras born from the rock

David Fingrut wrote: “In the Avesta, the holy book of the religion of Zarathustra, Ahura-Mazda was said to have created Mithras in order to guarantee the authority of contracts and the keeping of promises. The name Mithras was, in fact, the Persian word for 'contract'. The divine duty of Mithras was to ensure general prosperity through good contractual relations between men. It was believed that misfortune would befall the entire land if a contract was ever broken. [Source: David Fingrut in conjunction with a high-school course at Toronto's SEED Alternative School, 1993, based largely on the work of Franz Cumont (1868-1947) */*]

“Ahura-Mazda was said to have created Mithras to be as great and worthy as himself. He would fight the spirits of evil to protect the creations of Ahura-Mazda and cause even Ahriman to tremble. Mithras was seen as the protector of just souls from demons seeking to drag them down to Hell, and the guide of these souls to Paradise. As Lord of the Sky, he took the role of psychopomp, conducting the souls of the righteous dead to paradise. */*

“According to Persian traditions, the god Mithras was actually incarnated into the human form of the Saviour expected by Zarathustra. Mithras was born of Anahita, an immaculate virgin mother once worshipped as a fertility goddess before the hierarchical reformation. Anahita was said to have conceived the Saviour from the seed of Zarathustra preserved in the waters of Lake Hamun in the Persian province of Sistan. Mithra's ascension to heaven was said to have occurred in 208 B.C., 64 years after his birth. Parthian coins and documents bear a double date with this 64 year interval.” */*

Spread of Mithraism

David Fingrut wrote: “With the rapid expansion of the Persian Empire, the worship of Mithras spread eastward through northern India into the western provinces of China. In Chinese mythology, Mithras came to be known as 'The Friend'. To this day, Mithras is represented as a military General in Chinese statues, and is considered to be the friend of man in this life and his protector against evil in the next. [Source: David Fingrut in conjunction with a high-school course at Toronto's SEED Alternative School, 1993, based largely on the work of Franz Cumont (1868-1947) */*]

“In India, Mithras was recognized as 'God of Heavenly Light' and an ally of Indra, King of Heaven. Mithras was often prayed to and invoked along with Varuna, the Hindu god of moral law and true speech. Jointly known as 'Mitra-Varuna', it was believed that together they would uphold order in the world while travelling in a shining chariot and living in a golden mansion with a thousand pillars and a thousands doors. Mithras was also praised in the Vedic hymns. Just as in the Zoroastrian Avesta, the Hindu scriptures recognized Mithras as 'God of Light', 'Protector of Truth', and 'Enemy of Falsehood'. */*

“The worship of Mithras also extended westward through what is now Turkey to the borders of the Aegean Sea. A bilingual dedication to Mithras, written in Greek and Aramaic, was found engraved upon a rock in a wild pass near Farasha in the Turkish province of Cappadocia. Mithras was also the only Iranian god whose name was known in ancient Greece. A grotto located near the Greek town of Tetapezus was dedicated to Mithras, before it was transformed into a church. However, Mithraism never made many converts in Greece or in the Hellenized countries. That country never extended the hand of hospitality to the god of its ancient enemies.” */*

Mithraism Introduced to Italy


Mithraism fresco

L. Michael White of the University of Texas at Austin told PBS: “In the Roman empire, we don't really hear much about the Mithras cult before the second century about the same time that Pliny starts to recognize Christians. But by the end of the second century there are Mithraic chapels. .... Mithraic chapels spread throughout most of the major cities, especially in the Western part of the empire. Now this Mithras is actually a deity that we hear of in very old Hindu and ... Zoroastrian religious texts. So the name has been around for many, many centuries, but by the second century of the Common Era in the Roman world the Mithras cult becomes a new expression of a kind of Eastern religiosity and Eastern spirituality that was finding a great deal of popularity among Greeks and especially among Romans. [Source: L. Michael White, Professor of Classics and Director of the Religious Studies Program University of Texas at Austin, Frontline, PBS, April 1998]

David Ulansey wrote in “The Cosmic Mysteries of Mithras”: “Our earliest evidence for the Mithraic mysteries places their appearance in the middle of the first century B.C.: the historian Plutarch says that in 67 B.C. a large band of pirates based in Cilicia (a province on the southeastern coast of Asia Minor) were practicing "secret rites" of Mithras. The earliest physical remains of the cult date from around the end of the first century A.D., and Mithraism reached its height of popularity in the third century. In addition to soldiers, the cult's membership included significant numbers of bureaucrats and merchants. Women were excluded. Mithraism declined with the rise to power of Christianity, until the beginning of the fifth century, when Christianity became strong enough to exterminate by force rival religions such as Mithraism. [Source: David Ulansey: “The Cosmic Mysteries of Mithras”, (Oxford University Press, 1991), Well.com]

David Fingrut wrote: “According to the Greek historian Plutarch (46 125 A.D.), Mithras was first introduced into Italy by pirates from Cilicia (south-east Turkey) who initiated the Romans into the secrets of the religion. These pirates performed strange sacrifices on Mount Olympus and practiced Mithraic rituals, which according to Plutarch "exist to the present day and were first taught by them". However, there were many foreign cults in Italy at that time, and these early Mithraists did not attract much attention. [Source: David Fingrut in conjunction with a high-school course at Toronto's SEED Alternative School, 1993, based largely on the work of Franz Cumont (1868-1947) */*]

“It is one of the great of ironies of history that Romans ended up worshipping the god of their chief political enemy, the Persians. The Roman historian Quintus Rufus recorded in his book History of Alexander that before going into battle against the 'anti-Mithraean country' of Rome, the Persian soldiers would pray to Mithras for victory. However, after the two enemy civilizations had been in contact for more than a thousand years, the worship of Mithras finally spread from the Persians through the Phrygians of Turkey to the Romans. */*

“The Romans viewed Persia as a land of wisdom and mystery, and Persian religious teachings appealed to those Romans who found the established state religion uninspiring — just as during the Cold War era of the 1960's many American university students rejected western religious values and sought enlightenment in the established spirituality of Communist east-Asian "enemy countries".” */*

Mithras in the Roman Empire


Mithraeum in Brocolitia, Britain

Franz Cumont wrote in “The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism: "Let us suppose that in modern Europe the faithful had deserted the Christian churches to worship Allah or Brahma, to follow the precepts of Confucius or Buddha, or to adopt the maxims of the Shinto; let us imagine a great confusion of all the races of the world in which Arabian mullahs, Chinese scholars, Japanese bonzes, Tibetan lamas and Hindu pundits should all be preaching fatalism and predestination, ancestor- worship and devotion to a deified sovereign, pessimism and deliverance through annihilation — a confusion in which all those priests should erect temples of exotic architecture in our cities and celebrate their disparate rites therein. Such a dream, which the future may perhaps realize, would offer a pretty accurate picture of the religious chaos in which the ancient world was struggling before the reign of Constantine." [Source: Cumont, Franz. “The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism,” Dover Publications, Inc. New York, 1956].

David Fingrut wrote: “At a time when Christianity was only one of several dozen foreign Eastern cults struggling for recognition in Rome, the religious dualism and dogmatic moral teaching of Mithraism set it apart from other sects, creating a stability previously unknown in Roman paganism. Early Roman worshippers imagined themselves to be keepers of ancient wisdom from the far east, and invincible heroes of the faith, ceaselessly fighting the powers of corruption. Mithraism quickly gained prominence and remained the most important pagan religion until the end of the fourth century, spreading Zoroastrian dualism throughout every province of the empire for three hundred years.” [Source: David Fingrut in conjunction with a high-school course at Toronto's SEED Alternative School, 1993, based largely on the work of Franz Cumont (1868-1947) */*]

Rudyard Kipling wrote in “A Song to Mithras”:
"Mithras, God of the Morning, our trumpets waken the Wall!
Rome is above the Nations, but Thou art over all!"

Mithraism Members in the Roman Empire

Professor Roger Beck of the University of Toronto Mississauga wrote for the BBC: ““The cult was limited to men (not a good strategy for maximising market share), popular with the military (hence over-represented in the frontier provinces), with a large constituency in the city of Rome and its port Ostia. It consisted overwhelmingly of those a notch above the absolutely poor, a religion of the reputable but not of the élite. While Christianity developed hierarchically and strove to form and maintain a single Church - at least in principle - Mithraism remained comfortably local. [Source: Professor Roger Beck, BBC, February 17, 2011 |::|]

L. Michael White of the University of Texas at Austin told PBS: “It is sometimes suggested that Mithraism was especially popular among the military but even then we know it's also popular among civil magistrates in certain cities. It's not just traveling with the legions. [Source: L. Michael White, Professor of Classics and Director of the Religious Studies Program University of Texas at Austin, Frontline, PBS, April 1998 <>]

Mithraism and the Roman Military


David Fingrut wrote: “Mithras was worshipped as guardian of arms, and patron of soldiers and armies. The handshake was developed by those who worshipped him as a token of friendship and as a gesture to show that you were unarmed. When Mithras later became the Roman god of contracts, the handshake gesture was imported throughout the Mediterranean and Europe by Roman soldiers. [Source: David Fingrut in conjunction with a high-school course at Toronto's SEED Alternative School, 1993, based largely on the work of Franz Cumont (1868-1947) */*]

“In those days, it was imperial policy to remove troops as far as possible from their country of origin in order to prevent local uprisings. A Roman soldier who, after several years of service in his native country had been promoted to the rank of centurion, was transferred to a foreign station where he was later assigned to a new garrison. This way, the entire body of centurions of any one legion constituted a microcosm of the empire. The vast extent of the Roman colonies formed links between Persia and the Mediterranean and caused the diffusion of the Mithraic religion into the Roman world. */*

“Mithraism became a military religion under the Romans. The many dangers to which the Roman soldiers were exposed caused them to seek the protection of the gods of their foreign comrades in order to obtain success in battle or a happier life through death. The soldiers adopted the Mithraic faith for its emphasis on victory, strength, and security in the next world. Temples and shrines were dedicated to Mithras across the empire. In 67 B.C., the first congregation of Mithras-worshipping soldiers existed in Rome under the command of General Pompey. */*

“Upon enlistment, the first act of a Roman soldier was to pledge obedience and devotion to the emperor. Absolute loyalty to authority and to fellow soldiers was the cardinal virtue, and the Mithraic religion became the ultimate vehicle for this fraternal obedience.The Mithras worshippers compared the practice of their religion to their military service.” */*

Mithraism Spreads in the Roman Empire

David Fingrut wrote: “From 67 to 70 A.D., the legio XV Apollinaris, or Fifteenth Apollonian Legion, took part in suppressing the uprising of the Jews in Palestine. After sacking and burning the Second Temple in Jerusalem and capturing the infamous Ark of the Covenant, this legion accompanied Emperor Titus to Alexandria, where they were joined by new recruits from Cappadocia (Turkey) to replace casualties suffered in their victorious campaigns. After their transportation to the Danube with the veteran legionnaires, they offered sacrifices to Mithras in a semicircular grotto that they consecrated to him on the banks of the river. [Source: David Fingrut in conjunction with a high-school course at Toronto's SEED Alternative School, 1993, based largely on the work of Franz Cumont (1868-1947) */*]

“Soon, this first temple was no longer adequate and a second one was built adjoining a temple of Jupiter. As a municipality developed alongside the camp and the conversions to Mithraism continued to multiply, a third and much larger Mithraeum was erected towards the beginning of the second century. This temple was later enlarged by Diocletian, Emperor from 284 305 A.D. Diocletian rededicated this sanctuary to Mithras, giving him the title "The Protector of the Empire". */*

“Five Mithraeums were found in Great Britain, where only three Roman legions were stationed. Remains were discovered in London near St. Paul's Cathedral (a site which I visited in July 1992), in Segontium in Wales, and three were found along Hadrian's Wall in Northern England. Mithraism also reached Northern Africa by Roman military recruits from abroad. */*

“By the second century, the worship of Mithras had spread throughout Germany due to the powerful army that defended this territory. The greatest number of Mithraeums in the western world were discovered in Germany. An inscription has been found of a centurion's dedication to Mithras dating back to the year 148 A.D. One of the most famous Mithraic bas-reliefs, showing twelve scenes from the life of the god, was discovered in Neuenheim, Germany in 1838.” */*

State-Supported Mithraism in the Roman Empire


Mithraraeum of Victorinus

David Fingrut wrote: “When Commodus (Emperor from 180 192 A.D.) was initiated into the Mithraic religion, there began an era of strong support of Mithraism that included emperors such as Aurelian, Diocletian, andJulian the Apostate, who called Mithras "the guide of the souls". All of these emperors took the Mithraic titles of 'Pius', 'Felix', and 'Invictus' (devout, blessed, and invincible). From this point on, Roman authority legitimized their rule by divine right, as opposed to heredity or vote of the Senate. [Source: David Fingrut in conjunction with a high-school course at Toronto's SEED Alternative School, 1993, based largely on the work of Franz Cumont (1868-1947) */*]

“The Babylonian astrological influence within Mithraism established a solar henotheism as the leading religion at Rome. In 218 the Roman Emperor Heliogabalus (placed upon the throne at age 14) attempted to elevate his god, the Baal of Emesa to the rank of supreme divinity of the empire by subordinating the entire ancient pantheon. Heliogabalus was soon assassinated for his aspiration of a solar henotheism, but half a century later his attempt inspired emperor Aurelian to initiate the worship of the Sol invictus. */*

“Worshipped in an elaborate temple, magnificent plays were held in honour of this deity every fourth year. Sol invictus was also elevated to the supreme rank in the divine hierarchy, and became the special protector of the emperors and the empire. Many Mithraic reliefs showed scenes of Mithras and Sol sharing a banquet over a table draped with the skin of the bull. */*

“Soon after, the title of Sol invictus was transferred to Mithras. The Roman emperors formally announced their alliance with the sun and emphasized their likeness to Mithras, god of its divine light. Mithras was also unified with the sun-god Helios, and became known as 'The Great God Helios-Mithras'. Emperor Nero adopted the radiating crown as the symbol of his sovereignty to exemplify the splendour of the rays of the sun, and to show that he was an incarnation of Mithras. He was initiated into the Mithraic religion by the Persian Magi brought to Rome by the King of Armenia. Emperors from that time onwards proclaimed themselves destined to the throne by virtue of having been born with the divine ruling power of the sun.” */*

Mithraism and Christianity

Mithraism was a forerunner, competitor and contemporary of early Christianity even though the two religions had little to say about each other. Mithraism was described by the Gnostic heretic Origen, and St. Jerome, the church Father, and was noted by many historians as having similarities to Christianity. L. Michael White of the University of Texas at Austin told PBS: Mithraism, like “Christianity, was a rather late arriving religion in the Roman empire. We don't really hear much about the Mithras cult before the second century about the same time that Pliny starts to recognize Christians. But by the end of the second century there are Mithraic chapels. .... Mithraic chapels spread throughout most of the major cities, especially in the Western part of the empire. [Source: L. Michael White, Professor of Classics and Director of the Religious Studies Program University of Texas at Austin, Frontline, PBS, April 1998 <>]


Mithraic sun god Sol Invictus

“ Mithras is a kind of sun god. He's associated with the unconquerable or invincible sun, and indeed, if you think about it, Jesus too is often attached to a kind of solar deity identity. After all, he's worshipped on the day of the sun, Sunday. Jesus rises from the dead, much like the sun rising in the East, so this solar imagery that we hear of in relation to Mithraism is something that we find very comparable to certain aspects of early Christianity. [Source: L. Michael White, Professor of Classics and Director of the Religious Studies Program University of Texas at Austin, Frontline, PBS, April 1998 <>]

David Fingrut wrote: “ All of the initiates considered themselves sons of the same father owing to one another a brother's affection. Mithras was a chaste god, and his worshippers were taught reverence for celibacy (a convenient trait for soldiers to maintain). The spirit of camaraderie (and celibacy) was to be continued in the Roman Empire by the Christian belief in neighborly love and universal charity. [Source: David Fingrut in conjunction with a high-school course at Toronto's SEED Alternative School, 1993, based largely on the work of Franz Cumont (1868-1947) */*]

Yet,“Aside from Christ and Mithras, there were plenty of other deities (such as Osiris, Tammuz, Adonis, Balder, Attis, and Dionysus) said to have died and resurrected. Many classical heroic figures, such as Hercules, Perseus, and Theseus, were said to have been born through the union of a virgin mother and divine father. Virtually every pagan religious practice and festivity that couldn't be suppressed or driven underground was eventually incorporated into the rites of Christianity as it spread across Europe and throughout the world. */*

“As the final pagan religion of the Roman Empire, Mithraism paved a smooth path for Christianity by transferring the better elements of paganism to this new religion. After Constantine, Emperor from 306 337 A.D., converted on the eve of a battle in 312, Christianity was made the state religion. All emperors following Constantine were openly hostile towards Mithraism. The religion was persecuted on the grounds that it was the religion of Persians, the arch-enemies of the Romans. */*

“The absurdity with which Christianity enveloped Roman paganism was characterized by the early Church writer Tertullian (160 220 A.D.), who noticed that the pagan religion utilized baptism as well as bread and wine consecrated by priests. He wrote that Mithraism was inspired by the devil, who wished to mock the Christian sacraments in order to lead faithful Christians to hell. Nonetheless, Mithraism survived up to the fifth century in remote regions of the Alps amongst tribes such as the Anauni, and has managed to survive in the near-east until this day.” */*

Joseph Renan, French religious historian and critic, wrote in “The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism:“"If Christianity had been checked in its growth by some deadly disease, the world would have become Mithraic."

Mithraic Rituals and Christian Rituals

There are many similarities between the cult of Mithras and Christianity, including the ideas of salvation, virgin birth and 12 followers and worship on Sunday and December 25th. The possibility that some of Christianity’s core beliefs and practices were taken from Mithraism is hotly debated topic among religion scholars.


Early depiction of Christ, as a sort of sun god, from a Roman catacomb

L. Michael White of the University of Texas at Austin told PBS: “Mithraism seems to practice rituals of initiation. You have to be born into the cult in some way by going through a ritual that makes you a member. They seem to have communal meals in their private little chapels and so from the perspective of a pagan walking down the street of some of these cities, it probably would have been difficult, unless they really knew what was going on in some of these buildings, difficult to distinguish this little house over here where the Mithraists meet and that little house over there where the Christians meet. They're secretive. They're small. They do these unusual things and people whisper about them, worried about what they do. [Source: L. Michael White, Professor of Classics and Director of the Religious Studies Program University of Texas at Austin, Frontline, PBS, April 1998 <>]

On a Mithraic pottery vessel discovered in the 1980s with scenes of ritual moulded on its sides allows another significant comparison, Professor Roger Beck wrote: “One of the seven persons represented is a Mithraic 'father’ aiming an arrow at the initiate - a much smaller, cowering, naked figure. From painted scenes and references elsewhere we know that initiation by terror was normal in Mithraism. [Source:Professor Roger Beck, BBC, February 17, 2011 |::|]

“What is exciting about this scene is that the 'father', who is dressed like Mithras himself, initiates by re-enacting one of the god’s feats, the ‘water miracle’, in which Mithras fires an arrow at a rock face and miraculously elicits water. The element of water reminds one of the Christian initiation, the water of baptism. So here we have two striking instances of the analogous development of ritual and sacramental symbolism occurring at approximately the same time in two different religions growing up within imperial Rome. |::|

“There were, however, other features of Mithraism which afford no comparison with Christianity: an exotic structure of grades of initiation within individual communities: Raven' to 'Nymphus' (untranslatable) to 'Soldier' to 'Lion' to 'Persian' to 'Sun-Runner' to 'Father'; the use of astral symbolism as an esoteric language; initiation into what a contemporary source described as a 'mystery of the soul's descent and return' into and out of life on earth; calling their meeting places 'caves' — our term ‘Mithraeum’ is modern — because a cave is an 'image of the universe' and thus an appropriate venue for symbolic soul-travel; the use of interior rooms and actual caves (where available) as Mithraea to reinforce the point that as a symbolic universe a Mithraeum is an inside without an outside; the furnishing of the Mithraic 'cave' with 'symbols of the climes and elements of the universe' to match the microcosm with the macrocosm and so enable the mystery.” |::|

Paul, Mithraism and Christianity

Debra Kelly wrote for Listverse: “There’s an entire school of thought saying it wasn’t Christ who founded Christianity, but Paul. Different authors go about it in different ways. Some suggest that Paul was a highly literate adventurer who jumped at the chance to found a new religion when he saw Christ had no such inclinations, while others say Paul simply built on Christ’s teachings and filled in the blanks with parts of other world mythologies he was already familiar with. Regardless, the basic idea is that it was Paul who created the religion we all know today. And when it came to where he pulled his knowledge from, even Friedrich Nietzsche pointed the finger at the cults of Osiris and Mithras. [Source: Debra Kelly. Listverse, April 30, 2016 <+>]

“Paul was from Tarsus, which was a major center of Mithraic activity during his time. According to the theory, his writing is full of references to Mithras, like his comments in Ephesians 6:10-17 where he talks about putting on the armor of God and picking up the sword of the spirit. It’s an odd image in respect to what should be the following of a man who preached nonviolence, but it’s in line with the warrior cult of Mithras. Some suggest Paul was a priest of Mithras, while others take a huge leap to suggest he was the same person as Simon Magus. Evidence for that is extremely sketchy, but it has a little mainstream backing. <+>

“The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford has a copy of a paper that King wrote, bringing up the idea that Paul’s familiarity with the cult had an impact on Christianity. He writes specifically about the early idea that Christ was born in a cave, and Paul’s comments, “They drank of that spiritual rock . . . and that rock was Christ.” That was lifted straight from Mithraic inscriptions, and so was the idea that Sunday was the Lord’s Day—originally, it was Mithras’s day. One of the likely sources for the inclusion of ideas that would have been familiar to mystery cult adherents was Paul, but it’s likely we’ll never really know how much influence he had in shaping mystery religions into Christianity. <+>



Mithraism Today

David Fingrut wrote: ““Mithras is still venerated today by the Parsis, the descendants of the Persian Zoroastrians now living mainly in India. Their temples to Mithras are now called 'dar i Mihr' (The Court of Mithras). A scholar living among Parsis in Karachi, Pakistan reported that a Parsi mother, finding one of her grandchildren fighting with a younger child, told him to remember that Mithras was watching and would know the truth. Upon initiation, Parsi priests are given a 'Gurz', the symbolic Mace of Mithras, to represent the priestly duty to make war on evil. The priests continue to conduct their most sacred rituals under Mithra's protection. [Source: David Fingrut in conjunction with a high-school course at Toronto's SEED Alternative School, 1993, based largely on the work of Franz Cumont (1868-1947) */*]

“In Iran, up until 1979, traditional Mithraic holidays and customs still continued to be practiced. The Iranian New Year celebration called 'Now-Ruz' would take place during the spring and continue for thirteen days. During this time Mehr (Mithras) was extolled as ancient god of the sun. The 'Mihragan' festival in honour of Mithras, Judge of Iran, also ran for a period of 5 days with great rejoicing and in a spirit of deep devotion. */*

“These celebrations were encouraged under the Western-style cultural liberalism of the 1963 Revolution of the Shah, until exiled Islamic fundamentalist Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran in 1979 to impose strict Islamic codes of behaviour and dress on all Iranians. Khomeini immediately reversed the Westernization movement and proclaimed Iran to be an Islamic republic. Finally, all traditional Mithraic rituals were suppressed in the land that was once Persia, birthplace of the religion of Mithras.” */*

Legacy of Mithraism

David Fingrut wrote: “The Mithraic legacy resulted in customs still carried out today, including the handshake and the wearing of the crown by the monarchy. Worshippers of Mithras were the first in the western world to preach the doctrine of divine right of kings. It was the worship of the sun, combined with the theological dualism of Zarathustra, that disseminated the ideas upon which the Sun-King Louis XIV (1638 1715) and other deified sovereigns of the West maintained their monarchial absolutism. [Source: David Fingrut in conjunction with a high-school course at Toronto's SEED Alternative School, 1993, based largely on the work of Franz Cumont (1868-1947) */*]


AD 2nd century oil lamp with Sol Invictus

“Of all the Roman pagan religions, none was so severe as Mithraism. None attained an equal moral elevation, and none could have had so strong a hold on mind and heart as the worship of this sun god and saviour. The major competitor with Christianity during the second and third centuries A.D., not even during the Moslem invasions had Europe come closer to adopting an Eastern religion than when Diocletian officially recognized Mithras as the protector of the Roman Empire. But in the end, Christianity finally became the champion of the inevitable conflict with the Zoroastrian faith for the dominion of the known world. */*

“In theory, a proper coup-d'etat by the Mithras-worshipping Roman centurions could have prevented the Emperor Constantine from establishing Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire. Mithraism could quite possibly have survived through the following centuries with the theological assistance of the Manichaean Heresy and its various offshoots, assuming that the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth had somehow have been simultaneously quashed (possibly through an increased number of crucifixions). */*

“With the absence of Christianity due to the continuation of Mithraism in the west, the rise of Islam may similarly have been prevented in the seventh century, and the violence of the crusades need not have occurred. Assuming that Islam had not enveloped Persia, the worship of Mithras could have continued within the pantheon of Zarathustra. Consequently, Mithraism would have made an even stronger indentation upon the pantheons of India and China, and possibly spread beyond to other far-eastern countries. */*

“Columbus set sail during the Inquisition, another savage event representing the culmination of over a thousand years of European Christianity. Had Mithraism survived the millennium until the year 1492, the Indigenous people of the Americas would have been exposed to Mithraic worshippers instead of Catholic missionaries. Quite possibly, the Taurobolium would have been transposed upon the buffalo hunt rituals of the Plains Indians and the sacrificial ceremonies of the Maya, Inca, and Aztec, and these great empires would not have been annihilated by the brutal European conquerors who plundered in the name of King and Christ.e */*


Mithraic Kronos (Aeon)

“By playing quantum physicist through manipulating causality and further extending this 'What If?' scenario (and selectively ignoring countless variables) it is possible to reconstruct our current North American society with Mithraism in place of Christianity as the predominant religion and cultural driving force. After all, best selling author Mary Stewart used the concept of the local revival of Mithraism in medieval Britain for her novel Merlin of the Crystal Cave. The great Mithraic researcher Franz Cumont also commented extensively on the possibility that Mithraism had survived beyond Constantine. */*

“"The morals of the human race would have been but little changed, a little more virile perhaps, a little less charitable, but only a shade different. The erudite theology taught by the mysteries would obviously have shown a laudable respect for science, but as its dogmas were based upon a false physics it would apparently have insured the persistence of an infinity of errors. Astronomy would not be lacking, but astrology would have been unassailable, while the heavens would still be revolving around the earth to accord with its doctrines. The greatest danger, would have been that the Caesars would have established a theocratic absolutism supported by the Oriental ideas of the divinity of kings. The union of throne and altar would have been inseparable, and Europe would never have known the invigorating struggle between church and state. But on the other hand the discipline of Mithraism, so productive of individual energy, and the democratic organization of its societies in which senators and slaves rubbed elbows, contain a germ of liberty. We might dwell at some length on these contrasting possibilities, but it is hard to find a mental pastime less profitable than the attempt to remake history and to conjecture on what might have been had events proved otherwise." */*

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Rome sourcebooks.fordham.edu ; Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Late Antiquity sourcebooks.fordham.edu ; Forum Romanum forumromanum.org ; “Outlines of Roman History” by William C. Morey, Ph.D., D.C.L. New York, American Book Company (1901), forumromanum.org \~\; “The Private Life of the Romans” by Harold Whetstone Johnston, Revised by Mary Johnston, Scott, Foresman and Company (1903, 1932) forumromanum.org |+|; BBC Ancient Rome bbc.co.uk/history/ ; Perseus Project - Tufts University; perseus.tufts.edu ; MIT, Online Library of Liberty, oll.libertyfund.org ; Gutenberg.org gutenberg.org Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Live Science, Discover magazine, Times of London, Natural History magazine, Archaeology magazine, The New Yorker, Encyclopædia Britannica, "The Discoverers" [∞] and "The Creators" [μ]" by Daniel Boorstin. "Greek and Roman Life" by Ian Jenkins from the British Museum.Time, Newsweek, Wikipedia, Reuters, Associated Press, The Guardian, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, World Religions edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); History of Warfare by John Keegan (Vintage Books); History of Art by H.W. Janson Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.), Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated October 2018

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