MITHRAISM

.

Visa Travel Agents Tours Hotels Flights About Iran GeneralIran Embassies Contact us


Google


MITHRAISM
         

In the third century BC there arose another Iranian religion called Mithraism which included elements of ancient Iranian religions along with Babylonian, Hellenistic and local influences from Asia Minor where it first arose. Mithra is the name of the sun in Persian, and this religion was based on a "solar hero" called Mithra who came as a mediator between man and God. In its doctrine it combined the Zoroastrian deities with Greek ones and propounded a belief in a supreme principle called Boundless Time, whose symbol was a human body with a lion's head and a serpent around it. There was also a belief in the two realms of light and darkness similar to Zoroastrianism. The essential distinction between Mithraism and Zoroastrianism lay in the importance it accorded Mithra as a divine savior of humanity. The career of Mithra is of great interest in that in certain features it resembles the life of Christ. After saving man from the destruction of evil forces, Mithra assembled his followers at a Last Supper in which he celebrated his feats and then ascended to heaven. Mithraism from the beginning took the character of a "mystery cult", that is, a cult whose teachings were hidden from the common view and were taught only to those initiated into it. It exalted the military virtues and had a very ordered and disciplined organization. Through Roman soldiers stationed in Anatolia, this religion spread throughout the Roman Empire, even into northern Europe. And although its liturgical language was Greek it spread more in Rome than in Greece. Many Mithraic temples have been discovered in Germany, England and other European countries testifying to the wide geographical dispersion of this religion. It was in fact chiefly through Mithraism, Which included a firm belief in astrology, that this latter art spread in the West. In Persia itself Mithraism was for awhile successful after the conquest of j!.lexander but was gradually replaced by the older Zoroastrian religion. But it continued to play an important role for several centuries in the Occident and must be considered as an important Persian influence on that part of the world.

 
 
 ISTA, INC.