Cautes and Cautopates
CIMRM 254. Cautes and Cautopates.
Cautes and Cautopates are the torch-bearers, or dadophoroi. They are depicted attending Mithras in the monuments. Cautes holds his torch raised up, and Cautopates holds his torch downward. Their names are recorded in no literary text, but may be found on monuments, include CIMRM 1127 and CIMRM 2120-2121/CIMRM 2122-2123.
Both are depicted as smaller than Mithras to emphasize his significance, and both wear Persian style garments, notably a Phrygian cap, to emphasize the supposed oriental origins of the cult1.
Cautes holds a burning torch pointed up, whereas Cautopates holds a burning torch pointed down.2 Cautopates is usually depicted on the left, but not always.
On some monuments they have next to them a bull's head or a scorpion.5
An alternate interpretation advanced by David Ulansey is that Cautes represents the spring equinox and Cautopates the autumn equinox. Thus, represented on the left and right of the Tauroctony, they become a realistic cadre of the celestial equator and the constellations included between the two equinoxes during the Age of Taurus.6
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