Rarely seen crow's feet hiding behind the bull. From Twitter.
The snake, the dog and the bull bleeding corn. From Twitter.
According to Manfred Clauss, "The Roman cult of Mithras", this item belongs to the first quarter of the first century. It has been heavily restored, however.
Statue of coarse grained marble (H. 0.78 Br. 1.07). At first in Rome, afterwards
in the Townley Collection, nowadays British Museum.
Notes of Bianchini, which he made between 1702-1709;.Clarac, Mus. Sculpt.,
IV, 25 and Pl. 558A, 1191A; Ellis, Townley Gall., I, 284; Smith, Cat. Br. Mus.,
87f No. 1721 and fig. 11; MMM II 228 No. 65 and fig. 99; Hinks in Bruton,
Fort Manch., Pl. 19; RRS I, 295, 2. See fig. 168.
Mithras, slaying the bull. Three ears come out from the wound, the dog and the
serpent direct their heads towards them. Behind the bull, on the ground traces of
the legs of a bird (probably the raven). The two torchbearers are standing behind
the bull; their heads have got lost. Cautopates points his torch downwards witb
both hands; Cautes holds his r.h. against the bull's tail, holding a torch with his
Restorations: upper part of Mithras' body from the belt, except the r.arm and
the front part of the l. arm. Horns, cars and the front piece of the bull's muzzle.
On the base and on the back of the bull's body an inscription.
Together with Prof. Bernard Ashmole I studied this monument attentively. It appears,
that both torchbearers are genuine, perhaps except the l.h. of Cautes. But his r.h. and the
feet of both torchbearers guarantee the exceptional position.
According to Huelsen in BPhW 1889, 683, T. Claudius Livianus should have been a
Prefect of the Praetorian Guard during the reign of Trajanus (cl. MMM II 468 No. 69).
The monument is the earliest known from Rome.
Photographed by Carole Raddato 13 May 2014, when it was not on display but in storage.