From my diary

I’ve found some rather good photographs of a fresco in a Mithraeum at Marino in the Alban Hills near Rome on a blog entry here.  The fresco depicts the “tauroctony” — Mithras killing the bull.  This is present in every temple of Mithras, but in this case it is a colour painting on the wall, rather than a stone relief, coloured or otherwise.

The most interesting elements are the side-panels, which depict elements of the myth of Mithras.  Since no literary source explains them, or indeed gives us the details of the mysteries of Mithras, we are forced to guess at their meaning.

These side-panels are not always present in a tauroctony, but I have seen them before.  The content seems to vary a little.  The bottom right panel at Marino shows Mithras drawing a bow.  The blog says this is the “water miracle”; not sure how we know that water is involved.  (You have to be wary around these iconographical people — they tend to state as fact their own theories about what can be seen in an image!)

A very nice post, all the same.  I wonder where the images come from?

2 Responses to “From my diary”


  1. Mike

    This mithreum is in Marino in the Alban hills very near Rome (not to be confused with San Marino, the small independent republic in central Italy).

    More info with a very large pic in this Wiki entry (in Italian) http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitreo_di_Marino.

  2. Roger Pearse

    Thank you so much! I have updated the post for this.



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