From my diary

I have flu and can’t do anything!  Rats!  But I did manage to add CIMRM 335 to my Mithras pages.  It’s a marble relief of Mithras killing the bull, with some quite clear images of the other figures that hang around while the Persian guy is sticking it to the bull.  So it gets referenced quite a bit.  I noticed David Ulansey referred to it, while discussing the meaning of Cautes and Cautopates.

What’s interesting about this relief is … it’s lost.  Indeed it’s long since been turned into lime and pasted between some renaissance bricks.  Franz Cumont, in his collection of 1894, could do no more than reproduce the  line-drawing given by Montfaucon in the 18th century.  Which is not great, since the original was found and published in 1564.

One of the marvellous things about the web is that you can find original materials.  In the days when we all had to rely on libraries, you’d be very lucky if your research library even had the book.  The chances were that you wouldn’t be allowed to handle a book of that era.  As for getting a copy of a page… oh no!  Ask and the librarian would look down their long nose and make quite clear that you were not likely to be allowed to do that.  Dear me, no!  At the most you might get a very poor quality reproduction.

Today I just typed the stuff into Google, and in seconds came to the University of Chicago site, found the original, downloaded it — thoughtfully they indicated their permissions policy — uploaded it and was all done in less time than it took an old-type clerk to purse his lips and look distasteful.

Magic!

2 Responses to “From my diary”


  1. Attila

    I had little to no interest in Mithra’s cult.
    I have been reading your blog for quite some time, and often wondered if your time could be better spent with ancient fathers, considering your vast expertise.

    I have to take a “humanities” class which references Mithra’s cult over several pages. I had to double check to make sure the textbook is making stuff up (which in my opinion it is, at least as far as Christianity goes), but the first resource that came to my mind was your blog to link to your Mithra’s cult research.

    I didn’t realize how much I missed. I stand corrected.

    Thank you for your work.

  2. Roger Pearse

    Well, I’m just as interested in antiquity as in the fathers. I work with the fathers because few others will.

    But I do whatever seems interesting! And why not?!

    Thank you for your kind words, and I’m glad the site was helpful.

    Textbooks — especially elementary ones — can be unreliable. Always check that the claims are referenced to ancient sources. That said … in class you’re expected to follow the textbook line, I’m sure. The object is to get a grade, after all.