From my diary

I’m mainly busy with the Mithras site at the moment.

I’ve been working through a list of new finds since 1960 made by John W. Brandt, together with a list by Szabo Csaba.  In each case I do a web search for pictures or sites.  I did the Riegel Mithraeum on Friday night.  It’s slow, but useful.

I wish I could find a picture of the curious sword found at Riegel.  This had a semi-circle in the middle of the blade, as wide as a man’s neck.  If put on, it would look as if a sword had been driven through the neck.  Undoubtedly it featured in some initiation ceremony.

Today I collected a curious volume from the library – Al. N. Oikonomides, Mithraic art: a search for unpublished and unidentified monuments.  It’s only a little book, with monochrome photos of a few such.  But it’s still very interesting, if not very scholarly.  It’s basically a set of random notes typed up.

I’ve also been working on the site infrastructure.  This relies on a borrowed perl script, buried deep within, to handle references; and I have never liked it, or indeed fully understood it.  On Friday I started to rewrite the thing in Java, rather cautiously – for website providers rarely support Java, or don’t support it very well.  Indeed mine has the “Diablo Java 1.6” runtime, of which I had never heard, but which turns out to be the BSD port of Oracle’s JRE, licensed in some strange way.  After several hours labour, the results were in, and it worked and was satisfactory; much more so than the original perl script.  I shall now move a lot of the code to Java, and take the opportunity to rethink some design decisions.

The Origen volume has come back from the typesetter with the latest set of corrections, and I have now produced a proof copy for the translator, and another for me.  I think that I will allow one set of corrections from this, and then go to print.  Somewhere there has to be an end to this task.  The typesetter, Simon Hartshorne, has been very good about this indeed, but I am embarassed to trespass on his generosity much more.

I’m probably doing some other things as well: just can’t think of them tonight!

6 Responses to “From my diary”

  1. Stephan

    Please keep up the great work Roger. I can’t believe what you keep finding. You should have been a detective.

  2. Roger Pearse

    You’re very kind – thank you.

  3. Edgar Wright

    Re Kultschwert aus Riegel am Kaiserstuhl: It happens my wife & I were visiting her cousins near Karlesruhe as part of our early December Christmas market tour. And in Karlesruhe, after we inspected the dollhouse exhibit, I got to see
    But no picture taking, the attendant shadowed us with diligence.

  4. Edgar Wright

    Hmm, that copied link is not behaving. To see your curious Riegelian sword, go to
    and in the right hand column click on Bildergalerie and progress to the 11th picture.

  5. Edgar Wright

    PS, my translation of the picture caption:
    Cult sword, Badisches Landesmuseum, from Riegel am Kaiserstuhl, Mithraeum, probably 2nd-3rd Century AD, bronze

    This one-of-a-kind ‘theater sword’ was probably used at “mystery plays”, perhaps initiation rites with ritual killings that took place in the Mithras cult. It could be placed around the abdomen of a participant so it simulated a deadly sword injury.

  6. Roger Pearse

    Oh wow! Thank you very much indeed!

    What a shame about picture taking, tho!