From: David Stocker, A Hitherto Unidentified Image of the Mithraic God Arimanius at Lincoln?, Britannia, vol. 29 (1998), p.359-363. Above image is plate A. Online at JSTOR.
High up above the window lighting the second floor of the parish church tower of St Peter-at-Gowts,
in the Lincoln suburb of Wigford, is a large rectangular stone panel (c. 70 by 40 cm) set into the west wall (PL. XXXIA). This panel has been the subject of some sporadic debate over the years and questions have frequently been raised as to its date. The carving is very weathered, but a central seated or semi-seated figure is clearly visible. The figure is wearing a kirtle, short skirt, or loin-cloth, bound by a broad band at the waist, and it has an unnaturally long head and a bold hair-style. To either side of him/her are two unidentifiable, approximately rectangular objects. That to the figure's right looks like a shaft extending from the ground upwards, that to the left is squarer and seems to have a circular component level with the figure's waist. Level with the head on both sides are large rounded projections.
Hitherto this panel has been interpreted as a carving of either Christ or St Peter contemporary with the construction of the tower in the late eleventh century. It has proved impossible, however, to find an image of St Peter depicted in this way elsewhere in Western art. ... Like many of the Wigford churches, the tower at St Peter-at-Gowts is already known to contain some re-used Roman masonry in its belfry openings, ... A close parallel for the iconography of the St Peter's stone, however, can be found amongst Romano-British cult sculpture in the well-preserved statue of the god Arimanius, the Mithraic god of the dark, found in York in 1874 (Pl. XXXIB). Images of Arimanius are not common finds across the Empire (the
York example is the only certain depiction from Britannia, for example), but, even though rarely
depicted, the god has a very distinctive iconography which relates him to the gods of time Zervan and Kronos/Saturn and is typified by the York statue. In the York sculpture, Arimanius appears in a semiseated posture identical to that of the figure on the St Peter's stone, and he is naked above a short skirt or loin-cloth. His skirt is bound prominently at the waist by the serpent of eternity and he has attributes disposed in a very similar way to both left and right. To his left are his keys (the keys to the heavens), shown being held by the loop with the blades facing downwards, whilst his right hand is extended to hold his sceptre upright, with its base on the ground. He stands with his wings outstretched and disposed symmetrically, framing his head, which, unfortunately, is missing. The head of a lion is preserved, however, on an image of Arimanius from Castel Gandolfo, which, in addition to showing his wings, sceptre, and keys as in the York sculpture also shows him accompanied by snakes and by Cerberus. Although it is severely weathered and its detail far from clear, this precise iconography, and exactly these attributes, can be read into the St Peter's sculpture. Furthermore, although it is missing in the York statue, the lion's head is usual in depictions of Arimanius, and so an identification of the St Peter-at-Gowts figure with this god would explain both the odd shape of the head and the bold hair-do - which can therefore be read as the lion's mane. FIG. 17 is an attempt to interpret the badly weathered features of the Lincoln panel as a depiction of Arimanius, as he is seen in the sculpture at York.
The St Peter-at-Gowts stone is so weathered now that its identification as Arimanius by visual
comparison has to be very tentative.