Mithras in Scotland

Mike Aquilina has kindly emailed me notice of the discovery of a couple of altars of Mithras in East Lothian in Scotland.  The BBC have the story here.

The first stone has side panels showing a lyre and griffon as well as pictures of a jug and bowl, objects which would be used for pouring offerings on the altar. The front face bears a carved inscription dedicating the altar to the god Mithras – the furthest north that such dedications have been discovered.  …

The front face of the second stone shows female heads which represent the four seasons. All are wearing headdresses, spring flowers, summer foliage, autumn grapes and a shawl for winter.The centre of the stone contains a carving of the face of a God, probably Sol, wearing a solar crown. The eyes, mouth and solar rays are all pierced and the hollowed rear shaft would probably have held a lantern or candle letting the light shine through, similar to a Halloween pumpkin or turnip lantern.

An inscription on a panel beneath the four seasons is currently partially obscured, but experts said it was likely to bear the name of the dedicator – who is believed to be a Roman centurion – and the God to whom the altar is dedicated.Traces of red and white paint are still visible beneath the inscription panel, which experts said suggested it was originally brightly painted.

The pictures online aren’t very good, tho.


Leave a Reply