Temple of Mithras discovered at Mariana in Corsica

A previously unknown temple of Mithras has been discovered in Corsica, in Lucciana, on the site of the Roman colony of Mariana.

Tauroctony. From the Mariana Mithraeum.

French website l’Express carries the story with more care than most, from which I learn of the following details.

Mariana, a Roman colony founded around 100 BC, reached its peak in the 3rd or 4th century.  The excavations are in the peripheral area of the city, according to the Inrap (National Institute for Preventative Archaeological Research) communique.  The sanctuary consists of a Mithraeum and its antechamber.

The main cult chamber as usual consists of a central aisle, dug out, with two raised benches on either side, surrounded by a lime-coated wall.  Two vaulted brick niches are present in the thickness of the benches.  One still contained three intact oil lamps.

Oil lamps from Mariana Mithraeum

At the top of the corridor was the bas-relief of Mithras, of which three fragments were found.  Other marble elements were found, including the head of a woman.  Two bronze bells, many broken lamps, and some jars of fine paste could be liturgical furniture.

Mariana Mithraeum – bronze bell

A plaque of bronze and another of lead bear inscriptions which remain to be decyphered.  The exact causes of the destruction of the sanctuary are unknown.

There is more stuff at the Inrap site here.


3 thoughts on “Temple of Mithras discovered at Mariana in Corsica

  1. ran across this, perhaps you’ve seen already:
    In his illuminating chapter on the late antique Mithras cult, Jonas Bjørnebye weighs the assumptions of Mithraic studies against the evidence, providing a valuable reassessment of received opinions. By analysing epigraphical, literary and archaeological sources, he shows that the cult was still active in fourth-century Rome, in a continuity of cult practices from earlier times. Bjørnebye cogently argues for a mostly peaceful coexistence of Mithraism and Christianity at least in Rome until the cult simply faded from existence due to a lack of new initiates in the fifth century, and provides a useful list of literary references to Mithraism from the fourth century (p. 205 no. 29).

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