The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries: Cosmology and Salvation in the Ancient World (Paperback)
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Short Description for The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries This volume sets forth a new explanation of the meaning of the cult of Mithraism, tracing its origins not, as commonly held, to the ancient Persian religion, but to ancient astronomy and cosmology.
- Published: 11 July 1991
- Format: Paperback 168 pages
- ISBN 13: 9780195067880 ISBN 10: 0195067886
- Sales rank: 400,435
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Full description for The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries
David Ulansey's book breaks new scholastic ground by arguing that the Roman cult of Mithras did not originate in Persia, as previously thought. Instead, Ulansey suggests, the cult was triggered by the reaction of a group of Tarsian intellectuals to the discovery in 128 BCE, of the Precession of the Spheres. To these fatalistic Stoics the only possible explanation for this phenomenon was the existence of a divinity powerful enough to shift the heavens, and this was to become the revelation at the heart of the Mithraic mysteries. This information was then married to the astrology of the zodiac and to the symbolism of popular Tarsian myths surrounding Perseus to create the fabric of the religion. David Ulansey's study is an absorbing, carefully researched, and frequently beautiful description of an ancient cult which long fascinated scholars by virtue of the lack of written evidence concerning it and the paradoxical wealth of artefacts and iconography uncovered by archaeologists.