23 December 2012

Mithraeum of Santa Prisca in Rome

Today I have visited a small secret of ancient Rome. I strongly recommend it to anyone interested in exploring off the beaten track ancient Rome.


Una descrizione in italiano e istruzioni per la visita sono presenti su questo sito. Consiglio anche un sito completo su Roma antica sotterranea.


Description

In 1934 the Augustinian Fathers accidentally discovered a Mithreum, a place of cult consecrated to the God Mithra, under the Church of Santa Prisca. The Mithreum was built using the walls of a house dating back to the first century A.D. and of a building of the second century with two naves on which the church was built later.

There is a niche in the rear wall bearing an inscription in the vault that proves the Mithreum was already in use in the year 202 A.D.. The statue of the cult representing Mithra killing a bull and a Saturn lying down built with fragments of amphorae covered with stucco are placed in the niche. The Mithreum was destroyed violently around 400 A.D., probably by the Christians before the Church of Santa Prisca was built. (From Romacapitale)

The Mithraeum later became a Christian church


My visit

Very appropriately I visited on 23rd December, which is when the Romans celebrated the cult of the sun god venerated in Mithraism. We were a small group of six and were led into the chamber by our tour guide and a custodian.

Statue of Coates symbolizing the dawn of the sun
It is possible to take photographs in the Mithaeum but without a flash.

2 comments:

  1. What was the name of the tour company that led you on this tour? If you have any contact information for them, could you please pass that along. Thanks. Craig Baugh

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dennis, you can contact my guide on this tour, Chiara Proietti, at +39 335 67 47 268

      or by email at chiaraproietti@fastwebnet.it

      she does tours in English

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