Mithriaca I: The Mithraeum at S. Maria Capua Vetere by M.J. Vermaseren

By M.J. Vermaseren

Mithriaca I is a brief monograph in regards to the Temple of Mithras at Capua. identified for the prior half-century as probably the most very important sanctuaries of the cult so good attested somewhere else in Italy (for instance at Marino, whose Mithraeum is to be studied in Mithriaca II) and itself in use, V. indicates (p. 49), from the early moment until eventually the center of the fourth century, it presents glimpses of the coming in Campania from far-off Persia of the grass-land wealthy person Mithra (miθrō yō vouru.gaoyaoitiš) who used to be to be hailed within the later Empire as Mithras invictus. the numerous older reveals at S. Maria Capua Vetere, first systematically investigated and released by means of Minto in Notizie degli Scavi (1924), 353 ff., are actually reassembled and revalued within the mild of what has been found considering the fact that, and for this job nobody is best certified, after all, than the writer. the following, within the 16th quantity of his sequence, he consists of out his concise survey with the benefit and impeccable scholarship of the specialist in his personal targeted field.

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F. R6foul6, Paris 1957). Cf. also F. J. D6Iger in AC, 11 1930, 268-280; H. ru d81I Porlrats des 3. Jahf'huwlerls MCh Chf'. in MdI64, 1957, 69-91 especially 74 if. THE MITBRAEUM AT S. MARIA CAPUA VETERE 39 military terminology. Tertullian does not tell us who offers the crown to the miles on a sword (Cumont, Demougeot) l)~r after a sword has been put forward (Fontaine) I). This act is compared to martyrdom 8) in which again it is the sword that confers the crown, but the miles is advised this obfJia manu a capite pellet-e.

RefouM I) is surely right to observe that "La traduction de Labriolle n'offre aucun sens satisfaisant, le passage du De corona ne faisant aucun allusion a un rachat" and equally that ,edimere never has the meaning of "take away". Hence Refoul~ proposes that the word comes from ,edimi,e = to crown, though he is aware of the fact that "il faudrait alors lire corona au lieu de co,onam, conjecture facile a justifier du point de vue pal~ogra­ phique. Mais l'absence du compMment direct reste difficile a expliquer".

43. 42 THE MITHRAEUM AT S. MARIA CAPUA VETERE but rejects it pronouncing an oath of fidelity which is also valid for the community (statimque creditu, Mith,ae miles). If one now compares the data from Tertu1li~ with the Capuan fresco (panel V) of the kneeling mystes, there is only one obvious similarity: a crown is being put on the initiate's head. But the neophyte does not reject it, nor is he trying to take it from under the sword and put it on his shoulder. If there is a sword in the fresco, which is doubtful, since the object concerned might equally will be a staff-it is lying on the ground.

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