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Mithras Killing the Bull

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Mithras Killing the Bull
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A view of the original statue of Mithras Killing the Bull that was found in the Mithraeum of the Baths of Mithras.

It was discovered behind the podia resting on a masonry base placed diagonally (h. 0.30). The head of the god was illuminated in a dramatic way through a skylight. The height of the statue is 1.70. It is made of Greek marble.

On the chest of the bull is the inscription:


“Kriton the Athenian made (the statue)”. This may have been M. Umbilius Criton, who is documented in the Mitreo della Planta Pedis. The statue seems to belong to the second century AD. The Mithraeum may have been installed in the first half of the third century.

Compare this statue that is on display in the British Museum.

The blade of the knife is missing. It was probably made of metal. The Phrygian cap was made separately and is also missing, as are the metal rays that were fastened in holes. The head of the bull and the head and an arm of Mithras were found in a channel in the Mithraeum, together with small fragments of the statue, that are ancient restorations. The statue stands upon a base of grey marble (resting on the masonry base), the same kind of marble used for the restorations. Obviously, a damaged statue had been acquired. The fragments must have been thrown in the channel by Christians, who erected a small edifice above the Mithraeum.

Information from The Ostia Mithraea: An Introduction to the Cult of Mithras and Tour of the Ostian Shrines

For a great, 18 minute introduction to Mithraism see here on YouTube.