Mithraeum at Caesarea Maritima

Most tour/study groups will visit Caesarea Maritima as part of their program in the Holy Land.  There they will typically visit the theater, the hippodrome/circus, the Crusader City, and the aqueduct.

The Mithraeum is inside the left (northern) storage vault

Another interesting, but infrequently visited site is the Mithraeum that is located in one of the storage vault areas just to the north of the seaside hippodrome/circus.  There, from the first to the fourth century pagans worshiped the deity Mithra/Mithras.

The worship of Mithra was especially favored by soldiers in the Roman Legions.

Mithra slaying the bull — a statue in the British Museum
To view a full size image with commentary and without markings Click Here

The statue above depicts Mithra dressed in a flowing garment with a Phrygian style hat.  Notice him plunging his knife into the bull while a dog and a snake lap up the blood.  A scorpion is biting the bull’s genitals.

View of the worship area with altar, benches, and a Summer Solstice “window” arranged so that at noon on 20/21 June the sunlight would shine into this area

The above is a view looking at the eastern end of the Mithraeum.  The altar  is visible at the far end and in the upper portion of the image is a “window” in the vault that allowed sunlight to fall on the worship center at noon on 20/21 June—the time of the summer solstice.

Marble Medallion — Mithra slaying the bull — From Caesarea Maritima
To view a full size image of this Medallion Click Here

One very unique find from the Mithraeum is a marble medallion that depicts Mithra slaying the bull.

For additional commentary and to view additional high-resolution images
Click Here.

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One response to “Mithraeum at Caesarea Maritima

  1. Thanks, Carl. My wife and I plan a trip this coming year and I will definitely search for the Mithraeum at Caesarea Maritima when we visit. I had not heard of this before and defintely appreciate the heads up. The worship of Mithras is one of my interest areas. Thanks again.

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