Relief inscribed in Greek depicting the god Mithra slaying a bull | The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
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Relief inscribed in Greek depicting the god Mithra slaying a bull

Relief inscribed in Greek depicting the god Mithra slaying a bull

Relief inscribed in Greek depicting the god Mithra slaying a bull

Limestone

H: 49; W: 65.7; D: 9.5 cm

Gift of Sam Merrin, New York, to American Friends of the Israel Museum

Accession number:

97.095.0019

Archaeology/Western Asiatic Antiquities

Bull-slaying - the central icon of the Mithraic faith - is an age-old Near Eastern motif associated with kings, legendary heroes, and gods in both textual and visual sources. The cult of Mithra, originally a Persian god, became popular among Roman soldiers in the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE. A “mystery religion” whose practice was reserved for initiates, its cult centered on personal salvation. The Greek inscription on this relief, mentioning the West Semitic name Absalmos, indicates the object’s origin in the eastern part of the Roman Empire.

From the Israel Museum publications:

De Jong, Albert, A New Mithraic Relief, The Israel Museum Journal, XVI, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1998

Peri, Laura A., Ancient Near East, Chronicles of the Land, Archaeology in the Israel Museum Jerusalem, Dayagi-Mendels Michal, and Rozenberg, Silvia (eds.), The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, 2010