"Mithras Tauroktonos of Cabra". (2nd - 3rd century A.D.). All rights reserved.

This is the second time I talk about the Persian cult of Mithas that was expanded all over the Roman Empire by the Legions. The piece I´m going to coment is one of the proofs that reveals that this cult arrived to the occidental part of the Empire. This is not the only rest found in Iberic Peninsula, there are more evidences in Mérida, Braga, Tarragona, San Juan de la Isla or Caldas de Reyes. In all these places have appeared rests of reliefs or paintings, also parts of Mithraeums (the buildings where was practiced this cult). However, the Mithras of Cabras is the only exent sculpture piece of Mithras in the wellknown pose called Tauroktony in Spain.

The Tauroktony represents the main point of the Mithraic cult: Mithras killing the bull with some other elements that are constant in the tauroctonies found all over Europe. Mithras wears a phrigian hat that relates him to Persia. With one hand takes the head of the bull and with the other sticks a Knife in the neck. The bull is sat over a rock and around it appears some animals: an scorpion sticks its pincers on the bull’s genital organs, a serpent bites its back, and a dog –the Mithras companion- licks the blood that flows from the neck of the bull.

The sculpture from Cabra is made in white marble and its dimensions are 0,93 meters high. According with the Professor Antonio García y Bellido, we could date the piece at the end of second century or at the beginning of third century A.D. The sculpture is an average figure, not a masterpiece, due to the disproportion of the elements: the bull is shorter, the scorpion is bigger and the dog is also shorter comparing with the male figure. The artist who sculpted this piece wasn´t an expert artist but knew perfectly the scene that had to represent, maybe he knew drawings or reliefs of the Tauroktony because the elements are located in similar position as the tauroctonies all over Europe (Vatican Museum, British Museum, Aquincum, etc.).

This Mithras sculpture let us think that in Cabra should be placed an important Mithraic center, and this sculpture should be located in an important mithraeum.

I visited last year the Archeology Museum of Córdoba, where is located nowadays this sculpture, and I kept fascinated contemplating it. It is not a masterpiece but let me thought in that important mystery cult born in Persia that was spread all over the Roman Imperium. This cult was very important at that age, just at the same time of the growing of Christianism. These were two rival religions and nowadays we don´t know exactly why Christianism was the winner.

If you want to learn more about the Mithras of Cabra:

http://descargas.cervantesvirtual.com/servlet/SirveObras/13572730989824832754491/021908.pdf?incr=1

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