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Title: Approaches to the historiographies and iconographies of the Roman worship of Mithras
Author: Adrych, Philippa
ISNI:       0000 0004 8508 1371
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis proposes a flexible conception of the Roman worship of Mithras, in which it can be seen to have been influenced by contemporary religious, cultural, and artistic traditions and innovations. It builds upon a model familiar in Mithraic studies: a sustained examination of existing Mithraic scholarship, combined with an interrogation of the surviving evidence. In particular, it responds to a recent call to use the material evidence more centrally in Mithraic studies; its methodology is rooted in empiricism and contextual analysis. Each chapter takes either a single or a cluster of connected historiographic theories about the worship of Mithras, and contrasts them with the textual and material evidence that has traditionally been used to support them. This thesis interrogates the nature of the worship of Mithras in the Roman world. Building from a definition of religion – and an understanding of what might have been the constituent features of ancient forms of worship – it covers constructions of the origins of Mithraic practice, its membership, sacred space, possible meanings in mythology and ritual, and the relationship between god and worshippers. It ends with an emphasis on cultural and religious borrowings and appropriations. It hopes, through its focus on material culture, and on flexible approaches to ancient religious practices, to act as a possible case study for other cults in the Roman Empire.
Supervisor: Elsner, Jaś Sponsor: Leverhulme Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Mithras ; Roman religion