This biannual learning unit is being organized in 2020-2021
At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :
Advanced course for archaeologists specializing in Roman archaeology whether of Italy, the centre of power, or of the provinces of the Empire. The aim is to develop a critical sense and apply methods of analysis of art (painting, sculpture and architecture) and material culture of this millennium long civilization reluctant of all standardized analytical approach. Use of theoretical and anthropological concepts in archaeological interpretation as well of literary and epigraphical sources of Latin Antiquity.
If Mithras has indo-iranian origins which date back to the 2nd millennium BC, his cult became very popular during the Roman Imperial period. Archaeological excavations continue to reveal evidence of this cult across the Empire. The evidence brings together ruins of temples, statues, reliefs, ceramics, but also inscriptions and ancient texts. The course aims at presenting a new synthesis of all the data. Based on texts, images and archaeological evidence, our attention will focus on the spread of this oriental god across Italy and the Roman provinces, on Mithras’ temples, Mithras’ adepts and ceremonies.
Part 1 – Theoretical sessions
- 1. Introduction – Historiography and research problem
- 2. Origins of Mithras cult: from Persia to Rome
- 3. The sacred narrative
- 4. The Mithraeum: a sacred cave (topography, architecture, settings)
- 5. Mithraic rituals: initiations and banquets
- 6. Agents of the cult
- 7. The end of Mithras’ cult
- Lecture – The Roman cult of Mithras at Ostia
- Seminar sessions: study of several “mithraea” across the Roman provinces
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information in this section is particularly likely to change.A combination of ex-cathedra lessons by the teacher or invited speakers and seminars. The sessions are prepared by the students on the basis of one or more articles of which the list is given at the beginning of the year. The students are also invited to participate actively in certain sessions which may take the forms of seminars prepared by the students. Possibility to organize a study tour abroad with presentations by students and introduction to field work.
The students will have to prepare a written research essay for December.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information in this section is particularly likely to change.Written examination (50%) and written essay (50%).
Beck, R., The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire: Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun, Oxford, 2006.
Clauss, M., Mithras, Kult und Mysterien, Munich, 1990 (traduction anglaise par R. Gordon, The Roman Cult of Mithras: The God and His Mysteries, Edinburgh 2000).
Cumont, F., Les mystères de Mithra, Bruxelles, 1900 (3e éd. 1913).
Mastrocinque, A., Des Mystères de Mithra aux Mystères de Jésus, Stuttgart 2009.
Panagiotidou, O. et Beck, R., The Roman Mithras Cult. A Cognitive Approach, Londres, 2017.
Turcan, R., Mithra et le mithriacisme, Paris ,1981 (4e éd. 2004).
Ulansey, D., The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries. Cosmology and Salvation in the Ancient World, Oxford, 1989 (2e éd. New York, 1991).
Vermaseren, M. J., Corpus inscriptionum et monumentorum religionis Mithriacae (CIMRM), La Haye, 1956 et 1960.
Vermaseren, M. J., Mithra, ce dieu mystérieux, Paris-Bruxelles, 1960.