Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Buy Used
$29.99
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Edges worn interior clean.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Roman Cult of Mithras: The God and His Mysteries Paperback – July 27, 2000

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
Paperback, July 27, 2000
$74.36 $29.99

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

Review

In what he explains and demonstrates of the Roman version of the faith, Clauss can hardly be faulted ... [He] gives a good indication of the sociological implications of the religion in Europe, delineating the interaction of the community of its believers with Roman society ... The book is richly illustrated [with] good graphic material: an instructive map and fine outline drawings of rock and temple motifs and depictions, as well as ground plans of a temple. There are excellent and lucidly outlined descriptions of the initiation, the rituals and the seven grades, with the meaning of the symbolism and the text of inscriptions explained in a vivid way for the lay person ... [Clauss's] work constitutes the first simply written guidebook for the reader of this age and therefore has great merit as a work that is well organised and highly readable. This book is a welcome addition to Mithraic scholarship in English. [Clauss's] presentation is careful and concise, and gives a detailed presentation of the material evidence. A model of clarity. The author has included mention of important new finds in the notes of this English translation. There is a good up-to-date bibliography, compiled by Gordon, of works in English. The translation itself is very readable and smooth. The volume is attractively produced and carefully edited. Illustrations are well chosen and for the most part appear clear and sharp in the printed text. The book belongs in all college and university libraries ! The Roman Cult of Mithras is by far the best introduction to the subject now available in English, and advanced scholars will return to it constantly. In what he explains and demonstrates of the Roman version of the faith, Clauss can hardly be faulted ... [He] gives a good indication of the sociological implications of the religion in Europe, delineating the interaction of the community of its believers with Roman society ... The book is richly illustrated [with] good graphic material: an instructive map and fine outline drawings of rock and temple motifs and depictions, as well as ground plans of a temple. There are excellent and lucidly outlined descriptions of the initiation, the rituals and the seven grades, with the meaning of the symbolism and the text of inscriptions explained in a vivid way for the lay person ... [Clauss's] work constitutes the first simply written guidebook for the reader of this age and therefore has great merit as a work that is well organised and highly readable. This book is a welcome addition to Mithraic scholarship in English. [Clauss's] presentation is careful and concise, and gives a detailed presentation of the material evidence. A model of clarity. The author has included mention of important new finds in the notes of this English translation. There is a good up-to-date bibliography, compiled by Gordon, of works in English. The translation itself is very readable and smooth. The volume is attractively produced and carefully edited. Illustrations are well chosen and for the most part appear clear and sharp in the printed text. The book belongs in all college and university libraries ! The Roman Cult of Mithras is by far the best introduction to the subject now available in English, and advanced scholars will return to it constantly.

About the Author

Manfred Clauss is Professor of Ancient History at the Free University of Berlin.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Edinburgh University Press (July 27, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074861396X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0748613960
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,422,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

5 star
88%
4 star
12%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 8 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The Roman cult of Mithras is known to us from a large collection of its cave-temples, known as Mithraea, a certain number of inscriptions from a Mithraeum, and some sculpture. In addition there are scanty references to the cult in the Christian fathers, and a handful of other references. The cult was a mystery religion, and its beliefs and rituals must be inferred from this scanty base. Wild theorisings are unfortunately common.

The entire data base then known was published in the early 20th century by Franz Cumont. (An English language version of his conclusions is still available). He believed Mithras to be an importation of the ancient Persian deity Mitra, doubtless influenced by descriptions of Mithras as Persian. His work remained standard until the 1970's. Since then many theories have been published -- those of David Ulansey perhaps have attracted much attention.

This book by Manfred Clauss is a careful piece of scholarship, that will be of great use to the newcomer to Mithras studies. He believes the cult was invented in Rome itself, and points out that the 3 earliest inscriptions and the first literary mention, all ca. AD90, are indisputably by people with close links to the city of Rome. The story is taken through various aspects of the cult, as illustrated from the monuments and whatever literary information is available. Parallels with Christian practise are mentioned, but Clauss dismisses the idea of influence in either direction, preferring to point out the shared heritage of oriental religion in classical times. He highlights the close relation of Mithraism with other mystery religions, and rightly is sceptical about the idea that Mithraism always involved believing the same things. Regional and temporal variants are documented.
Read more ›
Comment 70 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the best currently available introduction to the Roman cult of Mithras you can read. It is completely up to date, lavishly illustrated, very well organized and written, and thoroughly engrossing from cover to cover.

Note I said, "the Roman cult" of Mithras. While Clauss respects the giants leaps of scholarship and knowledge represented by Franz Cumont's books (over 100 years back, but still available in reprints), he rejects the idea that the Roman god Mithras is a direct carry-over from the Persian Mitra, and is careful to distinguish clearly between the two early in the book. Instead, Clauss develops the idea that Mithras was essentially a purely Roman invention, in fact originating in the city of Rome itself, and carried out to the provinces by soldiers and government clerks, officials, and the like. He makes a convincing argument, so far as this reader is concerned.

While Clauss does mention the idea in passing, he is also not presenting Ulansey's 'star-map' argument over the meaning of the Mithras cult. Instead, Clauss' focus is centered on the general worship of an all-powerful Mithras, in league with/identified with/conjoined with Sol (the sun), with the myths of Mithras' birth, his attributes and function as the creator and sustainer of all life, his achievements and their symbolic significance. The major themes are systematically explained and so far as possible analyzed; the various personalities involved in the myths are discussed, and the general worship patterns covered.

Clauss does most of this through a close examination of the mithraea discovered around the Roman world.
Read more ›
Comment 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Prior to buying that book, I was interested in Ancient Rome and related cults/religions. During my recent study, I was surprised to find a website on Mithras which recommended this book. The book was very revealing (although I did scan read here and there). It didn't answer all my questions, but if it had, everyone who's ever been interested in history would have rejoiced. I wish that the photos were more distinct, or some of the grayscale images were outlined, but that is a quibble. There are lots of photos, which is another good thing about this book.
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The headline pretty much sums this book up. It's the most concise yet packed history of the Roman Mithras Cult I've come across. It doesn't descend into the pitfalls of assumtions and fanciful history, Mr. Clauss gives us the facts in a clear manner, making sure to distinguish between what is historically accepted and what is just assumed.
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse