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  • Many legends and myths that come down through the years

  • are a mixture of folklore and history

  • But some stories that reach us from the dim distant past

  • will always be more of a mystery.

  • By the wall Emperor Hadrian's soldiers built

  • to mark out his empire's extent

  • they made temples to workship a little-known god

  • that they honoured wherever they went

  • (Latin recitation)

  • This god was no Jupiter, Neptune

  • or one Roman citizens would see as home-grown

  • This god, Mithras, some claimed was Persian

  • until the soldiers, they made him their own

  • And to honour this Mithras and offer him thanks

  • for the benefits they thought that he gave

  • they built temples so that on the inside

  • they'd resemble an underground cave

  • At an image of Mithras slaying a bull

  • an officer officiated

  • In the darkness where torches gave flickering light

  • new followers were initiated

  • Blindfolded and naked they entered the place

  • Before the god Mithras they'd kneel

  • And some sort of ceremony was performed

  • that all swore they would never reveal

  • But what was the ceremony? We really don't know

  • what the rites of Mithras were about

  • and when Rome adopted the Christian faith

  • gods like Mithras were soon driven out

  • By the wall Emperor Hadrian's soldiers built

  • to mark out his empire's sway

  • they made temples to honour a little-known god

  • You can still see their ruins today.

  • We know a few things about the Mithras cult and they're always from the outside. We know

  • that it was a secret religious society of initiates, that it was especially popular

  • in the Roman army which carried it all over the empire, that it was supposed to come from

  • Persia but probably came from Rome itself and that people were initiated up through

  • seven grades in it which correspond roughly to the seven visible planets of ancient times.

  • We know that initiation involved the initiate being naked and being given various terrifying

  • experiences before being released. We know that there was a god at the centre of the

  • cult who's a good-looking young male who kills a huge bull. The cult of Mithras was one of

  • the greatest mystery religions of the Roman Empire, carried on secretly in subterranean

  • temples of which English Heritage cares for a beautiful one at Carrawburgh on Hadrian's

  • Wall. Today the Temple of Mithras on Hadrian's Wall is reduced to foundations so it's a rectangular

  • structure with a floor and the basis of an altar at the end but you can see the shape

  • of it and it's easy to imagine the roof going back on. It would have been windowless and

  • therefore dark. You would have come in to torchlight or candlelight and seen that relief

  • of the divine male slaughtering the great bull shimmering at the end of the wall. Or

  • at least you would have seen it when your blindfold would have been removed and you'd

  • be allowed to take part in the mysteries. Most of the ruined temples of Roman Britain

  • were to public cults for the community and for the empire. Places like the Mithraeum

  • at Carrawburgh are about real individuals having real religious experiences with deities

  • of their choice and you can't get closer to the heart of religion than that.

Many legends and myths that come down through the years

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イングリッシュ・フォルクローレの物語 第3話:ミトラのカルト (Tales from English Folklore #3: The Cult of Mithras)

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    Summer に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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