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The Cults Of The Imperial Legions

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Introduction

The religion of the early Roman soldier was not distinguishable from the religion of the average citizen as Republican soldiers were recruits or conscripts who returned to civilian life after their tour of duty. By the time of the empire the legions had become a professional fighting force, the chief appendage of the ever-expansive Roman State. ...to the full article of the Cults Of The Imperial Legions

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Is there any chance you think that Jupiter Dolichenus is the source of the later Cult of Mithras?

 

 

As far as I can tell the two were very different cults, though being Oriental they had superficial things in common, and one could belong to both cults.

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I don't believe there was an official cult, no. But certainly Celts in the service of Rome would still honor their tribal gods. After the Antonine Constitution those Celt's would have been technically Roman as well.... :)

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Has it been shown that Mithras allowed for the legions to more readily and more easily adapt to and take Christianity as the religion... both were Eastern, both were monotheist... I think there are more similarites...

 

So... is there strong evidence of this? That a temple, or enclave to Mithras was converted to one honoring Jesus?

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Has it been shown that Mithras allowed for the legions to more readily and more easily adapt to and take Christianity as the religion... both were Eastern, both were monotheist... I think there are more similarites...

 

So... is there strong evidence of this? That a temple, or enclave to Mithras was converted to one honoring Jesus?

 

I don't know of examples off the top of my head, and I readily admit that others are far more knowledgeable on the ancient cults and religious transitions than I, but if the Pantheon could be converted from Temple to Church, I would find it improbable that some other lesser known and revered structures weren't converted as well. We know many temples were destroyed post Constantine and especially during and after the reign of Theodosius, but perhaps 'destroyed' can also be read as a metaphor for conversion.

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There is evidence in Britannia of pagan/local gods being "linked" or associated with one from the classical pantheon. Thus a pagan celtic thinder god - Tanarus - might be linked to Jupiter. A war god might be assimilated by Mars etc.

 

The Romans were usually pretty tolerant as long as the cult concerned did not rock the boat or stir up anti-Roman feeling (as the druids tended to); or refuse to recognise the validity of the pagan cults (as did the Jews).

 

On Mithraism/Christianity, I think one has to be careful of over-easy assumptions. As i recall some Mithraic temples were deliberately broken up after the arrival of Christianity, with images/statues smashed. All the Mithraic temples I have visited in Italy (Rome, Ostia) and Britain (on the wall, Walbrook, London etc) show no signs of conversion for Christian use.

 

Mithraism was also an exclusively male cult - no woman were allowed to be initiated.

 

But certain features were absorbed by Christianity - the date of Mithras' birth, 25 Dec. for instance. The cult include an initiation involving "resurrection"; and a sort of "communion" feast.

 

Phil

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