Article

History into fiction: the metamorphoses of the Mithras myths

  • Roger Beck

Abstract

The article explores the creation of certain ‘fictions’ within the cult of Mithras during its formative years in the late first century CE. These fictions include both mythic narratives about the god and their replication in ritual performance. The article argues that, in part, these fictions were generated out of historical (or pseudo-historical) stories and fantasies of the Neronian age, in particular (1) stories of events in both Italy and the orient culminating in the coronation of Tiridates of Armenia by Nero in Rome, and (2) the heliomania of the times, focused on, and in some measure orchestrated by, the emperor himself.

Published
2002-12-01
Section
Article