London Mithraeum

 

So what is a Mithraeum and why have a look?

In 1952-54 a chance discovery on bomb site revealed a Temple of Mithras.  The temple was carefully recreated in 1962 some distance from the site of the discovery and there it would probably have remained.  in 2010 Bloomberg acquired the site and worked with the City of London and a team of conservation specialists to dismantle and reconstruct the temple, accessible to the public, as close as possible to the original site.  A fuller description of the finds and archaeology is available through the following link

 https://www.londonmithraeum.com/about/ 

OK so what or who is Mithras?

The short answer is we know a little but not a lot of detail.  The cult of Mithras was worshipped by the early Romans throughout the Roman Empire.  A number of Mithras Temples have been found throughout the present day countries which were part of the Roman Empire.

The BBC In our Time Series has a programme giving a detailed discussion on the cult.

In Our Time The Cult of Mithras 27 December 2012 available from the BBC   http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01pg5nt

What displayed?

The display within the Bloomberg building is on three levels. 

The first is at street level where there is a short introduction, abstract artwork and a detailed display of some 600 of the 14,000 artefacts discovered on the site gives a representative view of Roman cultural artefacts.  More detail on these is contained in the Archaeology at Bloomberg pdf which can be downloaded from the above link. A few photos follow to give some idea of the artefacts on display.

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The abstract artwork depicting a representation of the Thames river in the vicinity of the Temple

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On the next level down there is a display of important artefacts from the site that illustrate the rituals and beliefs of the Mithra religion.

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Below each of the three artefacts is a display giving more details of the Mithran religion.

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Mithras slaying the bull.

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Finally the lowest level is the reconstructed Temple.  A little disappointing after the build up, but nonetheless quite interesting.  The level is entered in darkness and then a light and sound show spookily reveals the temple and structure. Unfortunately my camera ran out of power at tis point

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Representation of Mithras killing the bull

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2 Responses to “London Mithraeum”

  1. Stuartinnz Says:

    I remember reading about this discovery at the time – one of my first encounters with archaeology

  2. James in Oamaru Says:

    Mithraeum also sounds like you’re saying the name of Egypt in Hebrew with a bit of a lisp and a cold (“Mitsrayim”).

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