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Mitreo di Santa Maria Capua Vetere.

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum.

Discovered September 1922. Excavated Spring 1924.

 

Bibliography.

 

Campanile in Boll. Arte IV, 1924, p. 284;

Cumont in CRAI 1924, 133ff, cf. RA (S.5) XX, 1924, p. 185f;

Jashemski W. F., 2014. Discovering the Gardens of Pompeii: The Memoirs of a Garden Archaeologist 1955 – 2004, p. 223-4.

Lehmann-Hartleben in Archäologischer Anzeiger, 1926, p. 126f;

Maciariello, Capua, Roma 1939. See fig. 50.

Minto A. in Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1924, pp. 353ff; Tav. XVII.

Vermaseren M. J., 1971. Corpus Inscriptionum et Monumentorum Religionis Mithriacae, pp. 105ff.

Vermaseren M. J., 1971. Mithriaca I: The Mithraeum at S. Maria Capua Vetere. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers.

http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/mithras/display.php?page=cimrm180

 

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. Plan after Minto. 
See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1924, p. 357, fig. 4.
See http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/mithras/display.php?page=cimrm180
The entrance (I) opens on a cryptoporticus (H), which served as a vestibulum and has about the same proportions as the adjacent cult room (H. 3.22 L. 12.18 Br. 3. 50). 
On either side of the central aisle (Br. 1.54), which was covered with marble, are the benches. A distinction, however, has to be made between the original benches (FF) of cement with red stucco (H. 0.45 L. 1.40 Br. 0.37) and the later benches (GG), made up out of various materials and considerably larger (H. 0.85 L. 8.35 Br. 0.90). 
In the southern bench a rectangular cement water-basin (D) was made (L. 1.28 Br. 0.67 D. 0.55), whereas in the other there is a well (E) with draining-pipes. Near these basins there is a small rectangular niche (H. 0.32 D. 0.32) in the front of either bench. 
At the end of the path, where small steps lead to the benches, there is a third bench (C) (H. 0.68 Br. 3.50 D. 1.57) covering the entire breadth of the cult-room and sloping towards the western wall. A small canal (Br. 0.09 D. 0.08) in front of this bench, disappears into it at the northern wall and is connected with the well E. 
In the vault there are four oblong holes surrounded by a red band. Both sidewalls and vault are covered with stucco paintings. The vault is decorated with stars with six points, painted in red and green on a yellow background. The background of the side walls, which are subdivided into several parts by horizontal and vertical red bands, is also yellow. On the walls were numerous graffiti and inscriptions, only one of which, on the south wall, was partially legible: (...... MODVM).

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. Plan after Minto.

See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1924, p. 357, fig. 4.

 

Key:

 

A- - -B = Point shown in cross section A-B

C = Altar

D = Water basin

E = Well

F = Earlier, smaller bench

F1= Earlier, smaller bench

G = Larger, later bench

G1= Larger, later bench

H  = Cryptoporticus

I  = Entrance

1  = Drainage channel

2  = Drainage channel

3  = Drainage channel

a --- b= Painting above altar showing Mithras slaying the sacred bull

c  = Cupid and Psyche plaque

d  = Painting of Sol Oriens

e  = Painting of Sol Occidens

f  = Painting?

g  = Painting of Luna/Diana standing in Biga/chariot

 

The entrance (I) opens on a cryptoporticus (H), which served as a vestibulum and has about the same proportions as the adjacent cult room (H. 3.22, L. 12.18, Br. 3. 50).

On either side of the central aisle (Br. 1.54), which was covered with marble, are the benches.

A distinction, however, has to be made between the original benches (F, F1) of cement with red stucco (H. 0.45, L. 1.40, Br. 0.37) and the later benches (G, G1), made up out of various materials and considerably larger (H. 0.85, L. 8.35, Br. 0.90).

In the southern bench a rectangular cement water-basin (D) was made (L. 1.28, Br. 0.67, D. 0.55), whereas in the other there is a well (E) with draining-pipes. Near these basins there is a small rectangular niche (H. 0.32, D. 0.32) in the front of either bench.

At the end of the path, where small steps lead to the benches, there is a third bench (C) (H. 0.68, Br. 3.50, D. 1.57) covering the entire breadth of the cult-room and sloping towards the western wall.

A small canal (Br. 0.09, D. 0.08) in front of this bench, disappears into it at the northern wall and is connected with the well E.

In the vault there are four oblong holes surrounded by a red band.

Both sidewalls and vault are covered with stucco paintings.

The vault is decorated with stars with six points, painted in red and green on a yellow background.

The background of the side walls, which are subdivided into several parts by horizontal and vertical red bands, is also yellow.

On the walls were graffiti, only one of which, on the left of C, is readable: ...... Modum.

See Vermaseren M. J., 1971. Corpus Inscriptionum et Monumentorum Religionis Mithriacae, p. 105-6, no. 180, fig. 51.

 

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. Graffito on the south wall, which was partially legible.
According to Vermaseren, this was not MODUM as stated in previous publications but INYODUM.
See Vermaseren M. J., 1971. Mithriaca I: The Mithraeum at S. Maria Capua Vetere. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, p. 23-4, fig. 4.

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. Graffito on the south wall, which was partially legible.

According to Vermaseren, this was not MODUM as stated in previous publications but INYODUM.

See Vermaseren M. J., 1971. Mithriaca I: The Mithraeum at S. Maria Capua Vetere. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, p. 23-4, fig. 4.

 

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 2014. Entrance on Vico Mitreo, off Via Pietro Morelli.

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 2014. Entrance on Vico Mitreo, off Via Pietro Morelli.

 

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 2011. Vestibule.

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 2011. Vestibule.

 

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 1974. West wall with tauroctony fresco in the Mithraeum, 2nd century. 
Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.   
Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.
J74f0577

According to Jashemski, in 1973, “After a delightful lunch under the trees at an outdoor trattoria, we made our way to Capua, where Giuseppina had a fine surprise for us. Little boys playing in the area had come upon an opening that led into a practically intact underground Mithraeum, a small temple of the 2nd 3rd century A.D., where the rites connected with the worship of Mithras were celebrated. The small temples of this god were artificial caves, reminders of the cave in which Mithras caught and slew the mystic bull. They had a "nave" and on each side of a central aisle were benches on which the worshippers reclined at sacred banquets; at Capua, after the benches, there were basins on each side of the aisle, used in the initiation ceremonies. Opposite the entrance, in the front of every Mithraeum, was a depiction of the tauroctony [Mithras killing the bull], more often carved, but at Capua, painted. The painting at Capua showed two standing assistants, one with his torch up, the other with his torch down, on either side of Mithras, who knelt on the back of the bull, as he, with averted gaze, plunged a knife into the bull's shoulder. A dog and a snake lap up the life giving blood. The head on the lower left represented a personification of the Sea, the one on the right, the Earth, above was Diana, personifying the moon and Helios, the sun. On the sides of the Mithraeum, partially destroyed painted panels depicted the rites of initiation into this mystery cult, whose devotees were men, especially soldiers.” 
See Jashemski W. F., 2014. Discovering the Gardens of Pompeii: The Memoirs of a Garden Archaeologist 1955 – 2004, p. 223-4.

Vermaseren notes that it might be suspected that the destruction of Mithras’ face was caused on purpose by his antagonists. According to a custodian however, they had been inflicted by playing children. (31.1.1947). 
See Vermaseren M. J., 1971. Corpus Inscriptionum et Monumentorum Religionis Mithriacae, p. 107.

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 1974. West wall with tauroctony fresco in the Mithraeum, 2nd century.

Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.  

Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.

J74f0577

 

According to Jashemski, in 1973, “After a delightful lunch under the trees at an outdoor trattoria, we made our way to Capua, where Giuseppina had a fine surprise for us. Little boys playing in the area had come upon an opening that led into a practically intact underground Mithraeum, a small temple of the 2nd‑3rd century A.D., where the rites connected with the worship of Mithras were celebrated. The small temples of this god were artificial caves, reminders of the cave in which Mithras caught and slew the mystic bull. They had a "nave" and on each side of a central aisle were benches on which the worshippers reclined at sacred banquets; at Capua, after the benches, there were basins on each side of the aisle, used in the initiation ceremonies. Opposite the entrance, in the front of every Mithraeum, was a depiction of the tauroctony [Mithras killing the bull], more often carved, but at Capua, painted. The painting at Capua showed two standing assistants, one with his torch up, the other with his torch down, on either side of Mithras, who knelt on the back of the bull, as he, with averted gaze, plunged a knife into the bull's shoulder. A dog and a snake lap up the life‑giving blood. The head on the lower left represented a personification of the Sea, the one on the right, the Earth, above was Diana, personifying the moon and Helios, the sun. On the sides of the Mithraeum, partially destroyed painted panels depicted the rites of initiation into this mystery cult, whose devotees were men, especially soldiers.”

See Jashemski W. F., 2014. Discovering the Gardens of Pompeii: The Memoirs of a Garden Archaeologist 1955 – 2004, p. 223-4.

 

Vermaseren notes that it might be suspected that the destruction of Mithras’ face was caused on purpose by his antagonists. According to a custodian however, they had been inflicted by playing children. (31.1.1947).

See Vermaseren M. J., 1971. Corpus Inscriptionum et Monumentorum Religionis Mithriacae, p. 107.

 

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 2011. Looking west down central aisle to painting of Mithras slaying the bull.

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 2011. Looking west down central aisle to painting of Mithras slaying the bull.

 

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 2011.
On the long sides of the Mithraeum, which is accessed through a small door, the benches reserved for believers can be seen: they are made of masonry with the top inclined towards the wall, and are fitted with small basins and wells. The channel served to collect the blood of sacrificed animals and drain it into a well. Fixed to the south wall there was a marble relief, edged in red, representing Cupid and Psyche. See http://www.campaniartecard.it/site.cfm?id=47#image-1

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 2011.

On the long sides of the Mithraeum, which is accessed through a small door, the benches reserved for believers can be seen.

They are made of masonry with the top inclined towards the wall and are fitted with small basins and wells.

The channel served to collect the blood of sacrificed animals and drain it into a well.

Fixed to the south wall there was a marble relief, edged in red, representing Cupid and Psyche.

 

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 1974. South wall, white marble relief of Eros and Psyche. 
Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.   
Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.
J74f0582
The white marble relief (H. 0.32 Br. 0.39) was found in a recess in the southern wall above the water-basin of the podium. 
The nude winged child Amor seizes the arm of the bigger Psyche, also winged, to lead her away in the light of his torch. The girl lifts a part of her diaphanous dress. The whole is set in a red frame.
See Vermaseren M. J., 1971. Corpus Inscriptionum et Monumentorum Religionis Mithriacae, p. 108, no. 186, fig. 56.
See Minto A., in Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1924, p. 367; fig. 9.

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 1974. South wall, white marble relief of Eros and Psyche.

Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.  

Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.

J74f0582

 

The white marble relief (H. 0.32 Br. 0.39) was found in a recess in the southern wall above the water-basin of the podium.

The nude winged child Amor seizes the arm of the bigger Psyche, also winged, to lead her away in the light of his torch. The girl lifts a part of her diaphanous dress. The whole is set in a red frame.

See Vermaseren M. J., 1971. Corpus Inscriptionum et Monumentorum Religionis Mithriacae, p. 108, no. 186, fig. 56.

See Minto A., in Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1924, p. 367; fig. 9.

 

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 1974. Painted figure with altar on north wall.
Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.   
Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.
J74f0578
According to Minto, the figure is wearing a belted tunic and a Phrygian cap.
The figure holds a torch in the right hand, above an altar with a flame on top.
A cockerel is on the left of the figure. 
This may be a personification of Sol Oriens.
See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1924 p. 364, fig. 7.

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 1974. Painted figure with altar on north wall.

Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.  

Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.

J74f0578

According to Minto, the figure is wearing a belted tunic and a Phrygian cap.

The figure holds a torch in the right hand, above an altar with a flame on top.

A cockerel is on the left of the figure.

This may be a personification of Sol Oriens.

See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1924 p. 364, fig. 7.

 

SSanta Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 1974. Figure on south wall.
Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.   
Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.
J74f0587
According to Minto, the figure holds a torch pointing downwards in the right hand.
This may be a personification of Sol Occidens.
See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1924 p. 364, fig. 8.

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 1974. Figure on south wall.

Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.  

Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.

J74f0587

According to Minto, the figure holds a torch pointing downwards in the right hand.

This may be a personification of Sol Occidens.

See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1924 p. 364, fig. 8.

 

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 1974. West wall. Tauroctony or painting of Mithras slaying the sacred bull. Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.   
Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.
J74f0579

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 1974. West wall. Tauroctony or painting of Mithras slaying the sacred bull.

Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.  

Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.

J74f0579

 

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 1922. West wall. Tauroctony or painting of Mithras slaying the sacred bull. 
According to Minto, Mithras in oriental dress is slaying the sacred bull.
In the sky, top left is Sol with red hair, a red cape and holding a golden sceptre.
In front of Sol perched on a rock is a raven, the gods messenger.
In the sky, top right is Luna/Diana with long hair and a crescent moon showing. 
Inside the cave, in Phrygian costume, with bow and quiver are the double incarnations of the god that rises in the morning, and in the evening declines on the horizon, and rises or falls to the earth in spring equinoxes and autumn.
Bottom left is the bearded Oceanus and bottom right is Terra with the head covered in green to symbolise vegetation.
See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1924 p. 360, Tav XVII.

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 1922. West wall. Tauroctony or painting of Mithras slaying the sacred bull.

According to Minto, Mithras in oriental dress is slaying the sacred bull.

In the sky, top left is Sol with red hair, a red cape and holding a golden sceptre.

In front of Sol perched on a rock is a raven, the gods messenger.

In the sky, top right is Luna/Diana with long hair and a crescent moon showing.

Inside the cave, in Phrygian costume, with bow and quiver are the double incarnations of the god that rises in the morning, and in the evening declines on the horizon, and rises or falls to the earth in spring equinoxes and autumn.
Bottom left is the bearded Oceanus and bottom right is Terra with the head covered in green to symbolise vegetation.

See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1924 p. 360, Tav XVII.

 

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 1974. Fresco of Luna/Diana on the East wall.
Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.   
Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.
J74f0581

In an arch-shaped frame the representation of Luna, seated in a biga (two wheeled chariot). 
She is dressed in a green tunica, leaving the brownish back uncovered. 
Of the horses, which are driven with the aid of whip and reins, the darkish one with drooping head is moving already, whereas the grey horse, turning its head towards the goddess, seems to be waiting a signal.
See Vermaseren M. J., 1971. Corpus Inscriptionum et Monumentorum Religionis Mithriacae, p. 107, no. 184, fig. 55.

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 1974. Fresco of Luna/Diana on the East wall.
Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.  

Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.

J74f0581

 

In an arch-shaped frame the representation of Luna, seated in a biga (two wheeled chariot).

She is dressed in a green tunica, leaving the brownish back uncovered.

Of the horses, which are driven with the aid of whip and reins, the darkish one with drooping head is moving already, whereas the grey horse, turning its head towards the goddess, seems to be waiting a signal.

See Vermaseren M. J., 1971. Corpus Inscriptionum et Monumentorum Religionis Mithriacae, p. 107, no. 184, fig. 55.

 

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 1922. Fresco of Luna/Diana on the East wall.
See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1924 p. 364, fig. 6.

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 1922. Fresco of Luna/Diana on the East wall.
See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1924 p. 364, fig. 6.

 

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 1974. Initiation painting of the initiate and his teacher, located on front of benches.
Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.   
Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.
J74f0584

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 1974. Initiation painting of the initiate and his teacher, located on front of benches.

Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.  

Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.

J74f0584

 

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 1974. Initiation painting located on front of benches. 
Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.   
Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.
J74f0583
According to Minto, the initiate is shown seated, with hands tied behind his back and his eyes bandaged. On the right, dressed in a white tunic, is the mystagogus, the teacher who has prepared the initiate for entry to the cult. On the left is a priest in an oriental costume and wearing a Phrygian cap and carries a sword in his hand.
See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1924 p. 369, fig. 11.

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 1974. Initiation painting located on front of benches.

Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.  

Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.

J74f0583

According to Minto, the initiate is shown seated, with hands tied behind his back and his eyes bandaged.

On the right, dressed in a white tunic, is the mystagogus, the teacher who has prepared the initiate for entry to the cult.

On the left is a priest in an oriental costume and wearing a Phrygian cap and carries a sword in his hand.

See Notizie degli Scavi di Antichità, 1924 p. 369, fig. 11.

 

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 1974. Initiation painting located on front of benches. Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.   
Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.
J74f0585

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 1974. Initiation painting located on front of benches.

Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.  

Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.

J74f0585

 

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 1974. Stars from the arch of the Mithraeum.
Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.   
Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.
J74f0586

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. 1974. Stars from the arch of the Mithraeum.

Photo by Stanley A. Jashemski.  

Source: The Wilhelmina and Stanley A. Jashemski archive in the University of Maryland Library, Special Collections (See collection page) and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License v.4. See Licence and use details.

J74f0586

 

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. July 2014. Red and blue stars on the vault of the Mithraeum.
Photo courtesy of Carole Raddato from FRANKFURT, Germany [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
The vault of the Mithraeum is stuccoed and decorated with stars. 
These are painted inside a circle, they each have eight rays and they are alternately red and blue on a dark-yellow background. 
In the centre of them a very small hole is often visible. 
It is said that when it was discovered the vault was besprinkled with precious stones which were later on stolen; but among the loose earth was found a little circular piece of blue glass paste with a hole in the middle.
It therefore seems probable that these glass decorations (which may have been of various colours) were nailed into the stars. 
The vault symbolizes the heavens, and this is emphasized by the representations of Sol-Mithras on the western and Luna on the eastern wall.
See https://www.flickr.com/photos/carolemage/6924214139

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Mithraeum. July 2014. Red and blue stars on the vault of the Mithraeum.

Photo courtesy of Carole Raddato from FRANKFURT, Germany [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

The vault of the Mithraeum is stuccoed and decorated with stars.

These are painted inside a circle, they each have eight rays and they are alternately red and blue on a dark-yellow background.

In the centre of them a very small hole is often visible.

It is said that when it was discovered the vault was besprinkled with precious stones which were later on stolen; but among the loose earth was found a little circular piece of blue glass paste with a hole in the middle.

It therefore seems probable that these glass decorations (which may have been of various colours) were nailed into the stars.

The vault symbolizes the heavens, and this is emphasized by the representations of Sol-Mithras on the western and Luna on the eastern wall.

See https://www.flickr.com/photos/carolemage/6924214139

 

 

 

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Ultimo aggiornamento - Last updated: 22-Oct-2018 14:43