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Bronze plaque of Mithras slaying the bull

Period:
Mid-Imperial, Antonine or Severan
Date:
mid-2nd–early 3rd century A.D.
Culture:
Roman
Medium:
Bronze
Dimensions:
Overall: 14 x 11 5/8 x 1 3/4 in. (35.6 x 29.5 x 4.4 cm)
Classification:
Bronzes
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Klaus G. Perls, 1997
Accession Number:
1997.145.3
  • Description

    Mithras was an Iranian god whose cult became very popular throughout the Roman Empire, spread largely by soldiers. Shrines dedicated to Mithras have been found at sites as far apart as Hadrian’s Wall in northern Britain and Dura Europos on the River Euphrates in Syria. This plaque may well have decorated the wall of such a Mithraeum (place of worship). Busts of Sol (the Sun) and Luna (the Moon) watch over the ritual scene of Mithras slaying the bull, aided by a dog, snake, and scorpion.

  • References

    Herrmann, Ariel and Dr. Seán Hemingway. 1997. "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1996-1997." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 55(2): p. 17.

    Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 459, pp. 393, 495.

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
256570

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