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


Mithras was a Persian 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 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