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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Bronze plaque of Mithras slaying the bull

Mid-Imperial, Antonine or Severan
mid-2nd–early 3rd century A.D.
Overall: 14 x 11 5/8 x 1 3/4 in. (35.6 x 29.5 x 4.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Klaus G. Perls, 1997
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 169
The cult of Mithras was very popular throughout the Roman Empire and was followed especially by soldiers. It was one of several eastern cults that spread rapidly as a result of the pax Romana (Roman peace); others included the worship of Jupiter Dolichenus, Manichaeism and, of course, Christianity. 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.
#1201: Bronze plaque of Mithras slaying the bull, Part 1
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#1202: Bronze plaque of Mithras slaying the bull, Part 2
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For Audio Guide tours and information, visit
Picón, Carlos A., Joan R. Mertens, Elizabeth J. Milleker, and Ariel Herrmann. 1997. "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection 1996–1997: Ancient World." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 55(2): p. 17.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1997. "One Hundred Twenty-seventh Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year July 1, 1996 through June 30, 1997." Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 127: p. 17.

Oliver, Andrew Jr. 2000. "Roman Glass in the Corning Museum." Journal of Roman Archaeology, 13: no. 11, p. 688.

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

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