Menu Was there an Iranic Mithraism? 4020.08

Q) Just out of interest.... was there even “Iranic Mithraism” Mithraism was Roman. It was of course inspired by the Persians and their deity Mithra/Mitra but Mithraism didn’t exist as far as I can tell?
If I’m wrong please do correct me, this is all healthy debate.

MZ) Well no ancient people, whether Roman or Persian actually called their religion Mithraism.
However Mithra was the most popular god to many ancient Iranians and in particular during the Parthian period. Originally a god of contract, he was the god of the brotherhood. Separately he became associated with the sun, especially among Western Iranians and as the intermediary between the higher god and man.
So I think it is valid to use the word Mithraism to cover any form of Iranian traditional religion where Mithra has a prominent place.
NB Most simply Iranic Mithraism can be thought of as unorthodox Zoroastrianism.

Q) But from the archeological evidence the Roman’s only worshipped Mithras. It was clearly inspired by the Persians, but calling anything Persian/Iranian doesn’t mean it’s Mithraism. I think there’s clearly some confusion.
Mithras worship and his temples are found all over Europe where the Roman Empire could be found. But no Mithraic temples can be found in Persia/Iran.
I agree with many of your points above but saying any religion where Mitra can be found is Mithraism is insincere. The Persians/Zoroastrian main god was Ahura Mazda, Mitra as your rightly say was a minor deity of contracts. So you wouldn’t call Zoroastrianism Mithraism. Mithraism was the exclusive worship of the deity Mithras. In fact from the archaeological evidence the other deities found in the Temples were other Roman/Greek deities such as; Vulcan, Minerva, Bacchus, Asclepius etc.
I think it’s accepted that although inspired by and on a Persian religion, anything called Mithraism was a Roman religion.

MZ) I don't agree that Roman Mithraists have exclusive right to the term Mithraism. I agree that many think they have that right, but it is not justified.
Mithra started off as a god of contract in a polytheistic system, but even if he was never the sole god, he was in many places and times the most popular god. So I think Mithraism is the best overall term for all the forms of traditional Iranian religion that don't fit neatly into orthodox Zoroastrianism.
I agree that Roman Mithraism is somewhat a separate thing, but it can be called Roman Mithraism. Calling it just Mithraism is undervaluing the whole Persian history of Mithra, which is by far the most important part of it.

NB Calling something Mithraism needn't imply exclusive worship of Mithras.
Christianity is not exclusive worship of Christ (but a trinity including God the Father plus maybe saints etc)
Odinism is not exclusive worship of Odin (but a whole pantheon of Norse gods).

Q)I must disagree, that is exactly what it is. Using your own example, Christianity is the exclusive worship of Jesus Christ.
Odinism is a new name created by snowflakes and bunnies on the Internet. “The Norse” religion was Polytheistic and worshiped many gods, all representing many aspects of nature and the human psyche similar to the Greek Gods.
Christianity is an offshoot of Judaism and is distinct for being a monotheistic religion who worship the teachings of the man-God Jesus Christ. Thus the name.
Christians believe in one God, the trinity being a funny and complicated construct but one I think is an offshoot to the ancient Pagan religions it stole from, as trinities can be found all over the world. Saints are likewise similar fudges of this too. But ultimately the name of the religion is based on the main idol worshiped.
Similarly the relatively modern name given to the religion founded in Rome that was spread across their empire by their soldiers and followers was coined Mithraism after the central deity Mithras. Mithras is distinct and separate to the Persian and Zoroastrian God Mithra and Mitra, although these are clearly the inspiration and main influence for this distinctly Roman religion.
I don’t see why people want to put their own personal spin on this ancient religion? Can’t we celebrate it for what it was? Can’t we likewise celebrate the other ancient religions without creating hybrid names and classifications like you’ve done here?
I don’t wish to be kicked out the group as I joined this and others to learn more about ancient Mithraism and any updates that may be discovered. I didn’t join to be drawn into a new breed of made up religion.

MZ) My object is indeed to promote new forms of Mithraism for the moderrn day. So I can't just accept static interpretations of the past, I'm afraid. (I believe the world needs a religious reformation to motivate people to sort out the current world problems).
Of course you are welcome to stay in the group to learn about the Persian traditions that may have influenced the Roman Mithraism.
I highly recommend the book 'Mithraic Societies' by Soudavar - which is an exhaustive study of the parallels between the Roman brotherhoods and earlier Iranian ones. It is linked below if you haven't already got it.

Q) I’m already familiar with this book.
I understand what you would like to do, but trying to misinterpret the past to fit a modern agenda isn’t what most people want. I believe we can and should learn from the past, this religion is one with much hidden meaning to be discovered.