When I talk to my big sister, Sally, about what’s happening in Pattieland, she always recommends I write a book about my adventures and she refers to this imaginary book as Mithras and me. This blog is in part a nod to this oft heard suggestion. (The real spurs here, however, is the wife. She’s my everything. =D)
To that end, I’m writing to catch up on Mithras and me.
On March 14, in this second year of the plague, I started a new Facebook group called Offerings to Mithras (in addition to my original page.) My initial idea was to offer, for a fee, to create an altar to Mithras for people. I went as far as creating a menu of items to be offered and a fee schedule. This quickly went by the wayside as bitter me remembered I’m the only one with this level of interest/dedication. LOL So I modified MY goal and decided the group’s goal is to focus on one piece of mithraic art a week. To **really** study it. Like a slow-art mithraic group. And while yes, the first one went two weeks (there was a lot to look at!) it has been progressing nicely.
And in the way of such things, it lead to my current project: compiling a list of museums in the USA with mithraic items in their collections. I began by reaching out to the several Roman focused groups I belong to on Facebook, asking for museums with notable Roman collections. I wrote to the Met, as well. The wonderful members of RAT were the most helpful and I am continuing to use their suggestions. It was during this period that I discovered our second piece in the new Mithras group (above) is housed at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore; a mere half hour from Sally’s house! Walters boasts 5 mithraic pieces, according to their catalogue, four of which are on display. I have already contacted them with questions.
My plan is to visit Sally mid-May for a trip to the Walters, but we’re also going to drive down to Richmond, VA. While it IS almost 4 hours one way, she DID drive to me 3 hours to Lens in France to see CIMRM 415 so I know she’s up for it.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Art is home to this post-CIMRM tauroctony. I’m excited to get a new picture of the back of my head with this tauroctony. (And I’m really sorry for this poor bull and its obvious hip problem.) Because it’s interesting, I have to include this Beck quote from Roger’s page: The relief is probably or certainly from Rome. It is notable for the curious way in which the gaze and angle of the heads of Cautes and Cautopates mirror those of Sol and Luna, above them. I honestly didn’t notice it until it was pointed out. Cool, huh? Proof that we really need to slow down and get to know these pieces!
This project also put me in contact with the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology in Michigan, offering me another chance to prove that you have nothing to lose by asking. The conversation between myself and the curator was delightful, and when the registrar was looped in, we all learned the unhappy news that the photo in question was lost, and its bin mates so severely curled as to be beyond scanning.
I’m working on finding a way of sharing the spreadsheet, but if you’re interested or have a museum suggestion feel free to contact me.
Finally, I would like to end with the delightful fact that in a mere ten days from today this blog will be 3 years old. Thanks to the wife and my big sister for suggesting I do this. It has been rewarding, to say the least.