The next section of the book (The Temple of Mithras at Carrawburgh, for anyone new to the blog) is ‘The Background of Mithraism”. This was written in 1951 when the Persian theory still held sway. As you may or may not know, things didn’t start falling apart for this theory until the First International Congress of Mithraic Studies, in 1975 (Just called the library about getting copies of the two volumes. I’ll, of course, report back. And FTR, Stirling Memorial has a copy. -__-) Never having been a fan of this theory, I’m not looking forward to wading through it again. So, I went looking for a distraction!!
Welcome to the distraction!
Things I did not know about Carrawburgh: the floor was paved in places by both stone and wood, as well as a thick carpet of heather. Through the three distinct building phases of this mithraeum the floor level rose pretty steadily. So much so, in fact, that in Phase III only the tops of the pedestals Cautes and Cautopates stood on in previous phases were visible!
The statue of the Mother Goddess was not made for the mithraeum but shows signs of exposure to the elements and erosion. Interestingly, there is a Mother Goddess statue in the mithraeum of Dieburg, and She is likewise in the antechamber and not in the chapel proper.
Cautes and Cautopates had originally been placed elsewhere in the temple before coming to rest on the floor at the foot of the benches. The reason we know this is because their backs are not finished, meaning they were meant to be standing against a wall, not seen in the round. Moreover, the current statue of Cautes does not fit on the earlier pedestal. A replacement Cautes then? Or were there two pairs, and the others are now lost? Like the tauroctony.
But my favorite bit of new-to-me info is the supposition that there were a pair of recumbent, three and a half feet long, lion statues guarding the altars! I’ve circled the places they would have stood (one is behind the curtain) in the line drawing below. I must admit, I never noticed them, and frankly, would have assumed they were artistic license. I told the wife that I imagine the lions currently adorning someone’s garden, and the owners having no clue where they came from or their importance.
I also circled the ordeal pit, for those who might have missed it. You can just make out the dressed stones along the one side. The Mother Goddess statue is across from the pit… sorry I didn’t think to circle Her, too.
End of distraction. =D Back to reading.