Mithraeum at Martigny

Description

Not far from the temenos, also in the southern outskirts of the roman city, a Mithraeum was erected at the end of the 2nd century of our era. It was discovered in 1993 while building apartments and is preserved in the basement of these buildings instead of the foreseen cellars

It is displayed as audio-visual show during thr guided visits. The Mithraeum is of 23.36 m long by 8.95 m wide and must have looked stern since the façades did not bear any window. It was composed of an almost square entry hall (A) with a side door. There were hearths to cook food. A sacristy or aparatorium (B) used one of the corners. The amphteater from the hall, one reached the Holy of Holies of the sanctuary, the spelaeum (C), by walking three steps down. This room, 14.40 m long was lined by two seats (d) on which were diagonally lying down the initiates to attend sacramental meals in particular. At the end of the spelaeum was a podium (e) preceded by a few steps, on which were arranged offerings hostels devoted to city prominent figures. The whole was dominated by the tauroctony image, a ritual performance, always the same, where the invincible Sun-god Mithras stabs a dagger into a white bull's shoulder.

At Martigny, exceptionally, this tauroctony was composed of disparate bronze elements. The numerous votive objects discovered (more than 2000 coins, rock-crystal pieces, earthenware etc.) and the archaeological facts demonstrate that the mithraeum, likely to be have been built between 150 and 200 AD, was destroyed in two phases by the first Christians at the beginning of the 5th century.

Source: Site officiel de la ville de Martigny

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