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Jaime Alvar Ezquerra

Historiador experto en Historia Antigua y catedrático en la Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.

Madrid, Spain
Joined February 2023
Mar 2023

Mithras in Hispania

On the occasion of the discovery of the mithraeum in Cabra, we talk to Jaime Alvar, a leading figure in the field of Mithraism. With him, we examine the testimonies known to date and the peculiarities of the cult of Mithras in Hispania.

A chara, Any chance of an English translation of El Culto de Mitra en Hispania? If all else fails I’ll work my way slowly through it with my diccionario. Meanwhile, I’m struck by some similarities between the Mithraic Mysteries and Irish Druidism, particularly the tairbhfeis roughly translated as the "bull feast" or "bull sleep". The slaughter of a bull was involved. Rites of kingship applied but also when in search of visions, the Druid/Druidess would wrap themselves in a bull hide and sleep within the dark caves of the ancient mounds (built pre Druidic religion). Many of the mounds were constructed to face the sun. The mound at Brugh na Boinne has a ’roof box’ over the entrance which allows for the sun’s rays of the winter solstice to strike the central chamber. O.R.
The so-called Elephant Tomb was not a tomb. The data that support its character as a mithraeum derive from its formal characteristics: A room divided into three parts, presided by a chapel, subway, with a water fountain. These are characteristics that formally define a mithraeum. In addition, it has a window that directs the sun's rays into the center of the chamber at the equinoxes three hours after sunrise. In spring, at that time, Taurus would emerge over the horizon. This same configuration is observed in Hawarte whose window allowed the sun's rays to point to the altar during the winter solstice, two hours before sunset. At that time, Taurus emerged over the horizon. One cannot call a proposal extravagant just because one does not know the basic principles of archaeoastronomy or building archaeology.
Feb 2023

New excavations in the Villa del Mitra (Nov 22-February 23) have provided a room with benches and cooked bones. No doubt it is the mithraem where the taurochtony was located. The sculpture was found 10m away from the spelaeum.

Can't wait for more details
Nov 2021

Los cultos de Mater Magna y Atis en Hispania

Este libro es la tercera entrega de una trilogía dedicada al estudio de la implantación en la Península Ibérica de los cultos destinados a dioses que, procedentes originalmente de Oriente, se transforman profundamente en su recepción en Roma y termin…

Nov 2020

The Mystery of Mithras. Exploring the heart of a Roman cult

The exhibition The Mystery of Mithras: Exploring the Heart of a Roman Cult is being presented at the Musée royal de Mariemont from 20 November 2021 to 17 April 2022, then at the Musée Saint-Raymond de Toulouse from 14 May 2022 to 30 October 2022, and la…

Nov 2017

El culto de Mitra en Hispania

Jaime Alvar hace en este libro un estudio exhaustivo de las condiciones en las que se produce la introducción de Mitra en Hispania, a finales del siglo I d. C., en un momento sorprendentemente prematuro en relación con otras regiones del occidente latin…

Nov 2011

Los cultos egipcios en Hispania

Este estudio pone al día el conocimiento sobre un aspecto peculiar de la religiosidad romana en las provincias hispanas. Hasta ellas llegaron los cultos originalmente egipcios, transformados profundamente al integrarse en la cultura romana, y a ellos se …

Nov 2007

Romanising Oriental Gods Myth Salvation and Ethics in the Cults of Cybele Isis and Mithras

The traditional grand narrative correlating the decline of Graeco-Roman religion with the rise of Christianity has been under pressure for three decades. This book argues that the alternative accounts now emerging significantly underestimate the role of t…

Nov 1980

El culto de Mitra en Hispania

La religión de la Hispania romana no ha sido un campo suficientemente trabajado. Al margen de algunos estudios aislados, que por numerosos que sean siempre resultarán escasos, tan sólo en una ocasión se han dado cita los especialistas para tratar de a…