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Mitreo di Santa Prisca — The New Mithraeum

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Monumentum

Mitreo di Santa Prisca

The Mithraeum of Santa Prisca houses remarkable frescoes showing the initiates in procession.
  • General view of the Mithraeum of Sant Prisca

    General view of the Mithraeum of Sant Prisca 

  • General view of the Mithraeum of Sant Prisca

    General view of the Mithraeum of Sant Prisca
    Roma Sparita 

  • Procession of 'leones' from Santa Prisca Mithraeum

    Procession of 'leones' from Santa Prisca Mithraeum 

  • Procession of 'leones' from Santa Prisca Mithraeum

    Procession of 'leones' from Santa Prisca Mithraeum 

  • Head of Sol from Santa Prisca

    Head of Sol from Santa Prisca
    Jebulon 

  • Procession of lions, Santa Prisca

    Procession of lions, Santa Prisca 

  • Ocean-Saturn of Mitreo di Santa Prisca

    Ocean-Saturn of Mitreo di Santa Prisca
    Archeo.it 

  • Ocean-Saturn of Mitreo di Santa Prisca

    Ocean-Saturn of Mitreo di Santa Prisca
    Archeo.it 

  • Cautes of Santa Prisca

    Cautes of Santa Prisca
    Spalluzza 

 
The New Mithraeum
17 May 2007
Updated on Sep 2023

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In 1935 during excavations, undertaken by the Fathers Augustines, a Mithraeum was discovered in the underground rooms of a notable house, situated under and behind the absis of S. Prisca's on the Aventine. This Church lies above the house, in which an early Christian community had its meeting-place next to the house, the underground rooms of which served for the mithraists to held their services.

In 1952 and 1953 I carried on the excavations together with Dr C. C. van Essen. Other seasons of work will follow, thus we are only able to publish here some preliminary details of the results.

Related monuments

Fresco of procession of grades at Santa Prisca

Procession of figures dressed in different ways with inscriptions calling them by the seven grades of the Mithraic initiation cult.

Head of Sol / Helios intarsio from Sant Prisca

The intarsium of Sol found in the Mithraeum of Santa Prisca is composed of several varieties of marble.

Fresco of lions at Santa Prisca

The inscription is above a procession of men carrying animals, bread, a crater and other objects that appear to be in preparation for a feast.

Oceanus-Saturn of Santa Prisca

The fragmented tauroctony of the Mitreo di Santa Prisca rests on the naked figure of a bearded man, probably Ocean or Saturn.

 

Tauroctony of Santa Prisca

Even if only a few fragments remain, it is very likely that the main niche of the Mitreo di Santa Prisca contained the usual representation of Mithras killing the bull.

Cautes of the mitreo di Santa Prisca

The marble statue of Cautes, found in the Mithraeum of Santa Prisca, was originally a Mercury.