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Tauroctony relief from Fleischmann Collection

This relief of Mithras killing the bull includes an unusual owl at the feet of Cautopates and a cock next to Cautes.
Fleischmann Collection, New York

Fleischmann Collection, New York

The New Mithraeum
15 May 2023

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This relief was once the centerpiece of a Mithraeum, providing all of the expected iconographic elements for a small congregation devoted to this mystery cult. The scene represents the struggles between light and dark, good and evil, life and death, the cosmological victory of the sun over the moon and the astrological journey of the soul after enlightenment. All of the players in this scene have been interpreted as constellations, with the vault of the cave above representing the heavens: the raven, dog, snake and scorpion can be seen as corvus, canis minor, hydra and scorpio, and the bull