Mitreo delle Sette Sfere

Photo: Andreu Abuín

Description

Mithraeum, discovered by Lanciani in 1885-1886 (Reg. II, Is. VII, 6). Second half of the second cent. A.D.

The Mithraeum was built in a rectangular room on the Western side of the Domus of Apuleius with which it communicates through a corridor. It is, however, uncertain whether already in antiquity the house communicated with the sanctuary. Entering the sanctuary (L. 11.20 Br. 4.95), one finds the usual division of central aisle (Br. 1.70), leading to the dais, and two sloping side-benches (Br. 1.50-1.65 H. 0.75-0.60), the fronts and the projecting edges of which bear representations in mosaic. The floor of the central aisle is also covered with mosaic equally showing representations.

Left of the entrance (Br. 1.00) there was a ritual basin in the floor (Br. 0.45 D. 0.30). Two small niches (H. 0.54-0.44 Br. 0.30 D. 0.25) near the middle of the benches must also be thought of in connection with water. The niche of the r. bench is covered with marble and is lower than the floor. Before the cult-niche (partly covered with marble) there is a bench-like platform (H. 1.00 Br. 4.30), which may have been used to place lamps on.

In the white-black mosaic-floor of the central aisle near the entrance there is a dagger and behind it follow seven half circles (seven spheres of the planets) [CIMRM 240].

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