This site uses cookies. By continuing visiting this site, you agree to their use.
To find out more, including how to control cookies, see our privacy policy.

 
Enter
 
 

Your seach has produced this one result.

Monumentum

Tauroctony of Sarrebourg

The Tauroctony of Saarbourg (Sarrebourg, ancient Pons Sarravi), France, contains most of Mithras deeds known in a single relief.
 
 
Mithraeum.eu
10 Jul 2009
 
  • Unknown 

  • Relieve de la tauroctonia del Mitreo de Sarrebourg.
    Vassil 

 
Relief in sandstone (H. 2.60 Br. 2.20), which stood on the base of the cult-niche and was attached to the back-wall by means of iron clips.

The badly damaged relief rests upon a cornice, consisting of a projecting edge with a votive inscription and four layers with flower- and egg-decoration. On it the main scene (H. 1.70 Br. 1.75), consisting of three parts, connected with iron hooks. On either side a raised border (Br. 0.22), which is crowned by a rosette. Each border contains five scenes. On the top of the relief a frieze (H. 0.50), on which another cornice with flower- and leafwork. On the cornice, which is partly lost, a bust (H. 0.17).

A. The main scene: Mithras as a bullkiller in the usual attitude and attire. The bull's tail ends in seven ears. The god's head and r.h. with the dagger are lost; the bull's muzzle and hind-legs are damaged. The dog and the scorpion are not clearly visible; the raven, at which Mithras is looking, was perched on the flying cloak. Under the bull's body a vase, to which the serpent, remnants of which have been found, probably directed its head. Beside it a lying lion in a menacing attitude. In the corners of the relief the busts of the four Wind-gods, two of which are youthful and beardless. The two others are bearded. To the heads of Zephyrus and Eurus (l. and r. lower corners) wings are attached. These wings are omitted in the heads of Notus and Boreas (r. and l. upper corners), because above them Sol in a quadriga (l) and Luna in a biga (r) are represented. The latter are damaged.

B. The left side from the bottom to the top:

1) Standing person in tunic and trousers extends an undistinct object towards a person in long hair-dress (Saturnus and Jupiter?).
2) Person in flying cloak grasps the hairs of a smaller figure, which seems to be kneeling before him (Jupiter and a Gigant).
3) Reclining person, unclearly visible, the upper part of whose body is uncovered. He is leaning on his l. arm (Saturnus or Oceanus).
4) Mithras' rock-birth.
5) Destroyed.

C. On the right side from the top to the bottom:

1) Damaged. Mithras is carried along by the bull. Only the hind part is preserved.
2) Mithras taurophorus. The head and forelegs of the animal trail along the ground.
3) Lion, walking before a tree with seven branches (cypress).
4) Mithras in Eastern attire shakes hands with Sol in a tunic.
S) Mithras and Sol, both in the same attire as in the preceding scene, at the repast. Before them a table, cover,ed with a cloth, on which courses. Right of it a bird on the ground (raven) and above it a bull's head.

D. In the corners of the frieze there are two more scenes:

1) In the l. corner Mithras, whose head and right leg have got lost. He shoots an arrow towards a rocky wall, against which a person is standing (the upper part of his body is preserved only). Before Mithras the outlines of a person in Eastern attire, kneeling down and extending his hands towards him.
2) In the r. corner a small house, of which the facade and tiled roof are visible. In front of it a squatting person, putting a torch down. Another person in Phrygian cap (probably Mithras) goes towards the house to hit the roof with a stick or to set fire to the house with a torch.

Between these two scenes a meeting of the gods is represented.

From the left to the right:

a) Standing person, dressed in cloak, which leaves the. breast uncovered. Head and l. arm are lost. In his r.h. he holds a hammer (Vulcanus).
b) In the background a half-dressed bust to the right. With his l.h. he supports his chin.
c) Standing, naked person with a chlamys over his l. shonlder (Mercurius). The god has winged hair, and he points a caduceus down with his r.h. and carries a money-bag in the other hand.
d) Bearded Jupiter in long hair-dress, sitting on a throne. He is completely naked, but a cloak lies over his knees. In his r.h. a thunderbolt, in, his l.h, (now lost) probably a sceptre.
e) In the background, between Jupiter and Mercurius, a naked bust and beardless head in curly hair (Mars?).
f) Standing, robust person, bearded and completely nude (Hercules). He points a club down with hisr.h. and in the other hand he holds a vague object (apple?). A lion's hide over his l. arm.
g) Standing, naked person to the right, with a trident in his upraised r.h. and an oar in the other (Neptunus). He rested his l. foot probably on a rock or a dolphin.
h) Youthful god, leaning against a big bunch of grapes (Dionysus). He held his l. arm (now broken off) behind his head. Around his middle probably a goat's skin.

E. The whole relief is crowned by the bust of a beardless person (H. 0.67 Br. 0.56) in long, wavy hair (Sol). As it is clear from seven holes, the god wore a radiate crown. A groove in the back of the head moreover points to a semicircular aureole.


MMM II, Pl. IX; Fisenne, Pl. II-III and fig. p. 139; Esp. Rec. Gaule, VI, No. 4563; Saxl, fig. 81, See fig. 236.


En 1895, le retable mis au jour à Sarrebourg au pied du Marxberg témoigne avec force de l'implantation des sanctuaires consacrés à Mithra dans les agglomérations secondaires. Pons Saravi (Sarrebourg) était une place économique moyenne, mais son emplacement sur l'une des grandes voies de communication antiques qui allait vers Argentorate (Strasbourg) où stationnait la VIIIe légion explique sans doute la présence d'un mithraeum dans cette ville.

Notons que dans la hiérarchie initiatique, le myste (l'initié) passait par un stade intitulé miles (le soldat), particularité du rituel qui permet de mieux comprendre l'attrait des légionnaires pour ce culte, comme d'ailleurs le caractère triomphant de Mithra, dieu jeune et vigoureux qui pratique le tauroctone dans une grotte. C'est cette action qui décore la partie centrale du retable de Sarrebourg. On y découvre Mithra égorgeant un taureau dont le sang s'écoule sur le sol pour revigorer la terre et la fertiliser. De part et d'autre de la divinité, figurent deux adolescents, les porteurs de torche ou « dadophores », cautès et cautopatès. Ils personnifient l'un le soleil ascendant, l'autre le soleil descendant. Le dieu Sol qui apparaît sur l'un des montants du relief est là lui aussi pour accentuer le caractère solaire de Mithra. Représentés ensemble, main dans la main, Mithra et Sol scellent un pacte d'amitié. La frise supérieure énumère quelques divinités traditionnelles du panthéon classique (Jupiter, Mercure, Bacchus, etc.), tandis que l'on découvre Mithra décochant une flèche en direction d'un rocher pour en faire jaillir une source.

Dieu de la lumière et de la création, favorisant la lutte du bien contre le mal, Mithra assure aussi à ses initiés l'immortalité de l'âme. Avec l'eau bénéfique, le sang qui revigore et l'image du banquet sacrificiel dans lequel on partage le pain et le vin, on comprend mieux pourquoi les premiers chrétiens se sont farouchement opposés à ce culte. L'hypothèse qu'ils ont pu détruire vers 395 le centre mithriaque de Sarrebourg reste plausible. Mithra devait faire ombrage au Christ, alors qu'en 380 ap. J.-C., Théodose venait d'élever le christianisme au rang de religion officielle.

Main inscription

In h(onorem) d(omus) d(ivinae) deo inv[ict]o Marcellus Marianus / d(e) / s(uo) p(osuit)

CIL XIII 4539

Comments

Add a comment

 
 

Help us to keep
The New Mithraeum alive!

Do you like The New Mithraeum? Help us to keep it up, running and ads-free with a quick PayPal contribution.
Any amount is more than welcome!

Mithraeum.eu is powered by Enkidū