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Two-sided relief of Fiano Romano

The marble shows Mithras slaying the bull, on one side, and Sol and Mithras feasting on a bull skin, on the other.
1 Jul 2009


White marble relief on a travertine base (H. 0.10 Br. 0.76 D. 0.50). Worked on two sides. Found at Fiano Romano «couché dans un petit réduit de briques» in 1926. Paris, Louvre. Probably second century.

Obverse: Mithras, slaying the bull, whose tail ends in a bundle of ears. The dog, serpent, scorpion and raven. The upper corners are occupied by a rocky vault, from which the dressed busts of Sol (l) and Lune (r) emerge. Luna has a crescent behind her shoulders; around Sol's head a crown of twelve rays and another, which darts out in the direction of Mithras.

Reverse: In the middle, a bull's hide, of which the head and one hindleg are clearly visible. Sol and Mithras lying on it side by side. Mithras in Eastern attire, holding a long torch in his l.h. and stretching out his r.h. behind Sol. The latter is only dressed in a short cape, fastened on the r. shoulder by a fibula. Around Sol's head an aureole and a crown of eleven rays. He holds a whip in his l.h. and extends the other hand towards a torchbearer, who stands before him and offers him a rhyton.

Another torchbearer, dressed in Eastern attire like his companion, and with an upraised torch in his l.h., holds with his right a caduceus in the water or fire, which comes out from the ground. Beside it an altar in the coils of a crested snake.

In the left upper corner a cloud-like semicircle, in which the dressed bust of Luna with a crescent behind her shoulders. She looks away from the scene.

Traces of red painting on the attire of the torchbearers and the reclining persons.


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