Early depiction of Mithras killing a bull.
Archaeologists excavating at Angers, France, have discovered the remains of a temple ~ dating to the third century AD ~ dedicated to the Indo-Iranian god Mithras. In the temple sanctuary, a typical bas-relief of the god Mithras wearing his Phrygian cap shows him slaughtering a bull ~ the so-called tauroctony. The depiction was intentionally damaged in ancient times, possibly by early Christians trying to suppress the pagan cult.
According to the London Independent:
The earliest evidence of occupation at the 9,000 square meter excavation site is dated to about 10 BC. It is believed the cult of Mithras was brought to the Roman Empire by soldiers coming from the East at the end of the first century AD.
Mithraism, a religion exclusive to men, first became popular with the elite, but quickly spread through all layers of society. Later it became known as a soldier's cult. Shrines dedicated to Mithras are most often found at the borders of the Roman Empire, where large amounts of troops were stationed.
With the rise of Christianity, the worship of Mithras came under severe attack. Roman Emperor Theodosius banned the Mithriac mysteries in 392, along with all other pagan religions.
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