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Mithras shrines

Ptuj and surrounding, 2250 Ptuj
Mithraism is a Persian religion brought to Europe by Roman soldiers. Religious rites could only be attended by men who were sworn to secrecy. The god of light SOL sent Mithra to the earth with a task to lure a white bull in a cave and sacrifice it. From its blood, a new life began.  
Mithras Shrine I in Spodnja Hajdina In the western part of Roman Poetoviona, in today's Spodnja Hajdina, the oldest Mithras shrine in the provinces of the Upper Danube was discovered by Wilhelm Gurlitt, an archaeologist from Graz, Austria, between 1898 and 1899. The shrine was immediately after having been unearthed covered by a protective house. Dedications show that the shrine was built in the middle of the 2nd century by administrators of the Illyrian customs based in Poetoviona. The shrine was partly dug into a gentle slope and covered by interwoven branches of a willow. The square-like temple hall is divided into the anteroom and a three-nave central part the middle of which is lowered. Above it, on the west wall, a hole shows where the main altar plate used to be. There are 12 dedication stones bearing inscriptions and relief representations, which show, among other things, myths and attributes connected with different consecration stages of their dedicators. At the entrance into the central part are two altars dedicated to gods of east and west, Cautes and Cautopates. In the central lowered part, on one of the altars, a statue represents the birth of Mithras from the rock, a symbol of the earth, around which coils a snake. The torso of a young man appears from the rock holding a dagger in the left hand and a torch in the right. A special attention should be paid to the columned altar with a statue of taurophorus dedicated to the Transition (transitu). The statue of Mithras, clad in Phrygian clothes and dragging the bull to sacrifice it, and the stone base with the dedication, are both carved from one piece of stone. III. Mitrej In the western part of Roman Poetoviona, at the place called nowadays Zgornji Breg, was established the third Mithras shrine in the Roman residential quarter, which was densely populated. The shrine was discovered by Viktor Skrabar and Mihovil Abramič, Ph.D., in 1913. The year that followed its discovery, the then Museum Society protected the shrine with a building for which it entirely contributed the money. In the shrine, which was built in the middle of the 3rd century, prevail dedications from the soldiers of Gemina Legion XIII and Macedonia Legion V under the leadership of Flavius Aper. The shrine is composed of three naves and the central part, which is deepened. A fresco on the wall opposite the entrance is only a copy of the altar from the Mithras shrine in Osterburken, Germany. The majority of dedication stones with various symbolic representations relating the Mithras legend, beliefs and rites, are placed in the central deepened part. On one of the monuments, there are two male figures, carved on the frontal part, swearing above the fire on the sacrificial altar. The right relief shows Mithras who shot an arrow to a rock from which water poured to quench thirst. The altar on the left bears a carved relief depicting Mithras birth from the rock, and an inscription beneath, on the base. Beside Mithras, who holds a dagger and a torch in his hands, stand Cautes and Cautopates, and above them, there is a relief with a prostrated supreme god and the winged goddess of Victory. Opposite is a high altar with two lying lions on the top. Its right side bears a carved representation of the god of the Sun, and the left side represents a man's figure holding a horn of plenty in his left hand and a patera, a sacrificial vessel, in the right. Besides the original equipment of the shrine, there are also to be found a dedication plate to the sublime Nutrices (Nutrices augustae), a chest of the goddess of fertility (Magna mater), the altar plate from the shrine in Modric in Pohorje, and a plate with a relief of Saxanus, patron of stonecutters, from Šmartno na Pohorju. MITHRAS SHRINES II, IV AND V Mithras shrine II, IV and V are to be found in the Dominican Monastery. Info: Ptujske vedute ++386 2 778 87 80  

Ptujske vedute 
Na gredu 1 
Tel. : ++386 2 778 87 80 

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Administrator : TIC Ptuj | ++386 2 779 60 11 | |
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