The dress and colour of Mithraism Roman or Iranian garments

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Titel o Abschnitt Sonderver ffentlichung 4 Mannheimer Geschichtsbl tter. The dress and colour of Mithraism Roman or Iranian garments. Roman Empire in particular it is imperative when and Cautopates 22 Unlike the Parthians and the Sas. looking at the dress and colour of Roman Mithra sanians these last mentioned were never depicted. ism to try to answer the question formulated by R in a humiliating inferior or submissive position But. Beck concerning Mithraism in general how much this discovery is not new as F Cumont anticipated. is there that is genuinely Iranian and how much it by a century when writing about the creation. is there that is reinvented Perserie behind the of an archetypal image of an Orientalising clich. epithet Persian This set of mental tools Per that found in dress its most eloquent feature for. serie had already arisen before in the forms of representing otherness he remarked that the dress. representation of Persian Achaemenid otherness in of Mithra couldn t be too accurate to the Persian. the Greek imaginaire It consisted in a psycho original model 23 And it might be advisable to try. logical mechanism of appropriation prior to the to put an end to the lack of precision in the use of. domination of the eternal border enemy a defen the terms Persian Phrygian and Oriental dress in. ce mechanism that A Mastrocinque has defined Mithraic historiography. for the Roman world in a revealing way Le culte The hypothesis proposed by D Ulansey24 is an. du dieu persan et la parent entre Romains et Per other of those in which Mithras is represented as. ses posaient les pr misses de l extension du droit the archetypal figure of an Oriental Basing him. romain sur l Iran and a process the reverse side self on F Saxl 25 Ulansey believes he has discovered. of which were the forms of representation of Par the model for the iconographic representation of. thian and Sassanian otherness in which the Asian Mithras in the Perseus of the Greek world repre. always appeared subjugated defeated dressed in sented in his constellation as the figure of a young. barbarian and feminine fashion laxae vestes hero armed with a dagger and also wearing a Phry. fluxa velamenta combined moreover with the gian cap According to what we read in Herodotus. barbarian garment par excellence in the classical Perseus was a hero linked in the Greek imagination. imagination long trousers 19 with Persia and the Persians as the result of a simi. In the process of the construction of Roman lar exercise to the one the Romans are supposed. identity through religion dress must have been a to have performed with Mithras whom they regar. decisive factor for as R M Schneider has pointed ded as of Iranian origin 26 As argued by R Turcan. out From antiquity to the present day dress codes this would also seem to follow from the expres. have played a key role in visualizing the difference sion Persei sub rupibus antri in Statius s poem. between West and East friend and foe In Roman Thebais which it is la plus ancienne attestation. representations of an Oriental the posture the litt raire d une iconographie mithraique as tauroc. dress the physiognomy and the hairstyle might tones 27 Although the passage in question makes. reflect an ethnic archetype such as the Parthians no mention of the god s dress it does reveal as R. and Sassanians or simply a generic Oriental the Turcan has pointed out that the image of Mithras. last mentioned usually represented as a good loo was already present at that time in the imagination. king youth with long hair and Eastern dress almost of the Roman epic poet s audience or readership. always with a Phrygian cap and barbarian Moreover Statius s scholiast Lactantius Placidus. long trousers In Roman art the repre noted that the Persians were the first to worship. sentation of all Eastern peoples was adapted to fit the Sun in caves a Sun which according to the scho. this archetype of the Oriental This applies to the liast appears in Persian dress with a tiara Persi. Parthians and later the Sassanians although they co habitu cum tiara 28 in other words like Mithras. were both always represented as vanquished 21 the with his Oriental pileus 29. Trojans Ganymedes and Paris the Persians the However F Cumont was the first one to deter. castrated Galli many of the representations being mine thanks precisely to the aid of the god s Phry. of handsome servants and cupbearers sometimes gian dress where and when Mithras image was. with the function of table legs and divine perso conceived Orientalising or Iranianising the popular. nages such as Attis Orpheus and of course the iconography of the According to. deus pileatus Mithras and his companions Cautes Plutarch we should look to Tarsus the city in which. Mannheimer Geschichtsbl tter Sonderver ffentlichung 4 Titel o Abschnitt. Manel Garc a S nchez, there existed a deeply rooted cult of the hero Per trousers old Persian ara v ra Greek. seus the founder of Tarsus according to a late tra Latin sarabara the fluxa ac sinuosa vesti. dition present on its coins together with Apollo menta mentioned by Isidorus36 a billowing cape or. and the founder also of other Cilician cities 30 In mantle perhaps the old Persian gaunaka related. Cumont s own words Le costume phrygien habi to the Avestic gaona which means either colour. tuellement donn au dieu perse est un indice pr or hair which was sometimes red in the West. cieux pour d terminer le pays o un artiste inconnu Iranian but not in the Greek or old Persian. cr a une fois pour toutes le type du Mithra tauroc kantu as this last mentioned item is an overcoat. tone appel une fortune si prodigieuse 31 There with long sleeves sometimes with a hood that is. was also another connection between Perseus and never worn by Mithras or the palla auro distincta. Mithras namely the fact that the Greek hero mentioned by Curtius Rufus the same sleeveless. appears on the coins of Tarsus together with Apollo cloak worn by Darius III in the Alexander mosaic. identified with the Sun the same object that was or the enthroned magus Zoroaster Hystaspes or. venerated in the cult of Mithras Furthermore on Mithra depicted as a horse archer in the synago. these same coins the combat between the lion and gue of Dura Europos37 and the Phrygian cap pileus. the bull is sometimes depicted a motif from the often called Persian cap or a tiara in the historio. ancient Orient that is also latent in the taurocto graphy In some of the surviving reliefs such as the. ny and is interpreted as symbolising the triumph Mithraeum of Deutsch Altenburg Mithras s Phrygi. of summer over winter and the renewal of life a an cap has holes in it to let in the sun s rays 38 Fig 1. cosmological process that has also been linked to As to the meaning of the colours the red of the. some of the motifs and colours of the garments in tunic or the billowing cape as can be seen in one. Mithraic iconography of the most beautiful surviving examples of the ico. Nor can we forget that the Romans had direct nography of the god at the Mithraeum at Marino. knowledge of Iranian costume through the dress see pl 2 39 or at the Mithraeum Barberini has been. of the Parthians although until the 1st centu interpreted as the symbol of blood fire vitality and. ry BC this Iranian people was little more to them the burning sky or ether 40 and of the warrior and. than the name of an Eastern people and from the the ruler 41 His billowing cloak is often decorated. political point of view an unknown factor The with the constellations like a world mantle 42 and. decorated festal attires of Palmyra were no doubt the folds in it come round in a semi circle simu. another important opportunity to deepen their lating the image of the firmament a motif that. acquaintance should be linked to the interpretation arguing in. If we now go on to look at the dress and colour favour of a latent cosmological code in Mithraic. of Mithraism it should first be remembered that iconography Indeed traces of blue a symbol of the. very few items in the surviving Mithraic iconogra celestial sky 43 sometimes appear on his billowing. phy have any colours and those that do appear only cloak and on his tunic and seven stars are drawn. in Italy Rome and the surrounding area in the on his billowing cloak as seven are the degrees of. West and in the Mithraeum of Dura Europos in the initiation and seven the planets of the universe of. East Nevertheless an examination of what does the pre Copernican spheres 44 symbols also of the. exist reveals the following ruler and his astral origin 45 In some representa. 1 Mithras is normally wearing an Oriental dress tions a circular golden fibula holds the cloak on. see pl 1 a tight fitting short tunic with long his right shoulder and the garments of the divine. sleeves tunica manicata et succincta old hero are frequently embroidered in green stripes. Persian sarapi and Greek or the symbol of the revival of life 46 filled in with gol. an under garment or shirt reaching almost to the den patterns or the trousers may be decorated with. knees worn over the trousers and no opening at the small rosettes another sun symbol 47 and crowns. neck without the typical V shaped neck and flaps as can be seen at S Maria Capua Vetere in which. of the Parthian tunic like the one of the prince or he is also wearing yellow shoes 48 this colour being. nobleman of Shami with Persian long patterned interpreted as generative heat 49 Fig 2. Titel o Abschnitt Sonderver ffentlichung 4 Mannheimer Geschichtsbl tter. The dress and colour of Mithraism Roman or Iranian garments. Mithraeum of S Maria,Capua Vetere,Photo Vermaseren 1971. Whether or not we agree with F Cumont s interpre upright and rigid Very occasionally it is adorned. tation the fact of the matter is that he is the one with long flaps covering the ears as in the case. who has examined the dress of Mithras in the grea of Men Attis and this is important for us not. test detail referring to it sometimes as le costume bearing more than a slight resemblance to what. perse others as le costume phrygien 50 and more according to F Cumont is the true dress of the inha. over locating the creation of the god s iconography bitants of Iran as described by Strabo 15 3 19 a fact. not on Iranian soil but in the Pergamon school i e that F Cumont used as evidence in support of the. at the crossroads between East and West that was hypothesis that Mithraic iconography had its origin. Asia Minor in antiquity taking as its model as we in Asia Minor rather than Iran with the exception. have already seen a Victory sacrificing a bull of the Mithras who is dressed like the Comagenian. an extremely popular image since kings in the bas reliefs of Nemroud Dagh. Hellenistic times F Cumont picks out as attributes However the truth is that as F Cumont again says. of the god the Phrygian cap a baggy long sleeved we are confronted with two different costumes of. tunic drawn in tightly by a belt from which hangs the god One in which his clothes are floating not. the scabbard of his weapon an akin kes or Persi at all drawn in to the body whereas in the other. an dagger Over the tunic he wears a short mantle his clothing clings to his back and to his legs as. fastened on his left shoulder the folds of which bil though it were a pair of leggings Sometimes too. low out over his back On his legs he wears what he appears with his lower limbs or his genital. was no doubt the most barbarian and Oriental organs naked sometimes with his torso naked also. feature for the mentality of a Roman long trousers other times he has a simple chlamys fastened at. tied at the ankles and walking boots on his feet the neck and yet other times he is wearing a cui. Sometimes the trousers seem to be tucked down rass and a military cloak sometimes his trousers. into the shoes as the Parthian trousers of Palmyra belt and shoes are adorned with precious embroi. As F Cumont points out Mithras s tiara is gene dery in stripes and braids according to F Cumont. rally similar to a Phrygian cap although he quali comme ceux d un toreador espagnol as can be. fies this by adding that it seems somewhat more seen at S Maria Capua Vetere 52 In some representa. Mannheimer Geschichtsbl tter Sonderver ffentlichung 4 Titel o Abschnitt. Manel Garc a S nchez, tions the belt holding his dagger is not fastened in um Pfaffenhofen am Inn 57 the god is not always. the place where his tunic narrows but the dagger dressed in the same way and is sometimes even. is attached to a long belt or is held in a harness represented naked. or simply does not appear Sometimes in addition 2 If we move on to look at Mithras s assistants. to the dagger Mithras has a bow and a quiver of Cautes and Cautopates they are usually dressed. arrows on his back Lastly F Cumont reminds us in like the god with a Phrygian cap a spotted tunic. connection with Mithras s mantle adorned with a drawn in at the waist a chlamys draped over the. crescent moon surrounded by seven stars that in back and held in place on the right shoulder by a. the Avesta it says Mithras wore a garment inlaid brooch baggy trousers tied at the ankles over the. with stars made of a heavenly substance and on shoes the feature distinguishing them from the. no side can the eye perceive the end of it 53 Here god being the fact that they have no dagger belt or. again then we have yet another link with the Ira harness 58 At the Mithraeum of S Maria Capua Vete. nian world and in the opinion of certain authors re see pl 3 they are both. religion with Mithras dressed in Asian style in Persian trousers a star spangled mantle and a Phrygian cap combined with all the symbolism of the colours which we can also interpret from the iconography of Mithraism The aim of our study of the dress and colours of Mithraism is to determine whether in the context of the Roman Empire the polychromatic ritual dress of Mithras was Roman

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