Temple to ancient Roman cult resurrected beneath London

Temple To Ancient Roman Cult Resurrected Beneath London

Nearly 2,000 years after the temple was frequented by the all-male members of an exclusive, enigmatic cult, This particular has currently been faithfully restored as well as opened to the public.
Visitors descend into a dimly lit cave beneath the fresh London headquarters of business news outlet Bloomberg. The temple slowly comes to life as torch light flickers as well as a recording of a low chanting fills the room.

Channels of light as well as haze extend by the rocky ruins, recreating shadowy columns to give the impression of the temple’s superstructure.

Temple To Ancient Roman Cult Resurrected Beneath London

A light display inside the recess of the temple depicts the cult statue of Mithras slaying a bull, an image in which was the central icon of the cult.

Temple To Ancient Roman Cult Resurrected Beneath London

This particular is usually believed in which soldiers as well as merchants gathered in these secret temples drinking, feasting as well as performing rituals in which may have involved simulating death as well as rebirth, as well as even some nakedness.

Temple To Ancient Roman Cult Resurrected Beneath London

Temple To Ancient Roman Cult Resurrected Beneath London

“This particular was a mystery cult, you were initiated into This particular as well as you had to keep your knowledge secret,” Sophie Jackson, lead archaeological consultant by the Museum of London Archaeology, tells CNN.

Temple To Ancient Roman Cult Resurrected Beneath London

“They were very effective at keeping their knowledge a secret, so we truly don’t know a lot about what went on inside the Mithraeum [temple], apart by the archaeological artifacts.”

Temple To Ancient Roman Cult Resurrected Beneath London

Demystifying Mithras

Temple To Ancient Roman Cult Resurrected Beneath London

The little in which is usually known about the fraternity can be gleaned by the remains of the 400-odd mithraic temples — or mithraea — spanning Europe, North Africa as well as the Middle East.

Pinecones, incense as well as evidence of hallucinogens found in various temples paint a picture of some of the mystical rites in which may have been practiced in these clandestine temples.

“Most mithraea were windowless,” explains Jackson. “They’re meant to represent the cave in which Mithras killed the primordial bull, perhaps bringing life to the entire world as well as fertility.”

Cult statue of Mithras slaying the sacred bull with his dagger. - Temple To Ancient Roman Cult Resurrected Beneath London

Variations of the bull-slaying cult statue — known as the Tauroctony — feature a scorpion on the bull’s testicles, a dog as well as snake licking the blood, as well as various zodiac signs as well as allusions to Sol the sun god.

nevertheless Jackson is usually wary to read too deeply into any meaning or symbolism by the cult’s relief. “This particular’s like trying to interpret Christianity when all you’ve got is usually Christ on the cross,” she says. “[You might think Christianity] is usually about torturing people with human sacrifice.”

Unearthing London’s Temple

The London Mithraeum was built in 250 AD nevertheless discovered by accident in 1954, during excavations of the rubble on Victoria Street inside the aftermath of the Second World War.

People queue to see the remains of the temple in 1954. - Temple To Ancient Roman Cult Resurrected Beneath London

Finding the entire ground floor of a Roman building on a bomb site captured the public imagination, as well as thousands of people queued for hours to catch a glimpse of the statues of Roman gods emerging by the ruins.

nevertheless This particular wasn’t until the last day of excavation in which the head of Mithras was unearthed, revealing the historic purpose of the building.

While Jackson says archaeologists as well as officials proposed getting rid of This particular at the time, the press as well as public protested to keep This particular. In 1962 the remains were haphazardly reassembled on another site, 100 meters away.

The temple (bottom left) was reconstructed above a car park on Queen Victoria Street in 1962. - Temple To Ancient Roman Cult Resurrected Beneath London

When Bloomberg acquired the site in 2010, This particular took responsibility for the dismantling as well as faithful reconstruction of the temple, returning This particular to its original location.

Jackson as well as a team of archaeologists, conservators, stone masons as well as designers sampled mortar by mid third century Roman buildings in London as well as made a mix of mortars to match.

Ancient Roman writing tablets discovered at London building site - Temple To Ancient Roman Cult Resurrected Beneath London

The team worked by original archaeological drawings, designs, photographs, first-hand testimonies as well as newsreel footage to piece together the ruins.

This particular particular temple has seven pairs of columns, which, according to Jackson, is usually significant as This particular corresponds with the seven grades of promotion within the cult.

nevertheless the original columns are long gone, sold when the building was refashioned as well as taken over by another Roman cult, says Jackson.

The reconstructed temple sits seven meters below the City of London. - Temple To Ancient Roman Cult Resurrected Beneath London

Of the four known Temples to Mithras inside the United Kingdom, three are on the frontiers of Roman Britain — one in Wales as well as two on Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland — linking the cult to military outposts.

“[The London Mithrauem] illustrates the spread of the cult … This particular demonstrates in which This particular’s not just to do with the military, This particular actually involves merchants as well as traders,” she says.

Since opening in November 2017, the London Mithraeum has welcomed nearly 0 visitors a day. The mystery as well as intrigue of Mithras lives on, This particular seems.

Temple to ancient Roman cult resurrected beneath London

Reply