Politics of Mithras: The Mystery Cult and Matters of State
Volume 7 | Issue III | September 2023
Monte Vista High School ’25
My fascination with ancient history started first in elementary school with Rick Riordan’s mythology-based novels. From there it quickly escalated, moving from mythology to a love of all things Greco-Roman. Touring a Mithraeum in Rome introduced me to the cult of Mithras and sparked my interest in uncovering some of its many mysteries. My paper analyzes an alternative religion often overlooked among studies of Roman theology: Mithraism. It finds Rome was not just the origin of Christianity’s popularity, but a melting pot of many different religions that all impacted the politics and populace in their ways. My examination of inscriptions, textual evidence, and secondary scholarly sources recognizes Mithraism, amongst many beliefs, as an important influence on Roman statecraft. I wrote the original paper as a side project in my sophomore year, and the chance to research ancient texts and read other scholarly works on the subject was amazing. The revision process for The Schola, although grueling, enabled me to expand my paper and build my claim with additional sources. I’m now in my junior year and plan to study classics in college. Outside of academics, I like to write fictional stories, listen to Queen, and play D&D.