Image via WikipediaI'm up to my ears researching Cilician Pirates and any possible ways I can connect them to the Cilician djinn in my story. Last week, a footnote about Mithraism tickled my synapses and sent me off looking for info on that and... Violá! I was at a book swap, when out of only a handful of books what should appear? A hardbound copy of "A History of Pagan Europe" with a blurb on the back about Constantine. Thinking I might find some interesting tidbit about Vanadis or Byzantium, I tucked it under my arm and went on my merry way.
At home later, I randomly opened the book to an underlined passage on Mithraism! Uh...something is pointing me in that general direction.
So today we have: The Secret Rites of Mithras! Or what I can make sense of it. Remember when I connected the djinn to Zoroastrianism? Well, Mithraism is somehow connected to Zoroaster, and guess what - to the Cilician pirates too!
Here's where I started to make two columns -
What I Know and What I Need to Find Out (and a WTF column too, but nevermind that one.)
What I Know:
- Mithra was one of the deities of the syncretic Graeco-Iranian royal cult founded by Antiochus I, king of the small, but prosperous "buffer" state of Commagene, in the mid 1st century BC (wikipedia)
- There are lots of caves in the rock faces of Cilicia Trachea.
- Was Mithraism founded by Zoroaster? Lots of clues point to him, but there isn't a smoking gun.
- Was there something to do with equinox and a shift in the way people perceived astronomy? Did someone create a new religion? OK...but why use an avestan (persian, for lack of a better explanation) name?
- Is Mithras another name for Perseus? Perseus is above Taurus in the stars and the stories share ideas.
- What does Mithraism have in common with summer solstice? Records indicate a celebration then, which would make sense if Sol was important. Aside - December 25th is an important day for Mithras - his birthday. World religion and spirituality is so intertwined it's hard to find the thread I need.
- How can I tie in to the djinn world better? Notice there are lots of links to past posts today, so it shouldn't be that difficult, and yet...there's sooo much info I'm in a quagmire. Which is how I felt with Sybil last time I was plotting, so it can only be a good thing...right?
MITHRAS, God of the Morning, our trumpets waken the Wall!
' Rome is above the Nations, but Thou art over all!'
Now as the names are answered, and the guards are marched away,
Mithras, also a soldier, give us strength for the day!
Mithras, God of the Noontide, the heather swims in the heat,
Our helmets scorch our foreheads ; our sandals burn our feet.
Now in the ungirt hour; now ere we blink and drowse,
Mithras, also a soldier, keep us true to our vows !
Mithras, God of the Sunset, low on the Western main,
Thou descending immortal, immortal to rise again !
Now when the watch is ended, now when the wine is drawn,
Mithras, also a soldier, keep us pure till the dawn!
Mithras, God of the Midnight, here where the great bull dies,
Look on Thy children in darkness. Oh take our sacrifice !
Many roads Thou hast fashioned: all of them lead to the Light,
Mithras, also a soldier, teach us to die aright!