Article: 261344 of talk.bizarre
From: (Louise K. Rogow)
Newsgroups: talk.bizarre
Subject: My Farvorite War God (FTSD)
Date: 1 Dec 1995 08:33:07 -0500
Organization: Express Access Online Communications, Greenbelt, MD USA
Lines: 25
Message-ID: <49n06j$>
Keywords: tortures boldly laver subsumed
Status: O

>From this month's issue of "Civilization, the Magazine of the Library of 
Congress," on page 31, titled _No Wonder Fraternities Went Greek_

   Stressing moral courage and indifference to women and the means to spiritual
   salvation, the secret cult of the sun god Mithras thrived in subterranean
   temples during the second and third centuries A.D., and was especially
   popular among Roman soldiers.  But to become a full-standing member,
   one had to endure the "12 tortures."  Although most records were destroyed,
   tablets preserved in Innsbruck, Austria, suggest that Mitraic pledges had 
   to lie naked on snow for several nights, be whipped for two days and run 
   "boldly" though large fires.  For their final ordeal, the men were obliged
   to hold up the hind legs of a cow and reveive in their face the "laver of
   After successufully completing all of the tests, the new members were 
   incised with the mark of Mithras and given an engraved stone.  When the
   cult disappeared in the fourth century, many of its kinder and gentler
   traditions were subsumed by Christianity, including Mithras' birthday,
   December 25.

At the end of the article is a picture of a marble statue of 
"Mithras with animal friends," a lion, a dog, and a snake.
Keep the Faith,