Symbols of the Gods?

Higa

Mongoose
I I am to describe the iconographics of, say, a Mitra temple.... what can I describe? In the book there are no mentions of symbols, other than that of the Set-symbol.

Does anybody know what symbols that are used by the various religions in Conan? Im most interested in the symbols of Mitra, but of course, as a GM, I would like to know as much as possible about this.

Thanks.
 
Do some research on the real-world religion of Mithras, and the Persion Mithra and you will probably find out everything you are looking to know. Wikipedia has an excellent article on the religion.

Deriving information from that ancient god, one can reasonably say that the Mitra religion is a mystery religion. Some of the symbols include a bull.

Here is soemthing interesting from Wikipedia: The members of a mitraeum are divided into seven ranks. All members are expected to progress through the first four ranks, while only a few would go on to the three higher ranks. The first four ranks represent spiritual progress, while the other three are specialized offices. The seven ranks are:
Corax (raven)
Nymphus (bride)
Miles (soldier)
Leo (lion)
Perses (Persian)
Heliodromus (sun-courier)
Pater (father)
The new initiate became a Corax, while the Leo was an adept. The titles of the first four ranks suggest the possibility that advancement through the ranks was based on introspection and spiritual growth.

Mitra died, was buried in a rock tomb, and resurrected, so a symbol may well be a cave or rock tomb. When Mitra killed the sacred bull, the entire world sprang into existance, thus the bull symbol is appropriate. The Lion and the Cup are another symbol.

The religion is a mystery religion with a life-death-rebirth deity, comparable to Isis, the resurrected Jesus or the Persephone/Demeter cult of the Eleusinian Mysteries if you feel like doing more research.
 

Etepete

Mongoose
Higa said:
I I am to describe the iconographics of, say, a Mitra temple.... what can I describe? In the book there are no mentions of symbols, other than that of the Set-symbol.

Does anybody know what symbols that are used by the various religions in Conan? Im most interested in the symbols of Mitra, but of course, as a GM, I would like to know as much as possible about this.

Thanks.

Mitra's worshipped as tiny statues, I seem to recall. And as a god of justice and of the hyborian kingdoms, i'd not be suprised if he's somehow connected with the sword, weapon of civilized men and modern Lady Justitia. Another possibility is that the lightning bolt, symbol of divine vengeance in semitic and indo-european religions originates from the attributes of Mitra in those ancient postatlantic times.
 
Etepete said:
Mitra's worshipped as tiny statues, I seem to recall. And as a god of justice and of the hyborian kingdoms, i'd not be suprised if he's somehow connected with the sword, weapon of civilized men and modern Lady Justitia. Another possibility is that the lightning bolt, symbol of divine vengeance in semitic and indo-european religions originates from the attributes of Mitra in those ancient postatlantic times.

Tiny statues? What is the source for that? According to Howard, the statue seems rather large: The ceiling was lofty, but it was not domed and was of plain white marble, as were the walls and floor, the former with a narrow gold frieze running about them. Behind an altar of clear green jade, unstained with sacrifice, stood the pedestal whereon sat the material manifestation of the deity. Yasmela looked in awe at the sweep of the magnificent shoulders, the clear cut features – the wide straight eyes, the patriarchal beard, the thick curls of his hair, confined by a simple band about the temples. This, though she did not know it, was art in its highest form – the free, uncramped artistic expression of a highly aesthetic race, unhampered by conventional symbolism. (Black Colossus, Robert E. Howard)

Mitra's altars tend to be unadorned. I would say his emblems are minimal.
 

Etepete

Mongoose
VincentDarlage said:
Etepete said:
Mitra's worshipped as tiny statues, I seem to recall. And as a god of justice and of the hyborian kingdoms, i'd not be suprised if he's somehow connected with the sword, weapon of civilized men and modern Lady Justitia. Another possibility is that the lightning bolt, symbol of divine vengeance in semitic and indo-european religions originates from the attributes of Mitra in those ancient postatlantic times.

Tiny statues? What is the source for that? According to Howard, the statue seems rather large: The ceiling was lofty, but it was not domed and was of plain white marble, as were the walls and floor, the former with a narrow gold frieze running about them. Behind an altar of clear green jade, unstained with sacrifice, stood the pedestal whereon sat the material manifestation of the deity. Yasmela looked in awe at the sweep of the magnificent shoulders, the clear cut features – the wide straight eyes, the patriarchal beard, the thick curls of his hair, confined by a simple band about the temples. This, though she did not know it, was art in its highest form – the free, uncramped artistic expression of a highly aesthetic race, unhampered by conventional symbolism. (Black Colossus, Robert E. Howard)

Mitra's altars tend to be unadorned. I would say his emblems are minimal.

Luvely, just the text i was thinking of. :)

Considering the Iovian aspect of the above statue (at least mansized, presumably larger, as you say) I'd not entirely discount the possibility of Mitra using the lightning bolt as an attribute.

I get the picture of one of the classic assyrian royal statues, but sitting like the statue of Zeus in olympia. I'd still kling to statuettes though, for the common people. I don't have any support for this of course, but it'd fit my idea of mitra to have him worshipped in every home in a little shrine with a small clay figurine, maybe in cycladic, idolic style, with some burnt incense and offerings of flowers or similarily endearingly simplistic form of ritual.
Again, there might be canonical precedents for this i've missed.
 

Yogah of Yag

Mongoose
VincentDarlage said:
Do some research on the real-world religion of Mithras, and the Persion Mithra and you will probably find out everything you are looking to know. Wikipedia has an excellent article on the religion.

I always thought Howard's Mitra was derived from Indic Literature, namely the Rigveda. "Mitra" is actually Vedic and Classical Sanskrit for "friend"!

~~~Yogah of Yag.
 

René

Mongoose
Yogah of Yag said:
VincentDarlage said:
Do some research on the real-world religion of Mithras, and the Persion Mithra and you will probably find out everything you are looking to know. Wikipedia has an excellent article on the religion.

I always thought Howard's Mitra was derived from Indic Literature, namely the Rigveda. "Mitra" is actually Vedic and Classical Sanskrit for "friend"!

~~~Yogah of Yag.

I don't know about Indian origins (which may nonetheless be correct), but in the Roman empire the Mithran religion was for some time a serious competition for the growing Christian religion. E.g. you can find a lot of Mithraea in southwestern Germany.
A real good (and short) book is:
David Ulansey, The origins of Mithraic Mysteries, Oxford 1989.
I read it several years ago when I studied at the university of Heidelberg where a Mithraeum was located in Roman times.
 

Etepete

Mongoose
René said:
I don't know about Indian origins (which may nonetheless be correct), but in the Roman empire the Mithran religion was for some time a serious competition for the growing Christian religion. E.g. you can find a lot of Mithraea in southwestern Germany.

I'm quite certain mithra pops up in vedic religion as a minor deity or demon. That really is a god of a thousand (well, half a dozen at least) faces. Maybe his roots are as early as to be aryan, but I suppose that it's more probable that vedic india imported him through eastern iranian tribes.

pdamic: A proto-ankh? I'm sure it's pastiche. Even though REH stole stuff like that as a matter of course I feel slightly put off at the thought of mithraism going so very christian as to have a cross, ankh or no, as a symbol.
 

Ant

Mongoose
A little googling turned up this:
mitras.jpg

Mithras, Mitra , Mitras
(Sungod, Persian Roman)
Symbol of the positive forces and the unity of the person with the nature. He counts as invincible and as a combatant to the justice.
Source: http://www.historical-events.de/english/katalog/amulette/aegypten/aegypten.html

Could be a lion's face, dontcha think?

Gr.,
Ant
 

Yogah of Yag

Mongoose
Ant said:
A little googling turned up this:
mitras.jpg

Mithras, Mitra , Mitras
(Sungod, Persian Roman)
Symbol of the positive forces and the unity of the person with the nature. He counts as invincible and as a combatant to the justice.
Source: http://www.historical-events.de/english/katalog/amulette/aegypten/aegypten.html

Could be a lion's face, dontcha think?

Gr.,
Ant

He looks mighty grumpy, methinks. :D

I've imagined REH's Mitra to be a rather stern--but for the most part benevolent--sort. IIRC, M. Brundage did a cover depicting him quite nicely.
 

Ant

Mongoose
Yogah of Yag said:
... I've imagined REH's Mitra to be a rather stern--but for the most part benevolent--sort. IIRC, M. Brundage did a cover depicting him quite nicely.
This one?

wt0633.jpg


Ciao,
Ant
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
I recall de Camp's greatest reproach on Howard's works was that he used too much the adjective "black" in his titles.
Looking at this cover I wonder why ne never wrote a short story called "Black Tits".
 

Ant

Mongoose
The King said:
... Looking at this cover I wonder why ne never wrote a short story called "Black Tits".
Perhaps because he had no interest in ornithology?

coaltitart180_tcm3-56470.jpg
coaltitart180_tcm3-56470.jpg


But I can't quite see why you connected a statue of Mitra with the genus Parus...

Ciao,
Ant

Images from http://www.rspb.org.uk/
 

Etepete

Mongoose
To return to the original topic, here's some thougths off of how I'd do a temple to Mithra:

Temple:
A high hallway, flanked by crude, square pillars. The hall is quite unadorned, but for little pots of incense standing at the feet of the sitting statue of Mithra that dominats the view. You enter through an arched doorway, the center stone of which wears an inscribed sword: a symbol of divine retribution.

Shrine:
A small altar-like stone standing out in the open. Sometimes there's a small clay or stone idol of Mithra on top, sometimes it's quite plain.
Another versions just a plain heap of stones, stacked like a pyramid. The shrines are always covered in garlands and incense-sticks.
 
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