Thursday, 18 October 2012
Poul Anderson's The Golden Slave (New York, 1980) shows that Mithraism was transitional:
" 'No lesser god enters the Presence of Mithras...'" (p. 200)
"...it was forbidden to call on him unless one had been initiated into his mysteries." (p. 214)
In Poul and Karen Anderson's King of Ys tetralogy, Gratillonius, a Mithraist, becomes King of Ys even though this makes him an incarnation of one of the Ysan gods - but his Mithraism also brings him into conflict with them.
Could Mithraism have become the Roman and European religion instead of Christianity? Only by changing and becoming more like Christianity. It would have had to:
become fully monotheist;
historicise the Mithraic myth;
replace sacrificial animals with a more convenient symbol like bread and wine;
maybe claim that its victim, slaughtered once, was perfect and sufficed for all time, thus the god himself rather than a bull - not Jesus the Lamb but Mithras the Bull?