In this volume the author introduces and discusses the origins and development of Mithra, in ancient Indo-Iranian mythology, the god of light, whose cult spread from India in the east to as far west as Spain, Great Britain, and Germany. His worship spread to Persia and, after the defeat of the Persians by Alexander, throughout the Hellenic world. In the 3rd and 4th centuries ad, the cult of Mithra, carried and supported by the soldiers of the Roman Empire, was the chief rival to the newly developing religion of Christianity. As god of light, Mithra was associated with the Greek sun god, Helios, and the Roman Sol Invictus. He is often paired with Anahita, goddess of the fertilizing waters.
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