'Ulansey contributes important new ideas and presents them in clear and well punctuated stages, avoiding the abstruse technicalities which might have deterred non-astronomers.' Classical Review 'Dr Ulansey's extremely interesting book throws a completely new light on the origin of the Mithras religion.' B.L. van der Werden, University of Zurich '(Puts) the development of western Mithraism in an utterly new perspective.' Martin Schwartz, University of California, Berkeley 'the first new attempt to find a global explanation for the mysteries of the god Mithra ... For this exceedingly difficult endeavor, the scholar of Boston University should be commended ... major contribution to this new trend of research.' Ioan P. Culianu, University of Chicago, The Journal of Religion
From the Author
The teachings of the ancient Roman "mystery religion" of Mithraism-- one of the most important competitors of early Christianity-- were guarded with the utmost secrecy, revealed only to select initiates. While the Mithraists never wrote down their secret doctrines, they did leave a key to them in the cryptic iconography that filled the walls of their underground temples. Until now, all attempts to decipher this iconography have proven fruitless. Most experts have been content with a vague hypothesis that these images somehow derived from ancient Iranian religion. In this groundbreaking work, David Ulansey offers a radically different theory. He argues that Mithraic iconography was actually an *astronomical code*, and that the cult began as a religious response to a startling scientific discovery. As his investigation proceeds, Ulansey penetrates step by step the mysteries concealed in Mithraic iconography, until finally he is able to reveal the central secret of the cult: a secret consisting of an ancient vision of the ultimate nature of the universe.