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  • Author or Editor: Diego Romagnoli x
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Summary

Roman Mithraism has been subject to philosophical interpretations and influences over the years. In this paper, I will present the important case of Mithras as a Demiurge by following the Platonic doctrine of the three Gods and its evolution, and after Plato, in three further phases.

A. Plato in the Timaeus and in the dialogue The Sophist (both written in 360 BC) debated three fundamental divine figures: the Being, who accounts for the early Idea and the source of all the other ideas, as well as the early cause of the world; the Demiurge, who was born from the Being and accounts for the acting Power creating the perceivable world; the Anima Mundi (the Soul of the World or the World Soul), who was born from the other two Gods and is the “mother” shaping all of beings.

B. Later, Middle Platonism (lasted from the 1st century BC to the 2nd century AD and on which the Chaldean Oracles were based) identified the Being as the First God and the source of every indistinct idea; the Demiurge as the Second God featuring the early Idea in order to create the world; and the Anima Mundi as the unifying principle from which all of organisms are shaped.

C. Finally, in Neoplatonism (lasted from the 3rd century to the 6th century AD and on which the Porphyry's De Antro Nympharum is based) this doctrine was fitted together with Mithraism: Mithras was the Demiurge and the Goddess Hecate was identified with the Anima Mundi.

This paper contributes to the current state of knowledge on this topic with a full detailed analysis of the connected different phases of Platonism in order to reach the identification of Mithras as the Demiurge.

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