E. Mithraic Art at the Saalburg

A commentary by John Brant, neo-mithraist, USA.

The Saalburg is an enchanted place. My first visit to the Saalburg Kastell occurred in 1985 when I was on a military training mission to Germany. I took many pictures, especially of the tauroctonies which are on display. I also remember the reconstructed model of the mithraeum located outside of the Kastell proper. I had several pictures of the tauroctonies enlarged and displayed them on my office wall until my retirement in 2007. Over the years, I have returned to the Saalburg Kastell six times.

I was particularly pleased to see that Farangis Yegane’s paintings have been on exhibit at the Kastell. These paintings capture the spirit of the ancient mystery. Every time, that I see her painting depicting the slaying of the bull and the blood baptism of the myste (initiate), I am more and more impressed that it captures the mithraic essence of the sacrifice of the bull for the salvation of mankind. I am also intrigued that Farangis style is similar to that of the artists who did the wall paintings of the mithraea of St. Prisca in Rome, the one at Dura Europos now displayed at the Yale University Museum of Art, and the more recently discovered paintings at Hawarte, Syria.

Farangis Yegane’s paintings on exhibit help to focus the museum visitors to the archaeological finds on display. I regret not being able to visit the Saalburg again so that I could appreciate her paintings with the other mitraic art on display.