From: LARRY SITES 27 Aug 94 23:45 To: ALL Subj: BAR MithraThe Sept/Oct issue of Biblical Archaeology Review pages 40-53 has an article by David Ulansey titled, "Solving the Mithraic Mysteries". He says that the earliest literary evidence for the Mithraic mysteries is the historian Plutarch in 67 bc who said that a band of pirates in Cilicia were practicing "secret rites" of Mithras.
Ulansey goes on to suggest that the symbolism of Mithra slaying the bull is an esoteric symbolism for a god that is capable of altering the physical universe. Ancient people believed the earth was the center of a fixed sphere of stars. In 128bc Hipparchus discovered the precession of the equinoxes through the celestial equator from Tarus, the bull, to Aries, the ram. Thus it was observed that there must be a god capable of moving the clestial sphere above the earth, ie "killing" the bull so that the next sign might live.
He goes on to suggest that the symbolism of Mithra being born from a rock in a cave represents a god being born from the cosmos, ie as seen from outside the universe. He likens this to the Orphic myth of the snake-entwined "cosmic egg" out of which the universe was formed when the creator-god Phanes emerged from it at the beginning of time.
In other words, Mithra was the latest and greatest in a long line of ever greater gods based on the then current understanding of the physical universe. It is easy to see how the christians of that time co-oped him to be a part of their mythos just as they presently presume the observations of evolutionary science support their superstitious nonsense and in centuries past stole all the good religious stories such as the life of Buddha to be saints of their own misrepresentation.