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Illyrian 'Mithra'.

Sources on own religion of the Illyrians are very insignificant. Probably, it is possible to tell, that though this people though forms independent language group, on the mythological representations it is close to the Thracians, For the Illyrians decorative style is characteristic, and figurative images can be connected with Greek-Etruskan influences. Monumental art meets seldom. First of all, it is images on so-called Japodic urns or on the stellas which belong to pre-Roman time. They were made in style of imitation of woodcarving while their motives, such as panegyrics remind the deceased stellas archaic Laconica. Draga Garashanin has stated the assumption, that the monumental sculpture of Illyria originally could develop in a tree" (Илири и дачани, 1971, 45).

There is a known image of the horseman and the rough - naturalistic image of birth (on stellas). Probably, these sculptures were in the certain temple. Garasanin writes, that cults on Illyrian territory in the Roman period show preservation of old gods of Illyrian pantheon, such as Medura - patron of Risan on an inscription from Zambesa or god Magla and goddess Thana from Topusko. However, sacrificial relieves of god Silvan with the nymphs made in very primitive engineering who are known from various places of the Roman Dalmatia, specify the Roman interpretation of some primordial Illyrian gods who about today have kept anonymity. (Garasanin, 1977, 46).

The image of the horseman has uniform features with type of the Thracian hero. Here again we approach to a problem of mithraism. Image of Mithra the roots ascends to time of Indo-Iranian unities. In vedic hymns his name is mentioned usually near to Varuna. Thus as Toporov writes "...Varuna is more connected with natural, than social world, to night, the moon, with distant, with secret and magic" (Myths of nations of the world, 1998. v. 1, p. 217). "In finding-out of mythological background of Mithras's image it is necessary to count a starting point presence of pair the appropriate deities in the Iranian and Indian traditions: Mithra - Ahuramazda in "Avesta" and Mithra - Varuna in "Rigveda". In this pair <...> Ahuramazda (accordingly Varuna), probably, modelled in Indo-Iranian period basically cosmological elements of the universe, and Mithra, obviously, knew the social organisation of people and accordingly, the device of the "human" universe, carried out intermediary function between top and a bottom, the sky and the ground, external and internal space, divine and human. (Myths of nations of the world, 1998. v. 2, p. 156). A parity: Varuna/Ahuramazda - Mithra it is possible to treat as variant of pair: the God of Earth Powers - the Cultural Hero. For the benefit of the given assumption speaks also connection Mithra with the sun, and his name which, on V.N. Toporov's words, "goes back to Indo-European root mi-: mei-, concerning a designation of idea of intermediary, reciprocity, an exchange (and measures), laws, the consent, a condition of the world, friendship, sympathy" (Myths of nations of the world, 1998. V. 2, p. 154). As mediator Mithra is near to such images, as Hermes /Mercury and Odin /Wodan. Pair: Varuna - Mithra reminds similar Cernunnos - Smertrius. Assimilation by Mithra of some dark features of Varuna - does not surprise also images of the Cultural Hero and the God of Earth Powers not always precisely divided (the same, for example, can be told and about Odin, assimilating some features of Freyr). The major plot connected to this deity - ritual murder of first bull by Mithra from which body there were all useful plants. It like the legend as Odin has killed giant Imir and cow Audhumla and was ordered with the world. In Zoroastrian mythology the given plot appeared deformed (the bull demons there kill). The cult of Mithra was rejected by Zaratushtra for the benefit of strict Ahuramazda 's monotheism. However gradually reverence of Mitra is restored. At late Ahemenids he is considered the patron of imperial authority. Moreover, in the period Parthian dynasties, around of the given image the new religion - mithraism where Mithra it is allocated with Ahura Mazda's functions is formed and thought as the Supreme god of goods and light. The Roman soldiers have apprehended this cult during Pompei's campaigns and have brought it to Rome. New religion was in the Roman provinces from Rhein up to Euphrates. Mithra it was represented by "the Invincible sun", being identified with Apollo and Helios. But his cult has achieved especial force in Thrace and Illyria. Probably, the reason of it was similarity of images of Mithra and the Hero - their favourite god. Mithra is known as 'Giving life', 'Giving sons', the allocator of herds. The white horse was considered Mithra's incarnation - and you see the Thracian Hero was represented by the horseman on a white horse. Mithra "provides with houses, women, chariots (10 30), riches, happiness, corporal health, comfort, posterity (10 108.)" (Myths of nations of the world, 1998. v. 2, p. 156). As far as it is similar to the concept of the Hero in the Thracian religion! And, probably, not casually pay to itself attention mithraistic feature of some stages on the boiler from Gundestrup (sacrifice of bulls), attributed to Celtic-Thracian masters. Paradoxically, the deity sacrificing the bull, itself associates with the bull (we shall recollect horned Odin). During empire "...Mithra it was represented as the person with a head of the bull or as the young man, killing bull" (Rak, 1998, 490). So, ancient - Kreta-Minoan and new - mithraistic archetypal plots of sacrifices of the bull merge together.

Limitation of Thraco-Dacian and Illyrian mythological sources, in comparison with Celtic and Germanic-Scandinavian ones has got the certain problems. So, for example, not clear, whether were esteemed within the framework of the given cultures gods of the Thunder and the Clear Sky though separate hints on their cult are present. It is impossible to identify with full confidence and the God of Earth Powers (it is possible, it Zalmoxis). About Bendis - the Great Goddess we also have very small volume of the information. Actually, all of them were eclipsed by the Cultural Hero in characteristic embodiment of the horseman. It is possible to count the reason of this phenomenon very early development of rather centralised imperial authority in Thraco-Dacian and Illirian traditions. Influence of an image of the Cultural Hero on mass consciousness was so great, that he in later epoch determined character of relation with the advanced religions (that was shown in features of recognition of Mithraism by the Illyrians and Christianities by Thraco-Dacians).

Fantalov Alex


Speciality 24.00.01 - the theory and a history of culture

The dissertation on competition of a doctor degree of cultural science

Scythian pantheon.