A Fourth Century Tomb of the Followers of Mithras from the Catacomb of SS. Peter and Marcellinus in Rome


  • Gabriela Ingle University of Edinburgh




Roman Catacombs, Mithras, dining scenes


Despite the popularity of the cult of Mithras in Rome in the 4th century AD, the archaeological record provides evidence for only two tombs associated with the followers of Mithras. The lack of Mithraic burials is most likely linked with the pro-Christian bias towards the funerary material found in the Roman catacombs, which had dominated the catacomb scholarship since their re-discovery in the late sixteenth century. However, following a recent development in the understanding of how the subterranean cemeteries were used in antiquity, it is possible to begin a re-evaluation of the available material. An arcosolium from the Catacomb of SS. Peter and Marcellinus decorated with two separate dining scenes may shed new light on our knowledge about Mithraic burials in Rome. In the case of this particular tomb, the evidence suggests that the owner(s) of the arcosolium were most likely pagans, possibly followers of Mithras, who migrated to Rome from north of the Alps in the early 4th century AD.

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How to Cite

Ingle, Gabriela. 2019. “A Fourth Century Tomb of the Followers of Mithras from the Catacomb of SS. Peter and Marcellinus in Rome”. Studies in Ancient Art and Civilisation 23 (December):227-42. https://doi.org/10.12797/SAAC.23.2019.23.11.