Part one. Comparative spiritual system in Commagene and Great Armenia
Yervand H. Margaryan
Mithraism as a religious and ethical system was formed in the Hellenistic period. It has come a long way from the archaic Aryan cult (where Mithra-Mihr acted in pair Verethragna-Vahagn and held subordinate to Ahura Mazda) to complex syncretic world-view. Like most generated in the Hellenistic period phenomenas, Mithraism had borderline nature, that determined it’s fate for many centuries. Charactersitically, the first mention of the Aryan cult of Mithra refers to the mid-2nd millennium BC and is associated with the state of Mitanni, on the territory of which the Hellenistic kingdom of Commagene was formed, after a thousand year. Specifically, the formation of the cult of Mithras had some impact ancient Anatolian cults. Later, during the Achaemenid, Mithraism experienced ups and downs. When Darius I, in favor of the emerging imperial Zoroastrian religion, the cult of Mithras and other ancestral Aryan deities suffered intense persecution. However, in the twilight of the Achaemenid empire, especially in the reign of Artaxerxes Mnemon, the cult of Mithra was resurrected along and entered into a new ohase of development. He enriched elements of Chaldean astronomy and mazdeistic religious ehics.
A special place is occupied Mithraism in the spiritual life of ancient Armenia, which was reflected in the appearance of religious monuments, in the national epc “Darelevile of Sasun” and literary works.
But the golden age of the cult of Mithras and its ransformation into an independent religious and ethical system began in postachemenidian Hellenistic era. According to the eminent Belgian historian Franz Cumont, who introduced the term into circulation MIthraism, more or less final shape and form of the religion adopted in Commagene, and a number of neighboring countries on bots sides of the Euphrates. Some aspects of the cult of Mithras in Commagene, however, as in the whole region, you can get an idea for Archaeological Research at Mount Nemrud and Arsamea on Nymphaios. This coincided with the aggression of Rome in the region and the location of the Roman legions along the border all over the Euphrates. Hence Mithraism began to spread throughout the Roman Empire.