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3rd century Mithras temple found in France

The remains of a temple dedicated to the Indo-Iranian god Mithras has been found at Angers, France.

The small, rectangular chapel, in which worshippers gathered for banquets and sacrifices dedicated to the god, is dated to the third century AD.

At the sanctuary, a typical bas-relief of the god Mithras wearing his Phrygian cap shows him slaughtering a bull – the so-called tauroctony. The depiction of the god was intentionally damaged in ancient times, possibly by early Christians trying to suppress the pagan cult.

Among the artefacts discovered are oil lamps, fragments of a chandelier containing Nubian terracotta figures, a bronze 4th century crucifix fibula and about 200 coins. Large quantities of cockerel bones (a favoured dish at the cultic banquets) were found inside and around the ancient temple.

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