Sol Invictus at Archaeology Museum of Yalvac, ...

Image by voyageAnatolia.blogspot.com via Flickr

If the Roman Emperor Constantine had not taken that critical decision in the first half of the 4th century, the picture of the world we live in would have been probably very different than today. As some historians speculate, we would have seen “Mithraeums” instead of churches (and probably mosques) throughout the western world (and the Middle East), decorated with iconographies of a sun cult, along with the mysterious “Tauroctony” reliefs on the innermost walls of the temples.

When the “brain team” of the emperor came with a suggestion to establish a “one strong official religion” in order to reinforce the central authority throughout the Empire, the strongest candidate was “Mithraism” (or as it was called after a metamorphosis on Roman lands, “Sol Invictus Mithra”) which was very popular among soldiers, officers and most intellectuals.

(more…)