The Nature of Mithras
by: Fl. Valeria Octavia
The name Mithra, Mitra and Mithras all came from the Indo-European root Mihr which can be translated as the 'Friend' or as the 'Contract'. Mihr itself comes from Indo-European root of Mei means 'Exchange'.
This concept of a God of 'exchange' naturally led to a doctrine of responsibility. Those who follow his way the God protects , those who defy him by dishonesty he punishes. Mithras oversaw the affairs of his followers and he establishes justice for them. In return his followershad to be 'upright' and 'honest' in their dealings with others. He was thus the lord of the 'contracts'. He stood between parties as a judge. He is a moral God upholding the sanctity of the contracts even when that contract was made with one who was sure to break it. His responsibility is to the rightness of the action. In this He stood above the various gods of the time who had little function over than to look after the welfare of the state and its wealthiest members. In fact, Mithras was the first such moral deity and stands above the notions of many worshippers of many Gods today.
Mithras is judge not only the contracts between individuals but the pledges given between nations. He set boundaries between neighbors and nations alike, for he is still the Lord of the wide pastures. In this He was a supranational god a God who for the first time in history put the value of truth above the interests of His own cult, His own followers, His own nation.
Soon Roman nobility joined the cult Emperors like Traian and Commodus were initiated. A number of noble houses dedicated a room to the worship of Mithras. For example one home on the Aventine hill - a luxury quarter- was owned by those who came to Rome with Severan Emperors. The site is now covered by the Basilica of St. Prisca but for some time it housed a temple of Mithras.
Today we know that there are serious connections of Mithraism among some esoteric orders such as Order of the Golden Dawn, Freemasons and the medieval warrior monks of Knights Templar. Each with the imporatnce given to the secret knowledge, rites and the ideals such as bravery, truthfullness and modesty.