Since its publication in Germany Manfred Clauss's introduction to the Roman Mithras cult has become widely accepted as the most reliable, as well as the most readable, account of its elusive and fascinating subject. For the English edition the author has revised the work to take account of recent research and new archaeological discoveries.
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A model of clarity.
In what he explains and demonstrates of the Roman version of the faith, Clauss can hardly be faulted ... [He] gives a good indication of the sociological implications of the religion in Europe, delineating the interaction of the community of its believers with Roman society ... The book is richly illustrated [with] good graphic material: an instructive map and fine outline drawings of rock and temple motifs and depictions, as well as ground plans of a temple. There are excellent and lucidly outlined descriptions of the initiation, the rituals and the seven grades, with the meaning of the symbolism and the text of inscriptions explained in a vivid way for the lay person ... [Clauss's] work constitutes the first simply written guidebook for the reader of this age and therefore has great merit as a work that is well organised and highly readable.
The author has included mention of important new finds in the notes of this English translation. There is a good up-to-date bibliography, compiled by Gordon, of works in English. The translation itself is very readable and smooth. The volume is attractively produced and carefully edited. Illustrations are well chosen and for the most part appear clear and sharp in the printed text. The book belongs in all college and university libraries … The Roman Cult of Mithras is by far the best introduction to the subject now available in English, and advanced scholars will return to it constantly.
This book is a welcome addition to Mithraic scholarship in English. [Clauss's] presentation is careful and concise, and gives a detailed presentation of the material evidence.