CIMRM 10 - Mithraeum. Charax (=Ai-Todor), Crimea

CIMRM entry


"Aitador" is modern "Ai-Todor" (from a monastery of St. Theodore) in the Crimea. It is situated on the site of the Greek city of Kharaks or Charax, in what was then the Chersonnesos. This held a Roman garrison from the middle of the 1st century A.D. to the middle of the 3rd century A.D.1

IIKA is "Izvesti ja imperatorskoi kommissii archeologiceskoi. See also CR Comm. Arch. Petersbourg", according to Vermaseren, and a low-resolution scan of the relevant issue can be found in DjVu format here: M.I.Rostovtsev, "Sanctuary of Thracian gods and inscriptions of beneficiarii in Ay-Todor (with 8 pls. and 4 figs. in the text)", p.1-42.

A more modern examination of the materials2 presents all the Mithraic monuments found on the north shore of the Black Sea. These consist of bas-reliefs from Olbia and Charax (Ai-Todor), plus terracottas from Paticapaeum (for which see CIMRM 11).3 The fragments from Charax were destroyed during World War II. The presence of Thracians in the Roman garrison in the 3rd century may have encouraged the presence of the cult during the third century.4

1Information via this tourist website here.
2W. Blawatsky and G. Kochelenko, "Le culte de Mithra sur la côte septentrionale de la Mer Noire: Avec une frontispice, une carte et 16 planches", Etudes préliminaires aux religions orientales dans l'empire romain, t. 8., Brill, 1966. 36 p., 17 pl.
3Roy A. Campbell in Gnomon 39 (1967) JSTOR: "This work will be of great assistance to scholars who are not conversant with the Russian language. In a comparatively few pages the authors present all the Mithraic monuments that have been found on the north shore of the Black Sea. These consist of several terracottas from Panticapaeum and bas-reliefs from Olbia and Charax (Ai-Todor). The reliefs were published by M. I. Rostovtzeff in the Bulletin of the Imperial Archaeological Commission (40, 1911), a publication not easily available to scholars."
4R.E.Witt, The Classical Review 19 (1969), p.113-114, JSTOR: "The evidence for the existence of the Mithraic cult both at Charax and at Olbia is admittedly limited to a small number of fragments of relief, those from the former place-a Roman fortress-having indeed been destroyed during the Second World War. The authors propound the theory (p. 30) that the presence of many Thracians in the Roman garrison of the Chersonesus encouraged Mithraism there at the beginning of the third century."

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