CIMRM 2268 - Early square marble stone. Steklen near Svichtov. Sofia, Bulgaria.
In the museum in Sofia, Bulgaria. The monument is mentioned by Richard Gordon, "The date and significance of CIMRM 593 (British Museum, Townley Collection)", Journal of Mithraic Studies 2, 1978, p.148-174. Online
here, on p. 153:
... we have a rather more firmly dated monument: CIMRM 2268, a casual find from Novae/Steklen in Moesia Inferior. It is a broken base or altar, whose inscription reads:
(unknown number of lost lines)
Philopalaestri ... (19)
The last lines can be confidently restored: [cond. publ. port. / Ripae Thraciae/serv(us) vil(icus) posuit] (vel sim.) , since Philopalaestrus is known from AE 1919 no. 10 line 67 (Histria) to have been one of the earliest (if not the earliest) conductores of the publicum portorium Illyrici in c. 100 AD (de Laet, 1949: 204 n.4). Now the interest of this monument is that it shows Cautopates on the left lateral face and Cautes on the right (see photo [Fig. 52] in Detschew, 1939: B. 131-32); each holds a torch in the usual position, and each a bird (Cautes at least holds a cock) in the remaining hand . Although this
association between Cautes and the cock is characteristic of later Mithraic representations, and may thus serve as an
additional argument for the relevance of this monument to the mysteries even though it was not found in a mithraeum, I am more
concerned to stress the oppositional relation between the torchbearers, forced upon our attention by the unusual (that
is, unique ) motif of Cautes holding a cock upsidedown by its feet in his left hand, while Cautopates holds a bird in the
same hand the other way up (20). The positions of the torchbearers' arms are identical, and they hold in either hand similar
objects, but in reverse position. And we may reasonably argue that this opposition is an image of that theme of
opposition-in-unity which I have tried to show elsewhere to be central to the mysteries' conception not only of the torchbearers
but of the cosmos, and the mithraeum, as well (Gordon, 1976a: 119-165).
(19) Nesselhauf, 1939: 334 (=AE 1940 no. 100) corrects Detschew's misreading
(1939: 130 no. 7) of LEO for DEO: 'Der Herausgeber liest leo, die
Photographie zeigt aber, dass das was man erwartet, auch dasteht'
(n. 3). It is surely about time that Detschew's old error ceased to
appear as a 'fact', as it does in Vermaseren, 1963: 147 and Turcan,
1975: 69. CIMRM 2269 not only perpetuates the mistake, but gives no
indication that the inscription is broken at the bottom as well as at
the top, or that its date can be deduced from the name Caragonius
Philopalaestrus. (We have of course no reason to believe that the
name Melichrisus is a sacred pseudonym connected with the man's grade
since there was no reference to a grade in the first place; presumably,
with Nesselhauf, we should read [Invicto] | Deo.)
(20) Detschew thought that Cautopates' bird was a cock too; but the photographs
hardly confirm him. No later monuments certainly provide Cautopates
with a cock (Gordon, 1976a: 153 n. 50), while at degli Animali
in Ostia he is represented on the floor at the end of the 'north' bench
by an owl (cf. Beck, 1977: 6-7 on Cautopates' association with
Antares); on 318, probably by a raven (and note also 359).
Square marble stone (H. 0.19 Br. 0.34 D. 0.255) broken off at top and bottom,
Found at Steklen. Svichtov, Museum.
Detschew in JOAI 1939 (Beibl.), 130 No. 7 and fig. 52. See fig. 631.
The front has an inscription. On the r. side standing Cautes with upraised torch
in his r.h. With his other hand he holds a cock downwards by its feet. On the l. side
standing Cautopates who holds a cock upwards with his l.h.
. . . . /
P. Caragoni /