CIMRM 294 - Mithraeum of the Serpent, Ostia, Italy.
Photographs by Roger Pearse, May 2013.
A Mithraeum (Reg. V, Is. VI, 6) constructed in a complex of buildings with
tabernae behind the Decumanus Maximus ("Mitreo dei Serpenti").
Becatti, Mitrei Ostia, 101ff, fig. 21 and Pl. XXIV, 1.
By a side way of the Via della Fortuna Annonaria one enters a quadrangular
room, serving as the vestibulum to the sanctuary (L. 11.97 Br. 5.15) ; it is divided into
a central aisle and two side benches (L. 9.75 Br. 1.70 H. 0.50) with small ledges.
Only the right one has a step at its beginning; both have approximately in the
middle the usual niches and they end before the cult-niche. This thronum was
constructed between two antae, the left of which does not extend as far as the
Between the antae are two wide steps (H. 0.60 and 0.24 D. 0.40); the upper
podium probably had an edicola, in which. a representation of Mithras.
In front of the niche there is a small brick altar (H. 0.50 Br. 0.60).
On both walls of the left corner of the sanctuary a serpent is represented on
either side of a genius (Becatti, Pl. XXIII, 1-2). Above them there are garlands
hanging down; in the background there are some bushes; the genius is in a white
tunic and red toga, covering his head. He is standing between two bushes; only
the upper part is preserved. These paintings probably belonged to a lararium of
the second cent. A.D., transformed into a Mithraeum in the third century.