CIMRM 91, 92 and 93 - Tauroctonies from Hermopolis and Memphis, Egypt.


CIMRM 91. Hermopolis tauroctony.

CIMRM 91. Shrine from Hermopolis. By Professor Michael Fuller, 1992. "Modern el Ashmunein in the Minya governorate is the site of Hermopolis (ancient Khmun). A Roman Period shrine to Mithras was discovered at the site and moved to the Cairo Museum during 1941. Photographed in Cairo Museum during 1992 with kodachrome film that has been digitized."

CIMRM 91. Shrine from Hermopolis. By Professor Michael Fuller, 1992.

Additional tauroctony from Hermopolis, now in Berlin. Not catalogued by Vermaseren

CIMRM 92. Memphis tauroctony, wrongly labelled as "CIMRM 91, fig. 34" by Vermaseren. From TMMM 2, p.521b, fig. 479.

CIMRM 92. From Memphis. By Professor Michael Fuller, 1992.

CIMRM 93. Memphis tauroctony. From TMMM, vol. 2, p.521, fig. 480.

CIMRM 93. From Memphis. By Professor Michael Fuller, 1992.

Four reliefs of the tauroctony are known from Egypt. Three are all displayed together in the Cairo museum, the fourth is in Berlin.

CIMRM 91 (JE 85747) is a marble relief of a tauroctony discovered, not at Memphis in 1885 as Vermaseren says, but at Hermopolis (al-Ashmunein) and sent to Cairo in 1941 by the inspector at Asyut.1 The mistake arises because the three were grouped together at the Cairo museum, and appears elsewhere in the literature. The photo given as fig. 34 in Vermaseren in fact relates to CIMRM 92.

Günter Grimm: Kunst der Ptolemäer- und Römerzeit im Ägyptischen Museum Kairo. Pp. 34; 118 plates, 5 in colour, 1 map. Mainz (1975) (11, 23 no 38, pl.73)

An additional tauroctony, probably from Hermopolis, is described by Harris:

CIMRM 92 and 93 come from Memphis. In 1885 Grebaut discovered some Mithraic finds at Memphis. No proper excavation was done, nor was any report made. The two finds have become confused by arriving at the Cairo museum at the same time.2

Cumont lists the two Memphis tauroctonies, and gives photographs of both, made by Emile Brugsch, the museum director at the time, which allows us to discover Vermaseren's mistake. There is no indication that Cumont had seen the items.

Cumont states, apparently from the photographs (supplied by Emile Brugsch), that the quality of the sculpture, and its preservation, is much worse than that from Hermopolis (CIMRM 91).3

CIMRM entry

Bibliography

  • J.R. Harris, "Mithras at Hermopolis and Memphis", in: Donald M. Bailey (ed.) Archeological research in Egypt: The Proceedings of The Seventeenth Classical Colloquium of The Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum, held on 1-4 December, 1993, Ann Arbor (1996), p.169-176.


1Harris, p.169.
2J.R. Harris, "Mithras at Hermopolis and Memphis", in: Donald M. Bailey (ed.) Archeological research in Egypt: The Proceedings of The Seventeenth Classical Colloquium of The Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum, held on 1-4 December, 1993, Ann Arbor (1996), p.169-176.
3TMMM, vol. 2, p.520, para. c.
4Josef Strzygowski, Koptische Kunst, Vienne, 1904. XXIV, 362 pp., 40 pls. Online at Archive.org. Via AWOL; US only at Google Books here.
5This appears to be a mistake by Vermaseren. p.285b and fig. 479 are the relief described in CIMRM 91. The actual reference is 285c and fig. 480. These V. has treated as CIMRM 93.

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