/Mithraeum of the Circus Maximus

Mithraeum of the Circus Maximus

Beside the Circus Maximus, an ex-pasta factory and current Rome Opera scenery storage facility sits atop the ruins of a sanctuary dedicated to the god Mithras. Buried 25 feet beneath the modern city, the 2nd century place of worship was adapted from a preexisting public building of the 1st century. The rooms of the original structure were converted into the sacrificial and ritual areas where followers of the god Mithras would venerate their god, make sacrifices, and participate in a ritual meal of bread and wine. Though scholars debated its origins, it seems the Mithraic cult came to Rome in the 1st century BCE from Persia, brought back by Roman soldiers who had been fighting in the east. Although the Mithras worshipped in Rome is not identical to the Mithra of Persia, there are enough similarities to imply that they are somehow related.

The Mithraeum of the Circus Maximus is one of the many places in Rome that reveal the complex urban stratification of the city. Sitting at a depth of nearly three stories underground today, the building was built on top of, filled in with Tiber silt and debris, and forgotten about until its rediscovery in the 19th century. To book a tour with exclusive access to the Mithraeum of the Circus Maximus, click here.

2016-07-12T09:06:51+00:00 March 29th, 2009|Categories: Rome & Lazio, Underground|7 Comments


  1. DMae March 30, 2009 at 1:16 am - Reply

    Wow, would Scott love to visit this site. Maybe the next time!


  2. Mama Parla March 30, 2009 at 3:45 am - Reply

    Why haven’t I been to this amazing site yet? It’s definitely at the top of my list when I return to Roma.

  3. Katie March 30, 2009 at 7:55 am - Reply

    @DMae @Mama Parla the site is closed to the public so just give me some advance notice and I can get you in:)

  4. Mama Parla March 30, 2009 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    I love the perks your life in Italia affords me! Baci!

  5. Katie March 30, 2009 at 11:46 pm - Reply

    @Mama Parla Book a trip soon and I will make arrangements to visit some special places!

  6. Mama Parla March 31, 2009 at 12:22 am - Reply


  7. […] A relief dedicated to Mithra found in the Mithraeum of the Circus Maximus.┬áImage source. […]

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