Cumont), the wide diffusion of the Mithraic religion and the close analogies between its doctrines and those of Christianity.
80) mentions the typical Mithraic relief in his Thebaid (i.
The Mithraic temples of Roman times were artificial grottoes (spelaea) wholly or partially underground, in imitation of the original selcuded mountain caverns of Asia.
The simplicity and smallness of the Mithraic temples are to be accounted for by structural and financial reasons; an underground temple was difficult to construct on a large scale, and the worshippers of Mithras were usually from the humbler classes.
With this monument as a basis, Franz Cumont has arranged the small Mithraic reliefs into two groups, one illustrating the legend of the origin of the gods, and the other the legend of Mithras.