Mythological Motifs in the Tauroctony Sculpture

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Oriental Religions, Faculty of World Religions, University of Religions and Denominations


The following article is written after my first article on the subject of astronomical hypotheses in the Roman mysteries of Mithras. In the first article, I suggested that tauroctony symbology is not a map entirely derived from astronomical theology, and perhaps non-astrological mythological symbols and narratives are also applied. In this article, I have tried to survey the most important myths related to tauroctony in the Indo-European regions and to observe the hypotheses of modern Mithra researchers in explaining the motifs and mythological symbols of the tauroctony sculpture based on library data. In the end, I have concluded that, firstly, the Roman tauroctony’s sculpture, as was the habit of the Romans, does not only narrate one myth but compared to the previous myths, it narrates at least three tauroctony myths and borrows symbols from each of them: first the myth of the battle of Gilgamesh with the Bull of Heaven and its slaying, the second is the slaying of the Hadyusha by Saoshyanet and the third is the myth of the Gavaevodata. Also, in the part of Mithra's fight with the bull and its hunt, there are similarities with the myth of Hercules's battle with the Cretan bull.


Main Subjects

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