Mithra

1987 SB. Discovered 1987 Sept. 22 by E. W. Elst and V. G. Shkodrov at Rozhen.

Named for the Indo-Iranian god of the heavenly light that led to mithraism, one of the last oriental mystery cults to reach the west, where it became the chief rival to and opponent of christianity. In Babylonia, Chaldaean astrology was incorporated, while Greek art, religion and philosophy provided the models for mithraic iconography and the mithraic mysteries. The two religions have much in common: a divine lord by whom man was assured of elevation, a sacramental meal and a ritual of baptism. Many ruins of mithraic sanctuaries are still to be found in Europe, near Frankfurt and Heidelberg, for example. This minor planet is of Apollo type, and in Asia Minor around 330 B.C. the god Mithra was identified with the god Apollo {see planet (1862)}. (M 16885) Citation prepared by E. W. Elst.

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