The Mysteries of Mithra by Franz Valery Marie Cumont provides an in-depth analysis of the Mithraic religion and its subsequent decline mainly due to the ascendance of Christianity. Cumont borrows heavily from some of his previous work on the same topic by summarising detailed notes and references into its present form. Mithraic religion evolved through Asiatic and Iranian roots which is highlighted in the first section of this work dealing with the origins of the religion. The author does not provide any biased opinions on the question of faith, instead postulating theories and observations based on historical facts.
One of the underlying themes in The Mysteries of Mithra is the parallels Cumont is able to draw between modern day Christianity and the Mithraic religion. The conflict between this mysterious religion and Christianity is ensconced in the lack of acceptance and assimilation of two different theological strands. Cumont is quick to appreciate the fact that reliable sources on Mithraic imagery are few and far between and hence some of its analysis is pivoted on probability.
Spread across seven chapters, The Mysteries of Mithra also contains an index for quick reference and various illustrations depicting the Mithraic religious symbolisms through its evolution. The section detailing Doctrines of Mithraic Mysteries is particularly interesting as it opens up a treasure trove of lesser known facts while highlighting the subtle yet assertive similarities between Mithraism and Christianity. This title is as informative and enlightening for the casual enthusiast as it would be for scholars and students of religion.