Mithraeum House Merida - History and Facts | History Hit

Mithraeum House Merida

Merida, Extremadura, Spain

Mithraeum House in Merida was a grand Roman home dating back as far as the late first century.

Antara Bate

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Mithraeum House Merida

Mithraeum House (Casa del Mitreo) in Merida was an impressive Roman home built sometime in the late first, early second century. Centred on three main courtyards and with some of its intricate decoration still evident, it is clear that Mithraeum House would have been a grand residence.

The current name of Mithraeum House derives from the artefacts found there relating to the cult of Mitra.

Mithraeum House history

Located on the southern slope of Mount San Albín, the building was discovered in the early 1960s. It is a house built at the end of the 1st century and the beginning of the 2nd century AC outside the city walls, without any restrictions to its growth. Its size and the decoration of some of its rooms undoubtedly show that its owners were people of Hellenistic culture who were important within the society of Mérida. The building is set up around 3 courtyards and was once a grand residence. It is possible that the house belonged to a priest from the temple.

The whole house was built in blocks of unworked stone with reinforced corners. It demonstrates the peristyle house with interior garden and a room of the famous western sector Cosmogonic Mosaic, an allegorical representation of the elements of nature (rivers, winds, etc.) overseen by the figure of Aion. The complex has been recently roofed and renovated.

It is believed that the site is not the actual mithraeum but a domus. The remains of the mithraeum are uphill from it in a plot corresponding to a current bullring. This site has rendered prime examples of the remnants of Mithraism.

Mithraeum House today

Casa del Mitreo was not all built on one level. The remains of a staircase suggest that a first floor was present. Also, some of the surviving rooms are underground. When visiting Mithraeum House lookout for the mosaic known as the Cosmological mosaic. It depicts the creation and evolution of Cosmos and contains terrestrial, marine and celestial elements.

Getting to Mithraeum House

There are several other noteworthy sites in the area including the museum, theatre and amphitheatre. The train station is within walking distance.