Between the podia, and
between the door and the niche is a black-and-white floor mosaic, with
depictions in panels created by black bands.
Behind the door is a small
well (diameter of 0.40 meter). It is in a panel with depictions of a
krater, symbol of the water, an altar with a burning fire, and two caps
with a star, symbols of the Dioscures, who represent the two celestial
hemispheres. In the panel near the back wall is an inscription with the
name of the person who financed the shrine:
Below the inscription is a
krater flanked by branches, symbols of nature that is flourishing
again through the blood of the bull that is killed by Mithras. In the
remaining seven panels between the podia are references to the seven
planets and seven grades of initiation.
1) In the first
panel, near the entrance of the shrine, are a caduceus, a
reference to the planet Mercurius, a raven, a reference to the grade
the herald of the sun. Between the caduceus and the bird is a
2) The left part of
the second panel has disappeared. A diadem with a moon-crescent is a
reference to the planet Venus. Below is a lamp, belonging to the grade
3) In the third panel
is a helmet, symbol of the planet Mars. Above it is a lance, attribute
of the grade miles. To the left is a bag, another reference to
4) In the fourth
panel is a bolt of lightning, symbol of the planet Jupiter. To the left
is an object looking like a spade, but perhaps a simpulum or
ladle. It is a reference to the carrying of fire and the grade
Leo. In the centre is a
sistrum, perhaps a reference to the Magna Mater, who is often seen
5) In the fifth panel
is a moon crescent, symbol of the moon, Luna. Below is Hesperos, the
evening star. To the left is a hamatus ensis or falcatus ensis,
a sword, the symbol of the grade Perses.
It is usually seen in the hand of Hercules fighting the Hydra and of
Perseus killing Medusa (thus creating the Gorgo-head). Perseus was the
hero of the Persians. It was a weapon that was characteristic of people
in Asia. It can be seen on coins of King Mithridates of Pontus with
Perseus, but also only the weapon is depicted, as symbol of Perseus.
Below the star is probably a scythe, also belonging to this grade. It
might be a symbol of the rebirth of nature, and of new life.
6) In the sixth panel
is a crown with ribbons and seven rays, symbol of the sun, Sol. The
grade that is under the protection of Sol is the
Heliodromus. To the "runner of the sun" refers the
object to the right, a whip for the golden and fiery horses. The torch
to the left symbolizes Phosphoros, the morning star.
7) In the seventh
panel is a pruning knife, attribute of the planet Saturnus. The Phrygian
cap to the left belongs to the highest grade,
Pater, the head of the Mithraic community. To the left
are a patera and a magical object, a rabdos, an ebany
stick, used to promote the initiates to a higher grade. Through the
seven planetary spheres, through the seven grades of initiation the
faithful came closer to Mithras and Sol. Some could reach the eighth
sphere, of endless light. From literary sources we know that the
initiates wore masks and special clothes.