Mitra is the most common god worshipped in Hyboria, and the chief deity in the Hyborian kingdoms.
Biographical Sketch Edit
- Name: Mitra
- Aliases: Unknown
- Identity: Defender of the good.
- Gender: Male.
- Aspect: Good. Sun god. Defender. Righteous. Truth. Healing. Authority.
- Appearance: Depicted as a tall man with curly hair, a thick beard, and piercing wide-set eyes.
- Symbol: Phoenix.
- Powers and Abilities: Vast. Understood as omnipresent.
- Weakness: Unknown.
- Group Membership: Unknown.
- Allies: Unknown.
- Enemies: Set. All explicitly evil beings.
- Known Relatives: Unknown.
- Base of Operations: Unknown. Thought to be omnipresent.
- Culture: Hyborian Kingdoms.
History and Cult Practices Edit
Mitra's name must had been known around 13,000 BC, as it was recognized by Xaltotun, an Acheronian who lived then. Mitraism's real ascendancy however probably began about 1,400 years after the fall of the Acheron empire, when the Hyborian lands were once again menaced by the shadow of Set, and were largely saved through the efforts of the Aquilonian Mitraic prophet-hero Epemetrius the Sage. One of the earliest nations to embrace Mitra was Koth, around 11,000 BC. Koth was the first truly formed Hyborian kingdom and they waged war against the Stygians and laid low the once great empire, destroying the city of Kheshatta, city of magicians. During the full coming of the Hyborian Age, the deity Mitra emerged as one of the most popular gods, receiving worship from peoples in the kingdoms of Aquilonia, Argos, Corinthia, Nemedia, Ophir, and Zingara; in fact south of Nordheim and Cimmeria, Mitra worship was almost universal. It was rivaled here and there only by small cults of such as that of Asura, Ibis, Ishtar, and even, to some degree, Set, Mitra's sworn enemy. Mitra intervened in human affairs often to protect his own worshippers and humanity in general from Set's foul designs.
Some Mitraists are unique in having an unflinchingly monotheistic devotion to Mitra. While most people follow a type of henotheism, in which they acknowledged the existence of gods that they chose not to worship, some Mitraists hold Mitra as the only god in existence. Not unexpectedly, this exclusivist view of Mitra produced intolerance of other religions at times. It is unclear if Mitra is also a creator god as well as chief god of the Hyborians, but he is seen as the most powerfull.
Ostensibly Mitra is a gentle god (in contrast to Northern warrior gods such as Crom, Borri, Ymir, etc.) and supposedly teaches mercy over vengeance. However, despite this, Mitra does banish people to a hell dimension for punishment, for as mankind's eternal judge, Mitra decides the final assignment of souls to either there or a heaven world as a reward. Mitraic sorteriology preached salvation based on works, i.e. a person's life on Earth is judged based on his deeds in his or her life. Mitra, is thought to be attended to by a host of saints and angels, presumably dwelled in this heavenly dimension.
Blood sacrifice was explicitly excluded from the Mitraistic religion. Instead rituals have much simplicity, dignity, and beauty. In contrast to the case of the idols of non-Mitraistic religions, the statues of Mitra served only as emblems intended to represent the god in idealized form and not to be worshipped themselves. The theology behind the worship of Mitra was based on justice and a very strong sense of right and wrong. The followers of Mitra strive for justice and were encouraged to forgive.
There is a huge clergy associated with the worship of Mitra, and one could find temples in his honor almost everywhere that his influence has spread. His priesthood is very strict. Celibacy and abstaining from any mind altering products is a must. Priests of Mitra are very educated being the keepers of ancient lore and wisdom. The priesthood is forbidden to Stygians altogether. Mitra's temples were conspicuously free of ornamentation, as they were supposed to reflect a pious and ascetic ideal. Consequently, the worship of Mitra does not require precious metals and elaborate ornamentation to honor his patronage. Rather his worship required dedication and prayer, not superfluous sacrifice; and it was said the Mitra abhors the ritual of human sacrifice prevalent in many other Hyborian religions.