Case Studies
Home & Contents
The Pictish Symbol / Mithras Connection
People, Places & Times
The "Open-Air" Mithraeum
Carvings on the Stones
Mithraic Symbols Identified & Decoded
Changes in Beliefs
Case Studies
The Start Point of Pictish-Mithraism
The Overall Pictish-Mithraism Discovery
Appendix A - Drawn Designs
Appendices - B to F & Annexes
Biblio Author Copyright

Case Studies – a representative selection

 

 

Symbol designs and their interpretation are considered in “Mithraic Symbols – Identified and Decoded”. Objects that appear on the Stones without a Mithraic context are commented on in “Non-Mithraic Objects – Identified & Recorded”. By looking at groups of features – Symbols, original location etc. – we can take the analysis (and understanding) of Pictish-Mithraism back into specific locations.

Individual and groups of objects on Pictish Symbol Stones serve to enable a message to be put over albeit often obscured in keeping with the Mysteries of Mithras (for Class 1 Stones) or a story from the Christian bible (for Class 2 Stones). Additionally there are elements of transition between religious beliefs. These seem to be low key from Celtic “pagan” to Pictish-Mithraism and high profile from Mithraism to Christianity – a prime purpose of Class 2 with mixed iconography is this transition. Class 3 Stones with Christian symbolism only are not included.

These 10 Case Studies at the adjacent links are a feature rich selection of Stones balanced from North and South of The Mounth representing Class 1 (Mithraic) and Class 2 (Mithraic to Christian transition) Stones from single and multiple location sites.

 

To give a broad representation, selection criteria included research on the original location of each Stone – by the sea, by a river or confluence of rivers; whether discovered under / in / at a church or churchyard; if part of a Stone circle, broch or tumulus; erected in a raised or open area maybe with a distant view. Several original locations later became church sites and have an association with a Saint as a founder or dedicated to him or her. The Stones themselves have a range of Symbols from the relatively commonplace to “one-offs”, maybe a biblical story, the complexity of fantastic creatures and monsters, more recognisable animals and people – often on horseback.

 

As well as highlighting several features at a number of sites, the purpose of this broad set of Case Studies is to further demonstrate that:

 

1)    The Stones were used for “religious” purposes. Latterly Christian and initially for another religious belief.

2)    The initial religious belief comes from Roman Mithraism, the Symbols are representative of that Mystery Cult and can be traced to an interpretation of what is seen in Roman Mithraea.

3)    There was tolerance for specific religious beliefs, adaptation and adoption of pre-existing beliefs and transition to newer beliefs e.g. to Christianity.

4)    Original locations can have particular significance e.g. distant views, closeness to rivers etc.

5)    Some of the locations had the equivalent of the Christian “cathedral” functionality.

 

These Case Studies are shown individually on the associated tabs plus a composite of all 10.


  

Site Name

General Location

RCAHMS Site Number

Aberlemno

Brechin / Forfar

NO55NW 8, 26 & 33

Bruceton

Blairgowrie

NO25SE 17

Cossans

Forfar

NO45SW 4

Dunfallandy

Pitlochry

NN95NW 29

Inveravon

Aberlour / Grantown

NJ13NE 7

Kintore

Inverurie

NJ17NE 32 & 33; NJ71NE 69

Maiden Stone

Inverurie

NJ72SW 1

Rhynie

Huntly

NJ42NE 22, 30, 35, 36, 52 & 53

Tillytarmont

Keith / Huntly

NJ54NW 1, 11, 20 & 22

Tullich

Ballater

NO39NE 2

 

Locations by RCAHMS Site Number for all Objects on the Symbol Stones are in Appendix F.

Photographs, sketches and drawings in the Case Studies are © Norman J Penny.


Aberlemno
Bruceton
Cossans
Dunfallandy
Inveravon
Kintore
Maiden Stone
Rhynie
Tillytarmont
Tullich
Home & ContentsThe Pictish Symbol / Mithras ConnectionPeople, Places & TimesThe "Open-Air" MithraeumCarvings on the StonesMithraic Symbols Identified & DecodedChanges in BeliefsCase StudiesThe Start Point of Pictish-MithraismThe Overall Pictish-Mithraism DiscoveryAppendix A - Drawn DesignsAppendices - B to F & AnnexesBiblio Author Copyright