Persian/Mesopotamian. Based on a Zoroastrian original (Mitra), Mithras became a virtually universal God in later Imperial times, especially among legionary soldiers. An austere and highly ethical Divinity, Mithras demanded honourable conduct, obedience to authority, truthfulness, loyalty, and personal rectitude. His cult was in direct competition with early Christianity, and may very well have won out in the end, were it not for the fact that it was an exclusively male religion; females of any species were not permitted within the sanctuaries. Christianity, while taking a dim view of females, nevertheless allowed them in the church as long as they behaved themselves, and so had a broader appeal.
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