Mithras and Jesus: Two sides of the same coin (cont.)
By Flavio Barbiero
Once it achieved control of the Praetorium and the army, the Sol Invictus Mithras was able to put its hands also on the imperial office. This actually happened on 193 a.D., when Septimius Severus was proclaimed emperor by the army. Born in Leptis Magna, in North Africa, to an equestrian family of high-ranking bureaucrats, he was certainly an affiliate of the Mithraic organization, having married Julia Domna, sister of Bassianus, a high priest of Sol Invictus. From then on, the imperial office was prerogative of the Sol Invictus Mithras, as all emperors were proclaimed and/or removed by the army or by the praetorian guard.
As far as we can judge with hindsight, the final objective of the strategy devised by Josephus Flavius was the complete substitution of the ruling class of the Roman Empire with members of Sol Invictus Mithras. This result was achieved in less than two centuries, thanks to the policy enforced by the Mitharaic emperors. The backbone of the Roman imperial administration was formed by new families of unknown origin, that had emerged at the end of the first century and the beginning of the second, in antagonism to the senatorial aristocracy, traditionally opposed to the imperial power. They formed the so called “equestrian” order which soon became the undisputed fiefdom of the Sol Invictus Mithras. For sure most of the families of the 15 Jewish priests of Josephus Flavius’ entourage, rich, well connected and enjoying the imperial favour, ended up belonging to this order.
The Sol Invictus emperors all belonged to the equestrian order and governed in open opposition to the senate, humiliating it, depriving it of its prerogatives and wealth, and striking it physically with the exile and execution of a great number of its high-profile members. At the same time they started introducing equestrian families into the senate. This policy had been initiated by Septimius Severus and developed by Gallienus (who, we must remember, was also the author of the first Edict of Tolerance toward Christianity) who established by decree that all those who had held the position of provincial governors or prefects of the Praetorian Guard, both appointments reserved for the equestrian order, would enter by right into the senatorial ranks. This right was later extended to other categories of functionary, great bureaucrats and high-ranking army officers (all members of the mithraic institution). As a result, within a few decades, virtually the whole equestrian class passed into the ranks of the senate, outnumbering the families of the original Italic and Roman aristocracy.
In the meantime the spread of Christianity throughout the empire proceeded at a steady pace. Wherever the representatives of Mithras arrived, there a Christian community immediately sprang up. By the end of the second century, there were already at least four bishop’s sees in Britannia, sixteen in Gaul, sixteen in Spain, and one in practically every big city in North Africa and the Middle East. In 261 Christianity was recognized as lawful religion by the mithraic Gallienus and was proclaimed the official religion of the empire by the mithraic Constantine at the beginning of the fourth century, although it was still in a minority in Roman society. It was then gradually enforced upon the population of the empire, with a series of measures that culminated at the end of the fourth century with the abolition of the pagan religions and the mass “conversion” of the Roman senate.
The final situation regarding the ruling class of the Western Empire was the following: the ancient nobility of pagan origin had virtually disappeared and the new great nobility, that identified itself with the senatorial class of the landowners, was made up by former members of the Sol Invictus Mitras. On the religious level, paganism had been eliminated and Christianity had become the religion of all the inhabitants of the Empire; it was controlled by ecclesiastical hierarchies, coming entirely from the senatorial class, endowed with immense landed properties and quasi-royal powers within their sees.
The priestly families had become the absolute master of that same Empire that had destroyed Israel and the Temple of Jerusalem. All its high offices, both civil and religious, and all its wealth were in their hands, and supreme power had been entrusted in perpetuity, by divine right, to the most illustrious of the priestly tribes, the “Gens Flavia” (starting from Constantine all Roman emperors bore the name of Flavius), in all likelihood descendants of Josephus Flavius.
Three centuries earlier, Josephus had written with pride: “My family is not obscure, on the contrary, it is of priestly descent: as in all peoples there is a different foundation of the nobility, so with us the excellence of the line is confirmed by its belonging to the priestly order” (Life 1.1). By the end of the fourth century his descendants had every right to apply those same words to the Roman Empire.
At that point the institution of the Sol Invictus Mithras was no more necessary to boost the fortunes of the priestly family and it was disposed of. It had been the instrument of the most successful conspiracy in History.