The Chap In The (Red) Cap . . . Revisited

Yea, I know what you’re thinking. Chap in the Red Cap: that’s Santa, right? Um, well. Not really. No.

The Chap in the Red Cap was an article I posted on ‘crimsonprose’ way back last year. May 25th 2014, to be exact. Check it out. You’ll see it’s about the Roman mystery cult of the god Mithras.

It wasn’t the most successful post (it rated 3 likes, and 2 comments from the one reader, to which I replied). But the subject long had bugged me and, not wanting to load it with references, citations and umpteen links, and thus to publish it on my other blog (Crimson’s History) I wrote it as my alto ego Iris Einstein (it’s a long-standing jokey thing). And then I forgot it—until this last autumn.

Why was it suddenly getting hits? And not just ones and twos. It’s rapidly become the single most active post (disregarding the unspecified ‘Home/Archives’ always listed in the stats.) From September to October the number of hits doubled. From October to November they doubled again. And even as I write this post the December hits have exceeded even those of the stats-topping ‘Home/Archives’! Massive. It seems The Chap in the Red Cap has gone viral.

I’m sure if the god Mithras were still in our midst he’d be delighted with this. For tomorrow, Christmas Day, will be his birthday.

CIMRM 344CIMRM 344: ‘Rock Born’ Mithras from San Clemente, Rome
Though the rock more resembles a pine cone

Ah, you thought it was Jesus Christ born that day? No. Once the Romans got hold of Christianity—on an official basis—they adopted many a pre-existing holy day, not only Christmas and Easter.

And not only is Christmas Day the god Mithras’s birthday, but our special Christmas saint—Santa Claus—wears the very same (red) Phrygian hat. In fact he wears all the same red gear.

CIMRM 1083 CIMRM 1083 showing (2nd register from top) Mithras born from a fir tree
Tauroctony with modern recolouring, from Neuenheim, Germany,

And not only that, but doesn’t the chap in the red Phrygian hat arrive in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer? I wonder how’s that?

Fly Agaric

Fly Agaric (source: Wiki Commons)

Could it be Rudolf with his nose so bright has been nibbling a certain red-capped mushroom? Fly agaric is extensively found in the Russian woodlands and arguably the source of Mithras’ red hat (both are earth-born). Oh, didn’t I tell you? Most of those hits I’ve had have come from there. From Russia.

So, on this eve of this, Mithras’s special day . . .

Merry Yuletide

May I wish all my readers a happy You ‘ll Tide!


About crimsonprose

Spinner of Asaric and Mythic tales
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