from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The sacrifice of a bull in the Mithraic rites; the mystic baptism of a neophyte in the blood of a bull. See Mithras.
  • n. The representation in art, as in drawing or sculpture, of the killing of a bull, as by Mithras: a very common more or less conventional design. See cut in next column.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • This is the proper meaning of the terms taurobolium and criobolium ([Greek: taurobolion, kriobolion.]), which had long been enigmas, [34] and which denoted the act of catching a steer or a ram by means of a hurled weapon, probably the thong of a lasso.

    The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism

  • For example, Atia, as devotee of Magna Mater, undergoes a taurobolium: the sacrifice of a bull with the blood dripping down through a gate onto the worshiper below.

    Rome Yet Again

  • It was maintained that the sanguinary purification imparted by the taurobolium was more efficacious than baptism.

    The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism

  • The taurobolium, a disgusting shower-bath of lukewarm blood, had become a means of obtaining a new and eternal life; the ritualistic ablutions were no longer external and material acts, but were supposed to cleanse the soul of its impurities and to restore its original innocence; the sacred repasts

    The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism

  • The Phrygian priests of the Great Mother openly opposed their celebration of the vernal equinox to the Christian Easter, and attributed to the blood shed in the taurobolium the redemptive power of the blood of the divine

    The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism

  • A god held up as the august lord of the universe was the pitiful and abject hero of an obscene love affair; the taurobolium, performed to satisfy man's most exalted aspirations for spiritual purification and immortality, looked like a shower bath of blood and recalled cannibalistic orgies.

    The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism

  • Cappadocian, Jewish, Persian and even Christian influences modified the old rites of Pessinus and filled them with ideas of spiritual purification and {198} eternal redemption by the bloody baptism of the taurobolium.

    The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism

  • The introduction of the taurobolium in the ritual of the _Magna Mater_, where it appeared after the middle of the first century, was probably connected with this transformation.

    The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism

  • Hepding (op. cit., 70 f.), it cannot be doubted that the taurobolium was already practised in Asia Minor, in the cult of the Ma-Bellona.

    The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism

  • Abel to the taurobolium of the latest superstition of pagan Rome.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 7: Gregory XII-Infallability


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