Indo-Iranian divinity / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Mitra (Proto-Indo-Iranian: *mitrás) is the name of an Indo-Iranian divinity from which the names and some characteristics of Rigvedic Mitrá and Avestan Mithra derive.
The names (and occasionally also some characteristics) of these two older figures were subsequently also adopted for other figures:
- A vrddhi-derived form of Sanskrit mitra gives Maitreya, the name of a bodhisattva in Buddhist tradition.
- In Hellenistic-era Asia Minor, Avestan Mithra was conflated with various local and Greek figures leading to several different variants of Apollo-Helios-Mithras-Hermes-Stilbon.
- Via Greek and some Anatolian intermediate, the Avestan theonym also gave rise to Latin Mithras, the principal figure of the first century Roman Mysteries of Mithras (also known as 'Mithraism').
- In Middle Iranian, the Avestan theonym evolved (among other Middle Iranian forms) into Sogdian Miši, Middle Persian and Parthian Mihr, and Bactrian Miuro (/mihru/). Aside from Avestan Mithra, these derivative names were also used for:
- Greco-Bactrian Mithro, Miiro, Mioro and Miuro;
- by the Manichaeans for one of their own deities.
- Additionally, the Manichaeans also adopted 'Maitreya' as the name of their "first messenger".