Mitra (Conan)

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A phoenix, the symbol of Mitra, from the Aberdeen Bestiary

Mitra is a deity from the Hyborian Age setting created by Robert E. Howard for his Conan the Barbarian series of stories. Mitra is a personification of good popular among the Hyborian peoples.

He is probably loosely based on the Vedic and Zoroastrian figure by the same name, and in the Hyborian universe, his worship generally represents Christianity. Significantly, Mitra worship is strong and dominant - effectively the state religion - in the Hyborian countries corresponding to Western Europe. In other parts of the Hyborian universe, corresponding to Asia and Africa, Mitra is at best one god among many, and in Stygia (Egypt/North Africa) worship of Mitra is altogether banned.

Mitra is the chief god of most of the civilized Hyborian kingdoms, including Aquilonia, Ophir, Nemedia, Brythunia, Corinthia, and Zingara. His worshippers are monolatristic, since at least one tale depicts priests of Mitra recognizing the existence of another deity (Set). He is depicted as a "gentle" god.[1]

While Mitra and his followers are in general presented favorably in the Conan stories, in The Hour of the Dragon there is a considerable reference to Mitra followers having a strong prejudice against those of Asura and engaging in active persecution of them. Conan, being a "Barbarian", does not share this "civilized" prejudice and protects the Asura followers - which proves of great benefit in his hour of need.

The Mitran cult does not practice sacrifice and values aesthetic simplicity. Thus his shrines are usually unadorned and feature little or no iconography except for a single idol. The idol itself has the appearance of an idealized male figure and is the primary direction of Mitran worship. However, being omnipresent and incorporeal, Mitra is not considered to reside in the icon, nor share its appearance.[2] He is also symbolically represented by a phoenix in Howard's writing[3] and by an Ankh in the Age of Conan MMORPG.

Mitra, along with Crom, is mentioned in the cartoon Conan the Adventurer. There he is the god of Jezmine, Conan's love interest. She says, "By Mitra!" in times of danger.

Mitra is also mentioned by the pirate Valeria in the story Red Nails.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Howard, Robert E. (2003), The Hyborian Age (The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian) 
  2. ^ Howard, Robert E. (1933), Black Colossus, USA: Weird Tales 
  3. ^ Howard, Robert E. (1932), The Phoenix on the Sword, USA: Weird Tales