March 31-April 2, 2017
Courtyard by Marriott at Yale, 30 Whalley Ave., New Haven, CT 06511
The New England Conference on Mithraic Studies is an informal research convention for people interested in the study of the god Mithras, whose popularity reached its height among the Roman legions in about 100 to 400 CE. Convention highlights include the chance to do research in Yale’s world-class libraries and to tour the Yale University Art Gallery, which houses the Dura Europos mithraeum. Friday evening we will dine at the Kumal Indian Restaurant, Howe St (203) 498-2801, which is within easy walking distance of the hotel. Saturday night will be a potluck Roman feast in the con suite.
Mithraism touches on many aspects of ancient history — early Christianity, mystery religions, philosophy, astrology, symbolism, the Roman provincial system, Zoroastrianism, and more. People attending MithraCon bring their individual research interests and ideas, and get a chance to try those ideas out on others and discover new ways of looking at ancient history.
There is a “Roman feast” in the conference suite on Saturday evening, and during that time participants share presentations and discussion on a wide variety of topics.
As the name MithraCon indicates, it’s not all serious scholarship. Discussions are often lively and interesting. There are side trips to the bookstores of New Haven. Many participants bring their own wares to sell (everything from spices to books to art to ancient artifacts).
To attend the conference you need to do two things: Register for the conference AND register at the hotel.
Since this is a small specialist convention, we sleep in the con suite; the men in one room and the ladies in the other. Or you could book your own room for privacy. We will have a refrigerator and microwave in the con suite.
Registration: $50 until March 20th (must be received on that date), and $60 at the door. Con registration and checks should go to Dr. Jane T. Sibley, PO Box 123, Haddam, CT 06438. If you have questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is free wireless internet in all rooms. Yay!
Preparing for MithraCon
— Conference dress is casual, though some people bring a nicer outfit for dining out. New Haven in April can be chilly and windy, so be prepared.
— Bring $20 for your Yale library stacks pass (good for a week!) plus money for meals, photocopying and any shopping you may wish to do (including purchases from fellow conferees). To make the most of your time at the library, it may be worthwhile to search its catalog beforehand and make notes of books you want to find. You can search books in the Orbis catalog, (see link at right) and have books shelved in the more remote Yale libraries delivered to to the main library so they’re waiting for you when the convention arrives!
— Bring materials for any presentations you may wish to give to the group. Presentations are not required, but are a good way to test works in progress, start discussions on subjects of interest, and inform and delight your fellow participants. Presentations should be no more than 30 minutes.
– Merchant goods if you wish to sell to fellow conferees. Merchant space is free and will be secured during non-conference times so that merchants need not choose between participating and guarding their products.
The conference is held at the Courtyard Marriott, which provides a conference room and comfortable accommodations. The hotel is near a shopping district and a very short walk from Yale University itself.
Directions: I-91 S to Exit 47 (Downtown New Haven), then take 3rd (and last) exit (Right), which puts you on York Street. Drive through the George, Crown, & Chapel Street lights, and turn Left at Broadway; on the far left corner is Au Bon Pain. Keep to the Left; you will see the hotel to the left.
Public transportation from the Boston or New York areas: take the train to New Haven’s Union Station; there will be plenty of cabs there who will be more than willing to shlep you and your gear the mile and a half or so to the hotel, which is almost on the Yale campus. Check in is 3 p.m., but if you get there earlier, you can leave your stuff with the front desk, and then maybe meander across the street to the huge Barnes & Noble bookstore or some of the other shops. Bus service to New Haven is also an option. If you need to call a cab, the number is (203) 777-7777.
Conference participants have on occasion used free time to wander through new and used bookstores or explore the non-Mithraic wonders of Yale’s world-class Art Gallery including the newly reopened Dura-Europos Mithraeum, a genuine temple of Mithras brought from Syria decades ago.