Cumont's interpretation of the main relief and its smaller companions involves the reconstruction of a Mithraic theology, a Mithraic legend, and a Mithraic symbolism.
With this monument as a basis, Franz Cumont has arranged the small Mithraic reliefs into two groups, one illustrating the legend of the origin of the gods, and the other the legend of Mithras.
The Mithraic community of worshippers, besides being a spiritual fraternity, was a legal corporation enjoying the right of holding property, with temporal officials at its head, like any other sodalitas: there were the decuriones and decem primi, governing councils resembling assembly and senate in cities; magistri, annually elected presidents; curatores, financial agents; defensores, advocates; and patroni, protectors among the influential.
The legend of the Omophorus and Splenditeneus, rival giants who sustain earth and luminous heavens on their respective shoulders, even if it already figures in the cuneiform texts of Assyria, is yet to be traced in Mithraic bas-reliefs.
Cvii.) and inscriptions preserve the knowledge that the mystic, sacratus, passed through seven degrees, which probably corresponded to the seven planetary spheres traversed by the soul in its progress to wisdom, perfect purity, and the abode of the blest: Corax, Raven, so named because the raven in Mithraic mythology was the servant of the Sun; Cryphius, Occult, a degree in the taking of which the mystic was perhaps hidden from others in the sanctuary by a veil, the removal of which was a solemn ceremonial; Miles, Soldier, signifying the holy warfare against evil in the service of the god; Leo, Lion, symbolic of the element of fire; Perses, Persian, clad in Asiatic costume, a reminiscence of the ancient origin of the religion; Heliodromus, Courier of the Sun, with whom Mithras was identified; Pater, Father, a degree bringing the mystic among those who had the general direction of the cult for the rest of their lives.
The Mithraic temples of Roman times were artificial grottoes (spelaea) wholly or partially underground, in imitation of the original selcuded mountain caverns of Asia.
Few of the Mithraic reliefs are of even mediocre art.
The reward of title and degree and the consequent rise in the esteem of his fellows and himself was also a strong incentive; but the Mithraic faith itself was the greatest factor.
In the first group are found Infinite Time, or Cronus; Tellus and Atlas supporting the globe, representing the union of Earth and Heaven; Oceanus; the Fates; Infinite Time giving into the hand of his successor Ormazd the thunderbolt, the symbol of authority; Ormazd struggling with a giant of evil - the Mithraic gigantomachy.
As regards rival Isiac and Mithraic baptisms, he asserts that their waters are destitute of divine power; nay, are rather tenanted by the devil who in this matter sets himself to rival God.