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[[File:Mithrasgrotte Halberg Saarbruecken.jpg|thumbnail|Figure 2. A Mithraeum site in Germany.]]
Although Mithra was worshiped in regions as far as India and Scotland, the extent of how widely spread within populations and how much of a true rival the religion was to other emerging religions like Christianity is not agreed upon by scholars. There are hundreds of Mithra temples, such as that shown in Figure 2, scattered throughout the Roman Empire, with perhaps the chief Roman temple in Rome itself; sometimes existing temples to various gods also had Mithraea underneath them.<ref> For more on where Mithra was worshiped, see: Grant, J., Gorin, S., & Fleming, N. (2008). The archaeology coursebook: an introduction to themes, sites, methods and skills (3rd ed). London ; New York: Routledge, pg. 179. </ref> It seems to have been a religion that was brought to the Roman Empire by Roman soldiers stationed in the eastern part of the empire, who became influenced by the worship of this god in the Parthian and later Sassanian empires and in the Near East in general as the soldiers encountered the local population. The god was also very popular in Indian and Iran, while Mithra was likely combined with earlier sun gods in the Near East, including Shamash and Ba'al.
However, it is likely that the Mithra in the Roman Empire was understood differently that that of Persia and Iran, although many similarities remained.<ref>For more on how Mithra was adopted across the Roman Empire, see: Beck, R. (2007). The religion of the Mithras cult in the Roman Empire: mysteries of the unconquered sun (1. publ. in paperback). Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.</ref> Thus, scholars do debate how unified the belief was of Mithra and the adoption of the god could have been as such that local customs in different places adapted the religion to their own concepts, mainly incorporating the god with other gods or syncretizing religious ideas. Although in any one place the number of worshipers may have been low, the vast extent of the worship of the god does make Mithra perhaps the most widespread god until the rise of Christianity and its subsequent proselytizing faith. The wide extent of the worship of this god may explain why some ideas were adopted by Christianity. However, more likely the animosity toward this cult reflects that it may have been seen as a threat to the early Christian faith in the first few centuries after Christ. This could explain why some ideas of Mithra could have been adopted by Christians, so that some keeping some aspects of the faith may have been more attractive to some worshipers in joining Christianity; however, the subsequent suppression of the Mithra cults likely reflects it was mostly seen as a threat.