Zoroastrianism persian culture and dating

Zoroastrianism | Definition, Beliefs, Founder, & Facts | norskskovkat.info

zoroastrianism persian culture and dating

Zoroastrianism: Zoroastrianism, ancient pre-Islamic religion of Iran that likely the Greek historian Herodotus describes as a Median tribe with special customs, such as .. This alteration probably dates back at least to the 4th century bce. This article presents an overview of the history of Zoroastrianism from its Written in an ancient Eastern Iranian language, Avestan, the Avesta is the .. Ernst Herzfeld, “The Traditional Date of Zoroaster,” in Jal Dastur C. Parvy. Explain Zoroastrianism and its impact on Persian culture With possible roots dating back to the second millennium BCE, Zoroastrianism enters recorded.

Zarathustra was supposed to have instructed Pythagoras in Babylon and to have inspired the Chaldean doctrines of astrology and magic. It is likely that Zoroastrianism influenced the development of Judaism and the birth of Christianity. On the other hand, as the presumed founder of astrology and magic, Zarathustra could be considered the arch-heretic. Though Zoroastrianism was never, even in the thinking of its founder, as insistently monotheistic as, for instance, Judaism or Islamit does represent an original attempt at unifying under the worship of one supreme god a polytheistic religion comparable to those of the ancient Greeks, Latins, Indians, and other early peoples.

Its other salient feature, namely dualismwas never understood in an absolute, rigorous fashion. Good and evil fight an unequal battle in which the former is assured of triumph. In this struggle all human beings must enlist because of their capacity for free choice.

They do so with soul and body, not against the body, for the opposition between good and evil is not the same as the one between spirit and matter. Contrary to the Christian or Manichaean from Manichaeism —a Hellenistic, dualistic religion founded by the Iranian prophet Mani attitude, fasting and celibacy are proscribed except as part of the purificatory ritual. The human struggle has a negative aspect, nonetheless, in that it must strive for purity and avoid defilement by the forces of death, contact with dead matter, etc.

Thus, Zoroastrian ethicsthough in itself lofty and rational, has a ritual aspect that is all-pervading. On the whole, Zoroastrianism is optimistic and has remained so even through the hardship and oppression of its believers.

History Pre-Zoroastrian Iranian religion The religion of Iran before the time of Zarathustra is not directly accessible, for there are no reliable sources more ancient than those composed by or attributed to the prophet himself. It has to be studied indirectly on the basis of later documents and by a comparative approach.

The language of Iran is closely akin to that of northern India, and, hence, the people of the two lands probably had common ancestors who spoke a common Indo-Aryan language.

Zoroastrianism - HISTORY

The religion of those peoples has been reconstructed by means of common elements contained in the sacred books of Iran and Indiamainly the Avesta and the Vedas. Both collections exhibit the same kind of polytheism with many of the same gods, notably the Indian Mitra the Iranian Mithrathe cult of fire, sacrifice by means of a sacred liquor soma in India, in Iran haomaand other parallels.

There is, moreover, a list of Indo-Iranian gods in a treaty concluded about bce between the Hittite emperor and the king of Mitanni. Important changes, then, must have taken place on the Iranian side, not all of which can be attributed to the prophet. In Iran the evolution must have been different: Not a single place or person mentioned in them is known from any other source.

zoroastrianism persian culture and dating

All that may safely be said is that Zarathustra lived somewhere in eastern Iran, far from the civilized world of western Asia, before Iran became unified under Cyrus II the Great.

Religion under the Achaemenids was in the hands of the Magiwhom the Greek historian Herodotus describes as a Median tribe with special customs, such as exposing the dead, fighting evil animals, and interpreting dreams. Again, the historical connection with Zarathustra—whom Herodotus also ignores—is a hazy one. Dariuswhen he seized power inhad to fight a usurper, Gaumata the Magianwho pretended to be Bardiyathe son of Cyrus the Great and brother of the king Cambyses.

One possible explanation of these events is that Gaumata had adopted Zoroastrianism, a doctrine that relied on the allegiance of the common people, and therefore destroyed temples or altars to deities of the nobility. Darius, who owed his throne to the support of some noblemen, could not help favouring their cult, though he adopted Auramazda as a means of unifying his empire. Xerxessuccessor to Darius, mentioned in one of his inscriptions how at a certain unnamed place he substituted the worship of Auramazda for that of the daivas, which does not mean that he opposed the daeva cult as such, as a true Zoroastrian would have done, but only that he eradicated somewhere—probably in Babylon—the cult of deities alien to the religion of the ahuras.

At Susafor instance, which had been one of the capital cities of the Achaemenids but where the religion of Auramazda was not indigenousthe coinage of the Seleucid and Arsacid periods does not represent a single Iranian deity.

Then the Iranian religion gradually emerged again. In Commagene in the middle of the 1st century bce, gods bear combinations of Greek and Iranian names: The first proof of the use of a Zoroastrian calendarimplying the official recognition of Zoroastrianism, is found some 40 years earlier at Nisa near modern Ashgabat in Turkmenistan. By then some form of orthodoxy must have been established in which Auramazda and the entities powers surrounding him adjoin other gods such as Mithra, the Sun, and the Moon.

The coins seem to indicate, in not showing the fire altar, that the prince had lost interest in the Iranian religion. Perhaps the king hoped that by abolishing property and the family he would reign over a docile mass. The Mazdakites favoured the abolition of all social inequalities, chiefly of private property, the main cause of all hatred.

Everything was to be held in common, including women.

Online dating is saving the ancient Zoroastrian religion

These views directly threatened the rich as well as the Mazdean clergywho soon understood this. He was superstitious and dabbled in astrology. Islam, in principle, tolerated the ancient religion, but conversions by persuasion or force were massive in many provinces.

Zoroastrianism fomented rebellion and brought persecutions upon itself. Books were produced to save the essentials of the religion from a threatened disaster. The disaster did occur, but exactly why and how is not known. Zoroastrians, called Gabars by the Muslims, survived in Iran as a persecuted minority in small enclaves at Yazd and Kerman. The Parsis in India From the 10th century onward, groups of Zoroastrians emigrated to India, where they found asylum in Gujarat. Their connection with their coreligionists in Iran seems to have been almost totally broken until the end of the 15th century.

Reestablished inthe connection was kept up chiefly in the form of an exchange of letters until Under British rule, the Parsis, who previously had been humble agriculturists, started to enrich themselves through commerce, then through industry.

Formerly they had adopted the Gujarati language and the dress of their Hindu milieu. Later they adopted British customs, British dress, the education of girls, and the abolition of child marriage.

In their enterprises as well as in their charities, they followed the example of the West. From the 19th century on, they were able to help their less-favoured brethren in Iran, either through gifts or through intervention with the government. They also adapted themselves to their Indian culture by minimizing what was repugnant to the Hindus—namely, blood sacrifice—and they surrendered to some extent to the vogue of astrology and to theosophy.

On the other hand, ever since they were attacked by Christian missionaries for their dualism, they have been emphasizing the monotheistic aspect of their doctrine. The Siroza enumerates the deities presiding over the 30 days of the month. The yasht s hymns are each addressed to one of 21 deities such as Mithra, Anahita, or Verethraghna. It was then about four times larger than what has survived. The reverence for Yazatas divine spirits emphasizes the preservation of nature Avesta: This active participation is a central element in Zoroaster's concept of free willand Zoroastrianism rejects all forms of monasticism.

Ahura Mazda will ultimately prevail over the evil Angra Mainyu or Ahriman, at which point the universe will undergo a cosmic renovation and time will end. In the final renovation, all of creation—even the souls of the dead that were initially banished to "darkness"—will be reunited in Ahura Mazda, returning to life in the undead form.

  • Encyclopædia Iranica
  • Zoroastrianism

At the end of time, a savior-figure a Saoshyant will bring about a final renovation of the world frashokeretiin which the dead will be revived.

Prior to being born, the urvan soul of an individual is still united with its fravashi guardian spiritwhich has existed since Mazda created the universe. During life, the fravashi acts as a guardian and protector. On the fourth day after death, the soul is reunited with its fravashi, in which the experiences of life in the material world are collected for the continuing battle in the spiritual world. For the most part, Zoroastrianism does not have a notion of reincarnationat least not until the final renovation of the world.

Followers of Ilm-e-Kshnoom in India believe in reincarnation and practice vegetarianism, two principles unknown to Orthodox Zoroastrianism, [32] although Zoroaster was himself a vegetarian. In Zoroastrian cosmogonywater and fire are respectively the second and last primordial elements to have been created, and scripture considers fire to have its origin in the waters.

zoroastrianism persian culture and dating

Both water and fire are considered life-sustaining, and both water and fire are represented within the precinct of a fire temple.

Zoroastrians usually pray in the presence of some form of fire which can be considered evident in any source of lightand the culminating rite of the principle act of worship constitutes a "strengthening of the waters". Fire is considered a medium through which spiritual insight and wisdom is gained, and water is considered the source of that wisdom. A corpse is considered a host for decay, i.

Consequently, scripture enjoins the safe disposal of the dead in a manner such that a corpse does not pollute the good creation. These injunctions are the doctrinal basis of the fast-fading traditional practice of ritual exposure, most commonly identified with the so-called Towers of Silence for which there is no standard technical term in either scripture or tradition.

Ritual exposure is only practiced by Zoroastrian communities of the Indian subcontinentin locations where it is not illegal and diclofenac poisoning has not led to the virtual extinction of scavenger birds.

Other Zoroastrian communities either cremate their dead, or bury them in graves that are cased with lime mortar. While the Parsees in India have traditionally been opposed to proselytizingand even considered it a crime for which the culprit may face expulsion, [34] Iranian Zoroastrians have never been opposed to conversion, and the practice has been endorsed by the Council of Mobeds of Tehran.

While the Iranian authorities do not permit proselytizing within Iran, Iranian Zoroastrians in exile have actively encouraged missionary activities, with The Zarathushtrian Assembly in Los Angeles and the International Zoroastrian Centre in Paris as two prominent centres. As in many other faiths, Zoroastrians are encouraged to marry others of the same faith, but this is not a requirement. The roots of Zoroastrianism are thought to have emerged from a common prehistoric Indo-Iranian religious system dating back to the early 2nd millennium BCE.

Zoroastrianism enters recorded history in the mid-5th century BCE. Herodotus ' The Histories completed c. According to Herodotus i. The Zoroastrian Achaemenid Empire at its greatest extent.

Zoroastrianism - Wikipedia

Following the unification of the Median and Persian empires in BCE, Cyrus the Great and, later, his son Cambyses II curtailed the powers of the Magi after they had attempted to sow dissent following their loss of influence. In BCE, the Magi revolted and set up a rival claimant to the throne. The usurper, pretending to be Cyrus' younger son Smerdistook power shortly thereafter. Darius I and later Achaemenid emperors acknowledged their devotion to Ahura Mazda in inscriptions, as attested to several times in the Behistun inscription, and appear to have continued the model of coexistence with other religions.

Whether Darius was a follower of Zoroaster has not been conclusively established, since devotion to Ahura Mazda was at the time not necessarily an indication of an adherence to Zoroaster's teaching.

A number of the Zoroastrian texts that today are part of the greater compendium of the Avesta have been attributed to that period. This calendar attributed to the Achaemenid period is still in use today. Additionally, the divinities, or yazatasare present-day Zoroastrian angels Dhalla, According to later Zoroastrian legend Denkard and the Book of Arda Virafmany sacred texts were lost when Alexander the Great 's troops invaded Persepolis and subsequently destroyed the royal library there.

According to one archaeological examination, the ruins of the palace of Xerxes bear traces of having been burned Stolze, Whether a vast collection of semi- religious texts "written on parchment in gold ink", as suggested by the Denkard, actually existed remains a matter of speculation, but is unlikely.

Given that many of the Denkards statements-as-fact have since been refuted by scholars, the tale of the library is widely accepted to be fictional Kellens, Alexander's conquests largely displaced Zoroastrianism with Hellenistic beliefs[36] though the religion continued to be practiced many centuries following the demise of the Achaemenids in mainland Persia and the core regions of the former Achaemenid Empire, most notably AnatoliaMesopotamiaand the Caucasus.

In the Cappadocian kingdomwhose territory was formerly an Achaemenid possession, Persian colonists, cut off from their co-religionists in Iran proper, continued to practice the faith [Zoroastrianism] of their forefathers; and there Straboobserving in the first century B.

zoroastrianism persian culture and dating

During the period of their centuries long suzerainty over the Caucasusthe Sassanids made attempts to promote Zoroastrianism there with considerable successes, and it was prominent in the pre-Christian Caucasus especially modern-day Azerbaijan. Due to its ties to the Christian Roman EmpirePersia's arch-rival since Parthian times, the Sassanids were suspicious of Roman Christianityand, after the reign of Constantine the Greatsometimes persecuted it.

But the Sassanids tolerated or even sometimes favored the Christianity of the Church of the East. The acceptance of Christianity in Georgia Caucasian Iberia saw the Zoroastrian religion there slowly but surely decline, [41] but as late the 5th century a. Although the administration of the state was rapidly Islamicized and subsumed under the Umayyad Caliphatein the beginning "there was little serious pressure" exerted on newly subjected people to adopt Islam.

Islamic jurists took the stance that only Muslims could be perfectly moral, but "unbelievers might as well be left to their iniquities, so long as these did not vex their overlords. In time, this poll-tax came to be used as a means to humble the non-Muslims, and a number of laws and restrictions evolved to emphasize their inferior status.