Full Text

Zoroastrianism


Subject Religion

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631181392.1995.x


Extract

[ xxxvi ] The religion of the followers of the Iranian prophet Z oroaster ( c. 1200 bce ). The history of the religion prior to the 6th century bce is largely unknown. Thereafter it became the state religion of three successive Iranian empires: the Achaemenids ( c. 549–331 bce ); the Parthians (2nd century bce to 224 ce ); and the Sasanians (224–642 ce ), the boundaries of whose territories extended into what is now Afghanistan and Pakistan and westwards into what is now Iraq, and at times into Palestine and what is now Turkey. Zoroastrian Iran was finally defeated by the expansion of I slam , but for over 1,000 years Zoroastrianism was the official religion of three major world empires, making it, perhaps, the most powerful world religion of the time. The last Zoroastrian monarch was Yazdegird (d. 652 ce ). The modern Zoroastrian calendar begins with his coronation and the designation anno Yazdegird ( ay ) is used. Since the end of the Zoroastrian state the religion has been persistently and harshly persecuted by Muslims in Iran, so that the faithful few have been forced to retreat into remote villages, especially near the desert cities of Yazd and Kerman, where they have generally lived in abject poverty. Greater freedom was granted under the P ahlavi dynasty, and the new Islamic Republic has promised to preserve the rights of minorities. It is a considerable tribute ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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