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date: 21 November 2019


  • Mary Boyce


Religion based on the teachings of Zarathushtra, known in the West as Zoroaster. It originated in eastern Iran, possibly as early as the mid- to late 2nd millennium bc, and still has adherents in many countries.

The recorded history of Zoroastrianism began with the Achaemenids who ruled in ancient Iran as the first Persian empire (538–331 bc). The Persian priests, the magi, later became known in the West as typical Zoroastrian priests. The Achaemenid Persians spread Zoroaster’s teachings far and wide in the Ancient Near East. After Alexander the Great’s conquest (330 bc) and a period of Hellenistic rule, Iranian sovereignty was restored by the Parthians from north-west Iran (reg 250 bcc. ad 224), who upheld Zoroastrianism. They were overthrown by their co-religionists, the Sasanians (c. ad 224–651), who founded the second Persian empire and established a centralized, authoritative Zoroastrian Church, which combated heresy and around the 5th century ...

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