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How did Zoroastrianism end? The Byzantine Emperor, Heraclius struck the first blow to weaken the Zoroastrian Sasanian Iran. He defeated the Persians in 622 AD and in 627 AD he invaded Atropatene (Azerbaijan) and destroyed the Great Fire Temple and entered the Tigris provinces. Chosroes Abarvez or Parviz 'the victorious' attempted to resist him but before he could do so he was treacherously murdered by his son Shiroe who took the name of Kavadh and ascended the throne as Kavadh II (Qobad) in 628 AD. Shiroe was born out of Chosroes' marriage to a Christian Princess, Shirin. This regicide was the beginning of the end of Zoroastrian Iran. It is interesting to note that Chosroes Parviz had succeeded in extending the frontiers of the Sasanian Empire almost to the limits of the Achaemenid Empire, but at the critical juncture his son betrayed him. It is an irony of fate that Kavadah II who murdered his father to come to the throne died within a year in an epidemic and succeeded by his infant son Ardashir III who was assassinated by Shahrbaraz, a General of the Persian Army who seized the throne, in turn being murdered during his reign of two months. Anarchy set in and resulted in the succession of short-time rulers, Yazdegerd, the son of Shahriyar, and grandson of Chosroe was found in Istaker fire-temple and he came to the throne in 633 AD. He became the last Sasanian King. A perfect scenario was in order for the tribal savagery of united Arab Bedouins to cast the final blow. The prolonged exhausting hostilities reduced the might and power of both Iran and Byzantium, opening the door for a newly emerging force from the Arabian Desert to challenge both the states and religions. After several encounters, the fate of the Sasanian Empire was sealed in the battle of al-Qaadisiyah (636/637 AD) on the Euphrates canal, near al-Hirah where to make matters worse, Rustam, the Sasanian Supreme Commander-in-Chief was killed. Ctesiphon, the Sasanian capital with all its vast treasures was now at the mercy of the victorious Arabs. Yezdegerd fled to Media and with the help of his Generals organized new resistance and the last battle was fought at Nehavand (642 AD), south of Hamadan, which finally put an end to all hopes of regaining the Empire. This was the beginning of the darkest age of Zoroastrianism. Yezdegerd sought refuge in one province after another until at last in 651 AD; he was assassinated near Merve by a miller for his jewels clad sword. With the fall of the Empire, the fate of its religion was also sealed.


What special festivals do Zoroastrians celebrate? Zoroastrianism has numerous festivals and holy days, all of which are bound to the Zoroastrian calendar. The Shahenshahi and Kadmi variants of the calendar do not intercalate leap years and hence the day of the Gregorian calendar year on which these days are celebrated shifts ahead with time. The third variant of the Zoroastrian calendar, known as either Fasli (in India) or Bastani (in Iran), intercalates according to Gregorian calendar rules and thus remains synchronous with the seasons. For details on the differences, see calendar.  The seasonal festivals, called gahambars (meaning "proper season"), occur six times a year. Due to the peculiarities of the Shahenshahi and Kadmi variants of the Zoroastrian calendar, in those variants the seasonal festivals are actually celebrated many months in advance and are therefore said to reflect the six "primordial creations" of Ahura Mazda, otherwise known as the Amesha Spentas. The six festivals are: ▪ Maidyozarem Gahambar ('mid-spring' feast) ▪ Maidyoshahem Gahambar ('mid-summer' feast) ▪ Paitishahem Gahambar (feast of 'bringing in the harvest') ▪ Ayathrem Gahambar ('bringing home the herds') ▪ Maidyarem Gahambar ('mid-year'/winter feast) ▪ Hamaspathmaidyem Gahambar (feast of 'all souls', literally 'coming of the whole group') Each of these festivals is celebrated over five days.

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What Gods do Zoroastrians believe in? Zoroastrians believe in one God, called Ahura Mazda (meaning 'Wise Lord'). He is compassionate, just, and is the creator of the universe. God is worshiped as supreme. Zoroastrians believe that everything he created is pure and should be treated with love and respect. This includes the natural environment, so Zoroastrians traditionally do not pollute the rivers, land or atmosphere. This has caused some to call Zoroastrianism 'the first ecological religion'. Zoroastrians believe that Zoroaster is the prophet of God. Zoroaster himself is not worshipped, but through his teachings man can become close to God by following the path of truth and righteousness (asha). Ahura MazdÄ (also known as Ohrmazd, Ahuramazda, Hourmazd, Hormazd, Hurmuz, Aramazd and Azzandara) is the Avestan name for a divinity of the Old Iranian religion that was proclaimed the uncreated God by Zoroaster, the founder of Zoroastrianism. Ahura Mazda is described as the highest deity of worship in Zoroastrianism, along with being the first and most frequently invoked deity in the Yasna. The word Ahura means light and Mazda means wisdom. Thus Ahura Mazda is the lord of light and wisdom. Ahura Mazda is the creator and upholder of Arta (truth). Ahura Mazda is an omniscient (though not omnipotent) god, who would eventually destroy evil. Ahura Mazda's counterpart is Angra Mainyu, the "evil spirit" and the creator of evil who will be destroyed before frashokereti (the destruction of evil). Ahura Mazda first appeared in the Achaemenid period (c. 550–330 BCE) under Darius I's Behistun Inscription. Until Artaxerxes II (405-04 to 359-58 BCE), Ahura Mazda was worshiped and invoked alone. With Artaxerxes II, Ahura Mazda was invoked in a triad, with Mithra and Apam Napat. In the Achaemenid period, there are no representations of Ahura Mazda other than the custom for every emperor to have an empty chariot drawn by white horses, to invite Ahura Mazda to accompany the Persian army on battles. Images of Ahura Mazda began in the Parthian period, but were stopped and replaced with stone-carved figures in the Sassanid period.


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Zoroastrianism

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                      Written  by:  Jasper  and  Taisuke  


How  did  Zoroastrianism  start?     Around 1000 BC (probably), about the same time that people in India were writing the Riga  Veda,  a man named Zoroaster (also called Zarathustra) was a priest in a small temple in to, eastern part of Western Asia  in an area with a lot of small kingdoms and no major power. Zoroaster believed that he heard the voice of his chief god, Ahura Mazda, speaking to him and telling him to start a new religion. He told people that the god was speaking to him, and what the god wanted, but they didn't believe that the god was really speaking to him. The other people in the town just thought he was suffering from mental illness. They laughed at him and made fun of him. Zoroaster sadly left town and travelled around West Asia looking for somebody who would believe him. Finally he found a king who did believe him. He started to get some followers. The new religion stayed small for five hundred years, but then they had a big success. We don't know how it happened, but Zoroaster's followers convinced the new king of the Persians, Cyrus, to support Zoroastrianism (named after Zoroaster). With the support of the king, Zoroastrianism soon became very popular.

     


What  is  the  name  of  the  people  who  believe  in   Zoroastrianism  and  how  do  they  act  upon   their  religion?   The  names  of  the  people  who  believe  in  Zoroastrianism  are  called   Zoroastrians.  He/she  has  a  long  white  gown,  a  rectangular  hat  and  a   silver  stick,  which  they  use  for  lighting  the  fire.  They  act  upon  their   religion  by  praying  everyday.  Zoroastrian  worship  practices  have   evolved  from  ancient  times  to  the  present  day.  Traditionally,  Zoroastrians   worship  individually  at  home,  or  in  the  open,  facing  a  source  of  light.   Zoroastrian  scriptures  do  not  prescribe  worshipping  in  a  temple  and   make  no  mention  of  Zoroastrian  places  of  worship.      In  ancient  times,   historical  records  state  than  when  the  community  gathered  together  for   a  religious  event,  they  did  so  in  open  air  gathering  areas  around  a  podium   where  a  fire  was  lit.  The  gathering  areas  were  on  hillsides  and  hilltops.      Over  time,  Zoroastrians  developed  the  concept  of  worshipping  in   temples,  sometimes  called  fire  temples.  The  temples  contain  an  inner   sanctum  (pavi)  or  platform  where  a  fire  is  maintained  or  placed.  This  is   because  Zoroastrians  face  a  source  of  light  when  they  pray.  In  temples   the  source  of  light  is  a  flame  maintained  in  a  fire   urn.  In  certain  temples,  this  fire  is  kept  burning   continuously,  representing  an  eternal  flame.                       Sanctum in a Fire Temple

     


Glossary        

IntercalatesTo insert something PeculiaritiesStrange things JunctureA particular event Hostilities-

Hostile behavior or unfriendliness or opposition Invoked- cite or appeal to ( something or someone ) as an authority of an action in support of an argument

 


Zoroastrianism Assessment