(c. 6th century BC - debated)
"With an open mind, seek and listen to all the highest ideals. Consider the most enlightened thoughts. Then choose your path, person by person, each for oneself."
Myths and legends have been passed down through the generations causing controversy about when he lived, who he was, and what he accomplished in his life. Most agree that he lived in Eastern Iran and was a priest and/or prophet who claimed to have seen a vision from God. He was to preach the truth about cosmic strife between good and evil and that man had the power to choose between the two. He traveled and preached throughout Persia and eventually settled in the land of King Vishtaspa, who accepted his teachings. It has been said that he was murdered during a war within the Persian Empire. Zoroastrianism was the official belief system in Persia but disappeared after the Muslim invasion of 637 AD.
ZOROASTRIANISM: An Iranian religion, founded c600 b.c. by Zoroaster, the principal beliefs of which are in the existence of a supreme deity, Ahura Mazda, and in a cosmic struggle between a spirit of good, Spenta Mainyu, and a spirit of evil, Angra Mainyu.
Followers of Zoroastrianism: Less than 1% of the world's population (note).
Authoritative Text: Avesta:
A prayer book of poetic songs
*Note: the writings are claimed to be very difficult to understand because the original language was written in a dialect that has been lost over time. Through wars and persecutions of Zoroastrianism, many of the texts were destroyed. Even when the writings were no longer understood, the priests continued to recite the prayers as tradition. Some of the texts and traditions that have been passed down have been reconstructed but scholars are skeptical of their validity.
Author: Believed to be composed by Zoroaster