Beautiful Africa

Religions

While there is no absolute consensus on the kings before Darius, such as Cyrus and Cambyses, it is well established that Darius was an adherent of Zoroastrianism[38] or at least a firm believer in Ahura Mazda. As can be seen at the Behistun Inscription, Darius believed that Ahura Mazda had appointed him to rule the Achaemenid Empire. Darius had dualistic convictions and believed that each rebellion in his kingdom was the work of druj, the enemy of Asha. Darius believed that because he lived righteously by Asha, Ahura Mazda supported him.[39] In many cuneiform inscriptions denoting his achievements, he presents himself as a devout believer, perhaps even convinced that he had a divine right to rule over the world.[40] In the lands that were conquered by his empire, Darius followed the same Achaemenid tolerance that Cyrus had shown and later Achaemenid emperors would show. He supported faiths and religions that were "alien" as long as the adherents were submissive and peaceable, sometimes giving them grants from his treasury for their purposes.[41] He had funded the restoration of the Jewish temple which had originally been decreed by Cyrus the Great, presented favour towards Greek cults which can be seen in his letter to Gadatas, and supported Elamite priests. He had also observed Egyptian religious rites related to kingship and had built the temple for the Egyptian God, Amun. Zoroastrianism /?z?ro?stri?n?z?m/, also called Mazdaism and Magianism, is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of the prophet Zoroaster (also known as Zarathustra in Avestan) and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in the eastern part of ancient Greater Iran. In oroastrianism, the creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil originates from him. Thus, in Zoroastrianism good and evil have distinct sources, with evil (druj) trying to destroy the creation of Mazda (asha), and good trying to sustain it. While Ahura Mazda is not immanent in the world, his creation is represented by the Amesha Spentas and the host of other Yazatas, through whom the works of God are evident to humanity, and through whom worship of Mazda is ultimately directed. The most important texts of the religion are those of the Avesta, of which a significant portion has been lost, and mostly only the liturgies of which have survived. The lost portions are known of only through references and brief quotations in the later works, primarily from the 9th to 11th centuries. In some form, it served as the national or state religion of a significant portion of the Iranian people for many centuries. The religion first dwindled when the Achaemenid Empire was invaded by Alexander III of Macedon, after which it collapsed and disintegrated[1] and it was further gradually marginalized by Islam from the 7th century onwards with the decline of the Sassanid Empire.[2] The political power of the pre-Islamic Iranian dynasties lent Zoroastrianism immense prestige in ancient times, and some of its leading doctrines were adopted by other religious systems. It has no major theological divisions (the only significant schism is based on calendar differences), but it is not uniform. Modern-era influences have a significant impact on individual and local beliefs, practices, values and vocabulary, sometimes merging with tradition and in other cases displacing it. By one estimate, there are between 124,000 and 190,000 Zoroastrians worldwide.