Zend Avesta - The Vendidad - Introduction

Zoroaster, the founder of Zoroastrianism

Translated by James Darmesteter



THE Zend-Avesta is the sacred book of the Parsis, that is to say, of the few remaining followers of that religion which feigned over Persia at the time when the second successor of Mohammed overthrew the Sassanian dynasty[1], and which has been called Dualism, or Mazdeism, or Magism, or Zoroastrianism, or Fire-worship, according as its main tenet, or its supreme God[2], or its priests, or its supposed founder, or its apparent object of worship has been most kept in view. In less than a century after their defeat, nearly all the conquered people were brought over to the faith of their new rulers, either by force, or policy, or the attractive power of a simpler form of creed. But many of those who clung to the faith of their fathers, went and sought abroad for a new home, where they might freely worship their old gods, say their old prayers, and perform their old rites. That home they found at last among the tolerant Hindus, on the western coast of India and in the peninsula of Guzerat[3]. There they throve and there they live still, while the ranks of their co-religionists in Persia are daily thinning and dwindling away[4].

As the Parsis are thc ruins of a people, so are their

[1. At the battle of Nihâvand (642 A.C.)

2. Ahura Mazda.

3. They settled first at Sangân, not far from Damân; thence they spread over Surat, Nowsâri, Broach, and Kambay; and within the last two centuries they have settled at Bombay, which now contains the bulk of the Parsi people, nearly 150,000 souls.

4. A century ago, it is said, they still numbered nearly 100,000 souls; but there now remain no more than 8000 or 9000 souls, scattered in Yezd and the surrounding villages (Dosabhoy Framjee, The Parsees).]

sacred books the ruins of a religion. There has been no other great belief in the world that ever left such poor and meagre monuments of its past splendour. Yet great is the value which that small book, the Avesta, and the belief of that scanty people, the Parsis, have in the eyes of the historian and theologist, as they present to us the last reflex of the ideas which prevailed in Iran during the five centuries which preceded and the seven which followed the birth of Christ, a period which gave to the world & Gospels, the Talmud, and the Qur'ân. Persia, it is known, had much influence on each of the movements which produced, or proceeded from, those three books; she lent much to the first heresiarchs, much to the Rabbis, much to Mohammed. By help of the Parsi religion and the Avesta, we are enabled to go back to the very heart of that most momentous period in the history of religious thought, which saw the blending of the Aryan mind with the Semitic, and thus opened the second stage of Aryan thought.

Inquiries into the religion of ancient Persia began long ago, and it was the old foe of Persia, the Greek, who first studied it. Aristotle[1], Hermippus[2]; and many others[3] wrote of it in books of which, unfortunately, nothing more than a few fragments or merely the titles have come down to us. We find much valuable information about it, scattered in the accounts of historians and travellers, extending over ten centuries, from Herodotus down to Agathias and Procopius. It was never more eagerly studied than in the first centuries of the Christian era; but that study had no longer anything of the disinterested and almost scientific character it had in earlier times. Religious and philosophic sects, in search of new dogmas, eagerly received whatever came to them bearing the name of Zoroaster. As Xanthus the Lydian, who is said to have lived before Herodotus, had mentioned Zoroastrian {Greek Lo'gia}[4], there. came to light, in those later times, scores of oracles, styled {Greek Lo'gia tou^ Zwroa'strou},

[1. Diogenes Laertius, Prooemium 8.

2. Pliny, Hist. Nat. XXX, I, 2. CE infra, III, ii.

3 Dinon, Theopompus, Hermodorus, Heraclides; Cumanus.

4. See Nicolaus Damazcenus, Didot, Fragm. Hist. III, 409.]

or 'Oracula Chaldaïca sive Magica,' the work of Neo-Platonists who were but very remote disciples of the Median sage. As his name had become the very emblem of wisdom, they would cover with it the latest inventions of their ever-deepening theosophy. Zoroaster and Plato were treated as if they had been philosophers of the same school, and Hierocles expounded their doctrines in the same book. Proclus collected seventy Tetrads of Zoroaster and wrote commentaries on them but we need hardly say that Zoroaster commented on by Proclus was nothing more or less than Proclus commented on by Proclus. Prodicus the Gnostic had secret books of Zoroaster[2]; and upon the whole it may be said that in the first centuries of Christianity, the religion of, Persia was more studied and less understood than it had ever been before. The real object aimed at, in studying the old religion, was to form a new one.

Throughout the Middle Ages nothing was known of Mazdeism but the name of its founder, who from a Magus was converted into a magician and master of the hidden sciences. It was not until the Renaissance that real inquiry was resumed. The first step was to collect all the information that could be gathered from Greek and Roman writers. That task was undertaken and successfully completed by Barnabé Brisson[3]. A nearer approach to the original source was made in the following century by Italian, English, and French travellers in Asia. Pietro della Valle, Henry Lord, Mandelslo, Ovington, Chardin, Gabriel du Chinon, and Tavernier found Zoroaster's last followers in Persia and India, and made known their existence, their manners, and the main features of their belief to Europe. Gabriel du Chinon saw their books and recognised that they were not all written in the same language, their original holy writ being no longer understood except by means of translations and commentaries in another tongue.

[1. Fabricius, Graeca Bibliotheca, fourth ad. p. 309 seq.

2. Clemens Alexandrinus, Stromata I. Cf. infra, III, 11, and Porphyrius, de vita Plotini, § 16.

3. 'De regio Persarum principatu libri tres,' Paris, 1590. The second book is devoted to the religion and manners of the ancient Persians.]

In the year 1700, a professor at Oxford, Thomas Hyde, the greatest Orientalist of his time in Europe, made the first systematic attempt to restore the history of the old Persian religion by combining the accounts of the Mohammedan writers with 'the true and genuine monuments of ancient Persia[1].' Unfortunately the so-called genuine monuments of ancient Persia were nothing more than recent. compilations referring to the last stage of Parsiism. But notwithstanding this defect, which could hardly be avoided then, and notwithstanding its still worse fault, a strange want of critical acumen[2], the book of Thomas Hyde was the first complete and true picture of modern Parsiism, and it made inquiry into its history the order of the day. A warm appeal made by him to the zeal of travellers, to seek for and procure at any price the sacred books of the. Parsis, did not remain ineffectual, and from that time scholars bethought themselves of studying, Parsiism in its own home.

Eighteen years later, a countryman of Hyde, George Boucher, received from the Parsis in Surat a copy of the Vendîdâd Sâdah, which was brought to England in 1723 by Richard Cobbe. But the old manuscript was a sealed book, and the most that could then be made of it was to hang it by an iron chain to the wall of the Bodleian Library, as a curiosity to be shown to foreigners. A few years later, a Scotch-man, named Fraser, went to Surat, with the view of obtaining from the Parsis, not only their books, but also a knowledge of their contents. He was not very successful in the first undertaking, and utterly failed in the second.

In 1754 a young man, twenty years old, Anquetil Duperron, a scholar of the Ecole des Langues Orientales in Paris, happened to see a facsimile of four leaves of the

[1. Veterum Persarum et Parthorum et Medorum, religionis historia,' Oxford, 1700.

2. Thus he recognised in Abraham the first lawgiver of ancient Persia, in Magism a Sabean corruption of the primeval faith, and in Zoroaster a had learnt the forgotten truth from the exiled Jews in Babylon.]

Oxford Vendîdâd, which had been sent from England, a few years before, to Etienne Fourmont, the Orientalist. He determined at once to give to France both the books and the first European translation of them. Impatient to set off, without waiting for a mission from the government which had been promised to him, he enlisted as a private soldier in the service of the French East India company; he embarked at Lorient on the 24th of February 1755, and after three years of endless adventures and dangers through the whole breadth of Hindustan, at the very time when war was raging between France and England, he arrived at last in Surat, where he stayed among the Parsis for three years more. Here began -another struggle, not less hard, but more decisive, against that mistrust and ill-will of the Parsis which had disheartened Fraser; but he came out of it victorious, and succeeded at last in winning from the Parsis both their books and their knowledge.. He came back to Paris on the 14th of March 1764, and deposited on the following day at the Bibliothèque Royale the whole of the Zend-Avesta and copies of most of the traditional books. He spent ten years in studying the material he had collected, and published in 1771 the first European translation of the Zend-Avesta[1].

A violent dispute broke out at once, as half the learned world denied the authenticity of the Avesta, which it pronounced a forgery. It was the future founder of the Royal Asiatic Society, William Jones, a young Oxonian then, who opened the war. He had been wounded to the quick by the scornful tone adopted by Anquetil towards Hyde and a few other English scholars: the Zend-Avesta suffered for the fault of its introducer, Zoroaster for Anquetil. In a pamphlet written in French[2], with a verve and in a Style which showed him to be a good disciple of Voltaire, W. Jones pointed out, and dwelt upon, the oddities and

[1. 'Zend-Avesta, ouvrage de Zoroastre, contenant les Ideés Théologiques, Physiques et Morales de ce Législateur. . . . Traduit en François sur l'Original Zend.' Par M. Anquetil Du Perron, 3 vols. in 40, Paris, 1771.

2. 'Lettre à M. A*** du P*** dans laquelle est compris l'examen de sa traduction des livres attribués Zoroastre.']

absurdities with which the so-called sacred books of Zoroaster teemed. It is true that Anquetil had given full scope to satire by the style he had adopted: he cared very little for literary elegance, and did not mind writing Zend and Persian in French; so the new and strange ideas he had to express looked stranger still in the outlandish garb he gave them. Yet it was less the style than the ideas that shocked the contemporary of Voltaire[1]. His main argument was that books, full of such silly tales, of laws and rules so absurd, of descriptions of gods and demons so grotesque, could not be the work of a sage like Zoroaster, nor the code of a religion so much celebrated for its simplicity, wisdom, and purity. His conclusion was that the Avesta was a rhapsody of some modern Guebre. In fact the only thing in which Jones succeeded was to prove in a decisive manner that the ancient Persians were not equal to the lumières of the eighteenth century, and that the authors of the Avesta had not read the Encyclopédie.

Jones's censure was echoed in England by Sir John Chardin and Richardson, in Germany by Meiners. Richardson tried to give a scientific character to the attacks of Jones by founding them on philological, grounds[2]. That the Avesta was a fabrication of modern times was shown, he argued, by the number of Arabic words he fancied he found both in the Zend and Pahlavi dialects, as no Arabic element was introduced into the Persian idioms earlier than the seventh century; also by the harsh texture of the Zend, contrasted with the rare euphony of the Persian; and, lastly, by the radical difference between the Zend and Persian, both in words and grammar. To these objections, drawn from the form, he added another derived from the uncommon stupidity of the matter.

In Germany, Meiners, to the charges brought against the new found books, added another of a new and unexpected kind, namely, that they spoke of ideas unheard of before, and made known new things. 'Pray, who would dare

[1. Cf. the article on Zoroaster in the Dictionnaire philosophique.

2. A Dissertation on the Languages, Literature, and Manners of Eastern Nations,' Oxford, 1777.]

ascribe to Zoroaster books in which are found numberless names of trees, animals, men, and demons unknown to the Ancient Persians; in which are invoked an incredible number of pure animals and other things, which, as appears m the silence of ancient writers, were never known, or at least never worshipped, in Persia? What Greek ever spoke of Hom, of Jemshîd, and, of such other personages as the fabricators of that rhapsody exalt with every kind of praise, as divine heroes[1]?' Yet, in the midst of his Ciceronian nonsense, Meiners inadvertently made a remark which, if correctly interpreted, might have led to important discoveries. He noticed that many points of resemblance are to be found between the, ideas of the Parsis and those of the Brahmans and Musulmans. He saw in this a proof that Parsîism is a medley of Brahmanical and Musulman tales. Modern scholarship, starting from the same point, came to that twofold conclusion,. that, on the one hard, Parsîism was one of the elements out of which Mohammed formed his religion, and, on the other hand, that the old religions of India and Persia flowed from a common source. "Not only does the author of that rubbish tell the same tales of numberless demons of either sex as the Indian priests do, but he also prescribes the same remedies in order to drive them away, and to balk their attempts.' In these words there was something like the germ of comparative mythology; seldom has a man approached the truth so closely and then departed from it so widely.

Anquetil and the Avesta found an eager champion in the person of Kleuker, professor in the University of Riga. As soon as the French version of the Avesta appeared, he published a German translation of it, and also of Anquetil's historical dissertations[2]. Then, in a series of dissertations of his own[3], he vindicated the authenticity of the Zend books. Anquetil had already tried to show, in a memoir

[1. 'De Zoroastris vita, institutis, doctrina et libris,' in the Novi Comentarii Societatis Regiae, Goettingen, 1778-1779.

2 'Zend-Avesta . . . nach dem Franzoesischen des Herm Anquetil Du Perron,' vols. in 40, 1776.

3. 'Anhang zum Zend-Avesta,' 2 vols. in 40, 1781.]

on Plutarch, that the data of the Avesta fully agree with the account of the Magian religion given in the treatise on 'Isis and Osiris.' Kleuker enlarged the circle of comparison to the whole of ancient literature. He tried also to appeal to internal evidence, an attempt in which he was less successful. The strength of his defence was seldom greater than the strength of the attack. Meiners had pointed out the mythical identity of the Mount Alborg, of the Parsis with the Mount Meru of the Hindus, as a proof that the Parsis had borrowed their mythology from the Hindus: the conclusion was incorrect, but the remark itself was not so. Kleuker fancied that he could remove the difficulty by stating that Mount Alborg is a real mountain, nay, a doubly real mountain, since there are two mountains of that name, the one in Persia, the other in Armenia, whereas Mount Meru is only to be found in Fairyland. Seldom were worse arguments used in the service of a good cause. Meiners had said that the name of the Parsi demons was of Indian origin, as both languages knew them by the Latin name 'Deus.' This was an incorrect statement, and yet an important observation. The word which means 'a demon' in Persia, means quite the contrary in India, and that radical difference is just a proof of the two systems being independent of one another. Kleuker pointed out the incorrectness of the statement; but, being unable to account for the identity of the words, he flatly denied it.

Kleuker was more successful in the field of philology: he showed, as Anquetil had done, that Zend has no Arabic elements in it, and that Pahlavi itself, which is more modern than Zend, does not contain any Arabic, but only Semitic words of the Aramean dialect, which are easily accounted for by the close relations of Persia with Aramean lands in the time of the Sassanian kings. He showed, lastly, that Arabic words appear only in the very books which Parsi tradition itself considers modern.

Another stanch upholder of the Avesta was the numismatologist Tychsen, who, having begun to read the book with a prejudice against its authenticity, quitted it with a conviction to the contrary. 'There is nothing in it,' he said, 'but what befits remote ages, and a man philosophising in the infancy of the world. Such traces of a recent period as they fancy to have found in it, are either understandings, or belong to its later portions. On the whole there is a marvellous accordance between the Zend-Avesta and the accounts of the ancients with regard to the doctrine and institutions of Zoroaster. Plutarch agrees so well with the Zend books that I think no one will deny the close resemblance of doctrines and identity of origin. Add to all this the incontrovertible argument to be drawn from the language, the antiquity of which is established by the fact that it was necessary to translate a part of the Zend books into Pahlavi, a language which was obsolete as early as the time of the Sassanides. Lastly, it cannot be denied that Zoroaster left books, which were, through centuries, the groundwork of the Magic religion, and which were preserved by the Magi, as shown by a series of documents from the time of Hermippus. Therefore I am unable to see why we should not trust the Magi of our days when they ascribe to Zoroaster those traditional books of their ancestors, in which nothing is found to indicate fraud or a modern hand.

Two years afterwards, in 1793, was published in Paris a book which, without directly dealing with the Avesta, was the first step taken to make its authenticity incontrovertible. It was the masterly memoir by Sylvestre de Sacy, in which the Pahlavi inscriptions of the first Sassanides were deciphered for the first time and in a decisive manner. De Sacy, in his researches, had chiefly relied on the Pahlavi lexicon published by Anquetil, whose work vindicated itself--better than by heaping up arguments--by promoting discoveries. The Pahlavi inscriptions gave the key, as is well known, to the Persian cuneiform inscriptions, which were in return to put beyond all doubt the genuineness of the Zend language.

Tychsen, in an appendix to his Commentaries, pointed

[1. 'Commentatio prior observationes historico-criticas de Zoroastre ejusque et placitis exhibens.' Goettingen, in the Novi Comment. Soc. Reg. 1791.]

to the importance of the new discovery: 'This,' he writes, 'is a proof that the Pahlavi was used during the reign of the Sassanides, for it was from them that these inscriptions emanated, as it was by them--nay, by the first of them, Ardeshîr Bâbagân--that the doctrine of Zoroaster was revived. One can now understand why the Zend books were translated into Pahlavi. Here, too, everything agrees, and speaks loudly for their antiquity and genuineness.'

About the same time Sir William Jones, then president of the Royal Asiatic Society, which he had just founded, resumed in a discourse delivered before that Society the same question he had solved in such an off-hand manner twenty years before. He was no longer the man to say, 'Sied-il à un homme né dans ce siècle de s'infatuer de fables indiennes?' and although he had still a spite against Anquetil, he spoke of him with more reserve than in 1771. However, his judgment on the Avesta itself was not altered on the whole, although, as he himself declared, he had not thought it necessary to study the text. But a glance at the Zend glossary published by Anquetil suggested to him a remark which makes Sir William Jones, in spite of himself, the creator of the comparative grammar of Sanskrit and Zend. 'When I perused the Zend glossary,' he writes, 'I was inexpressibly surprised to find that six or seven words in ten are pure Sanscrit, and even some of their inflexions formed by the rules of the Vyácaran[1], as yushmácam, the genitive plural of yushmad. Now M. Anquetil most certainly and the Persian compiler most probably, had no knowledge of Sanscrit, and could not, therefore, have invented a list of Sanscrit words; it is, therefore, an authentic list of Zend words, which has been preserved in books or by tradition; it follows that the language of the Zend was at least a dialect of the Sanscrit, approaching perhaps as nearly to it as the Prácrit, or other popular idioms, which we know to have been spoken in India two thousand years ago[2]. 'This conclusion, that Zend is a Sanskrit dialect, was incorrect, the connection assumed being too close; but it was a great

[1. The Sanskrit Grammar.

2 Asiatic Researches, II, § 3.]

thing that the near relationship of the two languages should have been brought to light.

In 1798 Father Paulo de St. Barthélemy further developed Jones's remark in an essay on the antiquity of the Zend language[1]. He showed its affinity with the Sanskrit by a list of such Zend and Sanskrit words as were least likely to be borrowed, viz. those that designate the degrees of relationship, the limbs of the body, and the most general and essential ideas. Another list, intended to show, on a special topic, how closely connected the two languages are, contains eighteen words taken from the liturgic language used in India and Persia. This list was not very happily drawn up, as out of the eighteen instances there is not a single one that stands inquiry; yet it was a happy idea, and one which has not even yet yielded all that it promised. His conclusions were that in a far remote antiquity Sanskrit was spoken in Persia and Media, that it gave birth to the Zend language, and that the Zend-Avesta is authentic: 'Were it but a recent compilation,' he writes, 'as Jones asserts, how is it that the oldest rites of the Parsis, that the old inscriptions of the Persians, the accounts of the Zoroastrian religion in the classical writers, the liturgic prayers of the Parsis, and, lastly, even their books do not reveal the pure Sanskrit, as written in the land wherein the Parsis live, but a mixed language, which is as different from the other dialects of India as French is from Italian?' This amounted, in fact, to saying that the Zend is not derived from the Sanskrit, but .that both are derived from another and older language. "The Carmelite had a dim notion of that truth, but, as he failed to express it distinctly, it was lost for years, and had to be re-discovered.

The first twenty-five years of this century were void of results, but the old and sterile discussions as to the authenticity of the texts continued in England. In 1808 John Leyden regarded Zend as a Prakrit dialect, parallel to Pali; Pali being identical with the Magadhi dialect and Zend with the

[1. 'De antiquitate et affinitate linguae samscredamicae et germanicae,' Rome, 1798.]

Sauraseni[1]. In the eyes of Erskine Zend was a Sanskrit dialect, imported from India by the founders of Mazdeism, but never spoken in Persia[2]. His main argument was that Zend is not mentioned among the seven dialects which were current in ancient Persia according to the Farhang-i Jehangiri[3], and that Pahlavi and Persian exhibit no close relationship with Zend.

In Germany, Meiners had found no followers. The theologians appealed to the Avesta in their polemics[4], and Rhode sketched the religious history of Persia after the translations of Anquetil[5].

Erskine's essay provoked a decisive answer[6] from Emmanuel Rask, one of. the most gifted minds in the new school of philology, who had the honour of being a precursor of both Grimm and Burnouf. He showed that the list of the Jehangiri referred to an epoch later than that to which Zend must have belonged, and to parts of Persia different from those where it must have been spoken; he showed further that modern Persian is not derived from Zend, but from a dialect closely connected with it; and, lastly, he showed what was still more important, that Zend was not derived from Sanskrit. As to the system of its sounds, Zend approaches Persian rather than Sanskrit; and as to its grammatical forms, if they often remind one of Sanskrit, they also often remind one of Greek and Latin, and frequently have a special character of their own. Rask also gave the paradigm of three Zend nouns, belonging to different declensions, as well as the right pronunciation of the Zend letters, several of which had been incorrectly given by Anquetil. This was the first essay on Zend grammar, and it was a masterly one.

[1. Asiatic Researches, X.

2. Ibid. X.

3. A large Persian dictionary compiled in India in the reign of Jehangir.

4. 'Erläuterungen zum Neuen Testament aus einer neueröffneten Morgenländischen Quelle, {Greek I?dou` ma'goi a?po` a?natolw^n},' Riga, 1775.

5. 'Die Heilige Sage . . . des Zend-Volks,' Francfort, 1820.

6. 'Ueber das Alter und die Echtheit der Zend-Sprache und des Zend Avesta' (übersetzt von F. H. von der Hagen), Berlin, 1826. Remarks on the Zend Language and the Zend-Avesta (Transactions of the Bombay branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, III, 524).]

The essay published in 1831 by Peter von Bohlen on the origin of the Zend language threw the matter forty years back. According to him, Zend is a Prakrit dialect, as it had been pronounced by Jones, Leyden, and Erskine. His mistake consisted in taking Anquetil's transcriptions of the words, which are often so incorrect as to make them look like corrupted forms when compared with Sanskrit. And, what was worse, he took the proper names in their modern Parsi forms, which often led him to comparisons that would have appalled Ménage. Thus Ahriman became a Sanskrit word ariman, which would have meant 'the fiend;' yet Bohlen might have seen in Anquetil's work itself that Ahriman is the modern form of Angra Mainyu, words which hardly remind one of the Sanskrit ariman. Again, the angel Vohu-manô, or 'good thought' was reduced, by means of the Parsi form Bahman, to the Sanskrit bâhuman, 'a long-armed god.'

At last came Burnouf. From the time when Anquetil had published his translation, that is to say, during seventy years, no real progress had been made in knowledge of the Avesta texts. The notion that Zend and Sanskrit are two kindred languages was the only new idea that had been acquired, but no practical advantage for the interpretation of the texts had resulted from it. Anquetil's translation was still the only guide, and as the doubts about the authenticity of the texts grew fainter, the authority of the translation became greater, the trust reposed in the Avesta being reflected on to the work of its interpreter. The Parsis had been the teachers of Anquetil; and who could ever understand the holy writ of the Parsis better than the Parsis themselves? There was no one who even tried to read the texts by the light of Anquetil's translation, to obtain a direct understanding of them.

About 1825 Eugène Burnouf was engaged in a course of researches on the geographical extent of the Aryan languages in India. After he had defined the limits which divide the races speaking Aryan languages from the native non-brahmanical tribes in the south, he wanted to know if a similar boundary had ever existed in the north-west; and if it is outside of India that the origin of the Indian languages and civilisation is to be sought for. He was thus led to study the languages of Persia, and, first of all, the oldest of them, the Zend. But as he tried to read the texts by help of Anquetil's translation, he was surprised to find that this was not the clue he bad expected. He saw that two causes had misled Anquetil: on the one hand, his teachers, the Parsi dasturs, either knew little themselves or taught him imperfectly, not only the Zend, but even the Pahlavi intended to explain the meaning of the Zend; so that the tradition on which his work rested, being incorrect in itself, corrupted it from the very beginning; on the other hand, as Sanskrit was unknown to him and comparative grammar did not as yet exist, he could not supply the defects of tradition by their aid. Burnouf, laying aside tradition as found in Anquetil's translation, consulted it as found in a much older and purer form, in a Sanskrit translation of the Yasna made in the fifteenth century by the Parsi Neriosengh in accordance with the old Pahlavi version. The information given by Neriosengh he tested, and either confirmed or corrected, by a comparison of parallel passages and by the help of comparative grammar, which had just been founded by Bopp, and applied by him successfully to the explanation of Zend forms. Thus he succeeded in tracing the general outlines of the Zend lexicon and in fixing its grammatical forms, and founded the only correct method of interpreting the Avesta. He also gave the first notions of a comparative mythology of the Avesta and the Veda, by showing the identity of the Vedic Yama with the Avesta Yima, and of Traitâna with Thraêtaona and Ferîdûn. Thus he made his 'Commentaire sur le Yasna' a marvellous and unparalleled model of critical insight and steady good sense, equally opposed to the narrowness of mind which clings to matters of fact without rising to their cause and connecting them with the series of associated phenomena, and to the wild and uncontrolled spirit of comparison, which, by comparing everything, confounds everything. Never sacrificing either tradition to comparison or comparison to tradition, he knew how to pass from the one to the other, and was so enabled both to discover facts and explain them.

At the same time the ancient Persian inscriptions at Persepolis and Behistun were deciphered by Burnouf in Paris, by Lassen in Bonn, and by Sir Henry Rawlinson in Persia. Thus was revealed the existence, at the time of the first Achæmenian kings, of a language closely connected with that of the Avesta, and the last doubts as to the authenticity of the Zend books were at length removed. It would have required more than an ordinary amount of scepticism to look still upon the Zend as an artificial language, of foreign importation, without root in the land where it was written, and in the conscience of the people for whom it was written, at the moment when a twin language, bearing a striking likeness to it in nearly every feature, was suddenly making itself heard from the mouth of Darius, and speaking from the very tomb of the first Acæmenian king. That unexpected voice silenced all controversies, and the last echoes of the loud discussion which had been opened in 1771 died away unheeded[1].


THE peace did not last long, and a year after the death of Burnouf a new controversy broke out, which still continues, the battle of the methods, that is, the dispute between those who, to interpret the Avesta, rely chiefly or exclusively on tradition, and those who rely only on comparison with the Vedas. The cause of the rupture was the rapid progress made in the knowledge of the Vedic language and literature: the deeper one penetrated into that oldest form of Indian words and thoughts, the more striking appeared its close affinity with the Avesta words and thoughts. Many a mysterious line in the

[1. The attacks of John Romer ('Zend: Is it an Original Language?' London, 1855) called forth a refutation only in Bombay (Dhanjibai Framji, 'On the Origin and the Authenticity of the Aryan Family of Languages, the Zend-Avesta and the Huzvarash,' 1861).]

Avesta received an unlooked-for light from the poems of the Indian Rishis, and the long-forgotten past and the origin of many gods and heroes, whom the Parsi worships and extols without knowing who they were and whence they came, were suddenly revealed by the Vedas. Emboldened by its bright discoveries, the comparative method took pity on its slower and less brilliant rival, which was then making its first attempts to unravel the Pahlavi traditional books. Is it worth while, said the Vedic scholars[1], to try slowly and painfully to extract the secret of the old book from that uncouth literature? Nay, is there any hope that its secret is there? Translating the Avesta in accordance with the Pahlavi is not translating the Avesta, but only translating the Pahlavi version, which, wherever it has been deciphered, is found to wander strangely from the true meaning of the original text. Tradition, as a rule, is wont to enforce the ideas of its own ages into the books of past ages, From the time when the Avesta was written to the time when it was translated, many ideas had undergone great changes: such ideas, tradition must needs either misunderstand or not understand at all, and tradition is always either new sense or nonsense. The key to the Avesta is not the Pahlavi, but the Veda. The Avesta and the Veda are two echoes of one and the same voice, the reflex of one and the same thought: the Vedas, therefore, are both the best lexicon and the best commentary to the Avesta.

The traditional school[2] replied that translating Zend by means of Sanskrit and the Avesta by means of the Vedas, because Zend and the Avesta are closely related to Sanskrit and the Vedas, is forgetting that relationship is not identity, and that what interests the Zend scholar is not to know how far Zend agrees with Sanskrit, but what it is in itself: what he seeks for in the Avesta, is the Avesta, not the Veda. Both the Vedic language and the Vedas are quite unable to teach us what became in Persia of those elements, which are common to the two systems, a thing which tradition alone can teach us. By the comparative

[1. Roth, Benfey, Haug. Cf. Revue Critique, 1877, II, 81.

2 Spiegel, Justi.]

method, the Zend meregha, which means 'a bird,' would assume the meaning of 'gazelle' to accord with the Sanskrit mriga; ratu, 'a part of the day,' would be extended to 'a season' out of regard for ritu; mainyu, 'a spirit,' and dahyu, 'a province,' would be degraded to 'anger' and to 'a set of thieves,' and 'the demons,' the Daêvas, would ascend from their dwelling in hell up to heaven, to meet their philological brothers, the Indian Devas. The traditional. method, as it starts from matters of facts, moves always in the field of reality; the comparative method starts from an hypothesis, moves in a vacuum, and builds up a fanciful religion and a fanciful language.

Such being the methods of the two schools, it often happened that a passage, translated by two scholars, one of each school, took so different an aspect that a layman would have been quite unable to suspect that it was one and the same passage he had read twice. Yet the divergence between the two methods is more apparent than real, and proceeds from an imperfect notion of the field in which each of them ought to work. They ought not to oppose, but assist one another, as they are not intended to instruct us about the same kind of facts, but about two kinds of facts quite different and independent. No language, no religion, that has lived long and changed much, can be understood at any moment of its development, unless we know what it became afterwards, and what it was before. The language and religion of the Avesta record but a moment in the long life of the Iranian language and thought, so that we are unable to understand them, unless we know what they became and whence they came. What they became we learn directly from tradition, since the tradition arose from the very ideas which the Avesta expresses; whence they came we learn indirectly from the Vedas, because the Vedas come from the same source as the Avesta. Therefore it cannot happen that the tradition and the Veda will really contradict one another, if we take care to ask from each only what it knows, from one the present, and the past from the other. Each method is equally right and equally efficacious, at its proper time and in its right place. The first place belongs to tradition, as it comes straight from the Avesta. The second inquiry, to be successful, requires infinite prudence and care: the Veda is not the past of the Avesta, as the Avesta is the past of tradition; the Avesta and Veda are not derived from one another, but from one and the same original, diversely altered in each, and, therefore, there are two stages of variation between them, whereas from the Avesta to tradition there is only one. The Veda, if first interrogated, gives no valuable evidence, as the words and gods, common to the two systems, may not have retained in both the same meaning they had in the Indo-Iranian period: they may have preserved it in one and lost it in the other, or they may have both altered it, but each in a different way. The Veda, generally speaking, cannot help in discovering matters of fact in the Avesta, but only in explaining them when discovered by tradition. If we review the discoveries made by the masters of the comparative school, it will be seen that they have in reality started, without noticing it, from facts formerly established by tradition. In fact tradition gives the materials, and comparison puts them in order. It is not possible, either to know the Avesta without the former, or to understand it without the latter.

The traditional school, and especially its indefatigable and well-deserving leader, Spiegel, made us acquainted with the nature of the old Iranian religion by gathering together all its materials; the comparative school tried to explain its growth. The traditional school published the text and the traditional. translations, and produced the first Parsi grammar, the first Pahlavi grammar, and the first translation of the Avesta which had been made since Anquetil. The danger with it is that it shows itself too apt to stop at tradition, instead of going from it to comparison. When it undertakes to expound the history of the religion, it cannot but be misled by tradition. Any living people, although its existing state of mind is but the result of various and changing states through many successive ages, yet, at any particular moment of its life, keeps the remains of its former stages of thought in order, under the control of the principle that is then predominant. Thus it happens that their ideas are connected together in a way which seldom agrees with their historical sequence: chronological order is lost to sight and replaced by logical order, and the past is read into the present. Comparison alone can enable us to put things in their proper place, to trace their birth, their growth, their changes, their former relations, and lead us from the logical order, which is a shadow, to the historical order, which is the substance.

The comparative school developed Indo-Iranian mythology. Roth showed after Burnouf how the epical history of Iran was derived from the same source as the myths of Vedic India, and pointed out the primitive identity of Ahura Mazda, the supreme god of Iran, with Varuna, the supreme god of the Vedic age. In the same direction Windischmann, in his 'Zoroastrian Essays' and in his studies on Mithra and Anâhita, displayed singular sagacity. But the dangers of the method came to light in the works of Haug, who, giving a definite form to a system still fluctuating, converted Mazdeism, into a religious revolution against Vedic polytheism, found historical allusions to that schism both in the Avesta and in the Veda, pointed out curses against Zoroaster in the Vedas, and, in short, transformed, as it were, the two books into, historical pamphlets[1].

In the contest about the authenticity of the Avesta, one party must necessarily have been right. and the other wrong; but in the present struggle the issue is not so clear, as both parties are partly right and partly wrong. Both of them, by following their principles, have rendered such services to science as seem to give each a right to cling to its own method more firmly than ever. Yet it is to be hoped that they will see at last that they must be allies, not enemies, and that their common work must be begun by the one and completed by the other.

[1. It would be unjust, when speaking of Haug, not to recall the invaluable services he rendered in the second part of his career, as a Pahlavi scholar. He was the first who thought of illustrating the Pahlavi in the books by the Pahlavi in the inscriptions, and thus determined the reading of the principal elements in the manuscript Pahlavi.]


§ 1. The collection of Zend fragments, known as the Zend-Avesta[1], is divided, in its usual form, into two parts.

The first part, or the Avesta properly so called, contains the Vendîdâd, the Vispêrad, and the Yasna. The Vendîdâd is a compilation of religious laws and of mythical tales; the Vispêrad is a collection of litanies for the sacrifice; and the Yasna is composed of litanies of the same kind and of five hymns or Gâthas written in a special dialect, older than the general language of the Avesta.

These three books are found in manuscripts in two different forms: either each by itself, in which case they are generally accompanied by a Pahlavi translation; or the three mingled together according to the requirements of the liturgy, as they are not each recited separately in their entirety, but the chapters of the different books are intermingled; and in this case the collection is called the Vendîdâd Sâdah or 'Vendîdâd pure,' as it exhibits the original text alone, without a translation.

The second part, generally known as the Khorda Avesta or 'Small Avesta,' is composed of short prayers which are recited not only by the priests, but by all the faithful, at certain moments of the day, month, or year, and in presence of the different elements; these prayers are the five Gâh, the thirty formulas of the Sîrôzah, the three Âfrigân, and the six Nyâyis. But it is also usual to include in the Khorda Avesta, although forming no real part of it, the Yasts or hymns of praise and glorification to the several and a number of fragments, the most important of which is the Hadhôkht Nosk.

[1. A very improper designation, as Zend means 'a commentary or explanation,' and was applied only to explanatory texts, to the translations of the Avesta. Avesta (from the old Persian âbastâ, 'the law;' see Oppert, Journal Asiatique, 1872, Mars) is the proper name of the original texts. What it is customary to call, 'the Zend language' ought to be named, 'the Avesta language;' the Zend being no language at all; and, if the word be used as the designation of one, it can be rightly applied only to the Pahlavi. The expression 'Avesta and Zend' is often used in the Pahlavi commentary to designate 'the law with its traditional and revealed explanation.']

§ 2. That the extent of the sacred literature of Mazdeism was formerly much greater than it is now, appears not only from internal evidence, that is, from the fragmentary character of the book, but is also proved by historical evidence. In the first, place, the Arab conquest proved fatal to the religious literature of the Sassanian ages, a great part of which was either destroyed by the fanaticism of the conquerors and the new converts, or lost during the long exodus of the Parsis. Thus the Pahlavi translation of the Vendîdâd, which was not finished before the latter end of the Sassanian dynasty, contains not a few Zend quotations from books which are no longer in existence; other quotations, as remarkable in their importance as in. their contents, are to be found in Pahlavi and Parsi tracts, like the Nîrangistân and the Aogemaidê. The Bundahis contains much matter which is not spoken of in the existing Avesta, but which is very likely to have been taken from Zend books which were still in the hands of its compiler. It is a tradition with the Parsis, that the Yasts were originally thirty in number, there having been one for each of the thirty Izads who preside over the thirty days of the month; yet there are only eighteen still extant.

The cause that preserved the Avesta is obvious; taken as a whole, it does not profess to be a religious encyclopedia, but only a liturgical collection, and it bears more to a Prayer Book than to the Bible. It can be readily conceived that the Vendîdâd Sâdah, which had to be recited every day, would be more carefully preserved than the Yasts, which are generally recited once a month; and these again more carefully than other books, which, however sacred they might be, were not used in the performance of worship. Many texts, no doubt, were lost in consequence of the Arab conquest, but mostly such as would have more importance in the eyes of the theologian than in those of the priest. We have a fair specimen of what these lost texts may have been in the few non-liturgical fragments which we still possess, such as the Vistâsp Yast and the blessing of Zoroaster upon King Vistâsp, which belong to, the old epic cycle of Iran, and the Hadhôkht Nosk, which treats of the fate of the soul after death.

§ 3. But if we have lost much of the Sassanian sacred literature, Sassanian Persia herself, if we may trust Parsi tradition, had lost still more of the original books. The primitive Avesta, as revealed by Ormazd to Zoroaster and by Zoroaster to Vistâsp, king of Bactria, was supposed to have been composed of twenty-one Nosks or Books, the greater part of which was burnt by Iskander the Rûmi (Alexander the Great). After his death the priests of the Zoroastrian religion met together, and by collecting the various fragments that had escaped the ravages of the war and others that they knew by heart, they formed the present collection, which is a very small part of the original book, as out of the twenty-one Nosks there was only one that was preserved in its entirety, the Vendîdâd[1].

This tradition is very old, and may be traced back from the present period even to Sassanian times[2]. It involves the assumption that the Avesta is the remnant of the sacred literature of Persia under the last Achæmenian kings. To ascertain whether this inference is correct, and to what extent it may be so, we must first try to define, as. accurately as we can, the exact time at which the collection, now in existence, was formed.

§ 4. The Ravâet quoted above states that it was formed 'after the death of Iskander,' which expression is rather vague, and may as well mean 'centuries after his death' as 'immediately after his death.' It is, in fact, hardly to be doubted that the latter was really what the writer meant; yet, as the date of that Ravâet is very recent, we had better look for older and more precise traditions. We find such a one in the Dînkart, a Pahlavi book which enjoys great authority with the Parsis of our days, and which, although it contains many things of late origin[3], also comprises many

[1. Ravâet ap. Anquetil, Mémoires de l'Acad. des Inscr. et Belles-Lettres XXXVIII, 216; Spiegel, Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft IX, 174.

2. J. Darmesteter, La légende d'Alexandre chez les Parses.

3. We find in it a description of the four classes, which strikingly reminds {footnote p. xxxiii} one of the Brahmanical account of the origin of the castes (Chap. XLII; cf. the first pages of the Shikan Gumânî), and which was certainly borrowed from India; whether at the time of the last Sassanians, when Persia learnt so much from India, or since the settlement of the Parsis in India, we are unable to decide: yet the former seems more probable.]

old and valuable traditions. According to a proclamation, ascribed to Khosrav Anôsharvân (531-579), the collection of the Avesta fragments was begun in the reign of the last Arsacides, and was finished under Shapûr II (309-380). King Valkash (Vologeses), it is said, first ordered all the fragments of the Avesta which might have escaped the ravages of Iskander, or been preserved by oral tradition, to be searched for and collected together. The first Sassanian king, Ardeshîr Bâbagân, made the Avesta the sacred book of Iran, and Mazdeism the state religion: at last, Âdarbâd under Shapûr II, purified the Avesta and fixed the number of the Nasks, and Shapûr proclaimed to the heterodox[1]: 'Now that we have recognised the law of the world here below, they shall not allow the infidelity of any one whatever[2], as I shall strive that it may be so[3].'

§ 5. The authenticity of this record has been called in question, chiefly, I think, on account of the part that it ascribes to an Arsacide prince, which seems hardly to agree with the ideas generally entertained about the character of the Sassanian revolution[4]. Most Parsi and Muhammedan writers agree that it was the Sassanian dynasty which raised the Zoroastrian religion from the state of humiliation into which the Greek invasion had made it sink, and, while it gave the signal for a revival of the old national spirit, made Mazdeism one of the corner stones of the new establishment[5]. Therefore it seems strange to hear that the first step taken to make Mazdeism a state religion was taken by one of those very Philhellenic Parthian princes, who were so imbued with Greek ideas and manners. Yet this is the

[1. Gvêt rastakân. We are indebted to Mr. West for the right translation this word.

2. Thus translated by West (Glossary of the Book of Ardâ Vîrâf, p. 27).

3. Haug, Essay on Pahlavi p. 145 seq., 149 seq.

4. Spiegel, Eranische Alterthumskunde III, 782, n. 1.

5. S. de Sacy, Mémoires sur quelques antiquités de la Perse. Cf. Masudi, 125. II, 125.]

very reason why we ought to feel some hesitation in rejecting this document, and its being at variance with the general Parsi view speaks rather for its authenticity; for as it was the general post-Sassanian tradition that the restoration of Mazdeism was the work of the first Sassanian kings, no Parsi would ever have thought of making them share what was in his eyes their first and best title of honour with any of the despised princes of the Parthian dynasty.

§ 6. It is difficult, of course, to prove directly the authenticity of this record, the more so as we do not even know who was the king alluded to. There were, in fact, four kings at least who bore the name of Valkhash: the most celebrated and best known of the four was Vologeses[1], the contemporary of Nero. Now that Zoroastrianism prevailed with him, or at least with members of his family, we see from the conduct of his brother Tiridates, who was a Magian (Magus)[2]; and by this term we must not understand a magician[3], but a priest, and one of the Zoroastrian religion. That he was a priest appears from Tacitus' testimony[4]; that he was a Zoroastrian is shown by his scruples about the worship of the elements. When he came from Asia to Rome to receive the crown of Armenia at the hands of Nero, he wanted not to come by sea, but rode along the coasts,[5], because the Magi were forbidden to defile the sea[6]. This is quite in the spirit of later Zoroastrianism, and savours much of Mazdeism. That Vologeses himself shared the religious scruples of his brother appears from his answer to Nero,

[1. Perhaps five (see de Longpérier, Mémoire sur la Numismatique des Arsacides, p. 111).

2. 'Magus ad eum Tiridates venerat' (Pliny, Nat. Hist. XXX, 6).

3. Pliny very often confounds Magism and Magia, Magians and Magicians. We know from Pliny, too, that Tiridates refused to initiate Nero into his art: but the cause was not, as he assumes, that it was 'a detestable, frivolous, and vain art,' but because Mazdean law forbids the holy knowledge to be revealed to laymen, much more to foreigners (Yast IV, 10; cf. Philostrati Vita Soph. I, 10).

4. 'Nec recusaturum Tiridatem accipiendo diademati in urbem venire, nisi sacerdotii religione attineretur' (Ann. XV, 24).

5. He crossed only the Hellespont.

6. 'Navigare noluerat quoniam inspuere in maria, aliisque mortalium necessitatibus violare naturam eam fas non putant' (Pliny, 1. 1. Cf. Introd. V, 8 seq.).]

who insisted upon his coming to Rome also: 'Come yourself, it is easier for you to cross such immensity of sea[1].'

§ 7. Thus we hear on one hand from the Parsis that the first collection of the Avesta was made by an Arsacide named Vologeses; and we hear, on the other hand, from a quite independent source, that an Arsacide named Vologeses behaved himself as a follower of the Avesta might have done. In all this there is no evidence that it is Vologeses I who is mentioned in the Dînkart, much less that he was really the first editor of the Avesta; but it shows at all events that the first attempt to recover the sacred literature of Iran might very well have been made by an Arsacide, and that we may trust, in this matter, to a document which has been written perhaps by a Sassanian king, but, at any rate, in a Sassanian spirit. In fact, in the struggle between Ardavan and Ardeshîr, there was no religious interest at stake, but only a political one; and we are expressly told by Hamza that between Ardeshîr and his adversaries there was perfect accordance in religious matters[2]. It can, therefore, be fairly admitted that even in the time and at the court of the Philhellenic Parthians a Zoroastrian movement may have originated, and that there came a time when they perceived that a national religion is a part of national life. It was the merit of the Sassanides that they saw the drift of this idea which they had the good fortune to carry out; and this would not be the only instance, in the history of the world, of an idea being sown by one party and its advantages reaped by their adversaries.

[1. Dio Cassius, LXIII, 4. The answer was mistaken for an insult by Nero, and, as it seems, by Dio himself In fact Vologeses remained to the last faithful to the memory of Nero (Suet. Nero, 57). What we know moreover of his personal character qualifies him for taking the initiative in a religious work. He seems to have been a man of contemplative mind rather than a man of action, which often excited the anger or scorn of his people against him; and he had the glory of breaking with the family policy of Parthian kings (Tacitus, Annales, XV, I, 2). It was under his reign that the first interference of religion with politics, of which the history of Persia speaks, took place, as he was called by the people of Adiabene against their king Izates, who had become a Jew (Josephus, Antiq. XX, 4, 2).

2. Hamzae Ispahensis Annales, ed. Gottwaldt, p. 31 (in the translation).]

§ 8. Another presumptive evidence of the groundwork of the Avesta being anterior to the age of the Sassanians is given by the language in which it is written. That language not only was not, but had never been, the national language of Persia. It is indeed closely connected with the ancient Persian, as found in the cuneiform inscriptions of the Achæmenian kings, from which modern Persian is derived; but the relations between ancient Persian and Zend are of such a kind that neither language can be conceived as being derived from the other; they are not one and the same language in two different stages of its development, but two independent dialects in nearly the same stage, which is a proof that they did not belong to the same country, and, therefore, that Zend was not the language of Persia. Now the language used in Persia after the death of Alexander, under the Arsacides and Sassanides, that is, during the period in which the Avesta must have been edited, was Pahlavi, which is not derived from Zend, but from ancient Persian, being the middle dialect between ancient and modern Persian. Therefore, if the Sassanian kings had conceived the project of having religious books of their own written and composed, it is not likely that they would have had them written in an old foreign dialect, but in the old national language, the more so, because, owing both to their origin and their policy, they were bound to be the representatives of the genuine old Persian tradition. Therefore, if they adopted Zend as the language of religion, it must have been because it was already so when they appeared, that is to say, because the only remnants of sacred literature then extant were written in Zend, and the editors of the Avesta had Zend writings before them.

This does not, of course, prove that all we find in the Avesta is pre-Sassanian, and that the editors did not compose new Zend texts. Although Zend was not only a dead language, but also a foreign one, it was. not an unknown language: that it was well understood by the learned class, the priests, appears from the Pahlavi translation, which was made by them, and which, the deeper one enters into the meaning of the text, has the fuller justice done to its merits. The earliest date that can be ascribed to that translation, in its present form, is the last century of the Sassanian dynasty, as it contains an allusion to the death of the heresiarch Mazdak, the son of Bâmdâd[1], who was put to death. in the beginning of the reign of Khosrav Anôsharvân (about 531). Now the ability to translate a dead language is a good test of the ability to write in it, and in the question of the age of the Zend texts the possibility of new ones having been composed by the editors cannot be excluded à priori. Nay, we shall see further on that there are passages in these texts which look very modern, and may have been written at the time when the book took its last and definitive form. But whatever may be the proportion of the new texts to the old ones (which I believe to be very small), it is quite certain that the bulk of the Avesta is pre-Sassanian.

§ 9. The date assigned by the Dînkart to the final edition of the Avesta and to its promulgation as the sacred law of the nation, agrees with what we know of the religious state of Iran in the times of Shapûr II. Mazdeism had just been threatened with destruction by a new religion sprung from itself, the religion of Mânî, which for a while numbered a king amongst its followers (Shapûr I, 240-270). Mazdeism was shaken for a long time, and when Mânî was put to death, his work did not perish with him. In the Kissah-i Sangâh, Zoroaster is introduced prophesying that the holy religion will be overthrown three times and restored three times; overthrown the first time by Iskander, it will be restored by Ardeshîr; overthrown again, it will be restored by, Shapûr II and Âdarbâd Mahraspand; and, lastly, it will bc overthrown by the Arabs and restored at the end of time by Soshyos. Thc Parsi traditions about Âdarbâd, although they are mixed with much fable, allow some historical truth to show itself. He was a holy man under Shapûr II, who, as there were many religions and heresies in Iran and the true religion

[1. Vide infra, p. xli, note 3.]

was falling into oblivion, restored it through a miracle, as he gave a sign of its truth by allowing melted brass to be poured on his breast, without his being injured. Setting aside the miracle, which is most probably borrowed from the legend of Zoroaster, this account receives its true interpretation from the passages in the Kissah-i Sangâh and the Dînkart, which imply that Âdarbâd restored Mazdeism, which had been shaken by the Manichean heresy, and that in order to settle it upon a solid and lasting base, he gave a definitive form to the religious book of Iran and closed the Holy Writ. And even nowadays the Parsi, while reciting the Patet, acknowledges Âdarbâd as the third founder of the Avesta; the first being Zoroaster, who received it from Ormazd; the second Gâmâsp, who received it from Zoroaster; and the third Âdarbâd, who taught it and restored it to its purity.

Therefore, so far as we can trust to inferences that rest upon such scanty and vague testimonies, it seems likely that the Avesta took its definitive form from the hands of Âdarbâd Mahraspand, under King Shapûr II, in consequence of the dangers with which Mânî's heresy had threatened the national religion. As the death of Mânî and the first persecution of his followers took place some thirty years before Shapûr's accession to the throne, it may be presumed that the last revision of the Avesta was made in the first years of the new reign, when the agitation aroused by Mânî's doctrines and imperfectly allayed by the persecution of his disciples had not yet subsided, and the old religion was still shaking on its base[1].

§ 10. It follows hence that Zend texts may have been composed even as late as the fourth century A.D. This is, of course, a mere theoretical possibility, for although the liturgical parts of the Yasna, the Vispêrad, the Sîrôzah, and

[1. Shapûr II ascended the throne about 309 (before being born, as the tradition goes): and as he appears from the Dînkart to have taken a personal part in the work of Âdarbâd, the promulgation of the Avesta can hardly have taken place at an earlier date than 325-330. Âdarbâd and the Fathers at Nicaea lived and worked in the same age, and the Zoroastrian threats of the king of Iran and the Catholic anathemas of the Kaisar of Rûm may have been issued on the same day.]

the Khorda Avesta must be ascribed to a later time than the Gâthas, the Vendîdâd, and the Yasts, and may belong to some period of revision, they certainly do not belong to the period of this last revision. Âdarbâd was only the last editor of the Avesta, and it is likely, nay, it is beyond all question, that the doctors of the law, before his time, had tried to put the fragments in order, to connect them, and to fill up the gaps as far as the practical purposes of liturgy required it. Therefore instead of saying that there are parts of the Avesta that may belong to so late a period as the fourth century, it is more correct to say that no part of it can belong to a later date.

There are two passages in the Vendîdâd which seem to contain internal evidence of their date, and in both cases it points to Sassanian times, nay, the second of them points to the age of Manicheism. The first is found in the eighteenth Fargard (§ 10): Ahura Mazda, while cursing those who teach a wrong law, exclaims:

'And he who would set that man at liberty, when bound in prison, does no better deed than if he should flay a man alive and cut off his head.'

This anathema indicates a time when Mazdeism was a state religion and had to fight against heresy; it must, therefore, belong to Sassanian times. These lines are fully illustrated by a Parsi book of the same period[1], the Mainyô-i-Khard:

'Good government is that which maintains and orders the true law and custom of the city people and poor untroubled, and thrusts out improper law and custom; . . . and keeps in progress the worship of God, and duties, and good works; . . . and will resign the body, and that also which [is] its own life, for the sake of the good religion of the Mazdayasnians. And if [there] he any one who shall stay [away] from the way of God, then it orders him to return thereto, and makes him a prisoner, and brings [him] back to the way of God; and will bestow, from the wealth that is his, the share of God, and the worthy, and good works, and the poor; and will deliver up the body on account of the soul. A good king who [is] of that sort, is called like the Yazads and the Ameshâspeñds[1].'

[1. See the book of the Mainyô-i-Khard, ed. West; Introduction, p. x seq.]

What doctrines are alluded to by the Vendîdâd is not explained: it appears from the context that it had in view such sects as released the faithful from the yoke of religious practices, as it anathematizes, at the same time, those who have continued for three years without wearing the sacred girdle. We know too little of the Manichean liturgy to guess if the Manicheans are here alluded to: that Mânî should have rejected many Zoroastrian practices is not unlikely, as his aim was to found a universal religion. While he pushed to extremes several of the Zoroastrian tenets, especially those which had taken, or might receive, a moral or metaphysical meaning, he must have been very regardless of practices which could not be ennobled into moral symbolism. However it may be with regard to the foregoing passage, it is difficult not to see a direct allusion to Manicheism in lines like the following (IV, 47 seq.):

'Verily I say it unto thee, O Spitama Zarathustra! the man who has a wife is far above him who begets no sons; he who keeps a house is far above him who has none; he who has children is far above the childless man, he who has riches is far above him who has none.

'And of two men, he who fills himself with meat is filled with the good spirit much more than he who does not so; the latter is all but dead; the former is above him by the worth of an Asperena, by the worth of a sheep, by the worth of an ox, by the worth of a man.

'It is this man that can strive against the onsets of Astôvîdhôtu; that can strive against the self-moving arrow; that can strive against the winter fiend, with thinnest garment on; that can strive against the wicked tyrant and smite him on the head; it is this man that can strive against the ungodly Ashemaogha[2] who does not eat[3].'

[1. Chap. XV, 16 seq. as translated by West.

2. Ashemaogha, 'the confounder of Asha' (see IV, 37), is the name of the fiends and of the heretics. The Parsis distinguish two sorts of Ashemaoghas, the deceiver and the deceived; the deceiver, while alive, is margarzân, {footnote p. xli} worthy of death,' and after death is a darvand (a fiend, or one of the damned); the deceived one is only margarzân.

3. The Pahlavi translation illustrates the words 'who does not eat' by the gloss, 'like Mazdak, son of Bâmdâd,' which proves that this part of the commentary is posterior to, or contemporary with the, crushing of the Mazdakian sect (in the first years of Khosrav Anôsharvân, about 531). The words 'against the wicked tyrant' are explained by the gloss, 'like Zarvândâd;' may it not be Kobâd, the heretic king, or 'Yazdgard the sinner,' the scorner of the Magi?]

That this is a bit of religious polemics, and that it refers to definite doctrines and tenets which were held at the time when it was written, can hardly be doubted. It may remind one of the Christian doctrines; and, in fact, it was nearly in the same tone, and with the same expressions, that in the fifth century King Yazdgard branded the Christians in Armenia[4]. But however eager the Christian propaganda may have been for a time in Persia, they never endangered the state religion. The real enemy was the heresy sprung from Mazdeism itself; and Christianity, coming from abroad, was more of a political than a religious foe. And, in point of fact, the description in the above passage agrees better with the Manichean doctrines than with the Christian[5]. Like Mânî, Christian teachers held the single life holier than the state of matrimony, yet they had not forbidden marriage, which Mânî did; they put poor Lazarus above Dives, but they never forbade trade and husbandry, which Mânî did; and, lastly, they never prohibited the eating of flesh, which was one of the chief precepts of Mânî[6]. We find, therefore, in this passage, an illustration, from the Avesta itself, of the celebrated doctrine of the three seals with which Mânî had sealed the bosom, thc hand, and the mouth of his disciples (signaculum sinus, manus, oris)[6].

[4. Elisaeus, pp. 29, 52. in the French translation by Garabed.

5. At least with orthodox Christianity, which seems to have alone prevailed in Persia till the arrival of the Nestorians. The description would apply very well to certain gnostic sects, especially that of Cerdo and Marcio, which is no wonder as it was through that channel that Christianity became known to Mânî. Masudi makes Mânî a disciple of Kardûn (ed. B. de Meynard, II, 167), and the care which his biographer (ap. Flügel, Mânî, pp. 51, 85) takes to determine the length of time which intervened between Marcio and Mânî seems to betray some dim recollection of an historical connection between the two doctrines.

6. The patriarch of Alexandria, Timotheus, allowed the other patriarchs, {footnote p. xlii} bishops, and monks to eat meat on Sundays, in order to recognise those who belonged to the Manichean sect (Flügel, p. 279).]

§11. We must now go a step farther back, and try to solve the question whence came the original texts out of which the editors of the Avesta formed their collection. Setting aside the Dînkart, we have no oriental document to help us in tracing them through the age of the Arsacides, a complete historical desert, and we are driven for information to the classical writers who are, on this point, neither very clear nor always credible. The mention of books ascribed to Zoroaster occurs not seldom during that period, but very often it applies to Alexandrian and Gnostic apocrypha[1]. Yet there are a few passages which make it pretty certain that there was a Mazdean literature in existence in those times. Pausanias, travelling through Lydia in the second century of our era, saw and heard Magian priests singing hymns from a book[2]; whether these hymns were the same as the Gâthas, still extant, we cannot ascertain, but this shows that there were Gâthas. The existence of a Zoroastrian literature might be traced back as far as the third century before Christ, if Pliny could be credited when he says that Hermippus" had given an analysis of the books of Zoroaster, which are said to have amounted to 2,000,000 lines[4]. For want of external evidence for ascertaining whether the original texts were already in existence in the later years of the Achæmenian. dynasty, we must seek for internal evidence. A comparison between the ideas expressed in our texts and what we know of the ideas of Achæmenian Persia may perhaps lead to safer inferences.

§ 12. That all the Avesta ideas were already fully developed in the time, or, at least, at the end of the

[1. Those who follow the heresy of Prodicus boast of possessing secret books of Zoroaster,' Clemens Alex. Stromata I. Cf. the {Greek a?pokalu'pseis Zwroa'strou} forged by Adelphius or Aquilinus (ap. Porphyr. Vita Plotini, § 16).

2.{Greek ?Epa'jdei de` e?pilego'menos e?k bibli'ou} (V, 27, 3).

3. See Windischmann, Zoroastrische Studien, 288.

4. 'Hermippus, qui de tota arte ea (magia) diligentissime scripsit et viciens centiens milia versuum a Zoroastre condita indicibus quoque voluminum ejus positis explanavit.' . . . (Hist. Nat. XXX, I, 2). He had written a book {Greek peri` magwn} (Diog. Laert. Prooem. 8).]

Achæmenian dynasty, appears from the perfect accordance of the account of Mazdeism in Theopompos[1] with the data of the Zend books. All the main features of Mazdean belief, namely, the existence of two principles, a good and an evil one, Ormazd and Ahriman, the antithetical creations of the two supreme powers, the division of all the beings in nature into two corresponding classes, the limited duration of the world, the end of the struggle between Ormazd and Ahriman by the defeat and destruction of the evil principle, the resurrection of the dead, and the everlasting life, all these tenets of the Avesta had already been established at the time of Philip and Aristotle. Therefore we must admit that the religious literature then in existence, if there were any, must have differed but little, so far as its contents were concerned, from the Avesta; its extent was greater of course, and we have a proof of this in this very account of Theopompos, which gives us details nowhere to be found in the present texts, and yet the authenticity of which is made quite certain by comparative mythology[2]. Therefore there is nothing that forbids us to believe, with the Parsis, that the fragments of which the Avesta is composed were already in existence before the Greek invasion[3].

§ 13. But it does not follow hence that the Achæmenian Avesta was the sacred book of the Achæmenians and of Persia, and it must not be forgotten that the account in Plutarch is not about the religion of Persia, but about the belief of the Magi and the lore of Zoroaster. Now if we consider that the two characteristic features of Avestean Magism are, so far as belief goes, the admission of two principles, and so far as practice is concerned, the prohibition of burying the dead, we find that there is no evidence

[1. In Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride, §§46-47,

2 Men, when raised from the dead, shall have no shadow any longer ({Greek mh'te skia`n poiou^ntas}) In India, gods have no shadows (Nalus); in Persia, Râshidaddîn was recognised to be a god from his producing no shadow (Guyard, Un grand maitre, des Assassins, Journal Asiatique, 1877, I, 392); the plant of eternal life, Haoma, has no shadow (Henry Lord).

3. Persian tradition cannot be much relied on, when it tries to go back beyond Alexander, and on that special point it seems to be more an inference of later ages, than a real tradition; but the inference happens to be right.]

that Achæmenian Persia admitted the former, and there is evidence that she did not admit the latter. But, at the same time, it appears that both the belief and the practice were already in existence, though peculiar to one class, the sacerdotal class, the Magi.

The question whether the Achæmenian kings believed in dualism and knew of Ahriman, is not yet settled. Much stress has often been laid on the absence of the name of Ahriman in the religious formulae engraved by Darius and Xerxes on the rocks at Persepolis and Naqs-i Rustam[1]. But it is never safe to draw wide conclusions from negative facts: Darius and Xerxes speak of Aurâmazda quite in the style of the Avesta, and their not speaking of Ahriman is no sufficient proof of their not knowing him; they did not intend to publish a complete creed, nor had they to inscribe articles of faith.

The account of the Persian religion in Herodotus also leaves, or seems to leave, Ahriman unnoticed. But it must be borne in mind that he does not expound the religious conceptions of the Persians, but only their religious customs; he describes their worship more than their dogmas, and not a single tenet is mentioned. He seems even not to know anything of Ormazd, who was, however, most certainly the most supreme god of Persia in his days; yet, in fact, he clearly alludes to Ormazd when he states that the Persians worship Zeus on the summits of mountains, and call by the name of Zeus the whole circle of the heavens, which exactly agrees with the character of Ormazd[2]. In the same way the existence of Ahriman is indirectly pointed to by the duty enforced upon the faithful to persecute and kill noxious animals, as it was only on account of

[1. Professor Oppert thinks he has found in Darius' inscriptions an express mention of Ahriman (Le peuple et le langue des Mèdes, p. 199); yet the philological interpretation of the passage seems to me still to obscure to allow of any decisive opinion. Plutarch introduces Artaxerxes I speaking of {Greek A?reima'nios}, but whether the king is made to speak the language of his own time, or that of Plutarch's time, is left doubtful. As to the allusions in Isaiah (xlv), they do not necessarily refer to dualism in particular, but to all religions not monotheistic. (Cf. Ormazd et Ahriman, §241.)

2. Vide infra, IV, 5]

their being creatures of the evil principle and incarnations if of it, that this custom was enjoined as a religious duty[1]. It appears, it is true, from the words of Herodotus, that it was only a custom peculiar to the Magi[2]; but is shows, at least, that the belief in Ahriman was already then in existence, and that dualism was constituted, at least, as a Magian article of faith.

If we pass now from dogma to practice, we find that the most important practice of the Avesta law was either disregarded by the Achæmenian kings, or unknown to them. According to the Avesta burying corpses in the earth is one of the most heinous sins that can be committed[3]; we know that under the Sassanians a prime minister, Seoses, paid with his life for an infraction of that law . Corpses were to be laid down on the summits of mountains, there to be devoured by birds and dogs; the exposure of corpses, was the most striking practice of Mazdean profession, and its adoption was the sign of conversion[5]. Now under the Achæmenian rule, not only the burial of the dead was not forbidden, but it was the general practice. Persians, says Herodotus, bury their dead in the earth, after having coated them with wax[6]. But Herodotus, immediately after stating that the Persians inter their dead, adds that the Magi do not follow the general practice, but lay the corpses down on the ground, to be devoured by birds. So what became a law for all people, whether laymen or priests, under the rule of the Sassanians, was only the custom of the Achæmenians.

The obvious conclusion is that the ideas and customs which are found in the Avesta were already in existence under the Achæmenian kings; but that taken as a whole, they were not the general ideas and customs of the whole of Persia, but only of the sacerdotal caste[7]. There were

[1. Vide infra, IV, 35; cf. Fargard XIII, 5 seq.; XIV, 5.

2. Herod. I, 140.

3. Vide infra, V, 9.

4. Procopius, De Bello Persico, I, II.

5. Ibid. I, 12.

6. Herod. I. 140.

7. There are other features of the Avesta religion which appear to have been foreign to Persia, but are attributed to the Magi. The hvaêtvôdatha, the holiness of marriage between next of kin, even to incest, was unknown to {footnote p. xlvi} Persia under Cambyses (Herod. III, 31), but it is highly praised in the Avesta, and was practised under the Sassanians (Agathias II, 31); in the times before the Sassanians it is mentioned only as a law of the Magi (Diog. Laert. Prooem. 6; Catullus, Carm. XC).]

therefore, practically, two religions in Iran, the one for laymen and the other for priests. The Avesta was originally the sacred book only of the Magi, and the progress of the religious evolution was to extend to laymen what was the custom of the priests.

§ 14. We are now able to understand how it was that the sacred book of Persia was written in a non-Persian dialect: it had been written in the language of its composers, the Magi, who were not Persians. Between the priests and the people there was not only a difference of calling, but also a difference of race, as the sacerdotal caste came from a non-Persian province. What that province was we know both from Greek historians and from Parsi traditions.

All classical writers, from Herodotus down to Ammianus, agree in pointing to Media as the seat and native place of the Magi. 'In Media,' says Marcellinus (XXIII, 6), 'are the fertile fields of the Magi . . . (having been taught in the magic science by King Hystaspes) they handed it down to their posterity, and thus from Hystaspes to the present age an immense family was developed, hereditarily devoted to the worship of the gods. . . . In former times their number was very scanty . . . , but they grew up by and by into the number and name of a nation, and inhabiting towns without walls they were allowed to live according to their own laws, protected by religious awe.' Putting aside the legendary account of their origin, one sees from this passage that in the time of Marcellinus[1] (fourth cent. A.D.) there was in Media a tribe, called Magi, which had the hereditary privilege of providing Iran with priests. Strabo, writing three centuries before Marcellinus, considered the Magi as a sacerdotal tribe spread over the land[2] . Lastly, we see in Herodotus (III, 65) that the usurpation of the Magian Smerdis was interpreted

[1. Or of the historians from whom he copies. Still he seems to speak from contemporary evidence. Sozomenus (Hist. Eccles. II, 9) states that the care of worship belonged hereditarily to the Magi 'as to a sacerdotal race,' {Greek w!'sper ti fu^lon i!eratiko'n}.

2. {Greek To` tw^n Ma'gwn fu^lon} (XV, 14).]

by Cambyses, as an attempt of the Medes to recover the hegemony they had lost, and when we learn from Herodotus (I, 101) that the Medes were divided into several tribes, Busae, Paraetakeni, Strouchates, Arizanti, Budii, and Magi, without his making any remark on the last name, we can hardly have any doubt that the priests known as Magi belonged to the tribe of the Magi, that they were named after their origin, and that the account of Marcellinus may be correct even for so early a period as that of Herodotus.

§ 15. Parsi traditions agree with Greek testimonies.

That the priesthood was hereditary, we see from the statement in the Bundahis, that all the Maubeds are descendants from King Minochihr[1], and even nowadays the priesthood cannot extend beyond the priestly families; the son of a Dastur is not obliged to be a Dastur, but no one that is not the son of a Dastur can become one[2].

That they came from Media, we see from the traditions about the native place of Zoroaster, their chief and the founder of their religion. Although epic legends place the cradle of Mazdean power in Bactria, at the court of King Vistâsp, Bactria was only the first conquest of Zoroaster, it was neither his native place, nor the cradle of his religion. Although there are two different traditions on this point, both agree in pointing to Media; according to the one be was born in Rai, that is in Media, properly so called; according to the other he was born in Shîz, that is in Media Atropatene.

The former tradition seems to be the older; it is expressed directly in the Pahlavi Commentary to Vendîdâd I, 16[3]; and there is in the Avesta itself (Yasna XIX, 18 (50)) a passage that either alludes to it or shows how it originated.

'How many masters are there?'

[1. Bundahis 79, 13.

2. Dosabhoy Framjee, The Parsees, &c. p. 277.

3. 'Ragha of the three races,' that is to say, Atropatene (vide infra); some say it is 'Rai.' It is 'of the three races' because the three classes, priests, warriors, husbandmen, 'were well organized there. Some say that Zartust was born there . . ., those three classes were born from him.' Cf. Bundahis 79, 15, and Farg. II, 43, n. 2. Rai is the Greek {Greek R!agai'}.]

'There are the master of the house, the lord of the borough, the lord of the town, the lord of the province, and the Zarathustra (the high-priest) as the fifth. So is it in all lands, except in the Zarathustrian realm; for there are there only four masters, in Ragha, the Zarathustrian city[1].'

'Who are they?'

'They are the master of the house, the lord of the borough, the lord of the town, and Zarathustra is the fourth 2.'

This amounts to saying that the high-priest, the Maubedân Maubed, held in Rai the position of the dahvyuma, or lord of the land, and was the chief magistrate. It may be suspected that this was the independent sacerdotal state which is spoken of in Marcellinus, and this suspicion is raised to a certain degree of probability by the following lines in Yaqût:

'Ustûnâwand, a celebrated fortress in the district of Danbawand, in the province of Rai. It is very old, and was strongly fortified. It is said to have been in existence more than 3000 years, and to have been the stronghold of the Masmoghân of the land during the times of paganism. This word, which designates the high-priest of Zoroastrian religion, is composed of mas, "great," and moghân, which means "magian." Khaled besieged it, and the power of the last of them[3].'

According to another tradition Zarathustra was born in Atropatene. The very same commentary which describes Ragha as being identical with Rai, and the native place of Zartust, also informs us that Ragha was brought by others

[1. Or possibly, 'in the Zarathustrian Ragha.'

2. The Commentary has here: 'that is to say, he was the fourth master in his own land.'

Their spreading and wandering over Mazdean lands appears from Yasna XLII, 6 (XII, 34): 'We bless the coming of the Âthravans, who come from afar to bring holiness to countries;' cf. infra, p. lii, note I, and Farg. XIII., 22.

3. Dictionnaire géographique de la Perse, traduit par Barbier de Meynard, p. 33. Cf. Spiegel, Eranische Alterthumskunde III, 565. A dim recollection of this Magian dynasty seems to survive in the account ap. Diog. Laert. (Prooem. 2) that Zoroaster was followed by a long series of Magi, Osthanae Astrampsychi, and Pazatae, till the destruction of the Persian empire by Alexander.]

to be Atropatene. Traditions, of which unfortunately we have only late records, make him a native of Shîz, the capital of Atropatene[1]: 'In Shîz is the fire temple of Azerekhsh, the most celebrated of the Pyraea of the Magi; in the days of the fire worship, the kings always came on foot, upon pilgrimage. The temple of Azerekhsh is ascribed to Zeratusht, the founder of the Magian religion, who went, it is said, from Shîz to the mountain of Sebîlân, and, after remaining there some time in retirement, returned with the Zend-Avesta, which, although written in the old Persian language, could not be understood without a commentary. After this he declared himself to be a prophet[2].'

Now we read in the Bundahis that Zartust founded his religion by offering a sacrifice in Irân Vêg (Airyanem Vaêgô)[3]. Although this detail referred originally to the mythical character of Zoroaster, and Irân Vêg was primitively no real country, yet as it was afterwards identified with the basin of the Aras (Vanguhi Dâitya)[4], this identification is a proof that the cradle of the new religion was looked for on the banks of the Aras. In the Avesta itself we read that Zoroaster was born and received the law from Ormazd on a mountain, by the river Darega[5], a name which strikingly reminds one of the modern Darah river, which falls from the Sebîlân mount into the Aras.

To decide which of the two places, Rai or Atropatene, had the better claim to be called the native place of Zoroaster is of course impossible. The conflict of the two traditions must be interpreted as an indication that both places were important seats of the Magian worship. That both traditions may rely on the Avesta is perhaps a sign that the Avesta contains two series of documents, the one emanating from the Magi of Ragha, and the other from the

[1. The Persian Gazn, the Byzantine Gaza Ganzaka, the site of which was identified by Sir Henry Rawlinson with Takht i Suleiman (Memoir on the Site of the Atropatenian Ecbatana, in the journal of the Royal Geographical Society, X, 65).

2. Kazwini, and Rawlinson, l.c. p. 69.

3. Bund. 79, 12.

4. See Farg. I, p. 3.

5. See Farg. XIX, 4, 11.]

Magi of Atropatene[1]. Which of the two places had the older claim is also a question hardly to be settled in the present state of our knowledge[2].

Whether Magism came from Ragha to Atropatene, or from Atropatene to Ragha, in either case it had its origin in Media[3]. That Persia should have submitted in religious matters to a foreign tribe will surprise no one who thinks of the influence of the Etruscan augurs in Rome. The Magi might be hated as Medes, but they were respected and feared as priests. When political revolutions gave vent to national hate, the Persian might willingly indulge it, and revel in the blood of the foreign priest[4]; yet whenever he had to invoke the favour of the gods, he was obliged to acknowledge that he could not do without the detested tribe, and that they alone knew how to make themselves beard by heaven[5]. When and how the religious hegemony of Media arose we cannot say: it is but natural that Media[6],

[1. This would be a principle of classification which unfortunately applies only to a small part of the Avesta.

2. Still, if we follow the direction of the Zoroastrian legend, Magism must have spread from west to east, from Atropatene to Ragha, from Ragha to Bactria; and Atropatene must thus have been the first cradle of Mazdeism. Its very name points to its sacred character; oriental writers, starting from the modern form of the name, Adarbîgân, interpret it as 'the seed of fire,' with an allusion to the numerous fire springs to be found there. Modern scholars have generally followed the historical etymology . given by Strabo, who states that, after the death of Alexander, the satrap Atropates made himself an independent sovereign in his satrapy, which was named after him Atropatene. This looks like a Greek etymology (scarcely more to be trusted than the etymology of {Greek R!agai'} , from {Greek r!h'gnumi}), and it is hardly to be believed that the land should have lost its former name to take a new one from its king;, it was not a new-fangled geographical division, like Lotharingia, and had lived a life of its own for a long time before. Its name Âtarpatakân seems to mean 'the land of the descent of fire,' as it was there that fire came down front heaven (cf. Ammianus 1. c.)

2. The Pahlavi names of the cardinal points show that Media was the centre of orientation in Magian geography (Garrez, Journal Asiatique, 1869, II).

4. Magophonia (Herod. III, 79).

5. {Greek O!s a?utou`s mo'nous a?kouome'nous} (Diog. Laert. Prooem.); cf. Herod. I, 132 Ammian. 1. 1.

6. An echo of the old political history of Media seems to linger in Yast V, 29, which shows Azi Dahâka reigning in Babylon (Bawru); as Azi, in his legendary character, represents the foreign invader, this passage can hardly be anything but a far remote echo of the struggles between Media and the Mesopotamian empires. The legend of Azi is localised only in Medic {footnote p. li} lands: he addresses his prayers to Ahriman by the banks of the Sipît rût (Bundahis 52, 11), his adversary Ferîdûn is born in Ghilân, he is bound to Mount Damâvand (near Rai).]

having risen sooner to a high degree of civilisation, should have given to religion and worship a more systematic and elaborate form, and in religion, as in politics, the best organised power must sooner or later get the upper hand. It is likely that it began with the conquest of Media by Cyrus: Media capta ferum victorem cepit. . . . Cyrus is said to have introduced the Magian priesthood into Persia (Xenophon, Cyrop. VIII, I, 23), which agrees with the legend mentioned by Nikolaus that it was on the occasion of the miraculous escape of Crœsus that the Persians remembered the old {Greek logi'a} of Zoroaster forbidding the dead to be burnt.

The Medic origin of the Magi accounts for a fact which perplexes at first sight, namely, the absence of the name of the Magi from the book written by themselves[1]; which is natural enough if the word Magu was not the name of the priest as a priest, but as a member of the tribe of the Magi. The proper word for a priest in the Avesta is Âthravan, literally, 'fire-man,' and that this was his name with the Persians too appears from the statement in Strabo (XV, 733) that the Magi are also called {Greek Pu'raiðoi}. It is easy to conceive that the Persians, especially in ordinary parlance, would rather designate their priests after their origin than after their functions[2]; but the Magi themselves had no reason to follow the Persian custom, which was not always free from an implication of spite or scorn. The only passage into which the word found its way is just one that betrays the existence of this feeling: the enemy of the priests is

[1. In their own language, the Zend; of which the modern representatives, if there be any left, should therefore be looked for in Atropatene or on the banks of the Caspian sea. The research is complicated by the growing intrusion of Persian words into the modern dialects, but as far as I can see from a very inadequate study of the matter, the dialect which exhibits most Zend features is the Talis dialect, on the southern bank of the Aras.

2. The Pahlavi has 'one who hates the Magu-men.' In the passage LIII (LII), 7, magéus is not a Magian, and it is translated by magi, 'holiness, godliness,' related to the Vedic magha. Afterwards the two words were confounded, whence came the Greek statement that {Greek ma'gos} means sit the same time 'a priest' and 'a god' (Apollon. Tyan. Ep. XVII).]

not called, as would be expected, an Âthrava-tbis, 'a hater of the Âthravans' (cf. the Indian Brahma-dvish), but a Moghu-tbis, a hater of the Magi[1].' The name, it is true, became current in Pahlavi and modern Persian, but it was at a time when the old national quarrels between Media and Persia were quenched, and the word could no longer carry any offensive idea with it.

§ 16. The results of the foregoing research may be summed up as follows:--

The original texts of the Avesta were not written by Persians, as they are in a language which was not used in Persia, they prescribe certain customs which were unknown to Persia, and proscribe others which were current in Persia. They were written in Media, by the priests of Ragha and Atropatene, in the language of Media, and they exhibit the ideas of the sacerdotal class under the Achæmenian dynasty.

It does not necessarily follow from this, that the original fragments were already written at the time of Herodotus[2].

[1. A further echo of the anti-Magian feelings may be heard in Yasna IX, 24 (75): 'Haoma overthrew Keresâni, who rose up to seize royalty, and he said, "No longer shall henceforth the Âthravans go through the lands and teach at their will."' This is a curious instance of how easily legendary history may turn myths to its advantage, The struggle of Haoma against Keresâni is an old Indo-European myth, Keresâni being the same as the Vedic Krisânu, who wants to keep away Soma from the hands of men. His name becomes in the Avesta the name of an anti-Magian king [it may be Darius, the usurper (?)], and ten centuries later it was turned into an appellation of the Christian Kaisars of Rûm (Kalasyâk = {Greek e?kklhsia[ko's] }; Tarsâka).

2. If the interpretation of the end of the Behistun inscription (preserved only in the Scythian version) as given by Professor Oppert be correct, Darius must have made a collection of religious texts known as Avesta, whence it would follow, with great probability, that the present Avesta proceeded from Darius. The translation of the celebrated scholar is as follows: 'J'ai fait une collection de textes (dippimas) ailleurs en langue arienne qui autrefois n'existait pas. Et j'aì fait un texte de la Loi (de l'Avesta; Haduk ukku) et un commentaire de la Loi, et Is Bénédiction (la prière, le Zend) et les Traductions.' (Le peuple et la langue des Mèdes, pp. 155, 186.) The authority of Oppert is so great, and at the same time the passage is so obscure, that I hardly know if there be more temerity in rejecting his interpretation or in adopting it. Yet I beg to observe that the word dippimas is the usual Scythian transliteration of the Persian dipi, 'an inscription,' and there is no apparent reason for departing from that meaning in this passage; if the word translated 'la Loi,' ukku really represents here a Persian word Abasta, it need not denote the Avesta, the religious book, as in that case the word would most certainly not have been translated in the Scythian version, but only transliterated; the ideogram for 'Bénédiction, prière,' may refer to religious inscriptions like Persepolis I; the import of the whole passage would therefore be that Darius caused other inscriptions to be engraved, and wrote other edicts and religious formulae (the word, 'traductions' is only a guess).]

But as the Magi of that time sang songs of their gods during sacrifice, it is very likely that there was already a sacred literature in existence. The very fact that no sacrifice could be performed without the assistance of the Magi makes it highly probable that they were in possession of rites, prayers, and hymns very well composed and arranged, and not unlike those of the Brahmans; their authority can only be accounted for by the power of a strongly defined ritual and liturgy. There must, therefore, have been a collection of formulae and hymns, and it is quite possible that Herodotus may have heard the Magi sing, in the fifth century B. C., the very same Gâthas which are sung nowadays by the Mobeds in Bombay. A part of the Avesta, the liturgical part, would therefore have been, in fact, a sacred book for the Persians. It had not been written by them, but it was sung for their benefit. That Zend hymns should have been sung before a Persian-speaking people is not stranger than Latin words being sung by Frenchmen, Germans, and Italians; the only difference being that, owing to the close affinity of Zend to Persian, the Persians may have been able to understand the prayers of their priests.

§ 17. It may, therefore, be fairly admitted that, on the whole, the present texts are derived from texts already existing under the Achæmenian kings. Some parts of the collection are undoubtedly older than others; thus, the Gâthas are certainly older than the rest of the Avesta, as they are often quoted and praised in the Yasna and the Vendîdâd; but it is scarcely possibly to go farther than a logical chronology. One might feel inclined, at first sight, to assign to a very recent date, perhaps to the last revision of the Avesta, those long enumerations of gods so symmetrically elaborated in the Yasna, Vispêrad, and Vendîdâd. But the Account of Mazdeism given by Plutarch shows that the work of co-ordination was already terminated at the end of the Achæmenian period, and there is no part of the Avesta which, so far as the matter is concerned, may not have been written in those times. Nay, the Greek accounts of that period present us, in some measure, with a later stage of thought, and are pervaded with a stronger sense of symmetry, than the Avesta itself. Such passages as the latter end of the Zamyâd Yast and Vendîdâd X, 9 seq. prove that, when they were composed, the seven Arch-Dêvs were not yet pointedly contrasted with the seven Amshaspands, and therefore those passages might have been written long before the time of Philip. The theory of time and space as first principles of the world, of which only the germs are found in the Avesta, was fully developed in the time of Eudemos, a disciple of Aristotle.

§ 18. To what extent the Magian dogmatical conceptions were admitted by the whole of the Iranian population, or how and by what process they spread among it, we cannot ascertain for want of documentary evidence. As regards their observances we are better instructed, and can form an idea of how far and in what particulars they differed from the other Iranians. The new principle they introduced, or, rather, developed into new consequences, was that of the purity of the elements. Fire, earth, and water had always been considered sacred things, and had received worship[1]: the Magi drew from that principle the conclusion that burying the dead or burning the dead was defiling a god: as early as Herodotus they had already succeeded in preserving fire from that pollution, and cremation was a capital crime. The earth still continued to be defiled, notwithstanding the example they set; and it was only under the Sassanians, when Mazdeism became the religion of the state, that they won this point also.

The religious difference between the Persians and their Medic priests was therefore chiefly in observances. Out of the principles upon which the popular religion rested, the sacerdotal class drew by dint of logic, in a puritan spirit,

[1. Cf. V, 8.]

the necessity of strict observances, the yoke of which was not willingly endured by the mass of the people. Many acts, insignificant in the eyes of the people, became repugnant to their consciences and their more refined logic. The people resisted, and for a time Magian observances were observed only by the Magi. The slow triumph of Magism can be dimly traced through the Achæmenian period. Introduced by Cyrus, it reigned supreme for a time with the Pseudo-Smerdis, and was checked by Darius[1]. It seems to have resumed its progress under Xerxes; at least, it was reported that it was to carry out Magian principles that he destroyed the Greek temples, and that the first who wrote on the Zoroastrian lore was a Magian, named Osthanes, who had accompanied him to Greece[2]. New progress marked the reign of Artaxerxes Longimanus. The epic history of Iran, as preserved in the Shah Nâmah, passes suddenly from the field of mythology to that of history with the reign of that king, which makes it likely that it was in his time that the legends of Media became national in Persia, and that his reign was an epoch in the political history of Magism[3]. But the real victory was not won till six centuries later, when national interest required a national religion. Then, as happens in every revolution, the ultra party, that had pushed to the extreme the principles common to all, took the lead; the Magi ascended the throne with Ardeshîr, one of their pupils[4], and the Magian

[1. Darius rebuilt the temples which the Magus Gaumata had destroyed (Behistun I, 63). The Magi, it is said, wanted the gods not to be imprisoned within four walls (Cic. de Legibus II, 10). Xerxes behaved himself as their disciple, at least in Greece. Still the Magi seem to have at last given way on that point to the Perso-Assyrian customs, and there were temples even under the Sassanians.

2. Pliny, Hist. Nap., XXX, I, 8.

3. Cf. Westergaard, Preface to the Zend-Avesta, p. 17. This agrees with what we know of the fondness of Artaxerxes for religious novelties, It was he who blended the worship of the Assyrian Anat-Mylitta with that of the Iranian Anâhita (the ascription of that innovation to Artaxerxes Mnemon by Clemens Alexandrinus (Stromata 1) must rest on a clerical error, as in the time of Herodotus, who wrote under Longimanus, the worship of Mylitta had already been introduced into Persia (I, 131)).

4. Agathias II, 26.]

observances became the law of all Iran. But their triumph was not to be a long one; their principles required an effort too continuous and too severe to be ever made by any but priests, who might concentrate all their faculties in watching whether they had not dropped a hair upon the ground. A working people could not be imprisoned in such a religion, though it might be pure and high in its ethics. The triumph of Islam was a deliverance for the consciences of many[1], and Magism, by enforcing its observances upon the nation, brought about the ruin of its dogmas, which were swept away at the same time: its triumph was the cause and signal of its fall[2].


§ 1. What was the religion of the Magi which we find reflected in the Avesta? and whence did it arise?

Magism, in its general form, may be summed up as follows:--

The world, such as it is now, is twofold, being the work of two hostile beings, Ahura Mazda, the good principle, and Angra Mainyu, the evil principle; all that is good in the world comes from the former, all that is bad in it comes from the latter. The history of the world is the history of their conflict, how Angra Mainyu invaded the world of Ahura Mazda and marred it, and how he shall be expelled from it at last. Man is active in the conflict, his duty in it being laid before him in the law revealed by Ahura Mazda to Zarathustra. When the appointed time is come, a son of the lawgiver, still unborn, named Saoshyant, will appear, Angra Mainyu and hell will be destroyed, men will rise from the dead, and everlasting happiness will reign over the world.

[1. De Göbineau, Histoire des Perses, II, 632 seq.

2. We ought to discuss here the Scythian theory of Magism; but thus far we have been unable to find anywhere a clear and consistent account of its thesis and of its arguments. Nothing is known of any Scythian religion, and what is ascribed to a so-called Scythian influence, the worship of the elements, is one of the oldest and most essential features of the Aryan religions.]

We have tried in another book[1] to show that the religion of the Magi- is derived from the same source as that of the Indian Rishis, that is, from the religion followed by the common forefathers of the Iranians and Indians, the Indo-Iranian religion. The Mazdean belief is, therefore, composed of two different strata; the one comprises all the gods, myths, and ideas which were already in existence during the Indo-Iranian period, whatever changes they may have undergone during the actual Iranian period; the other comprises the gods, myths, and ideas which were only developed after the separation of the two religions.

§ 2. There were two general ideas at the bottom of the Indo-Iranian religion; first, that there is a law in nature, and, secondly, that there is a war in nature.

There is a law in nature, because everything goes on in a serene and mighty order. Days after days, seasons after seasons, years after years come and come again; there is a marvellous friendship between the sun and the moon, the dawn has never missed its appointed time and place, and the stars that shine in the night know where to go when the day is breaking. There is a God who fixed that never-failing law, and on whom it rests for ever[2].

There is a war in nature, because it contains powers that work for good and powers that work for evil: there are such beings as benefit man, and such beings as injure him: there are gods and fiends. They struggle on, never and nowhere more apparent than in the storm, in which, under our very eyes, the fiend that carries off the light and streams of heaven fights with the god that gives them back to man and the thirsty earth.

There were, therefore, in the, Indo-Iranian religion a latent monotheism and an unconscious dualism[3]; both of which, in the further development of Indian thought, slowly disappeared; but Mazdeism lost neither of these two notions,

[1. Ormazd et Ahriman, Paris, 1877. We beg, for the sake of brevity, to refer to that book for further demonstration.

2. Cf. Max Müller, Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion, p. 249.

3. J. Darmesteter, The Supreme God in the Indo-European Mythology, in the Contemporary Review, October, 1879, p. 283.]

nor did it add a new one, and its original action was to cling strongly and equally to both ideas and push them to an extreme.

§ 3. The God that has established the laws in nature is the Heaven God. He is the greatest of gods, since there is nothing above him nor outside of him; he has made every thing, since everything is produced or takes place . in him; he is the wisest of all gods, since with his eyes, the sun, moon, and stars, he sees everything[1].

This god was named either after his bodily nature Varana, 'the all-embracing sky[2],' or after his spiritual attributes Asura, 'the Lord,' Asura visvavedas, 'the all-knowing Lord,' Asura Mazdhâ, 'the Lord of high knowledge[3].'

§ 4. The supreme Asura of the Indo-Iranian religion, the Heaven god, is called in the Avesta Ahura Mazda, 'the all-knowing Lord[4];' his concrete name Varana, which became his usual name in India (Varuna), was lost in Iran, and remained only as the name of the material heaven, and then of a mythical region, the Varena, which was the seat of the mythical fight between a storm god and a storm fiend[5].

§ 5. The spiritual attributes of the Heaven god were daily more and more strongly defined, and his material attributes were thrown farther into the background. Yet many features, though ever dimmer and dimmer, betray his former bodily or, rather, his sky nature. He is white, bright, seen afar, and his body is the greatest and fairest of all bodies; he has the sun for his eye, the rivers above for his spouses, the fire of lightning for his son; he wears the heaven as a star-spangled garment, he puts on the hard stone of heaven, be is the hardest of all gods[6] . He dwells in the infinite luminous space, and the infinite luminous space is his place,

[1. Ibid.

2. {Greek Ou?rano's}; or Dyaus, 'the shining sky' [{Greek Zeu's}, Jup-piter], or Svar.

3. Or perhaps 'the Lord who bestows intelligence' (Benfey, 'Asura Medhâ and Ahura Mazdâo').

4. This is, at least, the meaning that attached to the name in the consciences of the composers of the Avesta.

5. Vide infra, 12.

6. Orm. Ahr. 27-36.]

his body[1]. In the time of Herodotus, Persians, while invoking Aurâmazda, the creator of earth and heaven, still knew who he was, and called the whole vault of the sky Zeus, that is to say, called it the supreme god[2].

§ 6. In the Indo-Iranian religion, the supreme Asura, although he was the supreme god, was not the only god. There were near him and within him many mighty beings, the sun, wind, lightning, thunder, rain, prayer, sacrifice, which as soon as they struck the eye or the fancy of man, were at once turned into gods. If the Heaven Asura, greater in time and space, eternal and universal, everlasting and ever present, was without effort raised to the supreme rank by his twofold infinitude, there were other gods, of shorter but mightier life, who maintained against him their right to independence. The progress of religious thought might as well have gone on to transfer power from him to any of these gods, as to make his authority unrivalled. The former was the case in India: in the middle of the Vedic period. Indra, the dazzling god of storm, rose to supremacy in the Indian Pantheon, and outshines Varuna with the roar and splendour of his feats; but soon to give way to a new and mystic king, Prayer or Brahman[3].

Not so did Mazdeism, which struggled on towards unity. The Lord slowly brought everything under his unquestioned supremacy, and the other gods became not only his subjects, but his creatures. This movement was completed as early as the fourth century B.C. Nowhere can it be more clearly traced than in the Amesha Spentas and Mithra.

§ 7. The Indo-Iranian Asura was often conceived as sevenfold: by the play of certain mythical formulae and the strength of certain mythical numbers, the ancestors of the Indo-Iranians had been led to speak of seven worlds, and the supreme god was often made sevenfold, as well as the worlds over which he ruled[4]. The names and the several

[1. Bundahis I. 7; Yasna LVIII, 8 (LVII, 22).

2. Herod. I, 131.

3. Cf. 'The Supreme God,' I. 1. p. 287.

4. The seven worlds became in Persia the seven Karshvare of the earth: the earth is divided into seven Karshvare, only one of which is known and {footnote p. lx} accessible to man, the one on which we live, namely, Hvaniratha; which amounts to saying that there are seven earths. Parsi mythology knows also of seven heavens. Hvaniratha itself was divided into seven climes (Orm. Ahr. 172). An enumeration of the seven Karshvare is to be found in Farg. XIX, .19.]

attributes of the seven gods had not been as yet defined, nor could they be then; after the separation of the two religions, these gods, named Âditya, 'the infinite ones,' in India, were by and by identified there with the sun, and their number was afterwards raised to twelve, to correspond to the twelve successive aspects of the sun. In Persia, the seven gods are known as Amesha Spentas, 'the undying and well-doing ones;' they by and by, according to the new spirit that breathed in the religion, received the names of the deified abstractions', Vohu-manô (good thought), Asha Vahista (excellent holiness), Khshathra vairya (perfect sovereignty), Spenta Ârmaiti (divine piety), Haurvatât and Ameretât (health and immortality). The first of them all was and remained Ahura Mazda; but whereas formerly he had been only the first of them, he was now their father. 'I invoke the glory of the Amesha Spentas, who all seven have one and the same thinking, one and the same speaking, one and the same doing, one and the same father and lord, Ahura Mazda[2].'

§ 8. In the Indo-Iranian religion, the Asura of Heaven was often invoked in company with Mitra[3], the god of the heavenly light, and he let him share with himself the universal sovereignty. In the Veda, they are invoked as a pair (Mitrâ-Varunâ), which enjoys the same power and rights as Varuna alone, as there is nothing more in Mitrâ-Varunâ than in Varuna alone, Mitra being the light of Heaven, that is, the light of Varuna. But Ahura Mazda could no longer bear an equal, and Mithra became one of his

[1. Most of which were already either divine or holy in the Indo-Iranian period: health and immortality are invoked in the Vedas as in the Avesta (see J. Darmesteter, Haurvatât et Ameretât, §§ 49 seq.); Asha Vahista is revered in the Vedas as Rita (vide infra, § 30); Spenta Ârmaiti is the Vedic goddess Aramati (§ 30); Khshathra vairya is the same as the Brahmanical Kshatra; Vohu-manô is a personification of the Vedic sumati (Orm. Abr. §§ 196-201).

2. Yast XIX, 16.

3. Mitra means literally, a friend;' it is the light as friendly to man (Orm. Ahr. §§ 59-61).]

creatures: 'This Mithra, the lord of wide pastures, I have created as worthy of sacrifice, as worthy of glorification, as I, Ahura Mazda, am myself[1].' But old formulae, no longer understood, in which Mithra and Ahura, or, rather, Mithra-Ahura, are invoked in an indivisible unity, dimly remind one that the Creator was formerly a brother to his creature.

§ 9. Thus came a time when Ahura was not only the maker of the world, the creator of the earth, water, trees, mountains, roads,. wind, sleep, and light, was not only he who gives to man life, shape, and food, but was also the father of Tistrya, the rain-bestowing god, of Verethraghna, the fiend-smiting god, and of Haoma, the tree of eternal life, the father of the six Amesha. Spentas, the father of all gods[2].

Yet, with all his might, he still needs the help of some god, of such as free the oppressed heavens from the grasp of the fiend. When storm rages in the atmosphere he offers up a sacrifice to Vayu, the bright storm god, who moves in the wind, he entreats him: 'Grant me the favour, thou Vayu whose action is most high[3], that I may smite the world of Angra Mainyu, and that he may not smite mine! Vayu, whose action is most high, granted the asked-for favour to the creator Ahura Mazda[4].' And when Zoroaster is born, Ahura entreats Ardvî Sûra Anâhita that the new-born hero may stand by him in the fight[5] (see § 40).

[1. He preserved, however, a high situation, both in the concrete and in the abstract mythology. As the god of the heavenly light, the lord of vast luminous spaces of the wide pastures above (cf. § 16), he became later the god of the sun (Deo invicto Soli Mithrae; in Persian Mihr is the Sun). As light and truth are one and the same thing, viewed with. the eyes of the body and of the mind, he became the god of truth and faith. He punishes the Mithra-drug, 'him who lies to Mithra' (or 'who lies to the contract.' since Mithra as a neuter noun meant 'friendship, agreement, contract'); he is a judge in hell, in company with Rashnu, 'the true one,' the god of truth, a mere offshoot of Mithra in his moral character (Farg. IV, 54).

2. Cf. Plut. de Iside, XLVII

3. Or, who workest, in the heights above.

4. Yt. XV, 3.

5 In the same way his Greek counterpart, Zeus, the god of heaven, the lord and father both of gods and men, when besieged by the Titans, calls Thetis, Prometheus and the Hecatonchirs to help him.]

§ 10. Whereas in India the fiends were daily driven farther and farther into the background, and by the prevalence of the metaphysical spirit gods and fiends came to be nothing more than changing and fleeting creatures of the everlasting, indifferent Being, Persia took her demons in real earnest; she feared them, she hated them, and the vague and unconscious dualism that lay at the bottom of the Indo-Iranian religion has. its unsteady outlines sharply defined, and became the very form and frame of Mazdeism. The conflict was no more seen and heard in the passing storm only, but it raged through all the avenues of space and time. The Evil became a power of itself, engaged in an open and never-ceasing warfare with the Good. The Good was centred in the supreme god, in Ahura Mazda, the bright god of Heaven, the all-knowing Lord, the Maker, Who, as the author of every good thing, was 'the good Spirit,' Spenta Mainyu. In front of him and opposed to him slowly rose the evil Spirit, Angra Mainyu.

We will briefly explain what became, in Mazdeism, of the several elements of the Indo-Iranian dualism, and then we Will show how the -whole system took a regular form.

§ 11. The war in nature was waged in the storm. The Vedas describe it as a battle fought by a god, Indra, armed with the lightning and thunder, against a serpent, Ahi, who has carried off the dawns or the rivers, described as goddesses or as milch cows, and who keeps them captive in the folds of the cloud.

This myth appears in a still simpler form in the Avesta: it is a fight for the possession of the light of hvarenô between Âtar and Azi Dahâka[1].

Âtar means 'fire;' he is both a thing and a person. He is sometimes described as the weapon of Ahura[2], but usually as his son[3], as the fire that springs from heaven can be conceived either as flung by it, or as born of it[4].

Azi Dahâka, 'the fiendish snake,' is a three-headed

[1. Yt. XIX, 47-.52.

2. Yasna LI (L), 9.

3. Farg. III, 15; V, 10; XV, 26, &c.

4. Cf. Clermont-Ganneau, in the Revue Critique, 1877, No. 52.]

dragon, who strives to seize and put out the hvarenô: he takes hold of it, but Âtar frightens him away and recovers the light.

The scene of the fight is the sea Vouru-kasha, a sea from which all the waters on the earth fall down with the winds and the clouds; in other words, they fight in the sea above[1], in the atmospheric field of battle[2].

§ 12. The same myth in the Vedas was described as a feat of Traitana or Trita Âptya, 'Trita, the son of waters,' who killed the three-headed, six-eyed fiend, and let loose the cows[3]. 'The son of waters[4]' is both in the Vedas and in the Avesta a name of the fire-god, as born from the cloud, in the lightning. The same tale is told in the same terms in the Avesta: Thraêtaona Âthwya killed Azi Dahâka (the fiendish snake), the three-mouthed, three-headed, six-eyed, . . . the most dreadful Drug created by Angra Mainyu[5]. The scene of the battle is 'the four-cornered Varena[6],' which afterwards became a country on the earth, when Thraêtaona himself and Azi became earthly kings, but which was formerly nothing less than 'the four-pointed Varuna[7],' that is, 'the four-sided {Greek Ou?rano's},' the Heavens.

§ 13. The fight for the waters was described in a myth of later growth, a sort of refacimento, the myth of Tistrya and Apaosha. Apaosha[8] keeps away the rain: Tistrya[9], worsted at first, then strengthened by a sacrifice which has been offered to him by Mazda, knocks, clown Apaosha[10] with his club, the fire Vâzista[11], and the waters stream freely

[1. The hvarenô, Persian khurrah and farr, is properly the light of sovereignty, the glory from above which makes the king an earthly god. He who possesses it reigns, he who loses it falls (town; when Yima lost it he perished and Azi Dahâka reigned; as when light disappears, the fiend rules supreme. Vide infra, § 39; and cf. Yt. XIX, 32 seq.

2. See Farg. V, 15 seq.

3. Rv. I, 158, 5; X, 99, 6.

4. Generally, apâm napât.

5. Yasna IX, 8 (25).

6. Cathru-gaosho Varenô; v. Vendîdâd I, 18.

7. Catur-asrir Varuno, Rv. I, 152, 2. Cf. Orm. Ahr. § 6.;.

8. 'The extinguisher' (?).

9. Cf. § 36.

10. Called also Spengaghra (Farg. XIX, 40).

11. It is the groaning of the fiend under the stroke of that club that is heard in thunder (Bundahis 17, II; cf. Farg. XIX, 40).]

down the seven Karshvare, led by the winds, by the son of the waters, and by the light that dwells in the waters[1].

§ 14. The god that conquers light is chiefly praised in the Vedas under the name of Indra Vritrahan, 'Indra the fiend-smiter.' His Iranian brother is named Verethraghna, which became by and by the genius of Victory (Bahrâm). Yet although he assumed a more abstract character than Indra, he retained the mythical features of the storm god[2], and his original nature was so little forgotten that he was worshipped on earth as a fire, the Bahrâm fire, which was believed to be an emanation from the fire above[3], and the most powerful protector of the land against foes and fiends.

§ 15. In the Indo-Iranian mythology, Vâyu was the word for both the atmosphere and the bright god who fights and conquers in it.

As a god, Vâyu became in Mazdeism Vayu, 'a god conqueror of light, a smiter of the fiends, all made of light, who moves in a golden car, with sonorous rings[4].' Ahura Mazda invokes him for help against Angra Mainyu[5].

§ 16. Another name of Vayu is Râma hvâstra: this word meant originally 'the god of the resting-place with good pastures,' the clouds in the atmosphere being often viewed as a herd of cows', and the Indian Vâyu as a good shepherd[7]. Hence came the connection of Râma hvâstra with Mithra, 'the lord of the wide pastures[8].' In later times, chiefly owing to a mistake in language (hvâstra being thought to be related to the root hvarez, 'to taste'), Râma hvâstra became the god who gives a good flavour to aliments[9].

§ 17. Considered as a thing, as the atmosphere, Vayu is the place where the god and the fiend meet: there is therefore a part of it which belongs to the good and another part which belongs to the evil[10]. Hence came the later notion that between Ormazd and Ahriman there is a void space, Vâi, in which their meeting takes place[11].

[1. Vt. VIII.

2. Vt. XIV.

3 Cf. V, 8.

4. Vt. XV.

5. Cf. above, p. lxi.

6. See above, § 11.

7. Cf. Atharva-veda II, 26, 1; Rv. I, 134, 4.

8. Farg. III, 2; Yasna I, 3 (9).

9. Neriosengh ad Yasna, I. l.

10. Yt. XV, Bundahis I, 15.]

Hence came also the distinction of two Vai[1], the good One and the bad one, which, probably by the natural connection of Vayu, the atmosphere, with the heavens[2] whose movement is Destiny[3], became at last the good Fate and the bad Fate, or Destiny bringing good and evil, life and death[4].

§ 18. Azi is not always vanquished; he may also conquer; and it is just because the serpent has seized upon the sky and darkened the light, that the battle breaks out. Azi has carried off the sovereign light, the hvarenô, from Yima Khshaêta, 'the shining Yima[5].

In the course of time Thraêtaona, Yima, and Azi Dahâka became historical: it was told how King Jemshid (Yima Khshâeta) had been overthrown and killed by the usurper Zohâk (Dahâka), a man with two snakes' heads upon his shoulders, and how Zohâk himself had been overthrown by a prince of the royal blood, Feridûn (Thraêtaona). Yet Zohâk, though vanquished, could not be killed; he was bound to Mount Damâvand, there to lie in bonds till the end of the world, when he shall be let loose, and then killed by Keresâspa[6]. The fiend is as long-lifed as the world, since as often as he is vanquished he appears again, as dark and fearful as ever[7].

§ 19. While the serpent passed thus from mythology into legend, he still continued under another name, or, more correctly, under another form of his name, âzi, a word which the Parsis converted into a pallid and lifeless, abstraction by identifying it with a similar word from the same root, meaning 'want.' But that he was the very same being as Azi, the snake, appears from his adversaries: like Azi, he fights against Âtar, the fire, and strives to extinguish it[8], and together with the Pairikas, he wants to carry off the rain-floods, like the Indian Ahi[9].

§ 20. Mazdeism, as might be expected from its main

[1. Mainyô i-Khard II, 115; cf. Farg. 8, n. 3.

2. Cf. Farg. XIX, 16.

3. Orm. Ahr. § 257.

4. Farg. V, 8-9, text and notes.

5. See above. p. lxiii, n. I, and Yast XIX.

6. Cf. § 39.

7. Cf. Roth, Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenl. Gesellschaft II, 216.

8. Farg, XVIII, 19 seq.

9. Yasna LXVIII, 7 (LXVII, 18).]

principle, is very rich in demons. There are whole classes of them which belong to the Indo-Iranian mythology.

The Vedic Yâtus are found unaltered in the Avesta. The Yâtu in the Vedas is the demon taking any form he pleases, the fiend as a wizard: so he is in the Avesta also, where the name is likewise extended to the Yâtu-man, the sorcerer.

§ 21. With the Yâtus are often associated the Pairikas (the Paris)[1].

The Pairika corresponds in her origin (and perhaps as to her name) to the Indian Apsaras[2].

The light for which the storm god struggled was often compared, as is well known, to a fair maid or bride carried off by the fiend. There was a class of myths, in which, instead of being carried off, she was supposed to have given herself up, of her own free will, to the demon, and to have betrayed the god, her lover. In another form of myth, still more distant from the naturalistic origin, the Pairikas were 'nymphs of a fair, but erring line,' who seduced the heroes to lead them to their ruin. Afterwards the Pari became at length the seduction of idolatry[3].

In their oldest Avesta form they are still demoniac nymphs, who rob the gods and men of the heavenly waters: they hover between heaven and earth, in the midst of the sea Vouru-kasha, to keep off the rain-floods, and they work together with Âzi and Apaosha[4].

Then we see the Pairika, under the name of Knãthaiti, cleave to Keresâspa[5]. Keresâspa, like Thraêtaona, is a great smiter of demons, who killed the snake Srvara, a twin-brother of Azi Dahâka[6]. It was related in later tales that he was born immortal, but that having despised the holy religion he was killed, during his sleep, by a Turk, Niyâz[7], which, being translated into old myth, would mean that he

[1. Farg. VIII, 80.

2. Orm. Ahr. § 142.

3. Ibid. p, 176, n. 6. Then pairikãm, the accusative of pairika, was interpreted as a Pahlavi compound, pari-kâm, 'love of the Paris' (Comm. ad Farg. XIX 5).

4. Yast VIII, 8, 39, 49-56; Yasna XVI, 8 (XVII, 46).

5. Farg. I, 10.

6. Yasna IX, 11 (34); Yast XIX, 40.

7. Bundahis 69, 13. On Niyâz, see Orm. Ahr. p. 2 16, n. 9.]

gave himself up to the Pairika Khnãthaiti, who delivered, him asleep to the fiend. Yet he must rise from his sleep, at the end of time, to kill Azi, and Khnãthaiti will be killed at the same time by Saoshyant[1], the son of Zarathustra, which shows her to be a genuine sister of Azi.

§ 22. Then come the host of storm fiends, the Drvants, the Dvarants, the Dregvants, all names meaning 'the running ones,' and referring to the headlong course of the fiends in storm, 'the onsets of the wounding crew.'

One of the foremost amongst the Drvants, their leader in their onsets, is Aêshma, 'the raving,' 'a fiend with the wounding spear.' Originally a mere epithet of the storm fiend, Aêshma was afterwards converted into an abstract, the demon of rage and anger, and became an expression for all moral wickedness, a mere name of Ahriman.

§ 23. A class of demons particularly interesting are the Varenya daêvas 2. The phrase, an old one belonging to the Indo-European mythology, meant originally 'the gods in heaven,' {Greek ou?ranioi ðeoi'}; when the daêvas were converted into demons (see § 41), they became 'the fiends in the heavens,' the fiends who assail the sky; and later on, as the meaning of the word Varena was lost, 'the fiends of the Varena land;' and finally, nowadays, as their relation to Varena is lost to sight, they are turned by popular etymology, now into demons of lust, and now into demons of doubt[3].

§ 24. To the Pairika is closely related Bûshyãsta the yellow, the long-handed[4]. She lulls back to sleep the world as soon as awaked, and makes the faithful forget in slumber the hour of prayer[5]. But as at the same time she is said to have fallen upon Keresâspa[6], one sees that she belonged before to a more concrete sort of mythology, and was a sister to Khnãthaiti and to the Pairikas.

§ 25. A member of the same family is Gahi, who was

[1. Farg. XIX, 5.

2. Farg. X, 14. The Mâzainya daêva (see Farg. X, 16n.) are often invoked with them (Yast V, 22; XIII, 37; XX, 8).

3. Aspendiârji.

4. Farg. XI, 9.

5. Farg. XVIII; 16 seq.

6. Bundahis 69, 15.]

originally the god's bride giving herself up to the demon, and became then, by the progress of abstraction, the demon of unlawful love and unchastity[1]. The courtezan is her incarnation, as the sorcerer is that of the Yâtu.

§ 26. Death gave rise to several personations.

Sauru, which in our texts is only the proper name of a demon[2], was probably identical in meaning, as he is in name, with the Vedic Saru, 'the arrow,' a personification of the arrow of death as a godlike being[3].

The same idea seems to be conveyed by Ishus hvâthakhtô, 'the self-moving arrow[4],' a designation to be accounted for by the fact that Saru, in India, before becoming the arrow of death, was the arrow of lightning with which the god killed his foe.

A more abstract personification is Ithyêgô marshaonem[5], 'the unseen death,' death which creeps unawares.

Astô vîdôtus, 'the bone-divider[6],' who, like the Yama of the Sanskrit epic, holds a noose around the neck of all living creatures[7].

§ 27. In the conflict between gods and fiends man is active: he takes a part in it through the sacrifice.

The sacrifice is more than an act of worship, it is an act of assistance to the gods. Gods, like men, need drink and food to be strong; like men, they need praise and encouragement to-be of good cheer[8]. When not strengthened by the sacrifice, they fly helpless before their foes. Tistrya, worsted by Apaosha, cries to Ahura: 'O Ahura Mazda! men do not worship me with sacrifice and praise: should they worship me with sacrifice and praise, they would bring me the strength of ten horses, ten bulls, ten mountains, ten rivers.' Ahura offers him a sacrifice, he brings him thereby the

[1. Orm. Ahr. § 145. Cf. Farg. XXI, 1.

2. Vide infra, § 41; Farg. X, 9; Bundahis 5, 19.

3. Orm. Ahr. § 212.

4. Farg. IV, 49.

5. Farg. XIX, 1.

6. Farg. IV, 49. His mythical description might probably be completed by the Rabbinical and Arabian tales about the Breaking of the Sepulchre and the angels Monkir and Nakir (Sale, the Coran, Introd. p. 60, and Bargès, Journal Asiatique, 1843).

7. See Farg. XIX, 29, n. 2. Closely related to Astô-vîdôtu is Vîzaresha (ibid.); on Bûiti, see Farg. XIX, i, n. 3.

8. See Orm. Ahr. §§ 87-88.]

strength of ten horses, ten bulls, ten mountains, ten rivers, Tistrya runs back to the battle-field and Apaosha flies before him[1].

§ 28. The sacrifice is composed of two elements, offerings and spells.

The offerings are libations of holy water (zaothra)[2], holy meat (myazda)[3], and Haoma. The last offering is the most sacred and powerful of all.

Haoma, the Indian Soma, is an intoxicating plant, the juice of which is drunk by the faithful for their own benefit and for the benefit of their gods. It comprises in it the powers of life of all the vegetable kingdom.

There are two Haomas: one is the yellow or golden Haoma, which is the earthly Haoma, and which, when prepared for the sacrifice, is the king of healing plants[4]; the other is the white Haoma or Gaokerena, which grows up in the middle of the sea Vouru-kasha, surrounded by the ten thousand healing plants[5]. It is by the drinking of Gaokerena that men, on the day of the resurrection, will become immortal[6].

§ 29. Spell or prayer is not less powerful than the offerings. In the beginning of the world, it was by reciting the Honover (Ahuna Vairya) that Ormazd confounded Ahriman[7]. Man, too, sends his prayer between the earth and the heavens, there to smite the fiends, the Kahvaredhas and the Kahvaredhis, the Kayadhas and the Kayadhis, the Zandas and the Yâtus[8].

§ 30. A number of divinities sprang from the hearth of the altar, most of which were already in existence during the Indo-Iranian period.

Piety, which every day brings offerings and prayers to the fire of the altar, was worshipped in the Vedas as Aramati, the goddess who every day, morning and evening,

[1. Yt. VIII, 23 seq.

2. Prepared with certain rites and prayers; it is the Vedic hotrâ.

3. A piece of meat placed on the draona (Farg. V, 25, n. 3).

4. Bundahis 58, 10.

5. Farg. XX, 4.

6. Bundahis 42, 12; 59, 4

7. Bundahis. Cf. Farg. XIX, 9, 43; Yasna XIX.

8. Yasna LXI (LX).]

streaming with the sacred butter, goes and gives up herself to Agni[1]. She was praised in the Avesta in a more sober manner as the abstract genius of piety; yet a few practices preserved evident traces of old myths on her union with Âtar, the fire-god[2].

Agni, as a messenger between gods and men, was known to the Vedas as Narâ-sansa; hence came the Avesta messenger of Ahura, Nairyô-sangha[3].

The riches that go up from earth to heaven in the offerings of man and come down from heaven to earth in the gifts of the gods were deified as Râta[4], the gift, Ashi, the felicity[5], and more vividly in Pârendi[6], the keeper of treasures, who comes on a sounding chariot, a sister to the Vedic Puramdhi.

The order of the world, the Vedic Rita, the Zend Asha, was deified as Asha Vahista, 'the excellent Asha[7].'

§ 31. Sraosha is the priest god[8]: he first tied the Baresma into bundles, and offered up sacrifice to Ahura; be first sang the holy hymns: his weapons are the Ahuna-Vairya and the Yasna, and thrice in each day, in each night, he descends upon this Karshvare to smite Angra Mainyu and his crew of demons. It is he who, with his club uplifted, protects the living world from the terrors of the night, when the fiends rush upon the earth; it is he who protects the dead from the terrors of death, from the assaults of Angra Mainyu and Vîdôtus[9]. It is through a sacrifice performed by Ormazd, as a Zôti, and Sraosha, as a Raspî[10], that at the end of time Ahriman will be for ever vanquished and brought to nought[11].

§ 32. Thus far, the single elements of Mazdeism do not essentially differ from those of the Vedic and Indo-European mythologies generally. Yet Mazdeism, as a wholes took an aspect of its own by grouping these elements in a new order, since by referring everything either

[1. Orm. Ahr. § 205.

2. Farg. XVIII, 51 seq.

3. Farg. XXII, 7.

4. Farg. XIX, 19.

5. Neriosengh.

6. Orm. Ahr. § 200.

7. Parsi Ardibehest.

8. Yasna LVI.

9. Farg. VII, 52, n. 4; XIX, 46, n. 8.

10. Cf. Farg. V, 57, n.

11. Bundahis 76, 11.]

Angra Mainyu as its source, it came to divide the world into two symmetrical halves, in both of which a strong unity prevailed. The change was summed up in the rising of Angra Mainyu, a being of mixed nature, who was produced by abstract speculation from the old Indo-European storm fiend, and who borrowed his form from the supreme god himself. on the one hand. as the world battle is only an enlarged form of the mythical storm fight, Angra Mainyu, the fiend of fiends and the leader of the evil powers, is partly an abstract embodiment of their energies and feats; on the other hand, as the antagonist of Ahura, he is modelled after him, and partly, as it were, a negative projection of Ahura[1].

Ahura is all light, truth, goodness, and knowledge; Angra Mainyu is all darkness, falsehood, wickedness, and ignorance[2].

Ahura dwells in the infinite light; Angra Mainyu dwells in the infinite night.

Whatever the good Spirit makes, the evil Spirit mars. When the world was created. Angra Mainyu broke into it[3], opposed every creation of Ahura's with a plague of his own[4], killed the first-born bull that had been the first offspring and source of life on earth[5], he mixed poison with plants, smoke with fire, sin with man, and death with life.

§ 33, Under Ahura were ranged the six Amesha Spentas. They were at first mere personifications of virtues and moral or liturgical powers[6]; but as their lord and father ruled over the whole of the world, they took by and by each a part of the world under their care. The choice was not altogether artificial, but partly natural and spontaneous. The empire of waters and trees was vested in Haurvatât and Ameretât, health and immortality, through the influence of old Indo-Iranian formulae, in which waters and trees were invoked as the springs of health and life. More complex trains of ideas and partly the influence of analogy fixed the

[1. Orm. Ahr. § 85.

2. Bundahis. I; cf. Yasna XXX.

3. Yast XIII, 77.

4. Cf. Farg. I.

5. Cf. Farg. XXI. 1.

6. See above, p. lx.]

field of action of the others. Khshathra Vairya, the perfect sovereignty, had molten brass for its emblem, as the god in the storm established his empire by means of that 'molten brass,' the fire of lightning; he thus became the king of metals in general. Asha Vahista, the holy order of the world, as maintained chiefly by the sacrificial fire, became the genius of fire. Ârmaiti seems to have become a goddess of the earth as early as the Indo-Iranian period, and Vohu-manô had the living creation left to his superintendence[1].

§ 34. The Amesha Spentas projected, as it were, out of themselves, as many Daêvas or demons, who, either in their being or functions, were, most of them, hardly more than dim inverted images of the very gods they were to oppose, and whom they followed through all their successive evolutions. Haurvatât and Ameretât, health and life, were opposed by Tauru and Zairi, sickness and decay, who changed into rulers of thirst and hunger when Haurvatât and Ameretât had become the Amshaspands of waters and trees.

Vohu-manô, or good thought, was reflected in Akô-manô, evil thought. Sauru, the arrow of death[2], Indra, a name or epithet of fire as destructive[3], Nâunhaithya, an old Indo-Iranian divinity, whose meaning was forgotten in Iran and misinterpreted by popular etymology[4], were opposed, respectively, to Khshathra Vairya, Asha Vahista, and Spenta Ârmaiti, and became the demons of tyranny, corruption, and impiety.

Then came the symmetrical armies of the numberless gods and fiends, Yazatas and Drvants.

§ 35. Everything in the world was engaged in the conflict. Whatever works, or is fancied to work, for the good of man or for his harm, for the wider spread of life or against it, comes from, and strives for, either Ahura or Angra Mainyu.

Animals are enlisted under the standards of either the one spirit or the other[5]. In the eyes of the Parsis, they

[1. Orm. Ahr. §§ 202-206.

2. See above, p. lxviii.

3. See § 41.

4. Ibid.

5. A strict discipline prevails among them. Every class of animals has a chief or ratu above it (Bund. XXIV). The same organisation extends to all the beings {footnote p. lxxiii} in nature: stars, men, gods have their respective ratus, Tistrya, Zoroaster, Ahura.]

belong either to Ormazd or Ahriman according as they are useful or hurtful to man; but, in fact, they belonged originally to either the one or the other, according as they had been incarnations of the god or of the fiend, that is, as they chanced to have lent their forms to either in the storm tales[1]. In a few cases, of course, the habits of the animal had not been without influence upon its mythic destiny: but the determinative cause was different. The fiend was not described as a serpent because the serpent is a subtle and crafty reptile, but because the storm fiend envelops the goddess of light, or the milch cows of the raining heavens, with the coils of the cloud as with a snake's folds. It was not animal psychology that disguised gods and fiends as dogs, otters, hedge-hogs, and cocks, or as snakes, tortoises, frogs, and ants, but the accidents of physical qualities and the caprice of popular fancy, as both the god and the fiend might be compared with, and transformed into, any object, the idea of which was suggested by the uproar of the storm, the blazing of the lightning, the streaming of the water, or the hue and shape of the clouds.

Killing the Ahrimanian creatures, the Khrafstras[2], is killing Ahriman himself, and sin may be atoned for by this means[3]. Killing an Ormazdean animal is an abomination, it is killing God himself. Persia was on the brink of zoolatry, and escaped it only by misunderstanding the principle she followed[4].

[1. Orm. Ahr. §§ 227-231.

2. Farg. III, 10; XIV, 5 seq., 8, n. 8; XVIII, 70, &c.

3. There is scarcely any religious custom that can be followed through so continuous a series of historical evidence: fifth century B.C., Herodotus I, 140; first century A. D., Plutarch, De Isid. XLVI; Quaest. Conviv. IV, 5, 2; sixth century, Agathias II, 24; seventeenth century, G. du Chinon.

4. Thus arose a classification which was often at variance with its supposed principle. As the god who rushes in the lightning was said to move on a raven's wings, with a hawk's flight, birds of prey belonged to the realm of Ormazd. The Parsi theologians were puzzled at this fact, but their ingenuity proved equal to the emergency: Ormazd, while creating the hunting hawk, said to him: 'O thou hunting hawk! I have created thee; but I ought rather to be sorry than glad of it; for thou doest the will of Ahriman much more than mine: like a wicked man who never has money enough, thou art never satisfied with killing birds. {footnote p. lxxiv} But hadst thou not been made by me, Ahriman, bloody Ahriman, would have made thee with the size of a man, and there would no more be any small creature left alive' (Bundahis XIV). Inversely Ahriman created a lovely bird, the peacock, to show that he did not do evil from any incapacity of doing well, but through wilful wickedness (Eznik); Satan is still nowadays invoked by the Yezidis as Melek Taus ('angel peacock').]

§ 36. The fulgurating conqueror of Apaosha, Tistrya, was described in mythic tales sometimes as a boar with golden horns, sometimes as a horse with yellow cars, sometimes as a beautiful youth. But as he had been compared to a shining star on account of the gleaming of lightning, the, stars joined in the fray, where they stood with Tistrya on Ahura's side; and partly for the sake of symmetry, partly owing to Chaldaean influences, the planets passed into the army of Ahriman.

§ 37. Man, according to his deeds, belongs to Ormazd or to Ahriman. He belongs to Ormazd, he is a man of Asha, a holy one, if he offers sacrifice to Ormazd and the gods, if he helps them by good thoughts, words, and deeds, if he enlarges the world of Ormazd by spreading life over the world, and if he makes the realm of Ahriman narrower by destroying his creatures. A man of Asha is the Âthravan (priest) who drives away fiends and diseases by spells, the Rathaêsta (warrior) who with his club crushes the head of the impious, the Vâstryô (husbandman) who makes good and plentiful harvests grow up out of the earth. He who does the contrary is a Drvant, 'demon,' an Anashavan, 'foe of Asha,' an Ashemaogha, 'confounder of Asha.'

The man of Asha who has lived for Ahura Mazda will have a seat near him in heaven, in the same way as in India the man of Rita, the faithful one, goes to the palace of Varuna, there to live with the forefathers, the Pitris, a life of everlasting happiness[1]. Thence he will go out, at the end of time, when the dead shall rise, and live a new and all-happy life on the earth freed from evil and death.

[1. From the worship of the Pitris was developed in Iran the worship of the Fravashis, who being at first identical with the Pitris, with the souls of the departed, became by and by a distinct principle. The Fravashi was independent of the circumstances of life or death, in immortal part of the individual which existed before man and outlived him. Not only man was endowed with a Fravashi, but gods too, and the sky, fire, waters, and plants (Orm. Ahr. §§ 112-113).]

§ 38. This brings us to speak of a series of myths which have done much towards obscuring the close connection between the Avesta and the Vedic mythologies: I mean the myths about the heavenly life of Yima.

In the Veda Yama, the son of Vivasvat, is the first man and, therefore, the first of the dead, the king of the dead. As such he is the centre of gathering for the departed, and he presides over them in heaven, in the Yamasâdanam, as king of men, near Varuna the king of gods.

His Avesta twin-brother, Yima, the son of Vîvanghat, is no longer the first man, as this character had been transferred to another hero, of later growth, Gayô Maratan; yet he has kept nearly all the attributes which were derived from his former character: on the one hand he is the first king, and the founder of civilisation; on the other hand, 'the best mortals' gather around him in a marvellous palace, in Airyanem Vaêgô, which appears to be identical with the Yamasâdanam from Yama meeting there with Ahura and the gods, and making his people live there a blessed life[1]. But, by and by, as it was forgotten that Yima was the first man and the first of the dead, it was also forgotten that his people were nothing else than the dead going to their common ancestor above and to the king of heaven: the people in the Vara were no longer recognised as the human race, but became a race of a supernatural character, different from those who continued going, day by day, from earth to heaven to join Ahura Mazda[2].

§ 39. But the life of the world is limited, the struggle is not to last for ever, and Ahriman will be defeated at last.

The world was imagined as lasting a long year of twelve millenniums. There had been an old myth, connected with that notion, which made the world end in a frightful winter[3], to be succeeded by an eternal spring, when the blessed would come down from the Vara of Yima to repeople the earth. But as storm was the ordinary and more dramatic form of the strife, there was another version, according to

[1. See Farg II.

2. Farg. XIX, 28 seq.

3. Cf. Farg. II, Introd. and § 21 seq.]

which the world ended in a storm, and this version became the definitive one.

The serpent, Asi Dahâka, let loose, takes hold of the world again. As the temporary disappearance of the light was often mythically described either as the sleeping of the god, or as his absence, or death, its reappearance was indicative of the awakening of the hero, or his return, or the arrival of a son born to him. Hence came the tales about Keresâspa awakening from his sleep to kill the snake finally[1]; the tales about Peshôtanu, Aghraêratha, Khumbya, and others living in remote countries till the day of the last fight is come[2]; and, lastly, the tales about Saoshyant, the son who is to be born to Zarathustra at the end of time, and to bring eternal light and life to mankind, as his father brought them the law and the truth. This brings us to the question whether any historical reality underlies the legend of Zarathustra or Zoroaster.

§ 40. Mazdeism. has often been called Zoroaster's religion, in the same sense as Islam is called Muhammed's religion, that is, as being the work of a man named Zoroaster, a view which was favoured, not only by the Parsi and Greek accounts, but by the strong unity and symmetry of the whole system. Moreover, as the moral and abstract spirit which pervades Mazdeism. is different from the Vedic spirit, and as the word deva, which means a god in Sanskrit, means a demon in the Avesta, it was thought that Zoroaster's work had been a work of reaction against Indian polytheism, in fact, a religious schism. When he lived no one knows, and every one agrees that all that the Parsis and the Greeks tell of him is mere legend, through which no solid historical facts can be arrived at. The question is whether Zoroaster was a man converted into a god, or a god converted into a man. No one who reads, with a mind free from the yoke of classical recollections, I do not say the Book of Zoroaster (which may be charged with being a modern romance of recent invention), but the Avesta itself, will have any doubt that Zoroaster is no less an essential

[1. See above, p. lxv.

2. Bundahis XXX.]

{p. lxxvii}

part of the Mazdean mythology than the son expected to be born to him, at the end of time, to destroy Ahriman[1].

Zoroaster is not described as one who brings new truth and drives away error, but as one who overthrows the demons: he is a smiter of fiends, like Verethraghna, Apâm Napât, Tistrya, Vayu, or Keresâspa, and he is stronger and more valiant than Keresâspa himself[2]; the difference between him and them is that, whereas they smite the fiend with material weapons, he smites them chiefly with a spiritual one, the word or prayer. We say 'chiefly' because the holy word is not his only weapon; he repels the assaults of Ahriman with stones as big as a house which Ahura has given to him[1], and which were furnished, no doubt, from the same quarry as the stones which are cast at their enemies by Indra, by Agni, by the Maruts, or by Thor, and which are 'the flame, wherewith, as with a stone[4],' the storm god aims at the fiend. Therefore his birth[5], like the birth of every storm god, is longed for and hailed with joy as the signal of its deliverance by the whole living creation, because it is the end of the dark and arid reign of the demon: 'In his birth, in his growth did the floods and trees rejoice in his birth, in his growth the floods and trees did grow up in his birth, in his birth the floods and trees exclaimed with joy[6].' Ahura himself longs for him and fears lest the hero about to be born may not stand by him: 'He offered up a sacrifice to Ardvî Sûra Anâhita, he, the Maker, Ahura Mazda; he offered up the Haoma, the Myazda, the Baresma, the holy words, he besought her, saying: Vouchsafe me that boon, O high, mighty, undefiled goddess, that I may bring about the son of Pourushaspa, the holy Zarathustra,

[1. The same view as to the mythological character of Zoroaster was maintained, although with different arguments, by Professor Kern in an essay 'Over het woord Zarathustra,' as I see from a short abstract of it which Professor Max Müller kindly wrote for me.

2. Yast XIX, 39.

3. Farg. XIX, 4.

4. Rig-Veda II, 30, 4.

5. A singular trait of his birth, according to Pliny, who is on this point in perfect accordance with later Parsi tradition, is that, alone of mortals, he laughed while being born: this shows that his native place is in the very same regions where the Vedic Maruts are born, those storm genii 'born of the laughter of the lightning' ('I laugh as I pass in thunder' says the Cloud in Shelley; cf. the Persian Khandah i barq, 'the laughter of the lightning').

6 Yast XIII, 93.]

to think according to the law, to speak according to the law, to work according to the law!' Ardvî Surâ Anâhita granted that boon to him who was offering up libations, sacrificing and beseeching[1].

Zarathustra stands by Ahura. The fiends come rushing along from hell to kill him, and fly away terrified by his hvarenô: Angra Mainyu himself is driven away by the stones he hurls at him[2]. But the great weapon of Zarathustra is neither the thunder-stones he hurls, nor the glory with which he is surrounded, it is the Word[2].

In the voice of the thunder the Greeks recognised the warning of a god which the wise understand, and they worshipped it as {Greek O?'ssa Dio`s a?'ggelos} 'the Word, messenger of Zeus;' the Romans worshipped it as a goddess, Fama; India adores it as 'the Voice in the cloud,' Vâk Âmbbrinî, which issues from the waters, from the forehead of the father, and hurls the deadly arrow against the foe of Brahman, So the word from above is either a weapon that kills, or a revelation that teaches: in the mouth of Zarathustra it is both: now he smites down Angra Mainyu with the Ahuna vairya (Honover) as he would do with stones as big as a house, and he burns him up with the Ashem vohu as with melted brass[3];' now he converses with Ahura, on the mountain of the holy questions, in the forest of the holy questions[4]. Any storm god, whose voice descends from above to the earth, may become a godlike messenger, a lawgiver, a Zarathustra. Nor is Zarathustra the only lawgiver, the only prophet, of whom the Avesta knows: Gayô Maratan, Yima, the bird Karsiptan[5], each of whom, under different names, forms, and functions, are one and the same being with Zarathustra, that is to say, the godlike champion in the struggle for light, knew the law as well as Zarathustra. But as mythology, like language and life, likes to reduce every organ to one function, Zarathustra became the titulary lawgiver[6].

[1. Yast V, 18.

2. Orm. Ahr. § 162 seq.

3. Yast XVII, 18.

4. Farg. XXII, 19.

5. Farg. II, 3, 42; Yast XIII, 87.

6. The law is generally known as Dâtem vîdaêvô-dâtem (cf. V, i); as emanating from Ahura it is Mathra Spenta, 'the holy word,' which is the soul of Ahura (Farg. XIX, 4).]

As he overwhelmed Angra Mainyu during his lifetime by his spell, he is to overwhelm him at the end of time by the hands of a son yet unborn. 'Three times he came near unto his wife Hrôgvi, and three times the seed fell upon the ground, The Ized Neriosengh took what was bright and strong in it and intrusted it to the Ized Anâhita. At the appointed time, it will be united again with a maternal womb: 99,999 Fravashis of the faithful watch over it, lest the fiends destroy it[1].' A maid bathing in the lake Kãsava will conceive by it and bring forth the victorious Saoshyant (Sôshyôs), who will come from the region of the dawn to free the world from death and decay, from corruption and rottenness, ever living and ever thriving, when the dead shall rise and immortality commence[2].

All the features in Zarathustra point to a god: that the god may have grown up from a man, that pre-existent mythic elements may have gathered around the name of a man, born on earth, and by and by surrounded the human face with the aureole of a god, . may of course be maintained, but only on condition that one may distinctly express what was the real work of Zoroaster. That he, raised a new religion against the Vedic religion, and cast down into hell the gods of older days can no longer be maintained, since the gods, the ideas, and the worship of Mazdeism are shown to emanate directly from the old religion, and have nothing more of a reaction against it than Zend has against Sanskrit.

§ 41. The only evidence in favour of the old hypothesis of a religious schism is reduced to the evidence of a few words which might à priori be challenged, as the life of words is not the same as the life of the things they express, the nature of things does not change with the meaning of the syllables which were attached to them for a while, and the history of the world is not a chapter of grammar. And, in fact, the evidence appealed to, when more closely considered, proves to speak against the very theory it is meant

[1. Bund. XXXIII; Eznik. The whole of the myth belongs to the Avesta period, as appears from Yast XIII, 61; Vendîdâd XIX, 5.

2. Yast XIX, 89 seq.]

to support. The word Asura, which in the Avesta means 'the Lord,' and is the name of the supreme God, means 'a demon' in the Brahmanical literature; but in the older religion of the Vedas it is quite as august as in the Avesta, and is applied to the highest deities, and particularly to Varuna, the Indian brother of Ahura. This shows that when the Iranians and Indians sallied forth from their common native land, the Asura continued for a long time to be the Lord in India as well as in Persia; and the change took place, not in Iran, but in India. The descent of the word daêva from 'a god' to 'a demon' is a mere accident of language. There were in the Indo-Iranian language three words expressive of divinity: Asura, 'the Lord,' Yagata, 'the one who is worthy of sacrifice,' Daêva, the shining one.' Asura became the name of the supreme God, Yagata was the general name of all gods. Now as there were old Indo-Iranian formulae which deprecated the wrath of both men and devas (gods), or invoked the aid of some god against the hate and oppression of both men and devas[1], that word daêva, which had become obsolete (because Asura and Yagata met all the wants of religious language), took by and by from formulae of this kind a dark and fiendish meaning. What favoured the change was the want of a technical word for expressing the general notion of a fiend, a want the more felt as the dualistic idea acquired greater strength and distinctness. Etymology was unable to preserve the Daêvas from this degradation, as the root div, 'to shine,' was lost in Zend, and thus the primitive meaning being forgotten, the word was ready to take any new meaning which chance or necessity should give to it. But only the word descended into hell, not the beings it denoted; neither Varuna, nor Mitra, nor the Âdityas, nor Agni, nor Soma, in fact none of the old Aryan deities fell or tottered. Though the word Indra is the name of a fiend in the Avesta, the Vedic god it denotes was as bright and as mighty in Iran as in India under the name of Verethraghna: and as we do not know the etymological meaning

[1. Rig-veda VI, 62, 8; VII, 52, 1; VIII, 19, 6; Yast X, 34; Yasna IX (60).]

of the name, it may have been such epithet as could be applied to a fiend as well as to a god. The same can be said of Naunghaithya. Moreover, both Indra and Naunghaithya are in the Avesta mere names: neither the Avesta nor old tradition knows anything about them, which would look very strange, had they been vanquished in a religious struggle, as they should have played the foremost part at the head of the fiends. As to the third comparison established between the Iranian demon Sauru and the Indian god Sarva, it fails utterly, as Sauru is the Vedic Saru, a symbol of death, and both are therefore beings of the same nature.

§ 42. Therefore, so far as the Vedic religion and the Avesta religion are concerned, there is not the abyss of a schism between them. They are quite different, and must be so, since each of them lived its own life, and living is changing; but nowhere is the link broken that binds both to their common source. Nowhere in the Avesta is the effort of any man felt who, standing against the belief of his people, enforces upon them a new creed, by the ascendancy of his genius, and turns the stream of their thoughts from the bed wherein it had flowed for centuries. There was no religious revolution: there was only a long and slow movement which led, by insensible degrees, the vague and unconscious dualism of the Indo-Iranian religion onwards to the sharply defined dualism of the Magi.

It does not follow hence, of course, that there was nothing left to individual genius in the formation of Mazdeism.; the contrary is evident à priori from the fact that Mazdeism expresses the ideas of a sacerdotal caste. It sprang from the long elaboration of successive generations of priests, and that elaboration is so far from having been the work of one day and of one man that the exact symmetry which is the chief characteristic of Mazdeism is still imperfect in the Avesta on certain most important points. For instance, the opposition of six arch-fiends to the six arch-gods which we find in Plutarch and in the Bundahis was still unknown when the Xth Fargard of the Vendîdâd and the XIXth Yast were composed, and the stars were not yet members of the Ormazdean army when the bulk of the VIIIth Yast was written.

The reflective spirit that had given rise to Mazdeism never rested, but continued to produce new systems; and there is hardly any religion in which slow growth and continual change is more apparent. When the Magi had accounted for the existence of evil by the existence of two principles, there arose the question how there could be two principles, and a longing for unity was felt, which found its satisfaction in the assumption that both are derived from one and the same principle. This principle was, according to divers sects, either Space, or Infinite Light, or Boundless Time, or Fate[1]. Of most of these systems no direct trace is found in the Avesta[2], yet they existed already in the time of Aristotle[3].

They came at last to pure monotheism. Some forty years ago when the Rev. Dr. Wilson was engaged in his controversy with the Parsis, some of his opponents repelled the charge of dualism by denying to Ahriman any real existence, and making him a symbolical personification of bad instincts in man. It was not difficult for the Doctor to show that they were at variance with their sacred books, and critics in Europe occasionally wondered at the progress made by the Parsis in rationalism of the school of Voltaire and Gibbon. Yet there was no European influence at the bottom; and long before the Parsis had heard of Europe and Christianity, commentators, explaining the myth of Tahmurath, who rode for thirty years on Ahriman as a horse, interpreted the feat of the old legendary king as the

[1. All these four principles are only abstract forms of Ormazd himself, at least in his first naturalistic character of the Heaven God. Heaven is Infinite Space, it is Infinite Light, and by its movement it gives rise to Time and to Fate (Orm. Ahr. §§ 244-259). Time is twofold: there is the limited time that measures the duration of the world (see above, § 39) and lasts 12,000 years, which is Zrvan dareghô-hvadâta, 'the Sovereign Time of the long period;' and there is 'the Boundless Time,' Zrvan akarana (Farg. XIX, 9).

2. When Vendîdâd XIX, 9 was written, the Zervanitic system seems to have been, if not fully developed, at least already existent.

3. Eudemos (ap. Damascius, ed. Kopp, 384) knows of {Greek xro'nos} and {Greek to'pos} as the first principles of the Magi; Boundless Time is already transformed into a legendary hero in Berosus (third century B.C.)]

curbing of evil passion and restraining the Ahriman in the heart of man[1]. That idealistic interpretation was current as early as the fifteenth century, and is prevalent now with most of the Dasturs[2] . To what extent that alteration may have been influenced by Islamism, can hardly be decided; there are even some faint signs that it began at a time when the old religion was still flourishing; at any rate, no one can think of ascribing to one man, or to one time, that slow change from dualism to monotheism, which is, however, really deeper and wider than the movement which, in prehistoric times, brought the Magi from an imperfect form of dualism to one more perfect.


§ 1. According to Parsi tradition the Vendîdâd[3] is the only Nosk, out of the twenty-one, that was preserved in its entirety[4]. This is a statement to which it is difficult to trust; for, if there is anything that shows how right the Parsis are in admitting that the Avesta is only a collection of fragments, it is just the fragmentary character of the Vendîdâd.

The Vendîdâd has often been described as the book of the laws of the Parsis; it may be more exactly called the code, of purification, a description, however, which is itself only so far correct that the laws of purification are the object of the largest part of the book.

[1. Aogemaidê, ed. Geiger, p. 36, § 92; Mirkhond, History of the Early Kings Of Persia, tr. Shea, p. 98. Cf. Revue Critique, 1879, II, 163.

2. 'The Parsis are now strict monotheists, and whatever may have been the views of former philosophical writings, their one supreme deity is Ahura Mazda. Their views of Angra Mainyu seem to differ in no respect from what is supposed to be the orthodox Christian view of the devil.' Haug's Essays, 2nd ed. p. 53, Mandelslo, in the seventeenth century, speaks of Parsiism as a monotheistic religion.

3 The word Vendîdâd is a corruption of Vîdaêvô-dâtem (dâtem), the anti-demoniac law.' It is sometimes applied to the whole of the law (Vendîdâd Sâdah).

4. See above, p. xxxii.]

The first two chapters deal with mythical matter, without any direct connection with the general object of the Vendîdâd, and are remnants of an old epic and cosmogonic literature. The first deals with the creations and counter-creations of Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu; the second speaks of Yima, the founder of civilisation. Although there was no particular reason for placing them in the Vendîdâd, as soon as they were admitted into it they were put at the beginning, because they referred to the first ages of the world. Three chapters of a mythical character, about the origin of medicine, were put at the end of the book, for want of any better place, but might as well have been kept apart[1], as was the so-called Hadhokht Nosk fragment. There is also another mythical Fargard, the nineteenth, which, as it treats of the revelation of the law by Ahura to Zarathustra, would have been more suitably placed at the beginning of the Vendîdâd proper, that is, as the third Fargard.

The other seventeen chapters deal chiefly with religious observances, although mythical fragments, or moral digressions, are met with here and there, which are more or less artificially connected with the text, and which were most probably not written along with the passages which they follow[2].

§ 2. A rough attempt at regular order appears in these seventeen chapters: nearly all the matter contained in the eight chapters from V to XII deals chiefly with impurity from the dead and the way of dispelling it; but the subject is again treated, here and there, in other Fargards[3], and matter irrelevant to the subject has also found its way into these same eight Fargards[4]. Fargards XIII and XIV are devoted to the dog, but must be completed with a part of the XVth. Fargards XVI, XVII, and most part of XVIII deal with several sorts of uncleanness, and their proper

[1. As an introduction to a code of laws on physicians; see Farg. VII, 36-44.

2. For instance, Farg. V, 15-20; III, 24-29; 30-32; 33; IV, 47-49.

3. III, 14-22; 36 seq.; XIX, 11-25.

4. The passages on medicine (VII, 36-44), and on the sea Vouru-kasha 15-20).]

place should rather have been after the XIIth Fargard. Fargard III is devoted to the earth[1]; Fargard IV stands by itself, as it deals with a matter which is treated only there, namely, civil and penal laws[2].

No better order prevails within these several parts prescriptions on one and the same subject are scattered about through several Fargards, without any subject being treated at once in a full and exhaustive way; and this occasions needless repetitions[3].

The main cause of this disorder was, of course, that the advantage of order is rarely felt by Orientals; but it was further promoted by the very form of exposition adopted by the first composers of the Vendîdâd. The law is revealed by Ahura in a series of answers to questions put to him by Zarathustra[4]; and as these questions are not of a general character, but refer to details, the matter is much broken into fragments, each of which, consisting of a question with its answer, stands by itself, as an independent passage.

We shall treat in the following pages, first of the laws of purification, then of the civil laws, and, lastly, of the penalties both religious and civil.


§ 3. The first object of man is purity, yaozdau purity is for man, next to life, the greatest good[5].'

Purity and impurity have not in the Vendîdâd the exclusively spiritual meaning which they have in our languages: they do not refer to an inward state of the

[1. It contains two digressions, the one on funeral laws, the other on husbandry. See Farg. III, Introd.

2. It contains one digression on physical weal, which must have belonged originally to Farg. III. See Farg. IV. Introd.

3. V, 27-30 = VII, 6-9; V, 45-54 = VII, 60-69; V, 57-62 = VII, 17-22.

4. The outward form of the Vendîdâd has been often compared with that of the Books of Moses. But in reality, in the Bible, there is no conversation between God and the lawgiver: the law comes down unasked, and God gives commands, but gives no answers. In the Vendîdâd, on the contrary, it is the wish of man, not the will of God, that is the first cause of the revelation. Man must ask of Ahura, who knows everything, and is pleased to answer (XVIII, 13 seq.); the law is 'the question to Ahura,' âhuri frasnô.

5. Farg. V, 21, from Yasna XLVIII (XLVII), 5.]

person, but chiefly to a physical state of the body. Impurity or uncleanness may be described as the state of a person or thing that is possessed of the demon; and the object of purification is to expel the demon.

The principal means by which uncleanness enters man is death, as death is the triumph of the demon.

When a man dies, as soon as the soul has parted from the body, the Drug Nasu or Corpse-Drug falls upon the dead from the regions of hell, and whoever thenceforth touches the corpse becomes unclean, and makes unclean whomsoever he touches[1].

The Drug is expelled from the dead by means of the Sag-dîd, 'the look of the dog:' 'a four-eyed dog' or a white one with yellow ears' is brought near the body and is made to look at the dead; as soon as he has done so, the Drug flees back to hell[2].

The Drug is expelled from the living, whom she has seized through their contact with the dead, by a process of washings with ox's urine (gômêz or nîrang) and with water, combined with the Sag-dîd[3].

The real import of these ceremonies is shown by the spells which accompany their performance: 'Perish, O fiendish Drug! Perish, O brood of the fiend! Perish, O world of the fiend! Perish away, O Drug! Rush away, O Drug! Perish away, O Drug! Perish away to the regions of the north, never more to give unto death the living world of the holy spirit!'

Thus, in the death of a man, there is more involved than the death of one man: the power of death, called forth from hell, threatens from the corpse, as from a stronghold, the whole world of the living, ready to seize whatever may fall within his reach, and 'from the dead defiles the living, from the living rushes upon the living.' When a man dies in a house, there is danger for three days lest somebody else should die in that house[4].

[1. Farg. VII, 1 seq.

2. In the shape of a fly. 'The fly that came to the smell of the dead body was thought to be the corpse-spirit that came to take possession of the dead in the name of Ahriman' (Justi, Persien, p. 88).

3. Farg. VIII, 35-72; IX, 12-36.

4. Saddar 78.]

The notion or feeling, out of which these ceremonies grew was far from unknown to the other Indo-European peoples what was peculiar to Mazdeism was that it carried it to an extreme, and preserved a clearer sense of it, while elsewhere it grew dimmer and dimmer, and faded away. In fact, when the Greek, going out of a house where a dead man lay, sprinkled himself with water from the {Greek a?rdani'on} at the door, it was death that he drove away from himself. The Vedic Indian, too, although his rites were intended chiefly for the benefit of the dead, considered himself in danger and, while burning the corpse, cried aloud: 'Away, go away, O Death! injure not our sons and our men!' (Rig-veda X, 18, 1.)

§ 4. As to the rites by means of which the Drug is expelled, they are the performance of myths. There is nothing in worship but what existed before in mythology. What we call a practice is only an imitation of gods, an {Greek o!moi'wsis ðew^j}, as man fancies he can bring about the things he wants, by performing the acts which are supposed to have brought about things of the same kind when practised by the gods.

The Parsis, being at a loss to find four-eyed dogs, interpret the name as meaning a dog with two spots above the eyes[1]: but it is clear that the two-spotted dog's services are only accepted for want of a four-eyed one; or of a white one with yellow ears, which amounts to saying that there were myths, according to which the death-fiend was driven away by dogs of that description. This reminds one at once of the three-headed Kerberos, watching at the doors of hell, and, still more, of the two brown, four-eyed dogs of Yama, who guard the ways to the realm of death[2].

The identity of the four-eyed dog of the Parsi with Kerberos and Yama's dogs appears, moreover, from the Parsi tradition that the yellow-eared dog watches at the

[1. In practice they are still less particular: 'the Sag-dîd may be performed by a shepherd's dog, by a house dog, by a Vohunazga dog (see Farg. XIII, 19, n.), or by a young dog (a dog four months old), Comm. ad Farg. VII, 2. As birds of prey are as fiend-smiting as the dog (see above, p. lxxiii, n. 4), they are Nasu-smiters like him, and one may appeal to their services, when there is no dog at hand (see Farg. VII, 3, n. 5).

2 Rig-veda X, 14, 10 seq.]

head of the Kinvat bridge, which leads from this to the next world, and with his barking drives away the fiend from the souls of the holy ones, lest he should drag them to hell[1].

Wherever the corpse passes by, death walks with it; all along the way it has gone, from the house to its last resting-place, a spirit of death is breathing and threatening the living. Therefore, no man, no flock, no being whatever that belongs to the world of Ahura, is allowed to pass by that way until the deadly breath, that blows through it, has been blown away to hell[2]. The four-eyed dog is made to go through the way three times, or six times, or nine times, while the priest helps the look of the dog with his spells, dreaded by the Drug.

§ 5. The use of gômêz in cleansing the unclean is also derived from old mythic conceptions[3]. The storm floods that cleanse the sky of the dark fiends in it were described in a class of myths as the urine of a gigantic animal in the heavens. As the floods from the bull above drive away the fiend from the god, so they do from man here below, they make him 'free from the death-demon' (frânasu), and the death-fiend flees away hellwards, pursued by the fiend-smiting spell: 'Perish thou, O Drug . . ., never more to give over to Death the living world of the good spirit!'

§ 6. As uncleanness is nothing else than the contagion of death, it is at its greatest intensity when life is just departing. The Nasu at that moment defiles ten persons around the

[1. Gr. Rav. p. 592. Allusions to this myth are found in Farg. XIII, 9, and XIX, 30. The Commentary ad Farg. XIII, 17 has: 'There are dogs who watch over the earthly regions: there are others who watch over the fourteen heavenly regions.' The birth of the yellow-eared dog is described in the Ravâet (l.c.) as follows: 'Ormazd, wishing to keep the body of the first man, Gayômart, from the assaults of Ahriman, who tried to kill him, cried out: "O thou-yellow-eared dog, arise!" and directly the dog barked and shook his two ears; and the unclean Satan and the fiends, when they saw the dreadful looks of the yellow-eared dog, and heard his barking, were sore afraid and fled down to hell.'

2. Farg. VIII, 14-22.

3. Orm. Ahr. §124. The use of gômêz has been lately found to be known in Basse-Bretagne (Luzel, Le Nirang des Parsis en Basse-Bretagne, Mélusine, 493).]

corpse[1] when a year is over, the corpse defiles no longer[2].

Thus the notion of uncleanness is quite the reverse of what thought elsewhere: the corpse, when rotten, is less unclean than the body still all but warm with life; death defiles least when it looks most hideous, and defiles most when it might look majestic. The cause is that in the latter case the death-demon has just arrived in the fulness of his strength, whereas in the former case time has exhausted his power.

§ 7. As the focus of the contagion is in the corpse, it must be disposed of so that death may not spread abroad. On this point the old Indo-European customs have been completely changed by Mazdeism. The Indo-Europeans either burnt the corpse or buried it: both customs are held to be sacrilegious in the Avesta.

§ 8. This view originated from the notion of the holiness of the elements being pushed to an extreme. The elements, fire, earth, and water are holy, and during the Indo-Iranian period they were already considered so, and in the Vedas they are worshipped as godlike beings. Yet this did not prevent the Indian from burning his dead; death did not appear to him so decidedly a work of the demon, and the dead man was a traveller to the other world, whom the fire kindly carried to his heavenly abode 'on his undecaying, flying pinions, wherewith he killed the demons.' The fire was in that, as in the sacrifice, the god that goes from earth to heaven, from man to god, the mediator, the god most friendly to man. In Persia it remains more distant from him; being an earthly form of the eternal, infinite, godly light[3], no death, no uncleanness can be allowed to enter it, as it is here below the purest offspring of the good spirit, the purest part of his pure creation. Its only function is to repel the fiends with its bright blazing. In every place where Parsis are settled, an everlasting fire is kept, the Bahrâm fire, -which, 'preserved by a more than Vestal

[1. Farg. V, 27; cf. n. 5.

2. Farg. VIII, 33-340

3. Ignem coelitus delapsum (Ammian. Marcel. XXVII, 6); Cedrenus; Elisaeus; Recogn. Clement. IV, 29; Clem. Homil. IX, 6; Henry Lord.]

care[1],' and ever fed with perfumes and dry well-blazing wood, whichever side its flames are brought by the wind, it goes and kills thousands and thousands of fiends, as Bahrâm does in heaven[2]. If the necessities of life oblige us to employ fire for profane uses, it must be only for a time an exile on our hearth, or in the oven of the potter, and it must go thence to the Right-Place of the fire (Dâityô Gâtu), the altar of the Bahrâm fire, there to be restored to the dignity and rights of its nature[3].

At least, let no gratuitous and wanton degradation be inflicted upon it: even blowing it with the breath of the mouth is a crime[4]; burning the dead is the most heinous of sins: in the times of Strabo it was a capital crime[5], and the Avesta expresses the same, when putting it in the number of those sins for which there is no atonement[6].

Water was looked upon in the same light. Bringing dead matter to it is as bad as bringing it to the fire[7]. The Magi are said to have overthrown a king for having built bath-houses, as they cared more for the cleanness of water than for their own[8].

§ 9. Not less holy was the earth, or, at least, it became so. There was a goddess who lived in her, Spenta Ârmaiti[9]; no corpse ought to defile her sacred breast: burying the dead is, like burning the dead, a deed for which there is no atonement[10]. It was not always so in Persia. the burning of the dead had been forbidden for

[1. J. Fryer, A New Account of East India and Persia, 1698, p. 265.

2. Farg. VIII, 81-96; 79-80. Cf. above, p. lxiv.

3. Extinguishing it is a mortal sin (Ravâets; Elisaeus; cf. Strabo XV, 14).

4. A custom still existing with the Tâzîk, an Iranian tribe in Eastern Persia (de Khanikoff, Ethnographie de la Perse). Strabo XV, 14. Manu has the same prescription (IV, 53). Cf. Farg. XIV, 8, n. 7.

5. Strabo XV, 14; cf. Herod. III, 16.

6. Farg. I, 17; cf. Farg. VIII, 74.

7. Farg. VII, 25-27; Strabo XV, 14; Herod. I, 138.

8. King Balash (Josué le Stylite, traduction Martin, § xx). It seems as if there were a confusion between Balash and Kavât; at any rate, it shows that bathing smacked of heresy. Jews were forbidden to perform the legal ablutions (Fürst, Culturgeschichte der Juden, 9).

9. See above, p. lxxii.

10. Farg. I, 13.]

years[1], while the burying was still general[2]. Cambyses had roused the indignation of the Persians by burning the corpse of Amasis: yet, years later, Persians still buried their dead. But the priests already felt scruples, and feared to defile a god. Later on, with the ascendancy of the Magian religion, the sacerdotal observances became the general law[3].

§ 10. Therefore the corpse is laid on the summit of a mountain, far from man, from water, from tree, from fire, and from the earth itself, as it is separated from it by a layer of stones or bricks[4]. Special buildings, the Dakhmas, were erected for this purpose[5]. There far from the world the dead were left to lie, beholding the sun[6].

§ ix. Not every corpse defiles man, but only those of such beings as belong to the world of Ahura. They are the only ones in whose death the demon triumphs, The corpse of an Ahrimanian creature does not defile; as its life was incarnate death, the spring of death that was in it is dried up with its last breath: it killed while alive, it can

[1. From the reign of Cyrus (cf. above, p. li).

2. Cf. above, p . xlv.

3. Still the worship of the earth seems not to have so deeply penetrated the general religion as the worship of fire, The laws about the disposal of the dead were interpreted by many, it would seem, as intended only to secure the purity of water and fire, and they thought that they might be at peace with religion if they had taken care to bury the corpse, so that no part of it might be taken by animals to fire or water (Farg. III, 41, n, 7).

4. Farg, VI, 44 seq.; VIII, 10, seq. Cf. IX, 11, n 4. Moreover, the Dakhma is ideally separated from the ground by means of a golden thread, which is supposed to keep it suspended in the air (Ravâet, ap. Spiegel, Uebersetzung des Avesta II, XXXVI).

5 'The Dakhma is a round building, and is designated by some writers, "The Tower of Silence." A round pit, about six feet deep, is surrounded by an annular stone pavement, about seven feet wide, on which the dead bodies are placed. This place is enclosed all round by a stone wall some twenty feet high, with a small door on one side for taking the body in. The whole is built up of and paved with stone. The pit has communication with three or more closed pits, at some distance into which the rain washes out the liquids and the remains of the dead bodies' (Dadabhai Naoroji, The Manners and Customs of the Parsecs, Bombay, 1864, p. 16). Cf. Farg. VI. 50. A Dakhma is the first building the Parsis erect when settling on a new place (Dosabhoy Framjee).

4 The Avesta and the Commentator attach great importance to that point: it is as if the dead man's life were thus prolonged, since he can still behold the sun. 'Grant us that we may long behold the sun,' said the Indian Rishi.]

do so no more when dead; it becomes clean by dying[1]. None of the faithful are defiled by the corpse of an Ashemaogha or of a Khrafstra. Nay, killing them is a pious work, as it is killing Ahriman himself[2].

§ 12. Not only real death makes one unclean, but partial death too. Everything that goes out of the body of man is dead, and becomes the property of the demon. The going breath is unclean, it is forbidden to blow the fire with it[3], and even to approach the fire without screening it from the contagion with a Penôm[4]. Parings of nails and cuttings or shavings of hair are unclean, and become weapons in the hands of the demons unless they have been protected by certain rites and spells[5]. Any phenomenon by which the bodily nature is altered, whether accompanied with danger to health or not, was viewed as a work of the demon, and made the person unclean in whom it took place. One of these phenomena, which is a special object of attention in the Vendîdâd, is the uncleanness of women during their menses. The menses are sent by Ahriman[6], especially when they last beyond the usual time: therefore a woman, as long as they last, is unclean and possessed of the demon: she must be kept confined, apart from the faithful whom her touch would defile, and from the fire which her very look would injure; she is not allowed to eat as much as she wishes, as the strength she might acquire would accrue to the fiends. Her food is not given to her from hand to hand, but is passed to her from a distance[7], in a long leaden spoon. The origin of all these notions is in certain physical instincts, in physiological psychology, which is the reason why they are found among peoples very far removed from one another by race or religion[8]. But they took in Persia a new meaning as they were made a logical part of the whole religious system.

§ 13. A woman that has been just delivered of a child

[1. Farg. V, 35 seq.

2 See above, p. lxxiii.

3. See above, p. xc.

4. See Farg. XIV, 8, n. 7.

5. Farg. XVII.

6. Farg. I, 18-19; XVI, II. Cf. Bund. III.

7. Farg XVI, 15,

6. Cf. Leviticus. See Pliny VII, 13.]

is also unclean[1], although it would seem that she ought to be considered pure amongst the pure, since life has been increased by her in the world, and she has enlarged the realm of Ormazd. But the strength of old instincts overcame the drift of new principles. Only the case when the woman has been delivered of a still-born child is examined in the Vendîdâd. She is unclean as having been in contact with a dead creature; and she must first drink gômêz to wash over the grave in her womb. So utterly unclean is she, that she is not even allowed to drink water, unless she is in danger of death; and even then, as the sacred element has been defiled, she is liable to the penalty of a Peshôtanu[2]. It appears from modern customs that the treatment is the same when the child is born alive: the reason of which is that, in any case, during the first three days after delivery she is in danger of death[3]. A great fire is lighted to keep away the fiends, who use then their utmost efforts to kill her and her child[4]. She is unclean only because the death-fiend is in her.

§ 14. Logic required that the sick man should be treated as an unclean one, that is, as one possessed. Sickness, being sent by Ahriman, ought to be cured like all his other works, by washings and spells. In fact, the medicine of spells was considered the most powerful of all[5], and although it did not oust the medicine of the lancet and that of drugs, yet it was more highly esteemed and less mistrusted. The commentator on the Vendîdâd very sensibly observes that if it does not relieve, it will surely do no harm[6], which seems not to have been a matter of course with those who heal by the knife and physic. It

[1. Farg. V, 45, seq.

2. Farg. VII, 70 seq.

3. 'When there is a pregnant woman in a house, one must take care that there be fire continually in it; when the child is brought forth, one must burn a candle, or, better still, a fire, for three days and three nights, to render the Dêvs and Drugs unable to harm the child; for there is great danger during those three days and nights after the birth of the child' (Saddar 16).

4. 'When the child is being born, one brandishes a sword on the four sides, lest fairy Aal kill it' (Polack, Persien I, 223). In Rome, three gods, Intercidona, Pilumnus, and Deverra, keep her threshold, lest Sylvanus come in and harm her (Augustinus, De Civ. D. VI, 9).

5. Farg. VII, 44.

6. Ibid. p. 96, n. 1.]

appears from the last Fargard that all or, at least, many diseases might be cured by spells and Barashnûm washing. It appears from Herodotus and Agathias that contagious diseases required the same treatment as uncleanness: the sick man was excluded from the community of the faithful[1], until cured and cleansed according to the rites[2].

§ 15. The unclean are confined in a particular place, apart from all clean persons and objects, the Armêst-gâh[3], which may be described, therefore, as the Dakhma for the living. All the unclean, all those struck with temporary death, the man who has touched dead matter, the woman in her menses, or just delivered of child, the leper[4], or the man who has made himself unclean for ever by carrying a corpse alone[5], stay there all the time of their uncleanness.

§ 16. Thus far for general principles. From the diversity of circumstances arises a system of casuistry, the development of which may be followed first through the glosses to the Vendîdâd, in which the labours of several generations of theologians are embodied, and, later on, through the Ravâets. We will give a few instances of it, as found in the Vendîdâd itself.

The process of the cleansing varies according to the degree of uncleanness; and, again, the degree of uncleanness depends on the state of the thing that defiles and the nature of the thing that is defiled.

The uncleanness from the dead is the worst of all, and it is at its utmost when contracted before the Nasu has been expelled from the corpse by the Sag-dîd[6]: it can be cured only by means of the most complicated system of cleansing, the nine nights' Barashnûm[7].

[1. Herod. I, 138.

2. Agathias II, 23.

3. The Armêst-gâh for women in their menses is called Dashtânistân.

4. Herod. I. 1.; Farg. II, 29.

5. Farg. III, 21, n. 2.

6. Farg. VIII, 35-36; 98-99; cf. VII, 29-30, and p. 1 to 30.

7. Farg. IX. The Barashnûm, originally meant to remove the uncleanness from the dead, became a general instrument of holiness. Children when putting on the Kôstî (Farg. XVIII, 9, n. 4) perform it to be cleansed from the natural uncleanness they have contracted in the womb of their mothers. It is good for every one to perform it once a year.]

If the Nasu has already been expelled from the corpse, as the defiling power was less, a simple washing once made, the Ghosel, is enough[1].

The defiling power of the Nasu reaches farther, if the death has just taken place, and if the dying creature occupied a higher rank in the scale of beings[2]; for the more recent the victory of the demon, or the higher the being he has overcome, the stronger he must have been himself.

Menstruous women are cleansed by the Ghosel[3].

As for things they are more or less deeply defiled according to their degree of penetrability: metal vessels, can be cleansed, earthen vessels cannot[4]; leather is more easily cleansed than woven cloth[5]; dry wood than soft wood[6]. Wet matter is a better conductor of uncleanness than dry matter, and corpses cease to defile after a year[7].


§ 17. In the cases heretofore reviewed, only religious purposes are concerned. There is another order of laws, in which, although religion interferes, yet it is not at the root; namely, the laws about contracts and assaults, to, which the fourth Fargard is devoted, and which are the only remains extant of the civil and penal legislation of Zoroastrianism.

The contracts were divided into two classes, according to their mode of being entered into, and according to the value of their object[8]. As to their mode they are word-contracts or hand-contracts: as to their object, they are sheep-contracts, ox-contracts, man-contracts, or field-contracts, which being estimated in money value are contracts to the amount of 3, 12, 500 istîrs, and upwards[9].

No contract can be made void by the will of one party

[1. Farg. VIII, 36.

2. Farg. V, 27 seq.; VII, 1 seq.

3. Farg. XVI, 12.

4. Farg. VII, 73 seq.

5. Farg. VII, 14 seq.

6. Farg. VII, 28 seq.

7. Farg VIII, 33-34.

8. See p. 34, n. 3.

9. An istîr ({Greek stath'r}) is as much as four dirhems ({Greek draxmh'}). The dirhem is estimated by modern tradition a little more than a rupee.]

alone; he who breaks a contract is obliged to pay the value of the contract next higher in value.

The family and the next of kin are, it would seem, answerable for the fulfilment of a contract, a principle of the old Indo-European civil law[1].

§ 18. Assaults are of seven degrees: âgerepta, avaoirista[2], stroke, sore wound, bloody wound, broken bone, and manslaughter. The gravity of the guilt does not depend on the gravity of the deed only, but also on its frequency. Each of these seven crimes amounts, by its being repeated without having been atoned for, to the crime that immediately follows in the scale, so that an âgerepta seven times repeated amounts to manslaughter.


§ 19. Every crime makes the guilty man liable to two penalties, one here below, and another in the next world.

The penalty here below consists of a certain number of stripes with the Aspahê-astra or the Sraoshô-karana[3].

The unit for heavy penalties is two hundred stripes; the crime and the criminal thus punished are called Peshôtanu or Tanu-peretha (Parsi: Tanâfûhr). The two words literally mean, 'one who pays with his own body,' and 'payment with one's body,' and seem to have originally amounted to

[1. Farg. IV, 5 seq.

2. Two different sorts of menaces; see IV, 54.

3. The general formula is literally 'Let (the priest; probably, the Sraoshâ-varez) strike so many strokes with the Aspahê-astra, so many strokes with the Sraoshô-karana.' Astra means in Sanskrit 'a goad,' so that Aspahê-astra may mean 'a horse-goad;' but Aspendiârji translates it by durra, 'a thong,' which suits the sense better, and agrees with etymology too ('an instrument to drive a horse, a whip;' astra, from the root az, 'to drive;' it is the Aspahê-astra which is referred to by Sozomenos II, 13: {Greek i!ma'sin w!moi^s xalepw^s au?ton e?basa'nisan oi! ma'goi} (the Sraoshâ-varez), {Greek Biakso'menoi proskuh^sai to`n h!'lion}). Sraoshô karana is translated by kâbuk, 'a whip,' which agrees with the Sanskrit translation of the sî-srôshkaranâm sin, 'yat tribhir gokarmasataghâtâis prâyaskityam bhavati tâvanmâtram, a sin to be punished with three strokes with a whip.' It seems to follow that Aspahê-astra and Sraoshô-karana are one and the same instrument. designated with two names, first in reference to its shape, and then to its use (Sraoshô-karana meaning 'the instrument for penalty,' or 'the instrument of the Sraoshâ-varez?). The Aspahê-astra is once called astra mairya, 'the astra for the account to be given,' that is, 'for the payment of the penalty' (Farg. XVIII, 4).]

worthy of death, worthiness of death;' and in effect the word Peshôtanu is often interpreted in the Pahlavi Commentary by margarzân, 'worthy of death.' But, on the whole, it was attached to the technical meaning of 'one who has to receive two hundred strokes with the horse-whip[1].' The lowest penalty in the Vendîdâd is five stripes, and the degrees from five stripes to Peshôtanu are ten, fifteen, thirty, fifty, seventy, ninety, two hundred. For instance, âgerepta is punished with five stripes, avaoirista with ten, stroke with fifteen, sore wound with thirty, bloody wound with fifty, broken bone with seventy, manslaughter with ninety; a second manslaughter, committed without the former being atoned for, is punished with the Peshôtanu penalty. In the same way the six other crimes, repeated eight, or seven, or six, or five, or four, or three times make the committer go through the whole series of penalties up to the Peshôtanu penalty.

§ 20. If one reviews the different crimes described in the Vendîdâd, and the respective penalties prescribed for them, one cannot but wonder at first sight at the strange inequality between crime and penalty. Beccaria would have felt uncomfortable while reading the Vendîdâd. It is safer to kill a man than to serve bad food to a shepherd's dog, for the manslayer gets off with ninety stripes, whereas the bad master is at once a Peshôtanu[2], and will receive two hundred stripes. Two hundred stripes are awarded if one tills land in which a corpse has been buried within the year[3], if a woman just delivered of child drinks water[4], if one suppresses the menses of a woman[5], if one performs a sacrifice in a house where a man has just died[6], if one neglects fastening the corpse of a dead man so that birds or dogs may not take dead matter to trees and rivers[7]. Two hundred stripes if one throws on the ground a bone of a man's corpse, of a dog's carcase as big as two ribs, four

[1. Farg. IV, 20, 21, 24, 25, 28, 29, 32, 33, 35, 36, 38, 39, 41 ,42; V, 44; VI, 5, 9, 19, 48, &c.

2. Farg. IV, 40, and XIII, 24.

3. Farg. VI, 5.

4. Farg. VII, 70 seq.

5. Farg. XVI, 13 seq.

6. Farg. V, 39.

7. Farg. VI, 47 seq.]

hundred if one throws a bone as big as a breast bone, six hundred if one throws a skull, one thousand if the whole corpse[1]. Four hundred stripes if one, being in a state of uncleanness, touches water or trees[2], four hundred if one covers with cloth a dead man's feet, six hundred if one covers his legs, eight hundred if the whole body[3]. Five hundred stripes for killing a whelp, six hundred for killing a stray dog, seven hundred for a house dog, eight hundred for a shepherd's dog[4], one thousand stripes for killing a Vanhâpara dog, ten thousand stripes for killing a water dog[5].

Capital punishment is expressly pronounced only against the false cleanser[6] and the 'carrier alone[7].'

Yet any one who bethinks himself of the spirit of the old Aryan legislation will easily conceive that there may be in its eyes many crimes more heinous, and to be punished more severely, than manslaughter: offences against man injure only one man; offences against gods endanger all mankind. No one should wonder at the unqualified cleanser being put to death who reads Demosthenes' Neaera; the Persians who defiled the ground by burying a corpse were not more severely punished than the Greeks were for defiling with corpses the holy ground of Delos[8], or than the conquerors at Arginousae; nor would the Athenians, who put to death Atarbes[9], have much stared at the awful revenge taken for the murder of the sacred dog. There is hardly any prescription in the Vendîdâd, however odd and absurd it may seem, but has its counterpart or its explanation in other Aryan legislations: if we had a Latin or a Greek Vendîdâd, I doubt whether it would look more rational.

§ 21. Yet, if theoretically the very absurdity of its principles is nothing peculiar to the Mazdean law, nay, is a proof of its authenticity, it may be doubted whether it could

[1. Farg. VI, 10 seq.

2. Farg. VIII, 104 seq.

3. Farg. VIII, 23 seq.

4. Farg, XIII, 8 seq.

5. Farg. XIV, 1 seq.

6. Farg. IX, 47 seq.

7. Farg. III, 14 seq.

8. Yet there were other capital crimes. See below, § 23.

9. Diodor. XII, 58.

9. Aelianus, Hist. Var. V, 17.]

ever have been actually applied in the form stated in the texts. It may be doubted whether the murder of a shepherd's dog could have been actually punished with eight hundred stripes, much more whether the murder of a water dog could have been really punished with ten thousand stripes, unless we suppose that human endurance was different in ancient Persia from what it is elsewhere, or even in modern Persia herself[1]. Now as we see that in modern tradition bodily punishment is estimated in money value, that is to say, converted into fines, a conversion which is alluded to in the Pahlavi translation[2], it may readily be admitted that as early as the time of the last edition of the Vendîdâd, that conversion had already been made. In the Ravâets, two hundred stripes, or a Tanâfûhr, are estimated as equal to three hundred istîrs or twelve hundred dirhems, or thirteen hundred and fifty rupees; a stripe is therefore about equal to six rupees[3]. How far that system prevailed in practice, whether the guilty might take advantage of this commutation of his own accord, or only with the assent of the judge, we cannot decide. It is very likely that the riches of the fire-temples came for the most part from that source, and that the sound of the dirhems often made the Sraoshô-karana fall from the hands of the Mobeds. That the system of financial penalties did not, however, suppress the system of bodily penalties, appears from the customs of the Parsis who apply both, and from the Pahlavi Commentary which expressly distinguishes three sorts of atonement: the atonement by money (khvâstak), the atonement by the Sraoshô-karana, and the atonement by cleansing.

§ 22. This third element of atonement is strictly religious. It consists in repentance, which is manifested by avowal of the guilt and by the recital of a formula of repentance,

[1. In the time of Chardin, the number of stripes inflicted on the guilty never exceeded three hundred; in the old German law, two hundred; in the Hebrew law, forty.

2 Ad Farg. XIV, 2.

3. In later Parsîism every sin (and every good deed) has its value in money fixed, and may thus be weighed in the scales of Rashnu. If the number of sin dirhems outweigh the number of the good deed dirhems, the soul is saved. Herodotus noticed the same principle of compensation in the Persian law of his time (I, 137; cf. VII, 194).]

the Patet. The performance of the Patet has only a religious effect: it saves the sinner from penalties in the other world, but not from those here below: it delivers him before God, but not before man. When the sacrilegious cleanser has repented his sin, he is not the less flayed and beheaded, but his soul is saved[1]. Yet, although it has no efficacy in causing the sin to be remitted, the absence of it has power to cause it to be aggravated[2].

§ 23. Thus far for sins that can be atoned for. There are some that are anâperetha, 'inexpiable,' which means, as it seems, that they are punished with death here below, and with torments in the other world.

Amongst the anâperetha sins are named the burning of the dead, the burying of the dead[3], the eating dead matter[4], unnatural sin[5], and self-pollution[6]. Although it is not expressly declared hat these sins were punished with death, yet we know it of several of them, either from Greek accounts or from Parsi tradition. There are also whole classes of sinners whose life, it would seem, can be taken by any one who detects them in the act, such as the courtezan, the highwayman, the Sodomite, and the corpse-burner[7].

§ 24. Such are the most important principles of the Mazdean law that can be gathered from the Vendîdâd. These details, incomplete as they are, may give us an idea, if not of the Sassanian practice, at least of the Sassanian ideal. That it was an ideal which intended to pass into practice, we know from the religious wars against Armenia, and from the fact that very often the superintendence of justice and the highest offices of the state were committed to Mobeds.

We must now add a few words on the plan of the following translation. As to our method we beg to refer to the second chapter above. It rests on the Parsi tradition, corrected or confirmed by the comparative method. The

[1. Farg. IX, 49, n.; Cf. III, 20 seq.

2. Farg. IV, 20, 24, 28, 32, 35, &c.

3. Farg. I, 13, 17; Strabo XV, 14.

4. Farg. VII, 23 seq.

5. Farg. I, 12; Cf. VIII, 32.

6. Farg. VIII, 27.

7. See p. iii, n. 1; Farg. XVIII, 64.]

Parsi tradition is found in the Pahlavi Commentary[1], the understanding of which was facilitated to us first by the Gujarathi translation and paraphrase of Aspendiârji[2], and by a Persian transliteration and translation belonging to the Haug collection in Munich, for the use of which we were indebted to the obliging kindness of the Director of the State Library in Munich, Professor von Halm. The Ravâets and the Saddar[4] frequently gave us valuable information as to the traditional meaning of doubtful passages. As for the works of European scholars, we are much indebted to the Commentary on the Avesta by Professor Spiegel, and to the translations in the second edition of Martin Haug's Essays.

We have followed the text of the Avesta as given by Westergaard; the division into paragraphs is according to Westergaard; but we have given in brackets the corresponding divisions of Professor Spiegel's edition.

Many passages in the Vendîdâd Sâdah are mere quotations from the Pahlavi Commentary which have crept into the Sâdah text: we have not admitted them into the text. They are generally known to be spurious from their not being translated in the Commentary[5]: yet the absence of a Pahlavi translation is not always an unmistakable sign of such spuriousness. Sometimes the translation has been lost in our manuscripts, or omitted as having already been given in identical or nearly identical terms. When we thought

[1. Our quotations refer to the text given in Spiegel's edition, but corrected after the London manuscript.

2. Bombay, 1842, 2 Vols. in 8°.

3. Unfortunately the copy is incomplete: there are two lacunae, one from I, 11 to the end of the chapter; the other, more extensive, from VI, 26 to IX. The perfect accordance of this Persian translation with the Gujarathi of Aspendiârji shows that both are derived from one and the same source. Their accordance is striking even in mistakes; for instance, the Pahlavi avâstâr ###, a transliteration of the Zend a-vâstra, 'without pastures' (VII. 28), is misread by the Persian translator hvâstâr, ###. 'he who wishes,' owing to the ambiguity of the Pahlavi letter ### (av or hv), and it is translated by Aspendiârji Kâhânâr, 'the wisher.'

4. The prose Saddar (as found in the Great Ravâet), which differs considerably from the Saddar in verse, as translated by Hyde.

5 Without speaking of their not being connected with the context. See Farg. I, 4, 15, 20; II, 6, 20; V, 1; VII, 53-54.]

that this was the case, we have admitted the untranslated passages into the text, but in brackets[1].

We have divided the principal Fargards into several sections according to the matter they contain: this division, which is meant as an attempt to resolve the Vendîdâd into its primitive fragments, has, of course, no traditional authority, the divisions into paragraphs being the only ones that rest upon the authority of the manuscripts.

The translation will be found, in many passages, to differ greatly from the translations published heretofore[2]. The nature of this series of translations did not allow us to give full justificatory notes, but we have endeavoured in most cases to make the explanatory notes account to scholars for the new meanings we have adopted, and, in some cases, we hope that the original text, read anew, will by itself justify our translation[3].

We must not conclude this introduction without tendering our warmest thanks to Mr. E. W. West, who kindly revised the MS. of the translation before it went to press, and who has, we hope, succeeded in making our often imperfect English more -acceptable to English readers.

November, 1879.

[1. Farg. VII, 3; VIII, 95. Formulae and enumerations are often left untranslated, although they must be considered part of the text (VIII, 72: XI, 9, 12; XX, 6, &c.)

2. Complete translations of the Vendîdâd have been published by Anquetil Duperron in France (Paris, 1771), by Professor Spiegel in Germany (Leipzig, 1852), by Canon de Harlez in Belgium (Louvain, 1877). The translation of Professor Spiegel was translated into English by Professor Bleeck, who added useful information from inedited Gujarathi translations (Hertford, 1864).

3 The following is a list of the principal abbreviations used in this volume:--

Asp. = Aspendiârji's translation.

Bund. = Bundahis; Arabic numbers refer to the chapter (according to Justi's edition); Roman numbers refer to the page and line.

Comm. = The Pahlavi Commentary.

Gr. Rav. = Le Grand Ravâet (in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, Supplément Persan, No. 47).

Orm. Ahr. = Ormazd et Ahriman, Paris, Vieweg, 1877.]

Suggestions for Further Reading

Source: Sacred Books of the East, Vol. 4: the Vendîdâd (The Zend-Avesta, Part I.) Translated by James Darmesteter. Oxford University Press, 1880.

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