Ancient Persian Religion & Mythology

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Joshua J. Mark
published on 10 June 2024

Ancient Persian religion developed in the region of Greater Iran by the 3rd millennium BCE and corresponds to what is known today as ancient Persian mythology. This belief system informed the Persian Achaemenid Empire, even after the acceptance of Zoroastrianism, as well as the later Parthian Empire and Sassanian Empire. Zoroastrianism is still practiced today.

The ancient religion of Iran was polytheistic and was eventually replaced by the monotheism of Zoroastrianism. Even so, shrines and sites sacred to deities such as Mithra and Anahita continued to draw adherents up through the 7th century CE when the region was conquered by the Arab Muslims.



Questions & Answers

Was ancient Persian religion polytheistic?

Yes. Ancient Persian religion was polytheistic until the rise of Zoroastrianism c. 1500-1000 BCE.

What was the main religion of ancient Persia?

The main religion of ancient Persia was Zoroastrianism, a monotheistic belief system.

Who was Zoroaster?

Zoroaster (also known as Zarathustra) was a Persian prophet and the founder of Zoroastrianism.

What is the Avesta?

The Avesta is the scripture of Zoroastrianism. The name is thought to mean "Praise", although this interpretation has been challenged.
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About the Author

Joshua J. Mark
Joshua J. Mark is World History Encyclopedia's co-founder and Content Director. He was previously a professor at Marist College (NY) where he taught history, philosophy, literature, and writing. He has traveled extensively and lived in Greece and Germany.

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