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On this page: Zorzines

ZOROASTER.

was an entirely different person from Bareius Hystaspis.

Other dates have likewise been assigned to Zoroaster by modern scholars ; but sound criticism compels us to come to the conclusion that it is quite impossible to determine the time at which he lived. All we learn from the Zendavesta is that he was the subject of a king named Gushtasp, who belonged to the dynasty of the Kavja, or as they are called in the modern Persian, the Kayanians. The history of the dynasty has come down to us in a mutilated form ; but it would appear that the kings of this race reigned in eastern Iran, and more particularly Bactria, at a period anterior to that of the Median and Persian kings. The Bac-trian origin of Zoroaster is alluded to by several of the Greek and Roman writers, who obtained their information from Oriental sources. Thus Ammia-nus Marcellinus (xiii. 6. § 32) calls Zoroaster a Bactrian, and his testimony is of considerable im­portance because he must have received the in­formation from the Persians themselves, when he attended the emperor Julian in his campaign against the Parthians. Ctesias likewise, who re­sided long at the court of Artaxerxes Mnemon, calls Zoroaster a king of Bactria (Ctesias, pp. 79, 91, ed. Lion, copied by Justin, i. 1) ; and the same statement occurs in Moses of Chorene (i. 6). The tradition which represents Zoroaster of Median origin sprang up at a later time, when the chief seat of his religion was in Media, and no longer in the further East. We may therefore conclude that the religion of Zoroaster first appeared in Bactria, and from thence spread eastward ; but further than this we cannot venture to go. As the founder of the Magian religion he must be placed in remote antiquity, and it may even be questioned whether such a person ever existed. Niebuhr regards him as a purely mythical personage (KleineSchriften, vol. i. p. 200) ; but it is worthy of remark that we find no trace in the Zendavesta of the various wonders and miracles which are connected with his name in the Persian and Greek and Roman writers. It is unnecessary to repeat these stories, but we may mention as a specimen two tales related by Pliny. It is said that he laughed on the day of his birth, and that his brain palpitated so violently as to heave up the hand that was placed upon his head; and that he lived in the desert for twenty years on cheese, in consequence of which he was preserved from feeling old age. (Plin. H.N. vii. 16. s. 15, xi. 42. s. 97.) It would be idle to attempt to make even an approximation to the date of Zoro­aster from the statements of the Greek and Roman writers; for the most learned among them could not come to any agreement as to the time at which he lived, and many supposed that there were seve­ral persons of this name, who lived at widely dif­ferent times and in very different countries. Thus we find him called not only a Bactrian, but a Me­dian (Clem. Alex. Strom. i. p. 399), a Chaldaean (Porphyr. Vit.Pytliag. 12), a Persomedian (Suidas, s. v. Zupoda-rpris), a Persian (Diog. Laert. Praef,), an Armenian (Arnob. i. 12), a Pamphylian (Arnob. I. c.), and even a native of Proconnesus. (Plin. H. N. xxx. 1. s. 2.) Many of these various state­ments probably arose from the circumstance that the Magian religion was introduced into these countries and places ; and it is only in this way that we can explain the strange account in Pliny that he was a native of Proconnesus. We find

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ZOSIMUS.

equal discrepancy in the Greek and Roman writers respecting the time at which he was said to have lived. Thus Aristotle and Eudoxus stated that he lived 6000 years before the death of Plato (Plin. H. N. xxxi:. 1. s. 2), and Hermippus that he lived 5000 years before the Trojan war (Plin. I. c.; Diog. Laert. i. 2) ; while others assign to him a much later date, making him a contemporary of Cyrus (Arnob. i. 52) or Pythagoras (Clem. Alex. Strom. i. p. 357; Appuleius, Florid, ii. p. 231). We only quote these statements as instances of the discrepancies in the Greek and Roman writers respecting the age and country of Zoroaster, and of showing the hopelessness of attempting to con­struct any theory from such contradictory accounts. There were extant in the later Greek literature several works bearing the name of Zoroaster, and which are quoted under the titles of \6yia, iepol

dffrpov, Trepl (piHTzus, irtpl KiQtav ti^'k^v, acrrepo-(T/coTTi/ca, aTroTeAetryuaTi/ca, &c. Some of these works were in existence as early as the time of Pliny, who relates that Hermippus wrote commen­taries on two million lines of Zoroaster. (Plin. /. c.; Suidas, s. v. Zwp.) These writings however must not be regarded as translations from the Zenda­vesta, to which they bore no resemblance, as is evident from the extracts preserved from them by Clemens Alexandrinus, Eusebius, and others. (Clem. Alex. Strom. v. 14, p. 710 ; Euseb. Praep. Ev. i. 10; Dion Chrysost. Or. 36.) They were, on the contrary, forgeries of a later age, and belong to the same class of writings as the works of Hermes Trismegistus, Orpheus, &c. There is still extant a collection of oracles ascribed to Zoroaster, which were published for the first time with the commentaries of Gemistus Pletho [gemistus], under the title of MaytKa \6yia twv atrb rov Ztopodarrpov Mdyw, by Tiletanus, Paris, 1538, 4to. They have also been edited by Patricius in his Nova de Universis Philosophia, &c., Ferra-riae, 1591, and Venet. 1593, foil. ; by Morel], Paris, 1595, 4to.,and also in Latin; by Obsopaeus, Paris, 1507, 8vo., and by others. It would be ridiculous in the present day to enter into any argument to prove the spuriousness of these oracles. Every thing known respecting the reputed works of Zoroaster is collected by Fabricius (Bibl. Graec. vol. i. p. 304, foil.).

An account of the religious system of Zoroaster does not fall within the scope of the present work ; but the reader will find abundant information on the subject in the works quoted below. Mr. Mil-man has given an excellent summary of the leading tenets of the Zoroastrian system. (Hyde, Veterum Persarum et Magorum Religionis Historia, Oxford, 1700 and 1760; Prideaux, Connection of the His­tory of the Old and New Testament, Part i. vol. i. p. 299, foil.; Anquetil du Perron, Zendavesta; Kleuker, Zendavesta ; Rhode, Die Heilige Sage des Zendvolks; Heeren, Historical Researches, &c. Asiatic ATations, vol. i. p. 367, foil.; Gibbon, De­cline and Fall, vol. i. c. 8 ; Milman, History of Christianity, vol. i. p. 65, foil.; Georgii, in Real-Encyclop'ddie des classichen Alterthumswissenschaft, s. 11. Magi; Lassen, Indische Alterthumshunde, vol. i. p. 752, foil.)

ZORZINES, king of the Siraci, a people in the neighbourhood of the Caucasus, in the reign of the emperor Claudius. (Tac. Ami. xii. 15, 17, 19.) ZO'SIMUS (Zwo-tpos). 1. A learned freedman

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