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About Zoroastrianism it can be affirmed that it is a religious fundament influenced by elements of the past and Iranian-Hindu, whose final result supposes a new religion that with the foundation of its cosmology, cosmogony, eschatology with a certain character of urgency and immanence, and the idea of a salvation, contributed in more than a few things, surely, to channel the Semitic/Chaldean/Chaldean and Iranian-Hindu thought in the forms of a Judaism in the Babylonian exile, in this case doubly influenced, by coming into contact, at least, with complementary or parallel accounts to theirs, if not more precise and profound. In the case of Israel in exile lived the Chaldean culture, and it seems, if Zoroaster existed, everything seems to point to the period of Babylonian exile of the Jews, straddling the Neo-Babylonian Empire and the Achaemenid Persians.
From Judaism, which as a group of tribes or Israel, has always had clear influences that are attested in the Hebrew-Aramaic Bible: Egyptian, Canaanite, Hittite, Chaldean, Semitic... and bequeathed this extraordinary testimony to Christianity and, together with the addition of other respective influences, to Islam that Muhammad and those who followed him built.
At the time of the Arsacids we could fix a progressive promotion of Zoroastrianism towards a state religion. It would be at this time (225 B.C. - 226 A.D.) that the Zoroastrian sacred scriptures had a first compilation of which it is only known that it could occur, and that it would have some form similar to the ancient Gathas Yasts or Yasnas of the time of the Achaemenids, and the Venidad (or Videvdat) sadé that would be located on the second half of the II century B.C.
Also sprach Zarathustra
Given the fact that it is difficult to discover the historical reality of certain originators of religions, we can say that Zoroaster not only lived, but we can also affirm that perhaps certain chants of the Avesta, the Gathas, or significant parts of these are indeed his.
Everything seems to indicate that Zarathustra or Zoroaster was born in eastern Iran, and his life could be dated to the VII-VI centuries B.C. Not in vain, the Zoroastrian tradition confirmed by Arab documents place Zoroaster about three hundred years before the death of Alexander the Great, which would lead us to the contact of the Jews in Babylon with Chaldeans and Persians.
The main characteristic of Zoroastrianism, determinant I would dare to say, is dualism, the conflict between Good and Evil that would begin in the beginning but that rushes towards an ending in whose apotheosis Good will definitely triumph over Evil, being Good Ahura Mazda and Evil Ahriman, but resolving that there is only one God, an Almighty Spirit, who dominates creation, and totally immutable; and this despite the fact that Ahriman tried to seduce him with the dominion of the world.
The main differences that the reform of Zoroaster traced with respect to the Iranian religions that preceded him were the absence of naturist elements (and it is not excluded that those that survive in the Avesta have been incorporated by the Magi later, following Johannes Hertel in Die Zeit Zoroasters) and this would prove it, additionally, a lecture of the Gathas, since in them there is no trace of these elements. The hecatombs of animals that had so much importance in the previous rites were also banished by Zoroaster, something that judging by the insistence in the texts was of great concern to the Iranian prophet (Yasna 28, 1; 32, 10, 12 and 14; 33, 3-4.), something that contrasts with the action of the Magi as far as the immolation of animals is concerned in the time of Herodotus (1, 140; 8, 113, 191). Something very similar happened with the rites of the haoma, whose equivalent would be the Vedic soma that in India propitiated scenes of exaltation by its effects, and that also displeased Zoroaster (Yasnas 32, 14 and 48, 10 and Herodotus 1, 133).
Neither do the Gathas speak of abandoning the corpses to be devoured by beasts and carrion birds, so this would also correspond to a later derivation, either in the Arsacid or Sassanid period... or a theological evolutionary continuity from the Magi.
Another interesting aspect is the place where Evil and demons inhabit: precisely Ahriman rules over the north, over the cold, where he rules over his creatures and it is there where the gate of hell is, past the Caspian Sea... the souls that go there are those who have chosen evil in an act of free will: the Evil Thought, the Evil Word and the Evil Deed, being thrown into the abyss of the Evil Spirit. This aspect of Zoroastrianism is also linked to the nomads who inhabit near that area where Evil is, and who fall upon them on the backs of their horses to steal their livestock and loot them. It is interesting precisely that the Evil incarnated in the king Gog of Magog in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 (Revelation 20: 7,8, or Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews I, vi, 1), where he explains that they come from the north and that their army is composed of horses in great multitude. They are also known as Ya'ujj and Ma'ujj, Gog and Magog in Arabic. They are mentioned from verse 93 of Surah XVIII, Al-Kahf, "The Cave". In particular, in Sura XVIII, verses 92-99, the story of two peoples coming from the North and attacking Israel at the end of time is repeated. Dhû-l-Qarnayn, discovering a land devastated by Gog and Magog, Yajouj and Majouj in Arabic, builds a dam (radm) that cannot be climbed or chipped. Nevertheless, he predicts that this wall will be reduced to dust at the end of time. In Surah XXI, the role of Gog and Magog is more general. The invasion by Gog and Magog is interpreted as one of the signs of the end times.
On the contrary, Paradise or Heaven means to be in contact with the mansion of Ahura Mazda, there are those who have practiced the Good Thought, the Good Word and the Good Work. The promised happiness lies in a progressive approach that reduces the distance between the soul and God, in addition to being close to the Absolute Good, which is Ahura Mazda. It has a triple partition:
1/ The Paradise of Good Thoughts, in the stars;
2/ The Paradise of Good Words, on the Moon; and,
3/ The Paradise of Good Works, in the Sun.
Those who deserve neither Hell nor Paradise or Heaven have the opportunity in a kind of Purgatory.
It seems that the good deeds, thoughts and works of those who reach Paradise have a certain limit, and if they exceed it the surplus goes to relieve the souls of the deceased who are in Hell and Purgatory.
And this brings us to the question of eschatology and apocalyptic. Zoroastrianism establishes that the world, as has already been said, is rushing towards its end in a great battle whose victory will be for Ahura Mazda who will rule over Ahriman and his daevas, a type of demons. But his victory will be even greater, for he will triumph over the sins of men, giving rise in the end to a new world ruled by Ohrmazd in which resurrection and immortality after the final judgment, as well as the full glory of creation will be free of all that clouds it. Another, additional, reflection on the resurrection. In the book of the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 16 explains that the apostle Paul goes to Athens and succeeds in attracting the attention of those who were in the Areopagus. Everything seems to be going well, until he mentions the resurrection, at which point, as the chapter mentions, he was ridiculed, although others wanted to hear more.
The Basis of the Power of the Arsacids
Political and religious elements
The fact of legitimization poses an interesting challenge to the power of the Arsacids. But first, we must define the different blocks on which to build the legitimacy to hold power, and to simplify we could establish the Iranian political, historical and religious tradition; a second block would be the one linked to the Greek world.
Taking the Iranian model, we see that according to Syncellus' version of Arrian's Parthika, it is affirmed that Arsaces was indeed a descendant of Artaxerxes, which Arrian identifies with the Achaemenid king Artaxerxes II. Why Artaxerxes II? Well, because his original name was Arsaces, and he took the name of Artaxerxes II when he ascended to the throne after fighting with his younger brother Cyrus the Younger, killed during the battle of Cunaxa in 401 B.C. Another detail that has caught my attention is, in my opinion also propagandistic, because Artaxerxes II fought against the Greeks, specifically against the Spartans, whose war he put an end to with the Peace of Antalcidas, by which he recovered the Greek cities of Ionia and Aeolia for Persia. He also had to fight against Egypt, which became independent at the beginning of his reign, something that he did not manage to close, but he was able to defeat an Egyptian-Spartan army that tried to conquer Phoenicia. That is to say, he is a king who fights against the Greeks and their alliance with Egypt to recover the territory of the Persian Achaemenid Empire.
It is also no coincidence in his narrative of justification that Arsaces and Tiridates with five Parthian notables (seven conspirators in all), together overthrew the satrap Andragoras of the Seleucids. The echoes of this story can be spun with the rise to the throne of Darius I the Great, for the death of Cambyses during the Egyptian campaign of 522 BC, who had rebelled against the Achaemenid power probably instigated by the priests of Amon, who saw their great power and influence countered by the claims of the Persian king. Cambyses had to respond to an uprising of his brother Bardiya (Smerdis, in Greek). Cambyses died on the way and then it was Darius, together with other Persian nobles who placed themselves at his command, who took the throne.
How is the rise of Darius I to the throne justified and what makes it a cultural and propagandistic reference for Arsaces I and his pretensions? It seems that the inscription of Behistun, in its columns XI-XIII, ordered to be written by Darius I already in power, and according to the description of Herodotus III, 61-79, Bardiya in truth is a Magus called Gaumata, who murdered the brother of the king and supplanted his identity. So Darius thereby receives all legitimacy. Why? Because it is really an uprising against a usurper, moreover of Median origin, which puts at risk the predominance of the Persians, originally achieved in alliance with the Babylonians against the Medes, according to YOUNG (1999, 32-35). Relevant is what the inscription mentions regarding Gaumata, since it seems that he promoted changes in the social, economic and religious order, since he tried to eliminate local cults to promote a central divinity (Ahura-Mazda?).
So how did Darius I achieve a solid legitimacy? By tracing his lineage back to the early Achaemenids through an indirect branch and proclaiming the text of the inscription referred to in Persian, Elamite and Babylonian, where the king recognizes himself on the one hand as the son of Hystaspes, the grandson of Arsames, the Achaemenid; and on the other hand he affirms that it was Ahura-Mazda who granted him the kingdom, since he is the King God and the place from where the monarchy is nourished, being the Achaemenid kings the representatives of Ahura-Mazda on Earth, intercessor between the human and the divine.
So we can conclude that perhaps, as a hypothesis, Bardiya/Gaumata had the support of the Magi, who wished to reinforce their power, and more so from the core-power of Babylon. In this respect, Darius I, if he truly overthrew a supplanter or if he was simply the true supplanter, there is no doubt that he united Persian interests with those of the Magi, who would represent the Elamite/Babylonian religious tradition.
It is precisely in the phase of imperial construction of the Parthians, certainly with Mithridates I, the first to receive the traditional title of "king of kings", which gave impetus to these ideas, which promoted more firmly in his reign the previous powerful ideas, whether suggested, outlined or affirmed, and under his reign they began to have greater impact, probably also concentrating around him the largest possible number of Magi, and the greatest possible prestige to support and strengthen the imperial rhetoric.
On the other hand, the fall of the Achaemenids to Alexander the Great was a point of cessation for the state Mazdeism established in the time of Darius I onwards. With the arrival of the Greeks the typical historical phenomenon of substitution of models and consequent revolution in the structures of power took place, being convenient to destroy some elements, others to conserve them and others to transform them. In this process it is certain that the Magi must also have suffered the consequences. When the Seleucids were introducing the Hellenic divinities, which later would have to go through a process of equating the Greek pantheon with the Iranian, or defined by the Iranians to the Achaemenids, assuming the concept of khwarrah as a source of divine legitimization of the power of the Hellenistic kings.
However, the process encountered difficulties in the complete legitimization among the Iranians from the Seleucids, in part because of the difficulty that lay in assimilating Zeus with Ahura-Mazda, and also because of the lack of cooperation of groups of Magi who did not want to initiate a collaboration such as the one they undoubtedly initiated with Darius I. A possible hypothesis would be perhaps, in my opinion, to initiate precisely at this time the assumption of Zoroastrianism by certain groups of Magi, precisely as a form of religious/political construction against the Seleucids, transforming it progressively into a well-defined religion, unlike Mazdeism, with an exclusive central divinity, which must be connected with the Achaemenid period and which justified the rise of Darius I: Ahura-Mazda, also has the figure of a revelatory prophet (a counterpart of the Moses of the Jews? In the sense that in theory it is the same God of the covenant with the fathers of Israel, but it is Moses who reveals the name, his will, specifies who is in and who is out, and what should be done with those who remain out, so we are facing a much clearer idea of orthodoxy, heterodoxy and heresy. Zoroaster would be the Iranian Moses). This new ideological/religious construction will find in the Arsacids some worthy promoters, since it will be in their time, around the first century A.D. that a set of texts will begin to materialize that will become the Avesta, whose definitive form will be reached around the sixth century A.D.
Strabo could shed some light on the matter in 11, 515, when he explains that the Magi became part of one of the royal councils in the time of the Arsacids increasing the number of followers of Zoroastrianism considerably, giving even greater support in the time of the Sassanids. We can conclude that the cult to Ahura-Mazda according to the preaching attributed to Zoroaster became an instrument of social and ideological control by two groups: the Iranian royalty was benefited by the mechanisms of legitimization and cohesion to agglutinate a fragmented and diverse whole; the Magi achieved the control of the religious practice and extended their competences to the scope of the Administration, and it can be affirmed that the mutations in the message of Zoroaster were made to reaffirm the power of both groups of power.
However, in spite of the exclusivity of Ahura-Mazda from the end of the 5th century BC, it can be affirmed that he shared with Mithra and Anahita the protection of the royalty, at least for a certain time. These two deities, of great implantation in the Iranian pantheon prior to Zoroastrianism, since Mithra was invoked as guarantor of contracts, and the goddess Anahita can be associated with the cult of mother goddesses of the ancient Near East. In any case, the Magi also monopolized the official cult, as had happened with that of Ahura-Mazda. We see that the path between Magi and royalty was shared and a profitable alliance for both. Precisely Mithra also had a transformation that spread it throughout the Roman Empire in the East-West line, about which I will talk later with Mani.
The other axis of power and its ideology is centered in the Arsacid period in the vindication of the legacy of Alexander the Great. Precisely the Hellenistic plays a fundamental role in two well-differentiated spheres:
a) Legitimization towards the important Hellenistic communities;
b) Legitimization process of agglutination of Alexander's heritage and of the Achaemenid dominions.
This explains an apparent dichotomy between the representation of the invader and usurper of the Achaemenid Persian power, the legitimization of recovering the Greek territories that fell within the Persian empire, the authority to reunite the legacy of Alexander, which implies the former. A hypothesis that has occurred to me while researching in this issue is that during a certain period of time we have two rising powers that are ambitious for the Hellenistic kingdoms: Rome, for the West, and the Parthians for the East. In both cases there are episodes of philhellenism and Hellenophobia, although for different reasons, because while Rome tried to maintain its identity until the Second Punic War, then the party of the Scipiones leads a Hellenization that materializes in the wars of liberation of Greece by Rome, ending up claiming part of the same heritage and orienting itself, as in Hellenic culture, against the "East" of the Persians.
On the other hand, the deliveries have episodes of philhellenism which, in my opinion, can be explained on three axes:
a) Integration of the interior Hellenistic communities;
b) To recover for the mosaic of peoples who obeyed the Achaemenids the Greeks (and the Egyptians, now Greek-Egyptians); and,
c) Showing themselves to be philhellenes allows them to vindicate Alexander's dream of universal Empire, according to the Iranian and Hellenistic tradition.
I also believe that the definitive impulse to Zoroastrianism could perhaps be due to the fact that the Hellenists are inclined towards Rome (Greco-Roman) and not towards the Greco-Iranian, which is why they extreme their positions of Persian and not Hellenistic vindication (from the Greek fifth column to the Greco-Roman), and leads them to support, presumably, the Jewish communities inside and outside their dominions in their struggle with the Hellenists (for example, "Against Apion" in the time of Flavius Josephus), strengthening firstly the pro-Persian party against the Hellenistic kingdoms and later in the dominions of Rome. This fact would be nuanced with the arrival of Christianity, understood as a derivation of Judaism, moment in which in one way or another the east of the Roman Empire becomes Christian, in any of its manifestations and syncretisms with different Eastern and Hellenistic traditions such as Neoplatonism or Gnosticism. Also, in this sense, I believe that Manichaeism could support these reflections. Mani, besides being a syncretism between traditions from Hellenism, the Iranian world, the north of India and the Jewish world... Precisely the support of Sapor I and his son Ormuz I, king of Armenia propelled the message in message "from East to West", like the waves of the sea, from Mani through Persia, Palestine, Syria and Egypt.
A way of setting up a power that aspired to infiltrate in cultural, political and religious terms all those regions, as had already happened with Mithra, in addition to presenting Mani as the Paraclete or the helper or comforter promised by Jesus Christ to his followers (John 14: 16, 26; 15: 26; 16:7) and, for that reason, as the Last Prophet and the Seal of the Prophets, according to PUECH (2006,73), in a chain in the same in which were among others Noah, Abraham, Zoroaster, Hermes, Plato, Buddha and Jesus himself. Precisely the death of Ormuz and the succession of Bahram I, who relied on the one who could lose the most in this revolution, the Zoroastrian Magi, led the Manichaeans to fall into disgrace progressively, until the death of Mani. It is also interesting that the last experiment, and perhaps the most successful in this respect, was the preaching of Muhammad and his immediate followers, since they took Gnostic, Neoplatonic, Christian, Nestorian, Judaic references... and from Mani himself (Muhammad as Seal of the Prophets in the Sura 33:40), and precisely the space of expansion of the first orthodox caliphs or caliphs would lay the foundations, among other aspects, in my opinion, for the spread of Islam and its ramifications.
We cannot neglect the fact that Zoroaster introduced in his messages a very interesting and innovative element on the religious tradition, and with political implications. It is about the concepts Truth and Lie as great polarizing complexes, creating the foundation of the later dualism, present for example in Manichaeism with Light and Darkness, precisely. Zoroastrianism created it around the great central divinity, Ahura-Mazda and intended to provide ethical codes of conduct that would strengthen the hope of a reward in the future. Another aspect that is underlined regarding Zoroastrianism and its influence on Iranian thought, that of Mani or that attributed to Muhammad, has to do with the strong link from the beginning with the political powers, since Zoroaster himself would have found the necessary support for his reform in the court of Prince Vishtaspa.
Zoroastrianism and the Sassanids
And thus we would arrive at the Zoroastrianism of the Sassanids that we would have again a phenomenon of affirmation of power of the Magi allied with the rising temporal power and with the need for continuity but also to mark a certain cessation and greater legitimacy than that of the Arsacids. Well, with the arrival of the Sassanids (225-652 A.D.) we would have the creation of a moment of cessation and imperial foundation expressed in the continuation of the State religion of Zoroastrian matrix (continuity), but that it is necessary to "purify".
So, Ardashir Papakan, founder of this new line of descent, let it be said that he undertook a task to "remake" the Avesta, in a broader way, with which he had to count on the help of the "Archmagus", that is to say the mowbedan mowbed or high priest of the high priests, the equivalent of the shahanshah or king of kings, Tansar and, we can conclude, of a whole school of thought around him. Shapur I introduced "cuttings" to strengthen this new creation cultivated in the Persian circles of power, identifying elements of Hellenism and India, leaving the canon of the Parsi Scriptures constituted and, of course, the hierarchy could be considered fixed, beyond those conducive to reaffirm the discourse of domination or oriented to meet the needs of the common people, or in passing through the filter of Zoroastrianism customs and cults of the Persian variety, just as Christianity "Christianized" festivities, cults, even the days of the week with respect to the seven wanderings, changing the dies Saturni for Saturday or dies Solis for Sunday, not to mention processions, popular cults, festivities such as the carnivals themselves... A glance at The Golden Legend is enough to get an idea.
In this regard, and according to my analysis of the parts of the Avesta, I think I could affirm that the really definitive version, reached at the gates of the Arab invasion, around the 6th century A.D., would have these elements, even for me the last part, the Khorda Avesta, the devotional comes to be a kind of The Imitation of Christ of Thomas of Kempis, in the sense that perhaps we would be talking about the attempt to promote in the believers a wave of vivification of the faith in the personal due to the changes introduced with the passing of the centuries. In this regard, and as proof, we could provide precisely the lack of resistance in accepting the faith of the invader by a large part of the population, with the exception of two groups: the Guebres, who remained among the ancient community and were persecuted until their numbers were reduced, and the Parsis who preferred to emigrate to India rather than renounce their religion, living in the same way as the Jews once they see the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, a kind of protectors of the essences and of an interpretation of them that is claimed to be pure.
This idea is relevant. Researching on the current Parsis I have seen that they maintain the idea of racial purity, since Zoroastrianism is a national religion. And although there are mixed marriages, the children of such marriages cannot be considered Zoroastrians, as well as those who abjured their faith. Although the invasion and the attempts of progressive acculturation by the invaders awakened the national sentiment of the Iranians, and led them to promote Shiism as a national response against the Arabs.
Consolidation during the Sassanids: heresies
The most prominent of all heresies is Zurvanism, the matrix of both Gnosticism and Manichaeism. The doctrine of Zurvanism changes the motive and interpretation of the myth of Zoroastrianism by saying that in the beginning of time there was only Zurvan, the god of time who, wishing to beget a son, made sacrifices for a thousand years to get it; doubting whether his sacrifices would be effective or not, he ended up begetting in his womb not one, but two sons, Ohrmazd and Ahriman (the first the fruit of his sacrifices, the second of his doubts); aware of what happened, he promised to give the sovereignty of the world to the one who was born first; Ohrmazd told this to Ahriman, who immediately tore his father's interior to be born and present himself to him; Zurvan asked him who he was and Ahriman pretended to be Ohrmazd; Zurvan, however, could not be deceived, for he knew that his son was luminous and fragrant, while Ahriman was dark and stinking; When Ohrmazd was born and presented himself before Zurvan, Zurvan immediately recognized him and presented him with the barsom, the symbol of sovereignty; Ahriman protested that sovereignty was supposed to be given to the first-born; whereupon Zurvan granted him to rule the world for 9,000 years, at the end of which time Ohrmazd would take his place for good. This myth contains the main notions of the doctrine of Zurvanism, where the god Zurvan becomes the central figure and generator of creation and of the dynamism of a world invariably predestined to contemplate the eschatological triumph of the good.
Analogies and Influence
It was thanks to Anquetil Duperron that in Europe at the end of the XVIIIth century a more complete knowledge of the religion of the Parsees began to be known, and this was due to the translations that he undertook of the texts related to Zoroastrianism and to studies on this subject that other orientalists together with Duperron did that Zoroastrianism was known, and of its influence on other religions, the great religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam: eschatology and according to which moral and theological concepts could be traced in Zoroastrianism and in what those who followed did with his doctrine.
But the truth is that it transcends what Islam calls "the religions of the Book". Consider Buddhism, for example. When, at the beginning of the Christian era, this doctrine was renewed with the substitution of a doctrine of action for one of pious contemplation, it may be possible to trace a potential influence of Zoroastrianism, which would include the names, as spiritual as they are abstract, used to designate certain Buddhas; but the very nature of the Paradise promised to the chosen ones, the recourse to a Messiah who is to preach the salvation of the World or the Maitreya (who is born of Mithra) are all linked to these ideas, following Sylvain Lévi in L'Inde et le monde:
Autant d’idées, de croyances, de noms que l’Inde n’explique pas, qui sont aussi étrangers au brahmanisme ancien qu’au bouddhisme ancien autant d’idées, de croyances, de noms qui sont familiers à l’Iran Zoroastrien, d’où ils ont passé déjà vers l’ouest dans le judaïsme des prophètes, et de là dans la doctrine du christianisme. Parmi les Perfections que le Bodhisattva doit conquérir, figure au premier rang la « Perfection de la Sapience » Prajnâ-Pâramitâ, qui est exaltée comme la Mère des Bouddhas. Comment ne pas penser à cette secte des Gnostiques, de Basilide, de Valentin, secte religieuse bien plus qu’école philosophique, surgie sur le territoire iranien du christianisme, et qui proclame le salut par la Gnose, « gnôsis » équivalent grec du sanscrit prajnâ qui lui est même en partie identique ? Et comme pour mettre hors de doute la collaboration du génie religieux de l’Iran avec celui de l’Inde dans cette période tourmentée et féconde où le christianisme grandissant inquiète l’Empire romain, où la dynastie nouvelle des Sassanides tente en Perse la restauration intégrale de l’orthodoxie avestique, vers le milieu du IIIe siècle, un Iranien, Mani, imagine une combinaison éblouissante du Zoroastrisme, du Bouddhisme, et du Christianisme; à l’un il emprunte le dualisme fondamental, la Lutte des Deux Principes du Bien et du Mal, aux deux autres il emprente leur appareil légendaire et mythologique, leur organisation militante, leur pratique de la confession, leurs formes littéraires
Deepening in the idea of Gnosis, which was to attain so much relevance in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the Greco-Roman space of the first centuries after Christ, and in this case following Nyberg, it is not difficult to trace in Zoroastrianism a common part, or at least the whole of a series of speculative ideas that recall precisely the Gnostic ones: the transposition of an idea of liberation made possible by a Savior on the strictly spiritual and moral plane; moreover: liberation from the bonds or prison of matter; the establishment of an antithesis between the senses and reason, between Matter and Spirit, between the plural and unity. Continuing with the idea of "salvation," central to Zoroastrianism through the Saoshyant or the Savior, is it not perhaps present in the Soter, σωτήρ (sōtēr) of the Greco-Latin world, either as epithets for deities (Poseidon, Zeus, Dionysus, Athena, Asclepius, Hecate), for the daimon Soter himself, or to live a process of ascension to the category of hero or divinization of the Hellenistic kings. From there it would pass to Christianity, as Jesus Christ received such a title and the same acronym of the fish ΙΧΘΥΣ, corresponding to Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς Θεοῦ Υἱὸς Σωτήρ, that is "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior," just as for Christians Jesus Christ was also the true Orpheus, for instance, so testifies St. Clement I; and taking up the question of the "Savior" or Soter we have Pope Soter (Soterius, in Latin), who was bishop of Rome between 167 and 174 AD. C. As it was also from Zoroastrianism that the project of Manichaeism can be taken, and in turn its respective influence on Islam.
On the other hand, the struggle between the maximum authority of the civil or royal power, the King of kings (shahanshah) and the maximum authority of the religious power or the mowbedan mowbed or high priest of the high priests is fixed, being the Iranian revolution a model of preeminence of the religious component over the civil or secular, mutating towards the Twelver Shi'ism (also known as Imāmīyyah) forms.
The last reflection I would like to leave in this regard is the possible influence on the political doctrine of the Roman Empire by Persia, although it would surely be more appropriate to think in terms of Persia as a bridge receiver and transmitter of what Karl Jaspers called areas of the "Axial Age", in his book "Philosophy. From the Point of View of Existence", meaning the Greco-Eastern space, India and China, and their coinciding imperial spaces, cultural, philosophical approach, with outstanding military capabilities, and so on. The Roman Empire, from Stoic philosophy, taking concepts from Neoplatonism, Gnosticism and Christianity itself, adopted a political/cultural/religious revolution to strengthen itself in diversity in the face of the crises of the Empire and the vastness and variety of its domains.
On the other hand, the inclination towards individualism and selfishness that stoicism had attenuated in some way for the elites, by the time of the Christianization of the Empire had been losing that momentum, so assuming a universal, humanistic, organized creed, with a sacred book of great power, which also connected him with the Semites in general, allowed him to organize a cult where the emperor exercised, like the king of kings, a sort of reflection of Christ or representative endowed with the earthly power of the spiritual power of the Kingdom of God on Earth in a diverse Empire but with the will to unite it to make it Universal or Catholic (catholicus in Latin, from the Greek adjective καθολικός katholikos 'universal').
I also think it would be interesting to reflect on the model that Rome adopted with the barbarians. It is interesting to note that among the Goths there were Iranian components, as well as Germanic, or from " Dacia " (understood as a meeting place between the Germanic, the Celtic, the Hellenic, the Thracian and the Iranian) and they had also lived a process of acculturation also Greco-Roman according to the area and the spirit of that time, which led them to be baptized and follow the Arian creed.
Well, my reflection is, to what point the model leading to an empire of kingdoms, like the Persians, was not shared by both blocks, Romans and Germans and, in both cases, they had in mind nothing else but the Persian model to which we have referred? This would also be another reason that would support the question of the Christianization of the empire and the campaigns of evangelization in this regard to create an Empire of kingdoms, a king of kings, an emperor who at the time is the earthly image of Christ, which were followed by Charlemagne, the Papacy and the Eastern Roman Empire, and which marked the confrontation within the Western world between auctoritas and potestas of the Papacy and the Empire; and which by an accumulation of diverse antecedents led to the Schism of East and West of 1054, and to the various Schisms in the West (1378, 1517), whose background remains the question of temporal and spiritual power, and who can even dominate and assume in its structure (the union of temporal and spiritual power and the submission of the latter to the former is more typical of the countries of the Reformation, for example).
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