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25 August 2014

Zoroastrianism is a very interesting faith as it involved fire temples – and apocalyptic ideas. It was the state religion of ancient Persia and ruthlessly suppressed by the Islamic ruling elite in the latter half of the first millennium AD. Archaeologists have found evidence of its practise in a remote region of NW China, in the Uigher Autonomous Region, in a tomb dated around 2500 years ago. This is roughly contemporary with the Persian empire – so did it originate in Iran or did it have its beginnings in a remote part of central Asia, the Pamir Plateau – see http://english.cntv.cn/2014/08/12/VIDE1407843119676688.shtml

On the plateau there once existed a thriving civilisation and tombs are currently in the process of being investigated. This led to the startling discover, which is how it is being portrayed. How old is the religion of Zoroaster?

We know it existed in the 8th and 7th centuries AD as the Persians adopted it – or brought it with them when they entered northern Mesopotamia, and settled on the borders of the Assyrian Empire. All the evidence emerging is that Zoroastrianism may be older than scholars allow -so the PR is spun. However, serious studies of the religion have suggested it originated in central Asia in the late second millennium BC. What is all the fuss about? Possibly, the excitement is due to the new discoveries, unexpected in a remote region generally thought to be a backward backwater. Zoroaster was perhaps a contemporary of the end of the Bronze Age. This was the time of Merenptah and Ramses III. The latter specifically invoked the goddess Sekhmet, traditonally the rainer of fire upon the human world. Was Zoroaster his contemporary and did he witness the flaming star of Sekhmet – presumably a meteor or comet fragment. What was the trajectory?

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