- Persian religion founded by the legendary Zoroaster (died ca. 551 B.C.); state religion of the Sassanians (q.v.). Central to Zoroastrianism is a belief in the ongoing strife between the Ohrmazd (Ahuramazda), the god of light, who represents goodness, and Ahriman, the god of darkness and evil. Ohrmazd's eventual triumph is predicted; when it occurs the dead will be raised for their final reward or punishment. Special veneration was given to fire in religious ceremonies, as seen on the back of Sassanian coins, where a fire-altar is depicted. From the mid-third century Zoroastrianism had a competitor in Manichaeanism (q.v.).
Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . John H. Rosser .
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