Roman Mythology





Anno Urbis - The Roman Empire Online

Bulfinch's Age of Fable

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III., 91.

The religion of Zoroaster continued to flourish even after the introduction of Christianity, and in the third century was the dominant faith of the East, till the rise of the Mahometan power and the conquest of Persia by the Arabs in the seventh century, who compelled the greater number of the Persians to renounce their ancient faith. Those who refused to abandon the religion of their ancestors fled to the deserts of Kerman and to Hindustan, where they still exist under the name of Parsees, a name derived from Pars, the ancient name of Persia. The Arabs call them Guebers, from an Arabic word signifying unbelievers. At Bombay the Parsees are at this day a very active, intelligent, and wealthy class. For purity of life, honesty, and conciliatory manners, they are favorably distinguished. They have numerous temples to Fire, which they adore as the symbol of the divinity.

The Persian religion makes the subject of the finest tale in Moore's "Lalla Rookh," the "Fire Worshippers." The Gueber chief says,

"Yes! I am of that impious race,

Those slaves of Fire, that morn and even Hail their creator's dwelling-place Among the living lights of heaven; Yes! I am of that outcast crew To Iran and to vengeance true, Who curse the hour your Arabs came To desecrate our shrines of flame, And swear before God's burning eye, To break our country's chains or die."


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