Sassanid Aka Persian Empire History Essay

2076 words - 8 pages

Will DonovanPre-Islamic Middle EastThe Sassanid Empire aka the Persian Empire, ruled large amounts of territory from 224 -642 A.D., stretching form Italy to parts of western India. They ruled until with both the Sassanid and Byzantine weakened, the Muslim Arabs came through and conquered the region.One of the reasons that the Muslims were able to conquer the Sassanid Empire was because of their history of religious persecution. The Muslims came through unopposed by the people on their promise not to persecute other religions. The official religion of the Sassanid Empire was Zoroastrianism.Asha was the law of the universe. It was the course of everything observable, such as planets and stars, the seasons, the pattern of daily life, all of which is governed by events such as sunrise and sunsets, tides, the natural balance. All physical things (geti) were determined to run according to a master plan, and via lotions of the order ( druj) were violations against the order, and therefore an offense Ormazd. The concept of asha versus the druj was not good versus evil however, but instead was viewed as a constant cycle.In the Asha versus the Druj, humans and animals play a crucial role. It is their duty to defend order. The Urvan or soul in everything was sent to the mortal world to collect life experiences. Thus, avoidance of life experiences was a failure to uphold the responsibility and duty to oneself. Only through doing good deeds and being a good follower could you contribute to Asha vs. Druj. The emphasis that Zoroastrianism puts on moral choice is due to this. Predestination is rejected in Zoroastrianism, and it believes that humans bear responsibility for all situations they are in. Only by making a choice for good or bad deeds, can someone truly contribute to the battle. Reward and punishment, happiness and grief are all due to your decisions. Good happens to those who do good deeds, and vice versa. Humata, Hukhta, Huarshata, sums up Zoroastrianism morality. This translates roughly into (good thoughts, good words, good deeds) By maintaining this philosophy Asha is maintained and Druj is kept in check.Followers can achieve this through about five major concepts. Firstly, treating everyone equally regardless of gender, race or religion. Secondly, respect and kindness towards all living things. Thirdly, environmentalism, as nature worship is a central belief and many festivals are held in celebration of nature, such as New Year's on the first day of spring, and the midwinter Fire Festival. Hard work and charity as Zoroastrians are encouraged to part with a little of their own. Loyalty and faithfulness to family, settlement, tribe and country is one of the core beliefs.After life, Zoroastrians believe that after the fourth day after death, after three days of self-reflection, the soul leaves the body and the body remains empty. Traditionally they left their dead by leaving them atop Dokhmas, or Towers of Silence. These were open topped enclosed...

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