The ancient Persians or the Aryans belonged to a large group of people usually referred to as the Indo-Europeans who lived in what is now South Russia, and who in about 3000 B.C., began to reach India in the east and Ireland in the west.
In around 1000 B.C., they moved into Central and Southwest Asia. The newcomers called themselves Arya, which meant "noble". They gave the name "Airyanam Khashathram" meaning kingdom of the Aryans, to the regions they settled between the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf.
This name was developed into Arya Shatra and then Iranshahr, which was eventually shortened to Iran.
The Aryan Society
The Aryans were cattle-breeders and led a nomadic life guided by strong tribal laws and traditions.
Their society was divided into 3 classes:
- The worriers: whose special color was red
- The priests: whose special color was white
- The artisans: whose color was blue
The Advent of Zoroastrian Religion
In about 1100 B.C., Zarathustra (the prophet of ancient Iran), appeared among east Iranians and preached his Mazda-worshipping religion. This faith spread westward and later became Iran's state religion until the coming of Islam in the 7th century of the Christian era.
Zoroastrians believed in a great God whom they called Ahura-Mazda "wise Lord" but they also venerated natural elements such as fire, water, the sun, and the earth, regarding them as the Lord's holy creations.
How did Zoroastrians View the Evil?
They attributed all evils and darkness to a malignant force that they called Angra Mainyu, better known in its later form Ahriman, "the Evil Spirit", which in Semitic religions was adopted as Satan. On the other hand, the good force is named Sepanta Mainyu
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