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History of Persian mythology

Persian mythology history

Before the development of  Persian mythology history as other myths in the world, the development of writing system emerged and human life entered a new era of its existence. Writing became a toll for inscription and carving their stories to tell us. This written history can be divided:

  • Real history which we know through historians and evidence remaining from the past.
  • The mythological history. This mythological history which is the common and shared belief among people in the past is their belief of how they came to exist.

In the case of Iran, the history told in Khodai name, Seirolmoluk, Shahname , Avesta ( the holy book of Zeostrianity) and Pahlavi manuscripts, which are based of west Asian tales, can be mentioned as sources of Iranian mythology. In these Iranian myths and stories, the kings represented all humans and were the first creations in the world and their era of power would represent human development towards civilization. All the mythological history of Iran is based on one belief : the national story, civilization, cultural traditions all start with the history of monarchy , the kings are the origin and inventor of civilization. Eastern Iran appears to have had especially rich traditions of myths and legends.
Although the religious history ( Zoroastrian holy book of Avesta) has some differences but the story line among all the sources remaining are almost the same. According to Avesta, Kyumars, who’s name means” mortal” is the second human on earth. In non-religious sources he is the first king. He was the son of Adam and Eve. Kyumars was the first to obay Ahura ( the God of ancient Iran which opposes Ahriman ) all other Ariyai people ( the ethinic of original Iranians ) were created from him. Avesta speaks well of him, as a samaritan.
In Avesta and Pahlavi narratives Houshang was the grandson of Kyumars and the first king on Earth. There for he was titled “pishdad” meaning the first to bring rule. He was the one to teach and widespread agriculture and established the “ pishdad” dynasty.
In “Shahname” ( most famous Iranian mythological source) Tahmaseb was the next to rule as king. He went through torments to fight the demons. He thaught commoners to thread wool, cut and sewing also domesticating animals.
The following king was Jamshid the son of Tahmaseb. Melting Iron and creating armor and weapons were among his teachings. Social hierarcy, warriors, farmers and craftsmen came to existence in this rule. Sailing, on the first day of the month farvardin Jamshid was carnated, thus this day became new years day.
One of the most popular myths in Iran is the story of Zahhak and Fereydon.
According to the Shahname, Zahhak was born a courageous youth, the son of the honorable prince. One day the devil, Eblis, arrived disguised as a visitor come to honor him, and Zahhak fell under his influence. Eblis urged Zahhak to kill his father.
Eblis hatched further plots and presented himself as a renowned cook. There were few animals then, because humanity was vegetarian, until Ahriman (the evil God, against Ahura) taught people to kill animals. Eblis provided food from the bodies of birds and animals, which delighted Zahhak, who promised him whatever he desired. The cook asked for permission to kiss his shoulders as though he was his dearest friend. But where Eblis kissed him two black serpents grew. Whenever Zahhak tried to cut them off, more grew in their place. Eblis reappeared in the guise of a physician and said cutting them off was impossible; instead they should be fed only with human brains.
Meanwhile in Iran King Jamshid became increasingly unpopular with his subjects, for the royal glory had left him ( Ahura gave glory to kings). As turmoil erupted “Iranian knights in search of a new king turned their attention to Zahhak and proclaimed him king of Iran.” The dragon-king raised an army, including Arabs, attacking Iran as Jamshid surrendered and was killed. Zahhak ruled for a thousand years, when “virtue was humiliated and wizardry esteemed.” The end finally came through the gallantry of the hero Fereydun, on whom the royal glory of Ahura had settled. Zahhak had a dream about his defeat by Fereydun but Fereydun’s mother hid him in the Alborz mountains. Zahhak raised an army including demons and peris (“fairies”) with men.
Kaaveh, a blacksmith who had been grievously wronged, protested that Zahhak had executed seventeen of his children to feed their brains to the snakes on his shoulders, and he sought the life of his last son. He thundered: “although you have a dragon’s form, you are the king and it’s your duty to let me have justice in this thing.” His son was restored to him; but, when Zahhak commanded him to sign a document proclaiming that Zahhak was a just king, Kaaveh refused and stormed away to seek Fereydun and raise an army. Together they marched on Zahhak’s palace in Jerusalem. Fereydun and Kaaveh seized Zahhak . An angel quickly warned him “do not strike him down; his time has not yet come, bind him firmly as a rock and conceal him in the mountains.” So the dragon king was bound in fetters in Mount Damavand until the end of history.

After Jamshid and his sons many kings arise with tales of wars and heros in their stories. The final era is the Kianian dynesty which is close to the time of Archamanian.

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