Who was Zoroaster?

A truly noble philosophy of man's moral freedom and responsibility took definite form under the teaching of the sage, Zarathushtra, or, as the Greeks called him, Zoroaster. The Persian name seems to mean, "tawny camels," so perhaps Zoroaster was a camel-herder or camel-driver, as was the other, later teacher of the East, Mahomet. Zoroaster's doctrines, written down ages after his death, have been partly preserved in the sacred books of Persia, called the Zend-Avesta, or "comments upon wisdom." These fragmentary records show us the teacher as living under a chieftain, named Vishtaspa, or the "horse-owner," and as persuading his people to cease the old nomadic life of roving and of war, and to settle as peaceful farmers, in permanent homes.

The earliest thing we know about the Persians is the story of their great priest and teacher, Zoroaster. The date of Zoroaster's life we can only guess, from the surviving records, to have been about 1500 B.C

He lived somewhere in Persia or Central Asia, a thousand years or more before Christ. His people were a wandering, fighting tribe, and Zoroaster insisted they must cease their nomadic life and become peaceful farmers, settling in a single spot, and only fighting to defend themselves. At first the wild Persians laughed at him, but his wisdom and earnestness finally won him the support of his King Vishtaspa, at whose command the Persians built up an agricultural community. The crucial moment of their national career thus came with Vishtaspa's death, when some of the fiercer spirits wished to abandon the life he had compelled them to adopt. Zoroaster argued and pleaded with them, and at length the warrior class resolved to accept his guidance. A very doubtful tradition says that the sage was himself slain in the tumult, but even if he perished his spirit triumphed. Strength placed itself voluntarily in submission to intellect.

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Read about Who was Zoroaster? in the The Story of the Greatest Nations and the Worlds Famous Events Vol 1

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