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ebb financially, and the property of the see has much deteriorated. Oakbank, the Bishop's residence, situated in the midst of 30 acres of the most beautiful grounds in the island, has been destroyed by white ants, and the Bishop has to live in a small inconvenient house, whilst for lack of a few hundred pounds this lovely estate is being sold for less than a third of what it cost. It was subscribed for in years past by the residents, but the people are poorer now and their resources have lately been called upon to assist in providing an endowment, so as to raise the income of the see to £400. These white ants are of a South American species, introduced in the timbers of a Brazilian slaver which was condemned in St. Helena many years ago. They work under cover, so that a beam may appear sound to look at, but crumbles at a touch. Jamestown was nearly destroyed by them about thirty-five years ago, and a fine organ in St. James's Church perished, and now we are without an organ in the island. The cathedral has a small one which should properly be placed in the museum; it has a tiny keyboard, no pedals, and was at one time fitted with a barrel containing a limited number of tunes. When I first came here it was in a ruinous condition, and the services were conducted with a very indifferent harmonium, but fortunately our present postmaster, Mr. T. Bruce, who at one time had been engaged in organbuilding, came to the rescue and the old instrument was repaired. But it is very desirable that the principal place of worship in the island should possess an organ even as good as what most country villages in England have. In no place in the world would it be more appreciated, for the St. Helenians are devoted to music. There is a local band, the performers being mostly labourers and outdoor servants, and I often see the men, after their day's work is over, trudging down to Jamestown to attend the evening practices. The church choirs are also popular with them, and some of their voices, though untrained, are very good; and at funerals they almost always have a hymn sung at the close of the service by the side of the grave.





If anyone wishes to know all that is at present known about Zoroaster, that mystic sage and founder of a still living religion, whose figure looms out so dimly through the shadows of the early world, he will find his desire amply gratified in the present volume. It is not too much to say that the learned and keen-sighted American Professor makes the ancient Iranian prophet live again, scatters the fog of myth and legend which had gathered so thickly round his name, and sets him clearly before us as a real personality, thinking, teaching, suffering, dying a martyr's death, and leaving behind him a faith which remained for centuries one of the great religions of the world. And he does this, not by imagination or conjecture, but by a comprehensive survey, and critical analysis of all the available information, both ancient and modern. His method is an excellent one, and worthy of imitation by all scientific writers and students. He gives first, in a masterly condensation, in broad firm lines, the whole of the facts as he himself has worked them out from his wide extent of reading. Then he says practically, "This is how I make it out to have been, but I do not wish to impose my view upon you. Judge for yourselves. Here is a list of every scrap that has been written about it by Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, and all kinds of other people. This point is doubtful, so I give you a separate essay on it, putting all the pros and cons fairly before you with the references, which you can look up if you care to do so. This other point is obscure, and unfortunately there is no information about it, so we can only judge by inferences. I give you in another essay the reasons which have led me to the conclusion in my text. You can weigh them for yourselves." A method so frank, candid, and unbiassed as this naturally begets confidence, and we follow our teacher with a feeling of certainty and assurance.

In pursuance of this system the first half of the volume contains the history of the life of Zoroaster in general terms, while the second part consists of learned essays on special points which those who do not care to go deeply into the scholarship of the subject may leave unread. whole volume absolutely bristles with references. At the beginning there are several pages containing a list of works connected with the subject; at the foot of every page are dozens of references, and among the appendices are long passages from authors in various languages quoted whole. The reader is not expected to take any assertion for granted, chapter and verse are given for every statement.


It is difficult still further to condense what is already so concise, nor can

"Zoroaster, the Prophet of Ancient Iran," by A. V. Williams Jackson, Professor of Indo-Iranian Languages in Columbia University. New York, the Macmillan Company. London, Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1899.

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it be done without some sacrifice of detail. The main facts, however, resulting from the inquiry may now be given; for fuller information the reader is referred to the delightful volume itself.


The original form of the Prophet's name in the Avesta is Zarathushtra, concerning the meaning of which there is much doubt. Scholars are agreed in seeing in the latter half the word ushtra - camel; many old Persian names end in this word, as also in the names of other animals, such as aspa horse, gao = cow-"totemistic family survivals," the author calls them. Similar animal names are common in other early Aryan races. The Greeks had their Philippos, Xanthippos; the Germans their Beowulf, Landwulf (Landulf), their Bear and Worm. As to the first part, however, there are half a dozen conjectures, all more or less unsatisfactory.


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The date of his birth, disregarding the extravagant antiquity of B.C. 6000 assigned to him by the imperfectly informed Greek and Latin authors, is now generally accepted on the faith of consistent Zoroastrian tradition, supported by Arabic allusions, as B.C. 660. His birthplace was somewhere in the neighbourhood of Lake Urumiah, in the ancient Median province of Atropatene, now called Azarbaijan, the extreme north-western district of modern Persia. Of his family, Iranian tradition gives a long genealogy, ascending to Gayomard the first created man. The family name Spitáma by which the Prophet himself is generally known-Zarathushtra Spitáma― appears to be derived from the Aryan root svit = white, and as usual in such ancient pedigrees, is borne by the eponymous hero of the princely ine. His father's name was Pourushaspa, and his mother's Dughdhova. He was thrice married, and had by his two first wives, three sons and three daughters. By his third wife no earthly children were born, but from her are to be descended three millennial prophets, whose existence, however, belongs to legend rather than to history.

Legendary also, of course, are the traditions regarding his birth, early youth, and preparation for his high mission. He laughed when born; demons and wizards, the priests of the religion he was destined to overthrow, plotted his destruction, and persecuted him by magic practices. Even his father Pourushaspa is drawn into their conspiracy. But he overcomes all their arts, and until he reaches his thirtieth year spends a life of seclusion and meditation in the deserts and in mountain caves. At the age of thirty revelation comes to him, and he enters upon his public


In the year B.C. 630 his visions began. The angel of Good Thought, Vohumanah, summons him to the presence of the Supreme Being, Ahuramazda, where he is instructed in the true religion. The scene of this occurrence is fixed by tradition on the banks of the river Daitya, in Azarbaijan, which has been identified with the modern Kizel uzen, a tributary of the Safid river. Seven times in the following years he has conferences with Ahuramazda and the six Amesha Spentas (Pers. Amshaspands) or archangels; but the details of these visions, though interesting in many ways, have no place in a discussion which has for its object to fix definitely, as far as possible, the historical facts in the Prophet's life. They belong rather to the study of the religion which he founded. One convert only

was made in this period, the Prophet's cousin, Maidhyoi Maonha (in Pahlavi Metyomah).

Then apparently followed a time of wandering and unsuccessful preaching of the new religion. The Prophet begins to despair, but an inspiration reaches him, and he sets forth on a journey, which was to bring him permanent success, to the Court of the powerful King Kai Vishtaspa (Pers. Gushtasp) the ruler of Balkh. He meets with the King on the racecourse, a characteristically Persian incident, and then and there proclaims the faith of Ahuramazda, and invites him to believe in it. The King seems at first to have been inclined to comply, but the priests of the established religion, "the deadly Zák and the rest of the Kigs and Karaps," vehemently oppose the newcomer, and according to one tradition induce the King to imprison him. Another legend relates how he won his liberty by curing a favourite black horse of the King's. He is admitted to a public dispute with the priests, "the controversy about religion with the famous learned of the realm." Eventually Zoroaster is victorious, and the King openly accepts the new faith, and a vision of three of the mighty Amshaspands, or archangels, is vouchsafed to him, which fully confirms him in his belief. Two of the royal counsellors, Frashaoshtra and Jamasp, ally themselves to the Prophet by marriage, and the latter becomes so devoted an adherent that after the Prophet's death he succeeded him as the official Head and Supreme Pontiff of the religion. The King's brother, Zairivairi (Pers. Zarir) and one of his numerous sons, Spentodáta (Pers. Isfandiyár) also become faithful followers.


Under royal and princely patronage the religion spread rapidly all over Iran, and seems even to have extended to neighbouring countries. There are traditions of conversions in Turan (Turkistan generally); of Brahman sages from India, who came to argue and went away converted; even of wise men from Greece coming on a similar errand with similar results. is even possible that the Prophet himself, after his successes at Court, may have gone on several missionary journeys to the adjacent lands. But his chief care was the founding of Fire temples (Atash-gah), three of which were pre-eminently holy, and their names have been preserved by tradition. The first, Atur Farnbag, or the fire of the priests (Farnbag Hvarenobagha, "fire of the divine glory "), the site of which is uncertain; the second, Atur gushnasp, the "fire of the warriors," situated on Mount Asnavand on the shores of the Lake of Urumiah; the third, Atur Burzhin mitro, the "fire of the labourers," situated near Tus in Khurasan.


This prosperous time of peace was followed by dark days of religious wars. Concerning all of these wars there is not sufficient information to enable us to construct a connected story. But of the wars with the great enemy of the faith, Arejataspa (Pers. Arjásp), the Turanian, there is abundant tradition, some part at least of which is probably founded on fact. The date of the outbreak of the first of these wars is now fixed by scholars as B.C. 601. It originated in the refusal by King Vishtasp to continue payment of the tribute hitherto paid to Arjasp, and this refusal appears to have been suggested by the Prophet himself. Religious grounds were thus mixed up with political ones. It was the Faith against the

unbelievers. Arjasp's ultimatum demands, among other things, that Vishtasp shall abandon the new creed. Arjasp is called King of the Khyons, and his kingdom lies beyond the Oxus. More than this is not certainly known, but the whole subject is learnedly and exhaustively discussed in an appendix. In the war which ensues, the scene of which appears to have been round about Merv, the Iranians are victorious chiefly owing to the heroic valour of the King's brother, Zarir, and his son, Isfandiyar, the former of whom, however, falls in battle. Then follows a period of peace, during which the Avesta is written down by Jamasp from the dictation of Zoroaster, and the gallant Prince Isfandiyár carries out "a great crusade in foreign lands," conquering and converting, the sword in one hand and the sacred book of the Avesta in the other.

But treachery, as usual in Eastern Courts, is at work. Isfandiyar had been promised the crown of Iran as the reward of his success, but he is now accused of plotting against his father, and is cast into prison. Then comes the end. Hearing of Isfandiyár's imprisonment the heretic Arjasp collects his forces and invades Iran. Vishtasp was absent on a visit to Seistan. The capital was insufficiently protected, though the aged Lohrasp, father of Vishtasp, who had long ago abdicated and was living in retirement, comes forward to defend it. He falls in battle before the walls of Balkh, the city is taken, eighty priests are massacred in the very act of worship, the sacred fire is extinguished, and, crowning woe of all, the Prophet Zarathushtra himself is slain by an impious Turanian in front of the altar.

The date of this event is fixed at B.C. 583, when the Prophet had reached the age of seventy-seven. The catastrophe in which he was involved, so far from being the death-blow to his religion, gave it fresh life, so true is the saying, "Sanguis martyrum semen ecclesiæ." Isfandiyár was released from prison, put at the head of a fresh army, routed and utterly destroyed the invaders, pursued them into their own country, where Arjasp was killed and his capital taken. Henceforth the Faith is firmly established as the national creed of Iran.

Such, in the barest outline, is the story of Zoroaster. So much at least may be now taken as solid fact, as well established as most generally accepted facts of ancient history. Much as we may miss the environment of mystery, and regret the ruthless destruction of many a pleasing myth, it is undeniably more practical to begin at least with the probable and the credible. Starting from this solid foundation future labourers may build up an edifice of larger dimensions and more trustworthy construction than was possible before this necessary work of clearing away the rubbish had been accomplished. Not that even in this vivid portrait of the ancient Iranian lawgiver, everything is absolutely certain. On the contrary, it is admitted that many points are still open to doubt, and very much still remains to be worked out. In the present volume there is no attempt at tracing the origin or stages of development of the Mazdayasna religion, no adequate solution of the numerous difficulties raised by the date now accepted for the Prophet's career. We do not know who Vishtasp really was, nor how far he can be identified with the Hystaspes of the Greeks,

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