A Brief History of Zoroastrians
Todays Zoroastrian community across the world is estimated to be between 124,000 and 190,000 but originated from Persia which once spanned from Turkey and Libya all the way to the Indus Valley into India. Zoroastrians were the followers of the prophet Zarathustra and Zoroastrianism was the state religion which had been formed in the centre of the Persian Empire in what is now modern day Iran and influenced Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It’s teachings center around the concept of a single god Ahura Mazda and a dualistic universe of good versus evil and a day of reckoning. The religion professes to evolve toward perfection, but is complicated by evil forces such as greed, lust and hatred. Zoroastrians believe these evil forces must be challenged proactively by developing a "good mind" that embraces a life of good thoughts, good words and good deeds.
Some firsts from the ancient Zoroastrians that are still relevant today:
The first super power - Under Cyrus the great the Persian Empire was recognised as the worlds first super power
The first constitution - The Cyrus Cylinder is recognised as the first constitution. "Its an astonising statement of how you run a multicultural, multi-faith community" said Neil Macgregor, the director of the British Museum
The first postal service - Never before were messages delivered on such a massive scale. The Persian postal system was powered by horses that operated in a relay system malking journeys speedy and efficient.
The Royal Road -This spanned the whole of the Persian Empire and whilst acting as a critical political tool with messages being able to flow easily across the empire. In addition to that however it formed part of the great silk road a trading route.
Following the defeat by Alexandra, subsequent rulers did try to restore the boundaries of the empire to its original size but it was never quite the same as it had been under Cyrus.
The Persian empire lasted from around 550 BCE when Cyrus the Great built it through to 651 CE when the Arab invasion of what is now Iran led to the fall of the Sasanian empire and the eventual decline of the Zoroastrian religion. Conversion to Islam was gradual and incentivised over a period of centuries with some never converting to this day. Whilst many Persians had already established trading links with India, a large number migrated there and settled, holding onto their religion, culture and identity but in a large part adopting the local language.
For what is now a very small community, the Zarthusti’s of Iran, India and across the world have been responsible for producing a great many notable individuals which we could not hope to list fully here but who range from science and industry to academicians, Military commanders, Politicians and the arts covering all genders. These are not just greats from the past but even today we have notable individuals who in their own ways are representative of what is now a very small faith based community in the UK and around the world.
The WZCC was formed to help fellow Zarthusti’s across the globe to continue to achieve their true potential by providing wide and deep networks, mentoring and above all nurturing of groups and individuals to help them achieve their dreams.