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Zoroastrian temple in Kurdistan

The main protagonist of Gore Vidal’s novel Creation was Cyrus Spitama, the grandson of Zoroaster. Though the novel was set in the 6th century BCE, current scholarly consensus places Zoroaster’s time at 1400 –1000 BCE making him the founder of one of the earliest religions based on revealed scripture. Other dates place him in the time of the Axial age, the time of Vidal’s novel. Zoroaster lived in Bactria in present day Afghanistan and his religion was adopted by the Persian emperor Darius, whose empire at that time included modern day Iraq as well.

Now a Zoroastrian temple has been discovered in Kurdistan, Iraq.

Duhok’s Director of Antiquities, Hasan Ahmed Qassim, has announced the discovery of a Zoroastrian temple near Jar Ston Cave, a famous ancient site. The temple is believed to be the most complete to have been unearthed in the region. It is also said that it was a Metherani temple.”

The temple was dedicated to the deity Anna Hita, indicated by the discovery of Anna Hita’s holy star, and evidence of fires, as well as fireplaces and Zoroastrian holy sand stores have been found nearby,” Qassim revealed. He further described the temple as being made up of five sanctuaries, three of which were carved into rock, with the remaining two having been constructed from stone blocks.This discovery is being hailed as the most significant archaeological development in the region in recent times.

.”This new discovery will alter the history of the region due to its unique architectural style, which differs considerably from Zoroastrian temples previously discovered,” explained the Director of Antiquities.

“The temple’s style which looks toward the four-directions is a unique style ever discovered in the area; thus it becomes an entry to studying Zarathustrian arts and archeology.”At present archaeology teams are continuing work at the site to find out more about the temple’s history.[Kurdistan: Zoroastrian Temple discovered in Duhok]

6 Responses to Zoroastrian temple in Kurdistan

  1. Shashi August 29, 2006 at 8:20 am #

    Temple in the Indo-Iranian religion? Plus the timeframe 1400 B.C. where does that live the current time frame for Aryan Invasion circa 1600 B.C.

  2. JK August 29, 2006 at 12:36 pm #

    Shashi,

    Apparently Aryan Invasion Theory is out. The current in-thing is the Aryan Migration Theory. In a recent book I read, The Great Transformations by Karen Armstrong, the Aryans entered India around 1500 BCE, after Harappan Civilization disappeared, and then composed the Vedas.

  3. Sharan Sharma August 30, 2006 at 2:46 am #

    > The current in-thing is the Aryan Migration Theory.

    …and all set to become ATT (Aryan Tourism Theory) :)

    This is OT, JK, but since you mentioned Karen Amstrong’s book…while wanting to buy the book, i happened to browse through a few excerpts on the Random House website and was really surprised to find a line like this:

    > They (Aryans) killed, plundered, and pillaged, terrorizing the more conservative Aryans, who were bewildered, frightened, and entirely disoriented, feeling that their lives had been turned upside down.

    on what basis!?…this sounded like some Grandmom’s tale…a lot of the excerpts i read had this ring to it…anyone’s guess whether there is absolutely any historical basis to this…

    …and a little more reading reveals that she was trying to force fit a hypothesis that all religions came out of war/strife etc…

    maybe i missed it but surprisingly, didn’t find any ‘critical’ comments on the book…no historian shouting the war-cry…

    Decided to save $30…am just curious to know your take on the book…

  4. JK August 30, 2006 at 10:20 am #

    Sharan, I could not finish the book due to all the reasons you mentioned. She seemed to be trying to draw a line first and then putting the dots so that it matches the line.

    Since I don’t have enough knowledge to refute her statements, I stopped reading it to get some background knowledge first.

  5. Salauddeen September 17, 2006 at 7:27 am #

    Karen Armstrong’s primary claim to fame is that she is an ex-catholic nun.

    Nowadays her purpose seems to be to work as an Islamic apologist. Borrow her books from a library but don’t bother buying them – not worth rereading!

    She is totally ignorant of Vedic dharma. She even thinks Buddhism is compatible with Abrahamic faiths!

    She has said somewhere:“I usually describe myself, perhaps flippantly, as a freelance monotheist. I draw sustenance from all three of the faiths of Abraham. I can’t see any one of them as having the monopoly of truth, any one of them as superior to any of the others. Each has its own particular genius and each its own particular pitfalls and Achilles’ heels.”

  6. Chandra September 19, 2006 at 11:29 am #

    Sharan/Salauddeen,

    Unfortunately I paid up for her “Buddha.” As an Indian with some exposure to Hinduism and its origins, her book was mind numbingly boring, dry, and sounded very foreign. Didn’t go beyound the first few pages.

    I know people in the west – there is sizable following for her – lap up her books. I just hope she doesn’t write about Hinduism.

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