Ionia, known in Old Persian as Yauna, was a region within the satrapy of Lydia, with its capital at Sardis, within the First Persian Empire. The first mention of the Yauna is at the Behistun inscription. Achaemenid conquest In the mid-6th century BC, the Ionians were conquered by Cyrus the Great and according to Herodotus, they were placed in the same tax district as the Pamphylians, Magnesians, Aeolians and Carians, it is unclear to what extent the Yauna were advantaged or disadvantaged by Persian rule, what caused the Ionian Revolt which broke out in c. 499 BC and lasted until 494 BC. The main source, puts it down to the personal ambitions of two men of Miletus and Aristagoras. After the revolt was put down, the Ionian cities were subdued by some pragmatic and enlightened measures by the Persian satrap of Sardis, Artaphrenes; the Ionians are reported to have served with the Persian forces which were defeated at Marathon by the Athenians and Plataeans in 490, while they fought on the Persian side during Xerxes' great Second Persian invasion of Greece of 480-479.
Autonomy It was only after the Persians were defeated at Battle of Plataea in 479 that the Ionian cities had the confidence to revolt again, defeating the Persian forces at the Battle of Mycale in the same year. Soon afterwards, they signed up to a common defence league led by Athens, known today as the Delian League. However, these cities soon came under the domination of Athens. Renewed Achaemenid control After the Peloponnesian War and the destruction of Athenian power, Sparta ceded Ionia back to Persia in the 387 BCE with the Peace of Antalcidas. Ionia remained under Persian rule until the campaigns of Alexander the Great in 334 BC. Beside to Yaunas of the plain and sea, there are mentioned Yauna paradraya as well the Yauna takabara in Skudra satrapy. 1st Achaemenid period: Tabalus Mazares Harpagus Oroetus Bagaeus Otanes Artaphernes I Artaphernes II 2nd Achaemenid period: Tissaphernes Tiribazus Autophradates Spithridates Ionian Revolt Yona Skudra Yauna The Persian Empire: Studies in Geography and Ethnography of the Ancient Near East, 1968, p. 345, Ernst Herzfeld, Gerold Walser
Susa was an ancient city of the Proto-Elamite, First Persian Empire, Seleucid and Sasanian empires of Iran, one of the most important cities of the Ancient Near East. It is located in the lower Zagros Mountains about 250 km east of the Tigris River, between the Karkheh and Dez Rivers; the site now "consists of three gigantic mounds, occupying an area of about one square kilometer, known as the Apadana mound, the Acropolis mound, the Ville Royale mound."The modern Iranian town of Shush is located at the site of ancient Susa. Shush is the administrative capital of Shush County in Iran's Khuzestan province, it had a population of 64,960 in 2005. Shush is identified as Shushan, mentioned in the Book of other Biblical books. In Elamite, the name of the city was written Ŝuŝun, etc.. The origin of the word Susa is from the local city deity Inshushinak. Susa was one of the most important cities of the Ancient Near East. In historic literature, Susa appears in the earliest Sumerian records: for example, it is described as one of the places obedient to Inanna, patron deity of Uruk, in Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta.
Susa is mentioned in the Ketuvim of the Hebrew Bible by the name Shushan in Esther, but once each in Nehemiah and Daniel. According to these texts, Nehemiah lived in Susa during the Babylonian captivity of the 6th century BCE, while Esther became queen there, married to King Ahasueurus, saved the Jews from genocide. A tomb presumed to be that of Daniel is located in the area, known as Shush-Daniel. However, a large portion of the current structure is a much construction dated to the late nineteenth century, ca. 1871. Susa is further mentioned in the Book of Jubilees as one of the places within the inheritance of Shem and his eldest son Elam; the site was examined in 1836 by Henry Rawlinson and by A. H. Layard. In 1851, some modest excavation was done by William Loftus. In 1885 and 1886 Marcel-Auguste Dieulafoy and Jane Dieulafoy began the first French excavations. Jacques de Morgan conducted major excavations from 1897 until 1911; these efforts continued under Roland De Mecquenem until 1914, at the beginning of World War I.
French work at Susa resumed after the war, led by De Mecquenem, continuing until World War II in 1940. To supplement the original publications of De Mecquenem the archives of his excavation have now been put online thanks to a grant from the Shelby White Levy Program. Roman Ghirshman took over direction of the French efforts after the end of the war. Together with his wife Tania Ghirshman, he continued there until 1967; the Ghirshmans concentrated on excavating a single part of the site, the hectare sized Ville Royale, taking it all the way down to bare earth. The pottery found at the various levels enabled a stratigraphy to be developed for Susa. During the 1970s, excavations resumed under Jean Perrot. In urban history, Susa is one of the oldest-known settlements of the region. Based on C14 dating, the foundation of a settlement there occurred as early as 4395 BCE. At this stage it was very large for the time, about 15 hectares; the founding of Susa corresponded with the abandonment of nearby villages.
Potts suggests that the settlement may have been founded to try to reestablish the destroyed settlement at Chogha Mish. Chogha Mish was a large settlement, it featured a similar massive platform, built at Susa. Another important settlement in the area is Chogha Bonut, discovered in 1976. Shortly after Susa was first settled over 6000 years ago, its inhabitants erected a monumental platform that rose over the flat surrounding landscape; the exceptional nature of the site is still recognizable today in the artistry of the ceramic vessels that were placed as offerings in a thousand or more graves near the base of the temple platform. Susa's earliest settlement is known as Susa I period. Two settlements named by archeologists Acropolis and Apadana, would merge to form Susa proper; the Apadana was enclosed by 6m thick walls of rammed earth. Nearly two thousand pots of Susa I style were recovered from the cemetery, most of them now in the Louvre; the vessels found are eloquent testimony to the artistic and technical achievements of their makers, they hold clues about the organization of the society that commissioned them.
Painted ceramic vessels from Susa in the earliest first style are a late, regional version of the Mesopotamian Ubaid ceramic tradition that spread across the Near East during the fifth millennium BC. Susa I style was much a product of the past and of influences from contemporary ceramic industries in the mountains of western Iran; the recurrence in close association of vessels of three types—a drinking goblet or beaker, a serving dish, a small jar—implies the consumption of three types of food thought to be as necessary for life in the afterworld as it is in this one. Ceramics of these shapes, which were painted, constitute a large proportion of the vessels from the cemetery. Others are coarse cooking-type jars and bowls with simple bands painted on them and were the grave goods of the sites of humbler citizens as well as adolescents and children; the pottery is made by hand. Although a slow wheel may have bee
Darius the Great
Darius the Great or Darius I was the fourth Persian king of the Achaemenid Empire. He ruled the empire at its peak, when it included much of West Asia, the Caucasus, parts of the Balkans, most of the Black Sea coastal regions, parts of the North Caucasus, Central Asia, as far as the Indus Valley in the far east and portions of north and northeast Africa including Egypt, eastern Libya and coastal Sudan. Darius ascended the throne by a claimed usurper; the new king quelled them each time. A major event in Darius's life was his expedition to punish Athens and Eretria for their aid in the Ionian Revolt and subjugate Greece. Although ending in failure at the Battle of Marathon, Darius succeeded in the re-subjugation of Thrace, expansion of the empire through the conquest of Macedon, the Cyclades and the island of Naxos and the sacking of the city of Eretria. Darius organized the empire by placing satraps to govern it, he organized Achaemenid coinage as a new uniform monetary system, along with making Aramaic the official language of the empire.
He put the empire in better standing by building roads and introducing standard weights and measures. Through these changes, the empire was centralized and unified. Darius worked on construction projects throughout the empire, focusing on Susa, Persepolis and Egypt, he had the cliff-face Behistun Inscription carved to record his conquests, an important testimony of the Old Persian language. Darius is mentioned in the biblical books of Haggai and Ezra–Nehemiah. Dārīus and Dārēus are the Latin forms of the Greek Dareîos, itself from Old Persian Dārayauš, a shortened form of Dārayavaʰuš; the longer form is seen to have been reflected in the Elamite Da-ri-a-ma-u-iš, Babylonian Da-ri-ia-muš, Aramaic drywhwš, the longer Greek form Dareiaîos. The name is a nominative form meaning "he who holds firm the good", which can be seen by the first part dāraya, meaning "holder", the adverb vau, meaning "goodness". At some time between his coronation and his death, Darius left a tri-lingual monumental relief on Mount Behistun, written in Elamite, Old Persian and Babylonian.
The inscription begins with a brief autobiography including his lineage. To aid the presentation of his ancestry, Darius wrote down the sequence of events that occurred after the death of Cyrus the Great. Darius mentions several times that he is the rightful king by the grace of Ahura Mazda, the Zoroastrian god. In addition, further texts and monuments from Persepolis have been found, as well as a clay tablet containing an Old Persian cuneiform of Darius from Gherla, Romania and a letter from Darius to Gadates, preserved in a Greek text of the Roman period. In the foundation tablets of Apadana Palace, Darius described in Old Persian cuneiform the extent of his Empire in broad geographical terms: Darius the great king, king of kings, king of countries, son of Hystaspes, an Achaemenid. King Darius says: This is the kingdom which I hold, from the Sacae who are beyond Sogdia to Kush, from Sind to Lydia - what Ahuramazda, the greatest of gods, bestowed upon me. May Ahuramazda protect me and my royal house!
Herodotus, a Greek historian and author of The Histories, provided an account of many Persian kings and the Greco-Persian Wars. He wrote extensively on Darius, spanning half of Book 3 along with Books 4, 5 and 6, it begins with the removal of the alleged usurper Gaumata and continues to the end of Darius's reign. Darius was the eldest of five sons to Hystaspes and Rhodugune in 550 BCE. Hystaspes was a leading figure of authority in Persia, the homeland of the Persians; the Behistun Inscription of Darius states that his father was satrap of Bactria in 522 BCE. According to Herodotus, Hystaspes was the satrap of Persis, although most historians state that this is an error. According to Herodotus, prior to seizing power and "of no consequence at the time", had served as a spearman in the Egyptian campaign of Cambyses II the Persian Great King. Hystaspes was a noble of his court. Before Cyrus and his army crossed the Aras River to battle with the Armenians, he installed his son Cambyses II as king in case he should not return from battle.
However, once Cyrus had crossed the Aras River, he had a vision in which Darius had wings atop his shoulders and stood upon the confines of Europe and Asia. When Cyrus awoke from the dream, he inferred it as a great danger to the future security of the empire, as it meant that Darius would one day rule the whole world. However, his son Cambyses was the heir to the throne, not Darius, causing Cyrus to wonder if Darius was forming treasonable and ambitious designs; this led Cyrus to order Hystaspes to go back to Persis and watch over his son until Cyrus himself returned. Darius did not seem to have any treasonous thoughts. There are different accounts of the rise of Darius to the throne from both Darius himself and Greek historians; the oldest records report a convoluted sequence of events in which Cambyses II lost his
Iran called Persia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2, it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, to the west by Turkey and Iraq; the country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center. Iran is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Elamite kingdoms in the fourth millennium BCE, it was first unified by the Iranian Medes in the seventh century BCE, reaching its greatest territorial size in the sixth century BCE, when Cyrus the Great founded the Achaemenid Empire, which stretched from Eastern Europe to the Indus Valley, becoming one of the largest empires in history.
The Iranian realm fell to Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE and was divided into several Hellenistic states. An Iranian rebellion culminated in the establishment of the Parthian Empire, succeeded in the third century CE by the Sasanian Empire, a leading world power for the next four centuries. Arab Muslims conquered the empire in the seventh century CE; the Islamization of Iran led to the decline of Zoroastrianism, by the country's dominant religion, Iran's major contributions to art and science spread within the Muslim rule during the Islamic Golden Age. After two centuries, a period of various native Muslim dynasties began, which were conquered by the Seljuq Turks and the Ilkhanate Mongols; the rise of the Safavids in the 15th century led to the reestablishment of a unified Iranian state and national identity, with the country's conversion to Shia Islam marking a turning point in Iranian and Muslim history. Under Nader Shah, Iran was one of the most powerful states in the 18th century, though by the 19th century, a series of conflicts with the Russian Empire led to significant territorial losses.
The Iranian Constitutional Revolution in the early 20th century led to the establishment of a constitutional monarchy and the country's first legislature. A 1953 coup instigated by the United Kingdom and the United States resulted in greater autocracy and growing Western political influence. Subsequent widespread dissatisfaction and unrest against the monarchy led to the 1979 Revolution and the establishment of an Islamic republic, a political system that includes elements of a parliamentary democracy vetted and supervised by a theocracy governed by an autocratic "Supreme Leader". During the 1980s, the country was engaged in a war with Iraq, which lasted for eight years and resulted in a high number of casualties and economic losses for both sides; the sovereign state of Iran is a founding member of the UN, ECO, NAM, OIC, OPEC. It is a major regional and middle power, its large reserves of fossil fuels – which include the world's largest natural gas supply and the fourth largest proven oil reserves – exert considerable influence in international energy security and the world economy.
The country's rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage sites, the third largest number in Asia and 11th largest in the world. Iran is a multicultural country comprising numerous ethnic and linguistic groups, the largest being Persians, Azeris and Lurs. Organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have criticized Iran's women's rights record; the term Iran derives directly from Middle Persian Ērān, first attested in a third-century inscription at Rustam Relief, with the accompanying Parthian inscription using the term Aryān, in reference to the Iranians. The Middle Iranian ērān and aryān are oblique plural forms of gentilic nouns ēr- and ary-, both deriving from Proto-Iranian *arya-, recognized as a derivative of Proto-Indo-European *ar-yo-, meaning "one who assembles". In the Iranian languages, the gentilic is attested as a self-identifier, included in ancient inscriptions and the literature of the Avesta, remains in other Iranian ethnic names Alan and Iron.
Iran has been referred to as Persia by the West, due to the writings of Greek historians who referred to all of Iran as Persís, meaning "land of the Persians", while Persis itself was one of the provinces of ancient Iran, today defined as Fars. As the most extensive interaction the Ancient Greeks had with any outsider was with the Persians, the term persisted long after the Greco-Persian Wars. In 1935, Reza Shah requested the international community to refer to the country by its native name, effective March 22 that year; as The New York Times explained at the time, "At the suggestion of the Persian Legation in Berlin, the Tehran government, on the Persian New Year, March 21, 1935, substituted Iran for Persia as the official name of the country." Opposition to the name change led to the reversal of the decision, Professor Ehsan Yarshater, editor of Encyclopædia Iranica, propagated a move to use Persia and Iran interchangeably. Today, both Iran and Persia are used in cultural contexts, while Iran remains irreplaceab
A mudbrick or mud-brick is an air-dried brick, made of a mixture of loam, mud and water mixed with a binding material such as rice husks or straw. Though mudbricks are known from 7000-6000 BCE, since 4000 BC, bricks have been fired, to increase their strength and durability. In warm regions with little timber available to fuel a kiln, bricks were sun dried. In some cases, brickmakers extended the life of mud bricks by putting fired bricks on top or covering them with stucco; the South Asian inhabitants of Mehrgarh constructed and lived in mud-brick houses between 7000–3300 BC. Mud bricks were used at more than 15 reported sites attributed to the 3rd millennium BC in the ancient Indus Valley Civilization. In the Mature Harappan phase fired bricks were used. Mudbricks were adopted in the Middle East from Indus Valley Cities during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period; the Mesopotamians used sun-dried bricks in their city construction. Some were rounded so that the middle was thicker than the ends. In Minoan Crete, at the Knossos site, there is archaeological evidence that sun-dried bricks were used in the Neolithic period.
In Ancient Egypt, workers poured it into a pit. Workers tramped on the mud while straw was added to solidify the mold; the mudbricks were chemically suitable as fertilizer, leading to the destruction of many ancient Egyptian ruins, such as at Edfu. A well-preserved site is Amarna. Mudbrick use increased at the time of Roman influence. In areas of Spanish influence, mud-brick construction is called adobe, developed over time into a complete system of wall protection, flat roofing and finishes which in modern English usage is referred to as adobe style, regardless of the construction method; the Great Mosque of Djenné, in central Mali, is the world's largest mudbrick structure. It, like much Sahelian architecture, is built with a mudbrick called Banco, a recipe of mud and grain husks and either formed into bricks or applied on surfaces as a plaster like paste in broad strokes; this plaster must be reapplied annually. Cob – Building material made from subsoil and fibrous organic material Earth structure – A building or other structure made from soil.
Loam – Soil composed of similar proportions of sand and silt, somewhat less clay Rammed earth Sod house Possehl, Gregory L.. Mehrgarh in Oxford Companion to Archaeology, edited by Brian Fagan. Oxford University Press. Earth Architecture, website whose focus is contemporary issues in earth architecture. EARTHA: Earth Architecture and Conservation in East Anglia, British organisation that focuses on the proper maintenance and conservation of earth buildings in a region of the UK that has a long history of building with mud. Experienced experts are contactable and there are regular demonstrations in the area. Video showing mud brick making, mud brick building and biolytic sewerage in South Africa. CRAterre: Centre de recherche architectural en terre, French university research organisation dedicated to unfired earth construction
Athura called Assyria, was a geographical area within the Achaemenid Empire in Upper Mesopotamia from 539 to 330 BC as a military protectorate state. Although sometimes regarded as a satrapy, Achaemenid royal inscriptions list it as a dahyu, a concept interpreted as meaning either a group of people or both a country and its people, without any administrative implication, it incorporated the territories of Neo-Assyrian Empire corresponding to what is now northern Iraq in the upper Tigris, the middle and upper Euphrates, modern-day northeastern Syria and part of south-east Anatolia. However and the Sinai Peninsula were separate Achaemenid territories; the Neo-Assyrian Empire collapsed after a period of violent civil wars, followed by an invasion by a coalition of some of its former subject peoples, the Iranian peoples and Cimmerians in the late seventh century BC, culminating in the Battle of Nineveh, Assyria had fallen by 609 BC. Between 609 and 559 BC, former Assyrian territories were divided between the Median Empire to the east and the Neo-Babylonian Empire to the west.
Both parts were subsumed into the Achaemenid Empire in 539 BC, it has been argued that they constituted the satrapies of Media and Aθurā, respectively. In Herodotus' account the Ninth Tributary District comprised "Babylonia and the rest of Assyria" and excluded Eber-Nari. Despite a few rebellions, Aθurā functioned as an important part of the Achaemenid Empire and its inhabitants were given the right to govern themselves throughout Achaemenid rule and Old Aramaic was used diplomatically by the Achaemenids. Known for their combat skills, Assyrian soldiers constituted the main heavy infantry of the Achaemenid military. Due to the major destruction of Assyria during the fall of its empire, some early scholars described the area as an "uninhabited wasteland." Other Assyriologists, such as John Curtis and Simo Parpola, have disputed this claim, citing how Assyria would become one of the wealthiest regions among the Achaemenid Empire. This wealth was due to the land's great prosperity for agriculture that the Achaemenids used for 200 years.
In contrast to the policy of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, the Achaemenid Persians did not intervene in the internal affairs of their ruling satrapies as long as they continued the flow of tribute and taxes back to Persia. Between the mid 14th centuries and late 11th century BC, again between the late 10th and late 7th centuries BC, the respective Middle Assyrian Empire and Neo-Assyrian Empire dominated the Middle East militarily, culturally and politically, the Persians and their neighbours the Medes, Parthians and Manneans were vassals of Assyria and paid tribute. In the late 7th century BC, the Assyrian empire descended into a period of civil war in 626 BC, which drastically weakened it, led to a number of its former subject peoples; the Battle of Nineveh in 612 BC left Assyria destroyed for years to come. The Assyrians continued to fight on, with the aid of another of their former vassals, Egypt who feared the rise of these new powers. A costly but victorious Battle at Megiddo against the forces of Judah allowed the Egyptians to advance to the rescue, only to be defeated by the Babylonian-Median-Scythian alliance.
Harran, the new Assyrian capital, was taken in 609 BC, thus ending the empire. Despite this, part of the remnants of the former Assyrian army continued to fight on, along with Egypt, until final defeat at Carchemish in 605 BC. Babylonian rule did not last long. In 539, Cyrus the Great defeated the Babylonian King Nabonidus, took Babylon and made it, along with Assyria, into provinces of the Persian Empire; the former major Assyrian capitals of Nineveh, Dur Sharrukin and Kalhu were only sparsely populated during Achaemenid rule. Most Assyrian settlement was in smaller cities and villages at plain level, in the mountains, or on mounds such as Tell ed-Darim. However, according to more recent Assyriologists such as Georges Roux, cities such as Arrapkha and Arbela remained intact, Ashur was to revive. Despite many of the Assyrian cities being left in ruins from the battles that led to the fall of its empire in the 7th century BC, rural Assyria was prosperous according to the Greek scholar Xenophon.
After passing Kalhu and Nineveh and the Greeks turned north-west, following the east bank of the Tigris River. He described rural Assyria as:..there was an abundance of corn in the villages, found a palace, with many villages round about it... In these villages they remained for three days, not only for the sake of the wounded, but because they had provisions in abundance – flour and great stores of barley, collected for horses, all these supplies having been gathered together by the acting satrap of the district; the testimony is an example of the rich agricultural resources of Assyria's region and the existence of a satrap's palace. It is not known where this palace was located, but Layard suggest it may have been near Zakho. An inscription found in Egypt, written by Arsames, describes Assyrian cities that obtained administrative centres under Achaemenid rule: Lair: Assyrian Lahiru, by the Diyala Valley Arzuhina: Tell Chemchemal, 40 kilometers east of Kirkuk Arbela Halsu: Location unknown Matalubash: Assyrian Ubaše (Te
Ahura Mazda is the creator and sole God of Zoroastrianism. Ahura Mazda is the highest spirit of worship in Zoroastrianism, along with being the first and most invoked spirit in the Yasna; the literal meaning of the word Ahura is "lord", that of Mazda is "wisdom". Ahura Mazda first appeared in the Achaemenid period under Darius I's Behistun Inscription; until Artaxerxes II of Persia, Ahura Mazda was invoked alone. With Artaxerxes II, Ahura Mazda was invoked with Mithra and Anahita. In the Achaemenid period, there are no representations of Ahura Mazda other than the custom for every emperor to have an empty chariot drawn by white horses, to invite Ahura Mazda to accompany the Persian army on battles. Images of Ahura Mazda began in the Parthian period, but were stopped and replaced with stone carved figures in the Sassanid period. "Mazda", or rather the Avestan stem-form Mazdā-, nominative Mazdå, reflects Proto-Iranian *mazdáH. It is taken to be the proper name of the spirit, like its Vedic cognate medhā́, means "intelligence" or "wisdom".
Both the Avestan and Sanskrit words reflect Proto-Indo-Iranian *mazdʰáH, from Proto-Indo-European *mn̥sdʰh₁éh₂ meaning "placing one's mind", hence "wise". The name was rendered as Ahuramazda during the Achaemenid era, Hormazd during the Parthian era, Ohrmazd was used during the Sassanian era; the name may be attested on cuneiform tablets of Assyrian Assurbanipal, in the form Assara Mazaš, though this interpretation is controversial. Though Ahura Mazda was a spirit in the Old Iranian religion, he had not yet been given the title of "uncreated spirit"; this title was given by Zoroaster, who proclaimed Ahura Mazda as the uncreated spirit, wholly wise and good, as well as the creator and upholder of Asha. At the age of 30, Zoroaster received a revelation: while fetching water at dawn for a sacred ritual, he saw the shining figure of the yazata, Vohu Manah, who led Zoroaster to the presence of Ahura Mazda, where he was taught the cardinal principles of the "Good Religion" known as Zoroastrianism.
As a result of this vision, Zoroaster preach the religion. He stated, he further stated that Ahura Mazda created spirits known as yazatas to aid him, who merited devotion. Zoroaster deserved no worship; these "bad" spirits were created by the hostile and evil spirit. The existence of Angra Mainyu was the source of all misery in the universe. Zoroaster claimed that Ahura Mazda was not an omnipotent God, but used the aid of humans in the cosmic struggle against Angra Mainyu. Nonetheless, Ahura Mazda is Angra Mainyu's superior, not his equal. Angra Mainyu and his daevas, which attempt to attract humans away from the path of truth and righteousness, would be destroyed. Whether the Achaemenids were Zoroastrians is a matter of much debate. However, it is known; the representation and invocation of Ahura Mazda can be seen on royal inscriptions written by Achaemenid kings. The most notable of all the inscriptions is the Behistun Inscription written by Darius I which contains many references to Ahura Mazda.
An inscription written in Greek was found in a late Achaemenid temple at Persepolis which invoked Ahura Mazda and two other spirits, most Mithra and Anahita. On the Elamite Persepolis Fortification Tablet 377, Ahura Mazda is invoked along with Mithra and Voruna. Artaxerxes III makes this invocation to the three spirits again in his reign; the early Achaemenid period contained no representation of Ahura Mazda. The winged symbol with a male figure, regarded by European scholars as Ahura Mazda has been shown to represent the royal xvarənah, the personification of royal power and glory. However, it was customary for every emperor from Cyrus until Darius III to have an empty chariot drawn by white horses as a place for Ahura Mazda to accompany the Persian army on battles; the use of images of Ahura Mazda began in the western satraps of the Achaemenid Empire in the late 5th century BCE. Under Artaxerxes II, the first literary reference as well as a statue of Ahura Mazda was built by a Persian governor of Lydia in 365 BCE.
It is known that the reverence for Ahura Mazda, as well as Anahita and Mithra continued with the same traditions during this period. The worship of Ahura Mazda with symbolic images is noticed, but it stopped with the beginning of the Sassanid period. Zoroastrian iconoclasm, which can be traced to the end of the Parthian period and the beginning of the Sassanid put an end to the use of all images of Ahura Mazda in worship. However, Ahura Mazda remained symbolized by a dignified male figure, standing or on horseback, found in Sassanian investiture. During the Sassanid Empire, a heretical form of Zoroastrianism, termed Zurvanism, emerged, it gained adherents throughout the Sassanid Empire, most notably the royal lineage of Sassanian emperors. Under the reign of Shapur I, Zurvanism became a widespread cult. Zurvanism revokes Zoroaster's original message of Ahura Mazda as the uncreated spirit, the "uncreated creator" of all, reduces him to a created spirit, one of two twin sons of Zurvan, their father and the primary spirit.
Zurvanism makes Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu of equal strength and only contrasting spirits. Other than Zurvanism, the Sassanian kings demonstrated their devotion to Ahura Mazda i