Mazdakism(redirected from Mazdak)
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a religious and philosophical doctrine that became widespread in Persia and several neighboring countries in the early Middle Ages.
Although it had been in existence since the end of the third century, the doctrine received its name from Mazdak, the leader of the Mazdakite movement of the late fifth and early sixth centuries. The main idea in Mazdakism is that the world exists as a result of the conflict between the principle of light and goodness, which acts in accordance with reason and laws, and the principle of darkness and evil, which takes the form of chaos and accident. The conflict between the two principles will inevitably end, in this world, with the triumph of good over evil.
Mazdakism included ideas about the necessity of mutual help and equality of property; these ideas are also found in a number of other religious sects of Iran and the Roman Empire. Because of its support of the abolition of social inequality, which it identified with evil and, therefore, with the opposite of the good, and for the institution, by force, of “god-given” universal equality, Mazdakism became the ideology of the Mazdakite movement at the end of the fifth century. After the movement was suppressed in the sixth century, communes professing Mazdakism remained in Persia, Middle Asia, and Azerbaijan until the 14th century. The ideas of Mazdakism were used by many popular movements of the medieval East.