What is striking in this scene is not the anachronism of Mazdaism
in the Persian court but the precision with which the revered Mazdaist symbols, the Sun and the Moon, are demystified for an English audience.
Examples in early medieval Georgian sources illustrate that this principle was at work when state powers attempted to counteract conversion to Christianity both from Mazdaism
and from Islam.
From other sources we know that Mazdaism
or, as the Chinese called it, 'the religion of the celestial god of fire' played, during a period lasting two centuries, an important role in the Far East; indeed it was important enough to cause the T'ang government to set up a special department (sabao) devoted exclusively to the affairs of this religion.
The Sasanids considered themselves the heirs of the ancient Achaemenid emperors who had reigned until their conquest by Alexander, and their state religion was Mazdaism
. The Mazdaism
of the Achaemenid empire was a later form of the preachings of Zoroaster.
Christ does not return out of compliance with a pre-established cosmological pattern (as is the case with the saviour in Mazdaism
); he comes, rather, `like a thief in the night,' which means with all the freedom of a love that transcends cosmic laws.(72)
Moreover, in the Western Iranian area around what was later to be Parsa and its environs, tombs have been identified, supporting the widely held view that Mazdaism
was imported from Central Astatic Iran to Western Iran at a relatively late date.
In addition to their local Mazdaism
, Sogdian devotees of Manichaeanism, Nestorian Christianity, and Buddhism spread these faiths to the Turkic peoples and China.
Attempts to trace contemporary Iranian religious praxis back to Mazdean or Zoroastrian roots and even earlier, are found in two articles, "Structural and Organizational Analogies between Mazdaism
and Sufism and the Kurdish Religions," by Reza Hamzeh'ee; and "Mithra and Ahreman, Binyamin and Malak Tawus: Traces of an Ancient Myth in the Cosmogonies of two Modern Sects," by Philip Kreyenbroek.