The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
He said Mazdakism in Iran, movement of Gautama Buddha against Brahmans, dawn of Islam, birth of Sikh religion, thoughts of Martin Luther are different phases of revolutionary thinking in different societies.
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Indeed, establishing the probability of transmission from heterodox ancient Iranian beliefs via Mazdakism to the Khurramiyya seems to be the point of the remainder (pp.
One of these was to portray Iranians as false Muslims, while being secretly followers of pre-Islamic religions like Zoroastrianism and Mazdakism.
Rezania discusses the evidence for differentiation between Zand schools and suggests that Mazdakism originated as one of these but was treated as a heresy later.