(redirected from Zoraster)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
Related to Zoraster: Zoroastrianism, Zarathustra
Zoroaster Zaraϑuštra Spitāma
Known for Founder of Zoroastrianism


(zōr`ōăs'tər), c.628 B.C.–c.551 B.C., religious teacher and prophet of ancient PersiaPersia
, old alternate name for the Asian country Iran. The article Iran contains a description of the geography and economy of the modern country and a short account of its history since the Arab invasion of the 7th cent.
..... Click the link for more information.
, founder of ZoroastrianismZoroastrianism
, religion founded by Zoroaster, but with many later accretions. Scriptures

Zoroastrianism's scriptures are the Avesta or the Zend Avesta [Pahlavi avesta=law, zend=commentary].
..... Click the link for more information.
. Zoroaster, the name by which he is ordinarily known, is derived from the Greek form of Zarathushtra (or Zarathustra) [camel handler?], his Persian name. Zoroaster is believed to have been born in NW Persia. His youthful studies were crowned at the age of 30 by the first of a series of revelations of a new religion. His attempts to proselytize at home failed, and he fled east to ancient Chorasmia (now largely Iranian Khorasan), where he converted King Vishtaspa (who may have been Hystaspes, the father of Darius). The religion then spread rapidly through Vishtaspa's domain. The circumstances of Zoroaster's death are not known.


See E. Herzfeld, Zoroaster and His World (1947); R. C. Zaehner, The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism (1961).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Iranian and Greek form of the name Zarathushtra), religious reformer; prophet of the ancient Iranian religion that has come to be called Zoroastrianism. Modern scholarship has established that Zoroaster was a real historical figure, who composed the Gathas, the most ancient part of the Avesta. Zoroaster probably lived between the tenth and first half of the sixth century B.C. and taught in eastern Iran, Middle Asia, or Afghanistan, but exactly where and when he lived has not been established. According to the Gathas, his teachings met at first with failure in his native land, and he was forced to seek asylum at the court of the kavi (local ruler) Vishtaspa, who most likely ruled in Drangiana. Vishtaspa and his following accepted the new religion, facilitating its diffusion. In the Little Avesta, Zoroaster is treated as a mythological figure and demigod.


Abaev, V. I. “Skifskii byt i reforma Zoroastra.” Archiv. Orientální, 1956, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 23–56.
D’iakonov, I. M. “Vostochnyi Iran do Kira.” In the collection Istoriia Iranskogo gosudarstva i kul’tury. Moscow, 1971.
Henning, W. E.Zoroaster. London, 1951.
Duchesne-Guillemin, LZoroastre. Paris [1948].
Gershevitch, I. “Zoroaster’s Own Contribution.” Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 1964, no. 1, pp. 12–38.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


?628--?551 bc, Persian prophet; founder of Zoroastrianism
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005