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statue of Buddha. Buddhist monasteries were not uncommon in Bactria, and the Chinese pilgrim, Hiouen Thsang, in the seventh century of our era, found in Balkh itself a temple of distinguished sanctity. A mutual interpenetration to some extent of the systems of Zoroaster and Buddha took place. In the third æcumenical council of the Buddhists, held B. C. 241, resolutions were adopted for purging the sect of fire-worshippers and other intruders. So on the other hand Dr. Spiegel thinks he has discovered in the later Zoroastrian legends a quite perceptible, although not very important, infusion of Buddhist ideas. We find, too, even in the Yasna, mention of a final annihilation-an idea at variance with the fundamental tenets of Zoroaster-expressed by almost the same word as the Buddhist Nirvana.
The Türanian, or Scythian tribes, bounded the Persian empire on the north, and were intimately mingled with its inhabitants. In Media and the adjacent provinces they formed a large, if not the principal element of the population. The inscriptions of the Achemenian kings are copied in a Scythic dialect for the use of these people, and this dialect, from its prevalence in Media, the reputed birth-place of Zoroaster and his religion, was long taken for the real language of the Medes. The Parthians, who held the cmpire for 494 years, were a Scytliian people;o to say nothing of the less important conquests and migration from the north. So long and intimate contact could not be without effect on a people so impressible and imitative as the ancient Persians. Accordingly Col. Rawlinson maintains that the institution of the Magi, and the Magian element-worship as known to Herodotus, having originally nothing in common with the spiritual dualism of the Iranian race,lo are the native institutions of the Scyths. It is certain that the religion described by the Greek historian is widely different from that of the inscriptions of Darius, and of the older parts of the Avesta. In the Behistun inscription Ormazd is appealed to at the commencement of every section, and no other deity is named, nor is there any allusion to fireworship; and all this agrees with the first fargard of the Vendidad. The monarch moreover records that he has re
7 Westminster Review for Oct, 1856. 8 Avesta II. Einleitung 12. 9 Justin, xli. l. 10 Rawlinson's Herodotus, i. 339, and Notes on the Early History of Babylon, 34.
stored the temples and the sacred hymns (probably the gâthâs of the Yasna) which Gomates the Magian had
suppressed, thus representing himself as an antagonist of the Magi. Herodotus, on the other hand, says that the Persians have no temples or altars, and adds: * Their wont is to ascend the summits of the loftiest mountains, and there to offer sacrifice to Jupiter, which is the name they give to the whole circuit of the firmament. They likewise offer to the sun and moon, to the earth, to fire, to water, and to the winds." He appears to know nothing of Ormazd and Ahriman, or of Zoroaster. It is well known that the religion of the Iranians, starting from a comparatively small and simple beginning, gathered up doctrines and practices on every hand as it progressed, until it became a very complex and burdensome system; and it may well be that a large part of these foreign elements were copied from the Scythian nations, who, either as aborigines or immigrants, formed such an important part of the population of the empire.
The intercourse of the Medes and Persians with the Shemitish races living west of the Tigris--the Assyrians, Babylonians, Hebrews, and Arabians, either as sovereigns or subjects, as teachers or learners, was also long and intimate, and productive of many important results. It has already been stated that the Persians derived the doctrine of the fravashis from Assyria, and their ideas of Zervana and of astral influences from Babylon. The cuneiform writing of the Persian inscriptions is but a modification of the olderAssyrian ; and every form of alphabetic writing used by the Medo-Persian race bears testimony to its Shemitish origin. So too the Huzvaresh language, which, under the Sassanian kings, superceded the ancient Zend, was chiefly distinguished by its large intermixture of Shemitish words and by dropping a great part of the native inflexions, in consequence of its use by a foreign and mixed population. These influences followed the conquest of the old and opulent cities of Mesopotamia and the adoption of Babylon as one of the royal residences. Yet the idolatry of the Shemites was too gross and sensual to unite readily with the spiritual, and scarcely tangible, faith of Zoroaster; and the Persians adopted from their Babylonish subjects only some of their more sublimated
11 Lib. i. 131.
doctrines and a few of their sacred symbols, such as those already mentioned, and the winged bulls and lions of Persepolis.
The fertile intellect of Greece asserted its supremacy in the conquered East as well as in the conquering West. From the time of Alexander, Greek arts, literature and philosophy were diligently cultivated by the savans and scholars of Asia. Even Hebrew exclusiveness could not resist the fascination of Grecian ingenuity, and the pressure of Grecian power. Grecisms found their way into the text of the Book of Daniel; the later Jewish writings are mostly in the Greek tongue; and Hellenic science is travestied in the tracts of the Talmud. Alexandrea became the nursing mother of an eclectic philosophy and theology, and of a mystic compound of both, whose beginning found expression in the pages of Philo—its culmination, in the sects of the Gnosties. The people of Iran did not escape this wide-spread influence. According to the testimony of Aelian, the kings of Persia and the people of India had alike obtained native translations of Homer's verses.12 In Edessa, side by side with the Syrian high school, was a Persian academy, at the head of which stood Hibas, Probus, and Cumas, men distinguished in their time as interpreters of Aristotle. There were others at Nisibis and Gandisapor, founded in part by Syrian Christians, where Medicine was studied from the text of Hippocrates.13 Chosroes the Great, otherwise called Nushirvan, was an admirer of Greek philosophy, and caused the works of Plato and Aristotle to be translated into Persian. When the edict of Justinian closed forever the schools of Athens, which had nourished and sent forth so many sages and orators, seven of the last representatives of the Lyceum and the Academy sought an asylum in the East, and were hospitably received at the court of Nushirvan.14
It remains now to examine the connection of the Magian religion with the Jewish and Christian. The first contact of the Hebrew people with the Medo Persian is recorded in the seventeenth chapter of the second book of Kings: "In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.” This great deportation occurred B. C. 721. It would be easy to attribute to this event greater importance than probably belongs to it. When it is remembered that the Magi were a tribe or caste of the Medes, and that Media was the reputed birth-place of Zoroaster; that this compulsory emigration took place 230 years before the composition of any Persian document whose date is certain, and nearly 400 years before the Avesta is supposed to have been reduced to writing; and that the Hebrews had already enjoyed the benefit of a succession of prophets and teachers, and possessed a pretty well developed religious literature; the inference is natural that here was an opportunity for the introduction of all the more elevated ideas of the mazdayasnish religion. Without denying such a possibility, it is sufficient to say that there is no evidence, or even necessity for assigning such an origin to the peculiar tenets of Zoroaster. Whatever possible effect, however, this emigration might have had on the faith of the Medes, it could have none on that of the Hebrews as it has reached us in their sacred books; for the transplanted Israelites never returned to publish new ideas in Judah and Jerusalem. But it does not appear that any very important consequences followed from the captivity of Israel.15
12 Aelian Var. Hist. xii. 48. 13 Assemani Bibl. Orient, Tom. iii. P. ii. quoted in Spiegel's Avesta, Einleit i. 25. 14 Gibbon's Decline and fall, chap.40.
The next event in this connection was the Babylonish captivity, which commenced B. C. 598. Sixty years later, the capture of Babylon by Cyrus brought the Jehovistic Jews for the first time into close contact with the Persians. From that date, for a period of 1175 years, till the overthrow of the Sassanian dynasty by the Caliphs, a continual intimacy was maintained close enough to admit of the freest interchange of opinions, and the fullest exercise of mutual influences. For the greater part of this time the relations of the two races and their diverse religions were friendly, but the friendship finally ended in the persecution of the Jews by the Persian kings, and a hostility that imbued with mutual bitterness the later books both of the Magi and the Rabbins. After the first century of our era the Christian churches of the East doubtless contributed somewhat to the formation of the later Magian doctrines, and may possibly have derived some doctrines and usages from their heathen neighbors; but as the doctrines of the Church were so largely taken from the Hebrew Scriptures and traditions, we shall not for the present consider them apart from the Jews. A clear and reliable history of Jewish opinion for the long period just named would be a work of uncommon interest, and would set at rest many vexatious questions, but tlie scantiness and unreliable character of our information are much to be regretted. Still we are not without some glimmerings of light amid the general darkness.
15 The question, so often asked, as to what has become of the ten tribes, rests on the unfounded assumption that they retained their integrity and always refused to mingle with the surrounding population. Now there is no reason for presuning this. A people can be kept dis. tinct only by maintaining peculiar customs and institutions, supported by marriages exclusively domestic. But the peculiar religion of Jehovah, with its exclusive sanctions, never prevailed in the kingdom of Israel. All the sovereigns of that state, from first to last, followed some form of idolatry common to the surrounding heathen. Besides, the laws relating to matrimony were not much regarded even in Judah by the mass of the people, and seem scarcely to have been known in the earlier ages of the monarchy. Even those zealous Jehovists who returned from the Babylonish captivity, brought with them a multitude of “strange wives,” (Ezra ix. and x.; Neh. xiii. 23.) There was nothing, therefore, to preserve the ten tribes as a pecular people; and a few generations would suffice to make them undistinguishable from the mixed population of the empire.
The Achemenian kings appear to have treated the Jews from the very first with marked friendship. According to Ezra, the decree for the restoration of Jerusalem was published in the first year of Cyrus. This, however, cannot possibly mean more than the first year after his conquest of Babylon. Yet with all the encouragement offered, but a comparatively small part of the whole people returned to Palestine. Ezra states the number at 47,697, which would be but the population of one small city. In fact Babylon continued for centuries to be considered, almost equally with Palestine, as the Jews' fatherland. A rabbinical authority declares that Ezra purified the land of Babylon by taking the rabble away with him, while the better class remained. 16 An early tradition told how the captive king, Jeconiah, and a body of Jews, having a part of the sacred furniture of the temple, had settled at Nehardea on the banks of the Euphrates,-afterwards noted as the seat of one of the great rabbinical schools ; and even in the second century
16 Kiddushim, 69 b.