Fire in ancient Iranian culture

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Fire is one of the elements that has been praised, and venerated, by the ancient Iranians. Fire is in the Avesta as Atash or Atar, in Pahlavi literature atour or atakhsh or fire, or in Persian literature has come as azar or athash. The guardian angel fire is known as atouryast in Pahlavi literature, and in Persian literature called Azarizad (Azar+Izad) (Azar=Fire. Izad=Goddess). Due to the importance of the position that the Angel has been called the son of Ahura Mazda.[clarification needed] In the ritual of ancient Iran, to appease the fire angel, fragrant woods or sandalwood are constantly applied in fire temples and fires in homes. In the religion of Zoroastrianism, fire is sign of purity and truth, and Ardibehesht (in New Persian the second month of the Zoroastrian calendar[1]) is its guardian. Ancient Iranian legends attribute the discovery of lighting a fire with two stones to King Hushang of Pishdadian dynasty. The tradition survives in Sadeh celebration, that still make it popular.[clarification needed]

Early history[edit]

Fire commemoration and worship has a long history among the Indo-Iranians, perhaps going back to the Proto-Indo-European religion.[2] The Indo-Iranians believed that fire was the essence of life and existence, and it is thought that there was a relationship between fire and the plant.[which?] It also assumed that there is a relationship and proximity between the fire and souls of ancestors, and for this reason, it is thought that the fire-worship and ancestor worship have been relationship with each other since ancient periods. As it is written, the magnitude of a family was buried in courtyard of the family fire temple when died, and was kindled on his grave sacred fire, and it believed that as the fire that took the life preserver of the family, after the death of the spirits of the dead are supported. This tradition remains among Iranians in later periods to ignite candles or turn on the light on the graves of the dead, and yet this is a common event.

Report of Greek historians[edit]

Ancient Greek historians refer to the Persians' attention to the gods of the sun, moon, earth, water and fire. Strabo's Geographica, Book XV, Chapter 3:[3]

But it is especially to fire and water that they offer sacrifice. To fire they offer sacrifice by adding dry wood without the bark and by placing fat on top of it; and then they pour oil upon it and light it below, not blowing with their breath, but fanning it; and those who blow the fire with their breath or put anything dead or filthy upon it are put to death.

Another historian, Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis, writes that Iranians are sworn in front of the sacred fire, and such oaths are very important.[4][full citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Noshir H. Dadrawala (September 16, 2017). "Ardibehesht – The Embodiment of Truth, Righteousness And Divine Order". Parsi Times.
  2. ^ Boyce, M. (2011) [1987]. "ĀTAŠ". Encyclopedia Iranica.
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  4. ^ Mythology and Iranian culture، P 405 and 406