The ancient pre-Islamic religion of Persia (modern Iran), founded by the prophet Zoroaster by the sixth century BCE, with about 200,000 adherents today. Many of its concepts influenced Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.

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Designates the ancient pre-Islamic religion of Iran, founded by the Iranian prophet Zoroaster in the sixth century BCE, featuring both monotheistic and dualistic features that later influenced Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. The religious society is divided into a three-part class structure consisting of chiefs and priests; warriors; and husbandmen and cattle breeders. Gods or daivas are often associated with each class, though Zoroaster rejected the cults of all gods except the one of Ahura Mazda (the Wise Lord). Its characteristic principle is the belief that the origin of evil began in the exercise of free will at the nascent stage of creation in which the twin sons of Ahura Mazda, embittered in rivalry, chose different moral paths: Spent Mainyu (Bounteous Spirit) choose good; Angra Mainyu (Destructive Spirit) chose evil.

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  1. 1.  The Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus, 300143670. The J. Paul Getty Trust.