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Zoroastrianism - Important Beliefs of Zoroastrianism
I think that is going to be a tough sell for a lot of people, largely due to its explicit portrayal of sexual violence, but I think the author’s decision to explore it in such a way has to do with a commentary on perversion in society – though I struggle to hit on what her end message was, if anything. It seems to relate to innocence, but it’s a bit more complicated than a simple corruption narrative. Though regular sexual assault at a young age greatly influences one character’s perception of sex and sexuality, the loss of innocence seems less about perversion in general, and more to do with those who avoid the issue and the shame associated with it. For, I don’t think anybody in is portrayed as being free of perversion; the innocent seem to just be more self-aware. (I will concede that the clowns we meet partway through are largely free of it, so perhaps they represent that lost innocence. Or maybe love is the thing that frees us from the ugly side of our perversions? I told you, it’s complicated.)
This deed was the signal for a general revolt of the nation. The Medeseverywhere took arms, and, turning upon their conquerors, assailed themwith a fury the more terrible because it had been for years repressed.A war followed, the duration and circumstances of which are unknown; forthe stories with which Ctesias enlivened this portion of his history canscarcely be accepted as having any foundation in fact. According to him,the Parthians made common cause with the Scythians on the occasion, andthe war lasted many years; numerous battles were fought with great lossto both sides; and peace was finally concluded without either partyhaving gained the upper hand. The Scyths were commanded by a queen,Zarina or Zarinsea, woman of rare beauty, and as brave as she wasfair; who won the hearts, when she could not resist the swords, of heradversaries. A strangely romantic love-tale is told of this beauteousAmazon. It is not at all clear what region Ctesias supposes her togovern. It has a capital city, called Koxanace (a name entirely unknownto any other historian or geographer), and it contains many other townsof which Zarina was the foundress. Its chief architectural monument wasthe tomb of Zarina, a triangular pyramid, six hundred feet high, andmore than a mile round the base, crowned by a colossal figure of thequeen made of solid gold. But—to leave these fables and return tofact—we can only say with certainty that the result of the war was thecomplete defeat of the Scythians, who not only lost their position ofpre-eminence in Media and the adjacent countries, but were driven acrossthe Caucasus into their own proper territory. Their expulsion wasso complete that they scarcely left a trace of their power or theirpresence in the geography or ethnography of the country. One Palestinecity only, as already observed, and one Armenian province retained intheir names a lingering memory of the great inroad which but for themwould have passed away without making any more permanent mark on theregion than a hurricane or a snowstorm. How long the dominion of theScyths endured is a matter of great uncertainty. It was no doubtthe belief of Herodotus that from their defeat of Cyaxares to histreacherous murder of their chiefs was a period of exactly twenty-eightyears. During the whole of this space he regarded them as the undisputedlords of Asia. It was not till the twenty-eight years were over thatthe Medes were able, according to him, to renew their attacks on theAssyrians, and once more to besiege Nineveh. But this chronology is opento great objections. There is strong reason for believing that Ninevehfell about B.C. 625 or 624; but according to the numbers of Herodotusthe fall would, at the earliest, have taken place in B.C. 602. There isgreat unlikelihood that the Scyths, if they had maintained their rulefor a generation, should not have attracted some distinct notice fromthe Jewish writers. Again, if twenty-eight out of the forty yearsassigned to Cyaxares are to be regarded as years of inaction, all hisgreat exploits, his two sieges of Nineveh, his capture of that capital,his conquest of the countries north and west of Media as far as theHalys, his six years' war in Asia Minor beyond that river, and his jointexpedition with Nebuchadnezzar into Syria, will have to be crowded mostimprobably into the space of twelve years, two or three preceding andten or nine following the Scythian domination. These and other reasonslead to the conclusion, which has the support of Eusebius, thatthe Scythian domination was of much shorter duration than Herodotusimagined. It may have been twenty-eight years from the original attackon Media to the final expulsion of the last of the invaders fromAsia—and this may have been what the informants of Herodotus reallyintended—but it cannot have been very long after the first attackbefore the Medes began to recover themselves, to shake off the fearwhich had possessed them and clear their territories of the invaders. Ifthe invasion really took place in the reign of Cyaxares, and not in thelifetime of his father, where Eusebius places it, we must suppose thatwithin eight years of its occurrence Cyaxares found himself sufficientlystrong, and his hands sufficiently free, to resume his old projects, andfor the second time to march an army into Assyria.
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The platform at Persepolis is built at the foot of a high range ofrocky hills, on which it abuts towards the east. It is composed of solidmasses of hewn stone, which were united by metal clamps, probably ofiron or lead. The masses were not cut to a uniform size, nor even alwaysto a right angle, but were fitted together with a certain amountof irregularity, which will be the best understood from the woodcutoverleaf. Many of the blocks were of enormous size; and theirquarrying, transport, and elevation to their present places, imply veryconsiderable mechanical skill. They were laid so as to form a perfectlysmooth perpendicular wall, the least height of which above theplain below is twenty feet. The outline of the platform was somewhatirregular. Speaking roughly, we may call it an oblong square, with abreadth about two thirds of its length; but this description, unlessqualified, will give an idea of far greater uniformity than actuallyprevails. The most serious irregularity is on thenorth side, the general line of which is not parallel to the south side,nor at right angles with the western one, but forms with the generalline of the western an angle of about eighty degrees. The cause of thisdeviation lay probably in the fact that, on this side, a low rockyspur ran out from the mountain-range in this direction, and that itwas thought desirable to accommodate the line of the structure to thenatural irregularities of the ground. In addition to the irregularityof general outline thus produced, there is another of such perpetualoccurrence that it must be regarded as an essential element of theoriginal design, and therefore probably as approving itself to theartistic notions of the builder. This is the occurrence of frequentangular projections and indentations, which we remark on all three sidesof the platform equally, and which would therefore seem to have beenregarded in Persia, no less than in Assyria, as ornamental.
The minute account which has been now given of this palace will renderunnecessary a very elaborate description of the remainder. Two grandpalatial edifices seem to have been erected on the platform by laterkings—one by Xerxes and the other by Artaxerxes Ochus; but the latterof these is in so ruined a condition, and the former is so like thepalace of Darius, that but few remarks need be made upon either. Thepalace of Xerxes is simply that of Darius on a larger scale, the pillarsin the portico being increased from two rows of four to two rows of six,and the great hall behind being a square of eighty instead of a squareof fifty feet, with thirty-six instead of sixteen pillars to supportits roof. On either side of the hall, and on either side of the portico,were apartments like those already described as abutting on the sameportions of the older palace, differing from them chiefly in beinglarger and more numerous. The two largest, which were thirty-one feetsquare, had roofs supported on pillars, the numbers of such supportsbeing in each case four. The only striking difference in the plans ofthe two buildings consisted in the absence from the palace of Xerxes ofany apartments to the rear of the great hall. In order to allow spacefor an ample terrace in front, the whole edifice was thrown back soclose to the edge of the upper platform that no room was left for anychambers at the back, since the hall itself was here brought almost tothe very verge of the sheer descent from the central to the low southernterrace. In ornamentation the palaces also very closely resembled eachother, the chief difference being that the combats of the king withlions and mythological monsters, which form the regular ornamentationof the side-chambers in the palace of Darius, occur nowhere in theresidence of his son, where they are replaced by figures of attendantsbringing articles for the toilet or the table, like those which adornthe main staircase of the older edifice. Figures of the same kind alsoornament all the windows in the palace of Xerxes. A tone of mere sensualenjoyment is thus given to the later edifice, which is very far fromcharacterizing the earlier; and the decline of morals at the Court,which history indicates as rapid about this period, is seen tohave stamped itself, as such changes usually do, upon the nationalarchitecture.
History of the Devil: Persian Dualism
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