The Decay of Zoroastrianism

in persia, zoroastrianism was attacked by the same kind of decay. although fire worship continued to give the various factions a semblance of unity, the religion and its followers divided into sects which contended with one another. apparently unaffected by the religious controversy around the divine personifications and the meanings behind them, the political structure of the land remained strong. all sects sought the protection of the persian emperor, and the latter readily gave it to them if only to increase his own power and to use them one against the other wherever a political gain for him was to be made or a political threat from any one section was to be avoided. the two powers, christianity and zoroastrianism, the west and the east, each allied with a number of smaller states which it held under its influence, surrounded the arabian peninsula at the beginning of the sixth century c.e. each entertained its own ideas of colonialism and expansion. in each camp, the men of religion exerted great efforts to spread the faith anti doctrine in which they believed. this proselytizing notwithstanding, the arabian peninsula remained secure against conquest except at the fringes. like a strong fortress it was secure against the spread of any religious call, whether christian or zoroastrian. only very few of its tribes had answered the call, and they did so in insignificant numbers-a surprising phenomenon in history. to understand it we must grasp the situation and nature of arabia and the influence that nature had exerted upon the lives, morals and thought of its people.

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