Parthian Religion

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Definition

Parthian religion might be best described with two words: inclusive and evolving. As Parthia's empire held within it a variety of cultures, the Parthians wisely left each to their own beliefs and traditions, like the Seleucid Empire and the Persian Achaemenid Empire before them. While Parthia allowed Jews and Christian enclaves to thrive, the three leading beliefs were the Greek pantheon, Zoroastrianism, and Mithraism. But what did the Parthians themselves believe? Considering they left no historical record as to their cultural heritage, discovering the Parthian belief system may seem challenging, but starting with what was practical and prominent in their daily lives and considering from where they came, to where they were going, will help. Initially, it appears, as Persian and Greek cooperation were essential to the success of the Parthian Empire, the Parthians flirted with keeping both nation's customs, but once they stood on their own, they began to identify with Mithra.

More about: Parthian Religion

Timeline

  • c. 513 BCE - c. 512 BCE
    Darius I of Persia campaigns against Scythians into European Scythia, past the Danube River, Scythians refuse to fight and Darius is forced to abandon the campaign due to lack of provisions.
  • 247 BCE - 224 CE
    Empire of the Parthians.
  • 141 BCE
    Persis passes from Seleucid to Parthian domination.
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