Volume 25, Issue 2 (2018)                   IQBQ 2018, 25(2): 1-20 | Back to browse issues page

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Khorashadi S, Mousavi S M. How did Kartir become Kartir?. IQBQ. 2018; 25 (2) :1-20
URL: http://journals.modares.ac.ir/article-27-28479-en.html
1- Ph.D, Department of Archeology, University of Tarbiat Modares, Tehran, Iran. , sorur_khorashadi@yahoo.com
Abstract:   (185 Views)
The empowerment of Zoroastrian Magi as a social class was intertwined with the emperors’ power to the extent that the political power of Magi can be regarded as a discontinued historical process with ups and downs. This paper attempts to reassess an apparent contrast between historical narratives and archeological findings (e.g. rock reliefs) concerning the political empowerment of Zoroastrian Magi in the beginning of Sassanid Empire until the reign of Narseh. According to the historical narratives, the Sassanid founding fathers, Ardashir and his Successor Shapur I, emphasized ecumenism (i.e. the possession of political sovereignty and religious power by emperor.) However, according to the rock reliefs of the 3rd century, shortly after Shapur I, with the rise of Bahram I, a structural split occurred between the emperor’s power as the sovereign and the power of Magi. Bahram I’s reign is the first historical period in which Zoroastrian Magi, represented as a social class, obtained a political superiority. Roughly speaking, in this epoch which spanned for almost two decades (the reign of Bahram I, Bahram II, and Bahram III,) one institutionalized reading of Zoroastrianism developed by an elite Magi, i.e. “Kartir”, became dominant over others and turned steadily into the Imperial religion. The above contrast can be formulated, as follows: given the fact that an ecumenical power is the ultimate form of sovereignty in a monarch system, why and how a Kartir could gain authoritatively a significant share of power? Through adopting an historical approach, the authors pursue the roots of answer in three related political phenomena: First, the quarrel between Bahram I and Narseh; second, the trial and the execution of Mani the prophet; and third, the institutionalization of Zoroastrianism as the Imperial religion.
 
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Received: 2018/12/22

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