Ahriman was the god of evil and darkness in Persian mythology and in Zoroastrianism, a religion that attracted a large following in Persia around 600 B . C . Often called Druj ("the Lie"), Ahriman was the force behind anger, greed, envy, and other negative and harmful emotions. He also brought chaos , death, disease, and other ills into the world. In the Islamic religion, he is identified with Iblis, the devil.

chaos great disorder or confusion Originally, Ahriman was the Persian god Angra Mainyu, a destructive spirit whose twin brother, Spenta Mainyu, was a benevolent spirit. Humans and gods alike had to choose which spirit to serve. As the Zoroastrian religion developed, Angra Mainyu became Ahriman, and Spenta Mainyu turned into Ahura Mazda, the "Wise Lord." The history of the world was seen as a struggle between these two forces. Ahura Mazda had the backing of the yazatas (angels), while Ahriman created a host of demons called daevas to spread his evil influence by appealing to the envy, greed, and desire for power of human beings.

benevolent desiring good for others

dualistic consisting of two equal and opposing forces

underworld land of the dead

In the dualistic beliefs of early Zoroastrianism, good and evil fought for control of the world—Ahura Mazda from the heavens and Ahriman from the underworld. The two forces were evenly matched, and each in turn gained supremacy. Ahura Mazda represented fire, sunlight, and life. Ahriman was the lord of darkness and death. Zoroastrians later came to view Ahura Mazda as the supreme ruler who would one day achieve final victory over Ahriman.

See also Ahura Mazda ; Angels ; Devils and Demons ; Persian Mythology .

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: