HomeHistory, Philology and Archaeology of Zoroastrianism

HomeHistory, Philology and Archaeology of Zoroastrianism

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Published on Thursday, November 04, 2021


The purpose of this workshop will be to provide a multidisciplinary approach by combining historical studies, archaeology and philology, in order to contribute to the study of the ancient zoroastrian religion, ideally outside of modern Iran and India. Nevertheless, this purpose cannot be achieved without taking into consideration and a side-by-side comparison of the data from the long-standing tradition of the mentioned disciplines, collected from Iran, India and other related regions.



The Mazdean religion, also known as Zoroastrianism is one of the world’s oldest surviving religions, dating back to the 2nd millennium B.C.E., before the immigration of the Iranian tribes from Central Asia to the Iranian Plateau. This religion reveals the constant struggles between a creator god known as Ahura Mazda, protector of Light and Order, against Aŋra Mainyu, the god of Darkness and Chaos. The center figure of this religion is the prophet Zarathustra whose name is first mentioned in the Gathas, the oldest religious recitatives of this religion. Throughout centuries, this religion has been practiced in all corners of the Persian Empire and the Iranian world, from Sogdia to Media. In 651 AD, the Sassanid Empire came to an end after the Arab invasion of Persia. This is later followed by the retreat of the Byzantine Empire from the areas of northern Iraq and Eastern Anatolia, which consist of today’s greater Kurdistan (Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria), in favour of the Muslims. Over few centuries Zoroastrianism, which was once the state religion during Sassanian Dynasty, became gradually replaced by Islam. Consequently, Zoroastrians became a minority in the former Persian Empire, Eastern Anatolia and northern Iraq.

While relatively large Zoroastrian communities still exist in Iran and India, a large number of Kurdish Zoroastrians remained hidden from the public until the official recognition of Zoroastrianism in Kurdistan in 2016. With access to the archaeological sites such as Char Sten temple outside of Duhok, and the recent discovery of Anahita’s temple in Jar Sangi, as well as newly revelled Zoroastrian manuscripts (as the result of the Kurdish Zoroastrian community’s resurfacing), we could assemble puzzle pieces in order to expand our knowledge about this community, outside of the usual Iran and India.


For registration to this online event or any other question, please send an email to: contact.irak@ifporient.org


Tuesday November 23rd, 2021

Erbil (UTC +3)

10 AM: Welcoming participants, Dr. Barbara Couturaud (Ifpo) and Dr. Hamid Moein (FWO/Ghent University)

  • 10:30 AM: Opening words, Kayfi Ali (General Director of Antiquities-KRG), Prof. Dominique Pieri (Ifpo), Dr. Pauline Koetschet (Ifpo), Dr. Barbara Couturaud (Ifpo)
  • 11 AM: Introduction, Hamid Moein (FWO/Ghent University)

11:30 AM: Coffee Break

Session 1

Chairman: Dr. Pauline Koetschet (Ifpo)

  • 12 AM: Tobin Hartnell (American University of Iraq-Sulaimani), “Sustaining Abundance: The Role of the Divine River in the Economy of Ancient Persia”
  • 12:30 PM: Kozad Ahmad (University of Sulaimani), “Mapping the Religious Communities of Sulaimani Province in the Sassanian Period”

1 PM: Open Round Table

1:30 PM: Lunch

Session 2

Chairman: Dr. Hamid Moein (FWO/Ghent University)

  • 3:30 PM: Marek Jan Olbrycht (University of Rzeszów), “The Arsakids and Zoroastrianism in the Parthian Empire”
  • 4 PM: Jamsheed Choksy (Indiana University Bloomington), “The GOOD Ethics in Zoroastrianism”
  • 4:30 PM: Richard Foltz (Concordia University, Montreal), “Kurds and Ossetes: Common traces of Pre-Zoroastrian Iranian Religion”

5 PM: Open Round Table

Wednesday November 24th, 2021

Erbil (UTC +3)

Session 3

Chairman: Dr. Barbara Couturaud (Ifpo)

  • 10 AM: Bekas Hassan (General Directorate of Antiquities, Duhok), “Zend Temple in Akre Castle”
  • 10:30 AM: Narmin Ali Amin (Salahaddin University-Erbil), “Fire Temples and Christian Churches in Iraqi Kurdistan: Archaeological Study ofArchitectural Transformation and Identity Meaning”

11 AM: Open Round Table

11:30 AM: Coffee Break

Session 4

Chairman: Dr. Hamid Moein (FWO/Ghent University)

  • 12 AM: Touraj Daryaee (University of California, Irvine), “The Great Zoroastrian Schism of the Third Century”
  • 12:30 PM: Carlo Cereti (Università degli Studi “La Sapienza” di Roma), “King Narseh’s Zoroastrian Creed According to the Paikuli Inscription”

1 PM: Open Round Table

1:30 PM: Lunch

Session 5

Chairman: Prof. Dominique Pieri (Ifpo)

  • 3 PM: Hamid Moein (FWO/Ghent University), “Avestan Texts in Perso-Arabic Alphabet and Their Pronunciation in the 15th – 18thCentury”
  • 3:30 PM: Samra Azarnouche (École Pratique des Hautes Études), “Creationism vs. Emanationism: Political Use of Creation Theory in a Middle PersianZoroastrian Text (Dēnkard IV)”
  • 4 PM: Parvaneh Purshariati (New York City College of Technology), “Mihr Worship in Lākh Mazār and Kāl Jangāl”

4:30 PM: Open Round Table

  • 5 PM: Conclusion, Hamid Moein (FWO/Ghent University) and Dr. Barbara Couturaud (Ifpo)

Event attendance modalities

Full online event


  • Tuesday, November 23, 2021
  • Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Attached files


  • Ahura Mazda, Anahita, Avesta, Iranian History, Iranian Philology, Manuscripts, Mazdean Archaeology, Mithra, Pahlavi, Sassanid, Yasna, Zarathustra, zoroastrianism

Information source

  • Barbara Couturaud
    courriel : b [dot] couturaud [at] ifporient [dot] org


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« History, Philology and Archaeology of Zoroastrianism », Conference, symposium, Calenda, Published on Thursday, November 04, 2021, https://doi.org/10.58079/17li

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