EPIPHANIUS (b. ca. 315 [?] near Eleutheropolis, Judaea; d. 403 in Constantia, Cyprus), bishop of Constantia on Cyprus, founded on the remains of Salamis. His main work is the Panárion (Latin title, Adversus Haereses), in which he attacked eighty heresies. In this work (1.1.6; cf. Jackson, p. 188, 244) Epiphanius questioned the validity of the assertion that the Mesopotamian Nimrud (Gk. Nebrṓth) was identical with Zoroaster. The assertion was based on the following: Astrology and magic were invented by Nimrud (a corrupt form of Ninurta, the god, influenced by Nimrud, the city); the same is said of Zoroaster, hence Zoroaster was identical with Nimrud. This understanding was already present in the (Pseudo)-Clementine Homilies (9.4; cf. Jackson, p. 125, 239). Some manuscripts omit the negation in Epiphanius’ statement that Nebrōth and Zoroaster did not live many years apart.



D. O. Edzard, “Nimrod” in Der kleine Pauly, IV, München, 1972, col. 133.

K. Holl, Epiphanius I, Leipzig, 1915, p. 177.

W. S. Fox and R. E. K. Pemberton, Passages in Greek and Latin Literature relating to Zoroaster and Zoroastrianism, Bombay, 1927, p. 95.

A. V. W. Jackson, Zoroaster. The Prophet of Ancient Iran, New York, 1898; repr., New York, 1965.

Jülicher, “Epiphanios” in Pauly-Wissowa, VI/1, col. 193-95.

(Jacques Duchesne-Guillemin)

Originally Published: December 15, 1998

Last Updated: December 15, 2011

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