Conceptual orientation. There exists a vast literature on the subject of sacrifice, much of which has been devoted to theoretical issues. At least since the publication of the seminal essay by Henri Hubert and Marcel Mauss much of the discussion has been devoted to a search for what essentially defines sacrifice. Amidst the diversity of opinion there has been a general consensus that sacrifice has as its essential subject the offering of an animal victim, including man. Typically, the theories account for one or another aspect of sacrifice, but when applied to the actual practices, they fall short of reconciling all the data to a single model. While confronting the idea of sacrifice in Zoroastrianism, the present writer can only echo the conclusion drawn by Jacob Milgrom in his monumental study of Leviticus when he quotes M. F. C. Bourdillon’s judgement: “Any general theory of sacrifice is bound to fail. The wide distribution of the institution of sacrifice among peoples of the world is not due to some fundamental human trait which fulfills a fundamental human need. Sacrifice is a flexible symbol which can convey a rich variety of possible meanings” (Milgrom, pp. 440-43). With this in mind, I have approached the subject, as much as possible, not from a theoretical position, but from the practices of Zoroastrians over the long history of their religion. Thus, in contradistinction to Molé, I find no comprehensive Zoroastrian theology of sacrifice, rather a variety of interrelated practices which cluster about the verb yaz- and its derivatives (see below). More specifically, but not exclusively, the focus here is on animal sacrifice. For a full treatment of the yasna ceremony, see YASNA.

The Indo-Iranians shared a common model for the performance of the sacrifice. As Paul Thieme (1957) showed, the basic model derived from the social institution of formal hospitality extended to an honored guest. The common elements were: an invitation/invocation to the guest delivered by a messenger (usually Ātar/Agni “Fire); the preparation for a festive meal (myazda-/miyédha-); the welcoming of the guest and providing of a comfortable seat of honor (barəsman-/barhíṣ-; cf. Av. barəziš- “cushion) before the fire; the offer of an invigorating drink, preeminently a libation (zaoθrā-/hótrā-) of haoma-/sóma and the presentation of food in the form of guest’s favorite portion of the slaughtered victim cooked over the fire, as well as vegetative offerings; laudatory verses composed for the occasion in the guest’s honor; a request made of the guest for a gift or boon (as hospitality was a gift of the host requiring an appropriate reciprocal gift from the guest). The host and his household partook of the meal as well. This model highlights two main purposes of sacrifice: the ability to favorably influence the gods and the mechanism by which people could legitimately consume meat (for comparison see Detienne and Vernant). However, it is insufficient to account for the role played by sacrifice in cosmogony and eschatology (see below), or in the fully developed ideology of the yasna as a daily ritual of integration of the cosmos.

An issue that seems to have been at the center of Zarathustra’s reform of ritual was the necessary fact of violence (see Girard for a general theory of ritual violence) done to the victim in the sacrifice. At the heart of his opposition to the daēwic priests and their cult was the violence and cruelty they visited upon the victim (see especially Y. 29; cf. also the sacrifice of the Vyāmburadaēwas, Yt. 14.54-56, who are called daēwayāz- “sacrificing to the daēwas). Zarathustra’s clear opposition to cruel forms of sacrifice has led some to believe that he forbade animal sacrifice altogether; but, like haoma, the weight of tradition is testimony that it was not proscribed. From the prophet to the present (Boyce, 1975b, p. 111) the victim is to be treated with solicitude and his/her suffering minimized. Because all ‘ahuric’ animals ultimately derive from the primordial bovine (see below), slaughtering and eating them is regarded as a necessity of material existence only to be eliminated at the Frašegird, when humans will no longer have a need to eat. It should be noted that Zoroastrianism does not witness any sort of mystical unity achieved with the deity through the sacrifice (as did Hubert and Mauss; see the critique by Detienne, pp. 13 ff.).

The vocabulary of sacrifice. The Indo-Iranian language group inherited from Indo-European a common verbal root *Hįeǵ-, which, according to context, can carry the general meaning “to worship or more specifically “to sacrifice. Outside of Gr. hazomai “stand in awe of,” hagios “holy, the verb is only securely attested in Indo-Iranian, where its usage was widespread (Mayerhofer, pp. 392-94). The verbal root Ir. yaz- : OInd. yaj- shared the present stem yaza- : yája-, which followed the important semantic distinction that in the active voice (Skt. parasmāi pada) the meaning is “to worship, offer sacrifice on another’s behalf”; that is, in the social context of the ritual it signified that a priest was acting for the benefit of his patron (OInd. yájamāna- masc., formed on the present middle participle; cf. Av. yazəmna- present middle participle, but never as a noun “patron). In the middle voice (Skt. ātmane pada) the basic meaning was “to worship, sacrifice for one’s own benefit, though in the social context the implication was that the patron was having a sacrifice performed for his own benefit by a priest. While both voices are well attested in the Vedic texts, the active voice is uncommon in the Avesta and probably absent from the few forms found in Old Persian, (the spellings ydtiy and ydʾtiy are ambiguous, as they can be read as either yaδatai and yaδātai or as yaδati and yaδāti; OPers. δ = Av. z). Syntactically the verb was construed with the accusative of the being to whom worship/sacrifice was being offered and with the instrumental of the thing being offered. Nominal derivatives in Avestan (with OInd. and OPers. cognates) are: išta-, yašta- (iṣṭá-) past passive participle “worshipped; yazata- (OInd. yajatá-) gerundive “(one to be worshipped, i.e.) god”; yaštar- (OInd. yáṣṭar-, yaṣṭár-) “worshipper, sacrificer”; yašəθβa- (cf. OInd. iṣṭvā´, gerund) “to be worshipped”; yasna- (OInd. yajñá-) masc. “worship, sacrifice, and yesnya- adj. “worthy of worship, sacrifice”; daēwa-yaz- (OInd. deva-yáj-) adj. “who worships the daēwas”; hu-yešti- (OInd. su-íṣṭi-) fem. “good sacrifice, offering”; OPers āyaδana- (cf. OInd. yajana-, noun) neut. “cultic site”; bāgayāδi- name of the 7th month, September-October (vṛddhi formation on *bagayāδa-; cf. NPers. baγyāz “gift), lit. “(month) for sacrifice to the gods”; āçiyāδya- name of the 9th month, November-December, lit. “(month) for sacrifice to Fire (Benveniste, Narten).

The semantics of Avestan •yaz- and its derivatives are complicated. If we hold in mind that the broadest meaning of the verb would have been “to worship a deity through ritual offerings that might include an animal victim and/or libation(s) and/or speech acts, we can reconcile a variety of contextual usages. For example, Yt. 10.33 has aoxtō.nāmana θβā yasna raθβya waca sūra (səwišta) miθra yazāi zaoθrābyō, “I shall worship thee, o strong(est) Miθra, with yasna in which (thou art) mentioned by name (i.e., dedicated to thee), with speech (spoken) at the proper time (and) with libations”; and the following stanza surunuyå nō +yasnəm (cf. Y. 68.9) xšnuyå nō yasnahe upa nō yasnəm āhiša “harken to our yasna, be satisfied with our yasna, sit at our yasna.” Here, the act of worship is accomplished through the ritual ceremony in which both words and offerings are made to the deity. (On the phrase surunwata yasna “with attentive worship,” see Kreyenbroek, p. 79, n. 3.8.)

In the Achaemenid inscriptions of Darius and Xerxes, •yad- is well attested. While the general sense of “worship does fit all contexts (e.g., “I worshiped Ahuramazdā; may Ahuramazdā bear me aid” adam AMm ayadai AMmai upastām baratu), the performance of a cultic rite is presupposed by the wording of XPh 35-41. Whatever the precise identification of the daiwadāna which Xerxes destroyed may be, the term indicates a place where “the daiwas were worshiped” (daiwā ayadya); and it was there that Xerxes states: “there I worshiped Ahuramazdā artāca brazmanya” (awadā adam auramazdām ayadai artāca brazmanya). A few lines later in the same inscription (46-56) he addresses someone who wants to be happy with the words “worship Ahuramazdā artāca brazmanya,” and then he declares that the man who so worships Ahuramazdā will be happy while living and blessed when dead (auramazdām yadaiša/yadatai artāca brazmanya). An interesting formulation of the reason for Darius’s victory over the Elamites (DB V, 16-17) and over the Scythians (31-32) is that they were rebellious and did not worship Ahuramazdā, while Darius did worship Him (uta-šām auramazdā nai ayadya auramazdām ayadai and uta nai auramazdām-šām ayadya, etc.). This ritual prelude to battle is encountered in the Yašts (see below).

In the Sasanian period, the priest Kirdēr, toward the conclusion of his inscription (KKZ 15), states that “through my very own estate, from place to place, I founded many Ādur ī Wahrām and I worshipped/sacrificed at these other fires ... I abundantly performed also other services of the gods ...” The wording u-m yašt contrasts with u-m ... any-iz kardagān ī yazdān ... kard. That the participle is written ideogrammatically as YDBḤWN is significant in establishing the intended meaning, for in Aramaic the verb dbḥ means “to slaughter, sacrifice and does not carry the more general sense of “to worship. That more general sense seems to be conveyed in the expression “and I performed ... other services of the gods.” Thus, one would suppose that in the context of offering a lamb in Šāpūr I’s inscription (ŠKZ), when the Persian has YDBḤWNtn the meaning should be “sacrifice (through the slaughter of an animal). However, the Parthian version uses a different ideogram, YʿBDytn, whose underlying Aramaic ʿbd means “to work, labor, serve; to perform a priestly, religious service (cf. Milgrom, pp. 7 ff.) though representing Parth. yazīdan. The Greek version has the peculiar MAGEUSŌSIN, a denominative whose meaning must be approximately “perform a/the Magian rite (Sprengling, p. 394). Zoroastrian Middle Persian or Book Pahlavi uses the ideogram YZBḤWN (cf. Hebr. zbḤ) and phonetic yštn, yc- /yaštan, yaz-/, which MacKenzie glosses as “worship, celebrate, recite. While these data suggest a broader semantic range for yaštan (Parth. yazīdan), yaz-, than just “to sacrifice (an animal), the choice of Aram. d/zbh˚ does show that, in the minds of those who created written Middle Persian, yaštan was strongly associated with idea of ritual, sacrificial slaughter by an authorized priest.

Beyond •yaz- and its derivatives, in the Avesta there is an ample vocabulary for the yasna ceremony; there is a paucity of terminology relevant to animal sacrifice. In the Nērangistān (Fragard 2, Chaps. 37-38), the term for “victim is pasu-, and this appears to be an Indo-Iranian inheritance, as Vedic páśu- “cattle, victim has the same semantic range as Av. pasu-. OInd. •śas-, which is the common verb “to slaughter, is unattested in Iranian, as is also the related •kṣad- (Mayrhofer, p. 626). A derivative of the latter, Ved. kṢádman- “butcher-knife, does have an Av. cognate šanman- “blade, which has no connection with butchering (see Yt. 10.24). The word for the butcher knife seems to have been also the common word for knife, Av. karəta- (cf. Vend. 4.50) and Pahl. kārd, explicitly in the Dēnkard (Dk., ed. Madan, p. 466.12-18).

In the Pahlavi Books we find a richness of terminology for sacrifice. The general term for a sacrificial rite is yazišn (also ēzišn, to verb yaštan), while yasn (Av. yasna-, NPers jašn) and yašt can be used interchangeably for a broader sense of “worship, prayer. In contrast to yaštan, discussed above, the verb used for the actual slaughter of the animal victim is kuštan, kuš-. It is often mistranslated as “to kill (though correctly West and recently Panaino, p. 238). However, a survey of its usage shows that it is always employed in the context of the slaughter of an animal; further, its ideogrammatic realization NKSWN- derives from Aram. nks “to cut, slaughter, immolate (see Nyberg, in Utas and Toll, 1988, p. 97; Jastrow, p. 911). Thus in the Bundahišn, in the eschatological context of the Frašegird, Sōšyāns and his assistants “will (ritually) slaughter Hadayanš in that sacrifice” (hadayanš pad ān yazišn kušēnd, GrBd., p. 226.4-5). According to Dk. 8.7.1 one of the main topics of the Pāzag Nask was “On the lawful slaughter of a victim at a sacrifice” abar gōspand dādīhā pad ēzišn ... kuštan; ed. Madan, p. 682.2-3). On the importance of dādīhā in reference to the sacrifice, compare Pahlavi Rivayat 8g2 “and they unlawfully slaughter at once 1,000 sheep and cattle, and they give the libation to the Dews” (ud hazār pah ud stōr pad ēw-bār adādīhā kušēnd ud zōhr ō dēwān dahēnd) or Pahlavi Rivayat, p. 46.15 “and their (the cows) misfortune is from this, when they slaughter (them) unlawfully” (u-šān dušxwārīh az ān ka-šān adādīhā bē kušēnd). The victim is usually referred to as gōspand as a general term for “cattle, esp. sheep, though a specific animal may be named. It seems that in practice a great variety of ahuric animals could be lawfully sacrificed. According to the Pahlavi Rivayat (pp. 58.72-84, 59.2), victims were not limited to domestic animals and might include as well birds and fish. Once the victim had been butchered, it was necessary to distribute (baxšīdan; Av. •baxš- at Y. 11.1) the parts (sraxtag) both to the various deities (yazd) and to the human participants (see below). On the method of sacrifice, the Dēnkard (ed. Madan, p. 466.12), corroborated by non-Iranians sources, states that the victim’s throat was cut after it had been knocked unconscious by blows to the neck with a stick (cōb; see Benveniste, pp. 48-55 for Greek, Armenian, and Syriac).

As far as the preparation of the meat itself was concerned, the norm seems to have been that it should be cooked, either boiled or roasted, or salted, though the author of the Pahlavi Rivayat cites authorities who hold raw meat permissible (p. 58.69: gōšt ī pōxtag ā šāyēd bristag šāyēd namak-sūd šāyēd ... xām nē šāyēd; ast kē ēdōn gōwēd ē kū xām-iz šāyēd). In the ritual terminology of the Avesta, the offering was referred to as draonah-, and one may infer from Y. 11.4 that the portion was cooked (xʷas̄ta-) prior to being offered (note Herodotus, 1.132). Since in Vedic ritual both meat and grain (puroḏaśa-) offerings were made in the course of the yajña, it is probable that the draonah included both; by the late Sasanian period the drōn had become a cake offering (see DRŌN), retaining a vestige of its association with meat by the inclusion of the gōšudāg).

Another important ritual term is Av. zaoθrā- (Ved. hótrā-), Pahl. zōhr. Derived from •zau- “to pour, the zaoθrā was principally a “libation, liquid offering, though it was also employed in the general sense of “oblation. This is semantically parallel to the priestly term zaotar- (Ved. hótar-; Pahl. zōd) which originally must have meant “the one who pours (the libations); like its Vedic cognate, though, it was a designation of the chief priest. Thus, the common Avestan collocation zaoθrābyō •yaz- “to worship with zaoθrās would include the fat of the victim poured on the fire if not the entire oblation made to the deity (Boyce, 1966).

Sacrifice in myth and legend. In many cultures there are found myths which recount how the world and/or elements in the world derive from the slaughter of a primordial being (Christensen, pp. 32 ff.). The Indo-Iranians inherited one such myth involving twin brothers (Lincoln). As this myth has been reconstructed, the twins are named Manus and Yemo, Man and Twin. In the course of events Man slaughters Twin, from whose body parts the world takes shape. One later reflex of the myth is the well-known Puruṣa-sūkta in the Ṛgveda. There the mutilation of the cosmic Man by the gods is repeatedly presented as a sacrifice (yajña) “when they bound Puruṣa as the victim” (... yád ... ábadhnan púruṣam˘ paśúm, RV 10.90.15cd). In the Zoroastrian sources only a vestige of the mutilation of Twin is retained in allusions to Yama being cut in two by Spityura, a daiwic figure who, in the Bundahišn, is identified as one of Yama’s brothers. Thus, in Yt. 19.46 his name simply bears the descriptive yimō.kərənta- and in GrBd., p. 228.12 he is “the one who, together with Dahāg, cut Jam” (kē abāg dahāg jam kirrēnīd). However, the true heir to the ancient motive of a primordial man’s butchered body forming the elements of the earth, is Gayō.marətan (Pahl. Gayōmard). In the Avesta, he is the prototype of the human race, but not its progenitor, for it is from him that Ahura Mazdā “fashioned the families of the Aryan peoples” (yahmāṯ haca θβərəsaṯ nāfō airyanąm dayunąm, Yt. 13.87), the actual progenitors being *Martiya (Pahl. Mahrē, Mašyē) and *Martiyānī (Pahl. Mahryānē, Mašyānē), the twin brother and sister, “Man and “Wife-of-Man.” GrBd. XV).

In contrast to the sparse references to Gayō.marətan in the Avesta, the Pahlavi Books contain his entire mythology (for Av. and Pahl. references, see Christensen, pp. 9-31). In both literatures the primordial man is closely associated with primordial Bull (or Bovine; see GĀWĪ ĒWDĀD), the corresponding prototype of all animals. In the case of the Bull, when he is slain in the Assault, various grains and medicinal herbs derive from his body, while from his semen derive the species of animals of the earth. When Gayōmard is slain, from his body derive eight kinds of metal, while from his semen (in the version of Zātspram, gold) derives the rhubarb plant (rēβās) that metamorphosed into the first humans. While a creation myth of the Puruṣa type is lacking in our sources, where earth, sky, rivers etc. derive from the portions of the slaughtered victim, a clear vestige of the myth is contained in the microcosmic-macrocosmic homologies between the human body and the cosmos (see MICROCOSM AND MACROCOSM), particularly as these pertain to the recreation of the final body (tan ī pasēn) at the Frašegird. One may speculate that, owing to Zarathustra’s reform, where the daēwas became the butchers, the mutilations of the primordial man and bovine could no longer be regarded as sacrifices. However, another vestige of a myth of the primordial sacrifice of the Bull may be seen in the eschatological sacrifice of the bull Hadayanš, from whose fat the elixir of immortality, the White Hōm, will be prepared: gāw ī hadayanš pad ān yazišn kušēnd az pīh ī ān gāw hōm ī spēd anōš wirāyēnd “(Sōšyāns and his assistants) will slaughter the bull Hadayanš in that sacrifice (and) from the fat of that bull they will prepare the White Hōm, the elixir” (GrBd., p. 226.4-5).

According to the Zurvanite myth of creation preserved in Armenian and Syriac sources (Eznik and Ełišē, Theodor bar Kōnai and Yohannān bar Penhayē; see Zaehner, pp. 61 ff., 419-23), Zurvān performed sacrifice for 1,000 years in order to have a son, but, owing to doubts he entertained concerning the efficacy of his sacrifice, he won two sons, Ohrmazd and Ahriman, the former through the sacrifice, the latter through his doubt. What exactly this sacrifice (yašt by Eznik) was is unclear.

On the yasna ceremony as a cosmic ritual of creation and reintegration, see YASNA.

Occasions for sacrifice. Disregarding the yasna ceremony performed daily, we can identify various situations which called for animal sacrifice.

There are the legendary accounts of heroes sacrificing large numbers of animals to Arədwī Sūrā Anāhitā (Yt. 5.21, etc.) and Drwāspā (Yt. 9.3, etc.) in order to secure victory over an opponent or success in an undertaking. The common formula is: tąm yazata (name of worshipper) +satəē aspanąm aršnąm +hazaŋrəe gawąm baēvarə anumayanąm “He sacrificed to her ... 100 stallions, 1,000 cows, 10,000 sheep” (to which Yt. 9.3 adds, uta zaoθrąm +frabarō<iṯ> “and he offered (her) a libation”). Despite the efforts of Narten and Circassia (Panaino, p. 234, n. 6) to make sense of the endings in °əe (which can only be dative singular of an i-stem), this is not an ancient formula, but rather a recent attempt of a redactor to express in Avestan something that he could not control grammatically. The quantities of animals in the claims of Kirdēr (KKZ 18-19) and Šāpūr (ŠKZ 19-20) may give the context for this sacrificial formula, in that rulers and heroes of old would have been expected to provide animals for feasting, as did Sasanian kings and nobles, and in Islamic times wealthy members of the community.

These legendary accounts form part of a broader practice among warriors where worship of a particular deity was a necessary prelude to battle and ultimate victory. As noted above, Darius alludes to this in the Behistun (see BISOTUN) inscription. In the Mihr Yašt we find that it is Miθra “whom the leaders of the countries worship as they plunge into battle” (yim yazənte daiŋ́hupatayo +arəzahi awa.jasənto, Yt. 10.8). And further, “whichever of the two (opposing armies) worships him first, believingly with foreknowing thought from a trusting mind, to that one turns Miθra of wide-pastures” (yatāra vā dim paurwa frayazāiti fraorəṯ fraxšni awi manō zarazdātōiṯ aŋuhyaṯ ātaraθra fraoisyeiti miθrō wouru.gaoyaoitiš, Yt. 10.9; cf. Yt. 14.44). Here it is unclear whether an actual sacrifice was to be performed or rather an offering of prayer. The latter is implied in Yt. 10.11 “whom the warriors in chariots worship at the manes of their horses” (yim yazənte raθaēštārō paiti barəšaēšu paiti aspanąm)—if the image is of men in a moving chariot leaning over the manes, but not if it is of men standing by their horses during a ritual. A ritual prelude to battle is certain at Yt. 13.27: “These (Fravašis) good, these best we worship ... They, indeed, should be invoked at the strewn barsman, they at the battles, they at the fights, they here when brave men fight in the battles (tå waŋuhīš tå wahištå yazamaide ... tå zī starətaēsū barəsmohu zaoyå tå wərəθraγnyaēšu tå pəšanāhu tå iδa yaṯ narō taxma pərətənte wərəθraγnyaēšu).

As with other ancient civilizations, the eating of non-consecrated meat, at least of domesticated animals, was forbidden (Detienne; Milgrom, pp. 710 ff.). Thus, at any occasion at which meat would be consumed, it was necessary that the animal be slaughtered under proper ritual conditions, that is, that it be sacrificed. The sacrificial/festive meal (myazda, Pahl. mēzd; see Hultgård) involved meat and wine according to Vend. 8.22: myazdəm ... gaoməntəm (Pahl. gloss gōštōmand “having meat; cf. Av. gaozasta- glossed gōšt-dast “meat in hand) maδumantəm. Throughout the history of Zoroastrianism, the gāhānbārs (see GĀHĀNBĀR) were the most significant occasions for sacrifices of animals. This is because at the center of these festivals were (and are) elaborate communal feasts at which quantities of meat were consumed after the animal victims had been properly sacrificed to the appropriate deities associated with the festival being observed. Feasting was particularly associated with Nōrōz and Mihregān, while Hamaspaθmaēdaya involved meat offerings to the ancestors (Frawašis [see FRAVAŠI]; Yt. 13.49-52). The summary of the contents of Dk. VIII.7 (ed. Madan, pp. 682.2-684.18) gives a suggestion of how the gāhānbārs were conducted. Of prime concern was the lawful slaughter of the victim and the distributions of its body parts both to the divine powers and to the assembled human participants (hanjaman). Essential for these matters were the selection of qualified priests (the general term rad “master and specific terms zōd and rāspīg), a master of ceremonies (radpassag-sālār: see MacKenzie) and the patron(s) who arranged the feast (if this is the meaning here of hamkār; cf. Dādistān ī dēnīg, chap. 82). The meal itself, the mēzd, had to be planned in such a way that the seat of honor was reserved for a meritorious person (see ibid., chap. 57) and that portions of food were appropriately served. (For a list of specific body parts butchered and offered to specific deities, see Kotwal, text 11.4.)

Sacrifice involving the ritual slaughter of animals has remained in practice among the Zoroastrians of Iran from the fall of the Sasanian dynasty to present (see Boyce, 1977, pp. 244 ff.) . Yet all indications are that it will soon die out in the homeland, a victim itself of modernization and of changing demographics (see Mazdapour). Among the Parsis of India animal sacrifice has fallen into disuse, owing both to the influence of Hinduism and to enlightened attitudes of sophisticated urbanites. By the mid-19th century there began a Parsi mission to dissuade their co-religionists from the practice, especially the slaughter of cows (Giara; Boyce, 1967, p. 40). Further, among the communities of the world diaspora, which are struggling to define the Good Religion for themselves and for future generations, animal sacrifice is scarcely an issue at all.


Émile Benveniste, “Sur la terminologie iranienne du sacrifice,” JA 252, 1964, pp. 45-58.

Mary Boyce “Ātaš-zōhr and Āb-zōhr,” JRAS, 1966, pp. 100-118.

Idem, “Bībī Shahrbānū and the Lady of Pārs,” BSOAS 30, 1967, pp. 30-44.

Idem, A History of Zoroastrianism I, Leiden, 1975a, pp. 147-77.

Idem, “Mihragān among the Irani Zoroastrians,” in J. R. Hinnells, ed., Mithraic Studies I, Manchester, 1975b, pp. 108-18.

Idem, A Persian Stronghold of Zoroastrianism, Oxford, 1977. Arthur Christensen, Les types du premier homme et du premier roi, pt. I, Stockholm, 1917.

Marcel Detienne and Jean-Pierre Vernant, The Cuisine of Sacrifice among the Greeks, Chicago, 1989.

Marzban Giara, Ramiyar P. Karanjia, and Michael Stausberg, “Manekji on the Religious/Ritual Practices of the Iranian Zoroastrians,” in Stausberg, ed., 2004, pp. 481-516.

René Girard, La violence et le sacré, Paris, 1972.

Henri Hubert and Marcel Mauss, Essai sur la nature et la fonction du sarifice, Paris, 1898.

A. Hultgård, “Ritual Community Meals in Ancient Iranian Religion,” in Stausberg, ed., 2004, pp. 367-88.

Helmut Humbach, “Zarathustra und die Rinderschlachtung,” in B. Benzing et al., Wort und Wirklichkeit II, Meisenhiem an Glan, 1977, pp. 17-29.

Marcus Jastrow, Sefer Milim, New York, 1992.

Albert de Jong “Animal Sacrifice in Ancient Zoroastrianism,” in A. I. Baumgarten, ed., Sacrifice in Religious Experience, Leiden, 2002, pp.127-48 (an excellent, comprehensive study, with less emphasis on philology).

KKZ: M. Back, Die sassanidischen Staatsinschriften, Acta Iranica 18, Leiden, 1978. Firoze M. Kotwal, The Supplementary Texts to the Šāyest nē-Šāyest, Copenhagen, 1969.

Phillip G. Kreyenbroek, Sraoša in the Zoroastrian Tradition, Leiden, 1985.

Bruce Lincoln, “The Indo-European Myth of Creation,” History of Religions 15, 1975, pp. 121-45.

D. N. MacKenzie, A Concise Pahlavi Dictionary, Oxford, 1971.

Manfred Mayerhofer, Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Altindoarischen II, Heidelberg, 1996.

M. Mazdapour, “Kontinuität und Wandel in den Ritualen der iranischen Zarathustrier,” in Stausberg, ed., 2004, pp. 631-52.

Jacob Milgrom, Leviticus 1-16, New York, 1991. Jivanji Jamshedji Modi, The Religious Ceremonies and Customs of the Parsees, Bombay, 1922.

Marijan Molé, Culte, mythe et cosmologies dans l’Iran ancien, Paris, 1963.

Johanna Narten, “Zur Konstruktion von avestisch yaz,” MSS 45, 1985, pp. 171-81.

Antonio Panaino “Aspects of the Interiorization of the Sacrifice,” in Stausberg, ed., 2004, pp. 233-52.

ŠKZ: Philip Huyse, Die dreisprachige Inschrift Šâbuhrs I. an der Ka'ba-i Zardušt (ŠKZ), Corpus Inscriptionum Iranicarum, pt. III Pahlavi Inscriptions I: Royal Inscriptions, 2 vols., London, 1999.

Martin Sprengling, “Shahpuhr I, the Great, on the Kaabah of Zoroaster (KZ),” AJSLL 57 1940, pp. 341-420.

Michael Stausberg, ed., Zoroastrian Rituals in Context, Leiden, 2004 (esp. his essay “Contextualizing the Contexts,” pp. 1-56).

Paul Thieme, Mitra and Aryaman, New Haven, 1957.

Bo Utas and Christopher Toll, Frahang i Pahlavīk: edited with translation, transliteration and commentary from the posthumous papers of Henrik Samuel Nyberg, Wiesbaden, 1988.

Robert Charles Zaehner, Zurvan, a Zoroastrian Dilemma, Oxford, 1955.

(William W. Malandra)

Originally Published: March 15, 2010

Last Updated: March 15, 2010