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Thus Spoke Zarathustra          
Maziar Aptin
June 3, 2011

Left: Zarathustra Spitmata (Persian Philosopher)
Right: Friedrich Nietzsche (German Philosopher)

The life of Zarathustra, the world’s greatest ancient philosopher and a revolutionary man, has been studied throughout the world since 1700 BC. Today he is better known in western scientific communities than by people of his own country. This is due to the 7th century occupation of Iran by the Arabs.

After the occupation, Zarathustra’s name was not to be mentioned in any writing throughout the Arab empire from 632 AD to 1258 AD. Unfortunately, even after the ouster of the Arabs, this trend has continued in Iran for two major reasons.

First; after the ouster of the Arabs in 1258 AD by the Mongols of Iran, namely Hulagu Khan the country was still occupied by foreign powers, namely the Mongols, Turks, and the Turkmen who were more into war and conquests and were not interested in the revival of Iranian culture and past glorious achievements.

Second; after the so-called independence, the three dynasties of Safavies, Afsharies, and Ghajars, devout Muslims, even though they called to themselves Iranians, were not of Iranian stock. They mostly cared about power by promoting Shiia sect and did not show much interest in reviving Iranian culture. The Safavies and the Ghajars, not only did not show any interest in the history and culture of the country, but, due to their religious fanaticism, they massacred hundreds of thousands of Iranian Zoroastrians, and caused millions of them to leave the country. As a result, there are presently only less than 50,000 Zoroastrians in Iran. They are the only group of Iranians who have preserved most of the ancient Iranian culture, which must be considered a national treasure.

Zandieh was the first post-independence Iranian dynasty, but was very short-lived, and the Pahlavi dynasty was the second. Reza Shah, even though he was a patriot, due to his lack of ability in reading and writing, which was the case in 99.9% of Iranians at that time, was not fully aware of our ancient history. His son, Mohammad Reza, a semi-educated man, did not show much interest in the history of the country he inherited to govern. This was the reason why, during the Pahlavi dynasty, Zarathustra was not mentioned in any school textbooks from first grade through high school, and even in most areas of higher education in the Iranian education system. In contrast, throughout the advanced countries of the world, especially in Europe, numerous books were published about Zarathustra’s work and his doctrine is being lectured today in most Western universities.

Friedrich Nietzsche, the famous 19th century German philosopher whose second book was “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”, was so fascinated and inspired by Zarathustra’s thinking and style that he devoted the rest of his life campaigning against the powerful churches of Western Europe of the 19th century AD using the same style that Zarathustra have used to campaign against the18th century BC Iranian religious establishment.

Under the influence of Arab ideologies and their prolonged psychological warfare, a great majority of Iranians today are unfamiliar with Zarathustra’s work and doctrine. One of the major factors of the Arab empire’s success was to abolish the educational system of the conquered countries and keep the population illiterate and also keep close control of the conquered people’s minds and souls. Because this technique had a religious basis, the trend has continued even after the Arabs were ousted from the conquered lands.

In Iran, our fathers and forefathers, due to lack of ability to read and write, were dependent on the small number of educated people of the country to learn about their own past. But unfortunately this small population, due to the reasons mentioned above, was the religious groups that, in their own interest, continued the Arab propagandas of the occupation period. This is why today most Iranians have misconceptions about the most famous philosopher of their homeland.

With the gradual increase in the number of educated people in Iran, since the turn of the 20th century, the time has come for us to do some objective research about our past and understand who we really are and try to build our country’s future based on the rich and progressive culture that we enjoyed prior to the seventh century invasion. I, for one, became familiar with Zarathustra’s work for the first time in the summer of 1995. On my last birthday, when I turned 65, I received a gift from my daughter “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” by Friedrich Nietzsche.

Friedrich Nietzsche was born in 1844 in Rocken (Saxony), Germany. He studied classical philology at the Universities of Bonn and Leipzig, and in 1869, at age 23, was appointed to the chair of classical philology at the University of Basel, Switzerland. Due to poor health he retired in 1879 and died in Weimar in 1900.

Even though research in Zarathustra’s life began in France two centuries earlier and corrections were made by Martin Huag of Germany in early 19th century, it was Nietzsche’s work that made Zarathustra’s name well known to the people of modern world, a famous ancient philosopher whose name and doctrine was lost since Arab invasion in 7the century AD.

Read Thus Spake Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche:


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