Jump to navigation Jump to search This article is about the goddess. The Greek and Roman historians of classical antiquity refer to her either as Anaïtis or identified her with one of the divinities from their own pantheons. 270 Anahita, a silicaceous S-type asteroid, is named after her. Persian texts of the Sassanid and later annales Du Musee Guimet, Volume 17 PDF, Arədvī Sūra Anāhīta appears as Ardwisur Anāhīd.
The evidence suggests a western Iranian origin of Anāhīta. The link between Anahita and Ishtar is part of the wider theory that Iranian kingship had Mesopotamian roots and that the Persian gods were natural extensions of the Babylonian deities, where Ahuramazda is considered an aspect of Marduk, Mithra for Shamash, and, finally, Anahita was Ishtar. Bundahishn, a Zoroastrian account of creation finished in the 11th or 12th century CE. All the waters of the world created by Ahura Mazda originate from the source Aredvi Sura Anahita, the life-increasing, herd-increasing, fold-increasing, who makes prosperity for all countries.
The water, warm and clear, flows through a hundred thousand golden channels towards Mount Hugar, « the Lofty », one of the daughter-peaks of Hara Berezaiti. On the summit of that mountain is Lake Urvis, « the Turmoil », into which the waters flow, becoming quite purified and exiting through another golden channel. Bundahishn speaks of ‘Anahid i Abaxtari’, that is, the planet Venus. This legend of the river that descends from Mount Hara appears to have remained a part of living observance for many generations. A Greek inscription from Roman times found in Asia Minor reads « the great goddess Anaïtis of high Hara ». On Greek coins of the imperial epoch, she is spoken of as « Anaïtis of the sacred water. 4th-6th century silver and gilt Sassanian vessel, assumed to be depicting Anahita.
Aban Yasht, a hymn to the waters in Avestan and one of the longer and better preserved of the devotional hymns. Yasna 65 is the third of the hymns recited at the Ab-Zohr, the « offering to the waters » that accompanies the culminating rites of the Yasna service. 120 she is seen to ride a chariot drawn by four horses named « wind », « rain », « clouds » and « sleet ». Other verses in Yasht 5 have masculine instead of feminine pronouns, and thus again appear to be verses that were originally dedicated to other divinities. There are also parts in the Yasht that show discrepancies in the description of Anahita. There was the case, for instance, of her beaver coat, which was described to an audience for whom the Yasht was redacted. Artaxerxes II’s devotion to Anahita is most apparent in his inscriptions, where her name appears directly after that of Ahura Mazda and before that of Mithra.
Artaxerxes’ inscription at Susa reads: « By the will of Ahura Mazda, Anahita, and Mithra I built this palace. Media must have once been the most glorious sanctuaries in the known world. Alexander because she had allowed his friend Hephaestion to die. Plutarch records that Artaxerxes II had his concubine Aspasia consecrated as priestess at the temple « to Diana of Ecbatana, whom they name Anaitis, that she might spend the remainder of her days in strict chastity. This does not however necessarily imply that chastity was a requirement of Anaitis priestesses.
There, Anahita continued to be venerated in her martial role and it was at Istakhr that Sassan, after whom the Sassanid dynasty is named, served as high priest. Taq-e Bostan, but in this case not quite as convincingly as for the one of Narseh. In addition, Sassanid silverware depictions of nude or scantily dressed women seen holding a flower or fruit or bird or child are identified as images of Anahita. Additionally, « it has been suggested that the colonnaded or serrated crowns on Sasanian coins belong to Anahid. The cult flourished in Lydia even as late as end of the Hellenistic Parthian epoch. Hellenic influence a new impetus to the cult of images positive evidence for this comes from Armenia, then a Zoroastrian land.
According to Strabo, the « Armenians shared in the religion of the Perses and the Medes and particularly honored Anaitis ». Armenian Kingdom, where her temple was close to that of Tiur, the divinity of oracles. At Astishat, center of the cult of Vahagn, she was revered as voskimayr, the ‘golden mother’. Attempts have been made to identify Anahita as one of the prime three divinities in Albania, but these are questionable.
However, and notwithstanding the widespread popularity of Anahita, « it is doubtful whether the current tendency is justified whereby almost every isolated figure in Sassanid art, whether sitting, standing, dancing, clothed, or semi-naked, is hailed as her representation. The Armenian cult of Anahit, as well as the pre-Christian Armenian religion in general, was very closely connected to Persian Zoroastrianism, but it also had significant distinct features deriving from local pagan traditions as well as from non-Zoroastrian foreign cults. Ab-Zohr, the Zoroastrian « purification of the waters » ceremony and the most important act of worship in Zoroastrianism. Aban, « the Waters », representing and represented by Aredvi Sura Anahita.
Airyanem Vaejah, first of the mythological lands created by Ahura Mazda and the middle of the world that rests on High Hara. Oxus, identified as the world river that descends from the mythological High Hara. Sarasvati River, a manifestation of the goddess Saraswati. This section may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia’s quality standards. No cleanup reason has been specified.
Zoroastrians were fire worshippers, it would be quite as just and reasonable to call them water worshippers. Boyce agrees: « Linguistically, Aredvi Sura’s hymn appears older than Asi’s. It « was presumably after that verses describe a temple statue » were incorporated in Yasht 5. 285 BCE, Artaxerxes II died in 358 BCE.
Mnemon’ is a Greek epithet, roughly translatable as ‘the mindful one’, but is itself a mistranslation of Vohu Manah, the Amesha Spenta of ‘Good Mind’ or ‘Good Purpose’. Artemis one of the Greek identifications of Anahid. Atargatis », which Boyce, citing Chaumont, states is a temple of Anahita at Beonan. Anahita were required at this epoch to be chaste for life, or only certain among them. Celibacy is not in general a state respected by Zoroastrians, or regarded by them as meritorious. In 1948, Persian scholar Abd al-Husayn Nava’i addressed the Shahrbanu legend and suggested that there must have been a Zoroastrian shrine at Ray whose sanctity attracted the legend.