Twelve gods of Persian mythology (2023)

ancient persian mythologyis the term now referring to Old IranianReligionbefore the rise ofzoroastrianismbetween c. 1500-1000 BC This was a polytheistic belief with aPantheonrun by rulersGod aura mazda("Lord of Wisdom"), champion of order, against the dark forces of Angra Mainyu ("Destructive Spirit") and his Legions of Chaos.

As with other ancient polytheistic religions, each of the gods in early Iranian religion had their own specialty to preside over and pray for specific needs. Today no one would go to the dentist and ask them to fix their car, take care of their children, improve their marriage or grow their crops; You can consult a mechanic, a babysitter, a marriage counselor and an agricultural expert.

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This was the paradigm of all ancient polytheistic beliefs and why people who believed in polytheistic belief systems would have found the concept of monotheism absurd (as the subsequent reaction shows).AkenatonEfforts to introduce monotheismEgyptduring his reign from 1353-1336 B.C. It was thought that no one god could meet the diverse needs of so many different people.

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Twelve gods of Persian mythology (1)

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However, between c. 1500-1000 BC BEFORE CHRIST,Zoroasterconceived a new vision in which a Supreme Deity - Ahura Mazda - could and according to this revelation always did; one has simply deluded oneself into thinking that there would be many gods if there was always only one. After Zarathustra's vision, the pantheon of deities was demoted to emanations of Ahura Mazda. You can still pray to a figure likeetc.however, to aid conception it would be done knowing that this was not an actual goddess, but merely an aspect of Ahura Mazda.


Twelve of these "emanations" - the most prominent of the old gods - were maintained by the new religion. Ahura Mazda became the supreme god of Zoroastrianism and Angra Mainyu his opponent. anahita andMitrathey would endure as powerful representations of the creative and protective aspects of Ahura Mazda and Atar as a symbol of the god himself, while Zorvan, once a minor god of time, would become the supreme god of time.ZorvanismoslowSasanian Empire(224-651 AD). Other gods and spirits would also be rethought beyond definition.Mythologyand exert their own influences. The twelve most prominent of the ancient Iranian pantheon were:

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  • Ahura Mazda - King of the Gods
  • Angra Mainyu - Principle of Evil, Chaos and Discord
  • Mithra - God of the rising sun, alliances, treaties and kingship
  • Hvar Ksata - God of the Full Sun
  • Ardvi Sura Anahita - Goddess of fertility, health, water, wisdom,Guerra
  • Rashnu - An angel; the just judge of the dead
  • Verethragna - warrior god who fights against evil
  • Tiri and Tishtrya - gods ofAgricultureit's rain
  • Atar - god of the divine element fire; personification of fire
  • Haoma - god of the harvest, health, strength, vitality; Incarnation of the plant of the same name whose juices brought enlightenment.
  • Vayu - god of the wind who drives away evil spirits
  • Zorvan (Zurvan Akarana) - god of time, personification of infinite time

These entities exerted significant influence prior to Zarathustra's reign.modificationand in several cases it continued to do so. They are only considered "mythological" today because the accepted deity paradigm is now monotheistic, but in their day they were as real to people as any god is to any modern religious follower.

aura mazda

The king of the gods, Ahura Mazda (also known as Ormuzd), created all things. He first created the sky, then water, earth, vegetation, animals, people and fire. After forming the sky, water, and earth and covering the earth with plants and flowers, he created the primordial bull Gavaevodata, which was so beautiful that he caught the eye of Angra Mainyu, who killed it. Ahura Mazda took the body of the androgynous bull to the moon, where it was purified, and from the purified seed of it came all the other animals. Ahura Mazda then created the first human, Gayomoartan, who was also killed by Angra Mainyu. From his purified seed arose the first mortal couple, Mashya and Mashyanag, who lived in ecstasy until corrupted by Angra Mainyu's lies. They then lost Paradise, but their descendants inherited the gift that Ahura Mazda gave them of his own free will, allowing them to choose for themselves whether to follow good or embrace evil. Ahura Mazda stood for all that was noble and just and encouraged people to be the best version of themselves.

Twelve gods of Persian mythology (2)

Angra Mainyu

The spirit of discord, Angra Mainyu (akaAhriman) led the legions of dark spirits known asDaevas. His sole purpose was to upset the order established by Ahura Mazda and destroy whatever beauty Ahura Mazda had created, as in the previous cases. Its origin in early Iranian religion is never given, but later works by the orientalist Martin Haug (l. AD 1827-1876) describe it as "destructive emanations" from the creative act of Ahura Mazda. Just as other deities to "emanations" were also Angra Mainyu, only this spirit was the leftover scum of creation that became sentient and malevolent towards creation. In the later religious belief system of Zorvanism, Angra Mainyu and Ahura Mazda are twin brothers born to the god Akarana Zorvan ("Infinite Time") and equal in power.

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(Video) top 10 Persian Gods and Goddesses


Mitra was the protector of the faithful and leader tooash(true) and the mightiest warrior against the forces of darkness.

The most famous and popular god of the early Iranian pantheon. Mithra was the god of the rising sun, contracts, alliances, friendship and was responsible for the orderly change of seasons and cosmic order. As an agent of enlightenment, he was associated with the Haoma plant and the Haoma god. He was also a protector of the believers and a guide as well.ash(true) and the mightiest warrior against the forces of darkness. He is depicted riding oneAutodrawn by white horses, armed with atalkspear, bow and arrowOro, daggers, axes and his famous mace, the most formidable of his weapons. As the god who controlled the cosmic order, he was responsible for the protection and distribution of the world.lange("divine grace"), which legitimized the rule of a king. Mithra granted a monarch the right to rule, and when the king violated the treaty by unjust behavior, divine grace was withdrawn and bestowed on another deemed more worthy.

Mithra is best known forromanomystery religion, the cult of Mithras, which, although undoubtedly influencedRoman armyHis association with Persian religion in his campaigns is a belief system in its own right, ultimately unrelated to the pre-Zarathustra Persian/Iranian miter cult. The Mithra of the Roman cult is considered an astrological deity developed by Roman sensibilities and has a completely different character from the Persian Mithra.

where ksata

Also given as Hvare-Khshaeta, the sun god, whose name translates as "bright sun." He was considered the deity of the full sun while Mithras was the god of the rising sun. The sun was also seen as Hvar Ksata itself. He was among the most popular and revered gods in the early pantheon, along with his counterpart Mangha (better known as Mah), the goddess of the moon. As the god of the sun and the sun itself, Hvar Ksata was responsible for life on earth through the prosperity of crops. Even after being eclipsed by Mithra, who eventually assumed his role as sun god, he continued to be honored and associated with the divine grace that legitimized kingship.

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Ardvi Sura Anahita

One of the most popular and enduring deities in the pantheon, Anahita is the goddess of fertility, water, health, healing, and wisdom. Her association with life and health also linked her with war andtodas the warriors of old would have prayed to him for victory and survivalbattle; She is therefore sometimes referred to as the goddess of war. Anahita is represented as a beautiful woman with a white dress embroidered with gold, gold earrings and necklace, and a gold crown, which she wears to the initiates.barsomBranches of life in one hand (initially possibly stems of the Haoma plant, connecting Anahita to the god Haoma). She travels in a chariot drawn by the four horses of wind, rain, cloud, and hail, and relates them to the weather through their association with fertility. She was considered the source of all life on earth, which she was then cared for and nurtured by Hvar Ksata.

Twelve gods of Persian mythology (3)
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An angel, not a god, Rashnu was the just judge of the dead who was in thebridge chinvat(the distance between the world of the living and the world of the dead), read the records of the works of a living soul and sent them to paradise in the house of songs or to hell in the house of lies. Rashnu was assisted in his duties by the angel Suroosh and the holy maiden Daena, who represented the conscience of the deceased and at the same time served to comfort and protect the newly arrived soul. Rashnu received the records of a person's life from two other angels who worked to collect them for three days after that person's death, when the soul remained close to the body. When he made his decision, it was understood that it was fair and the soul went to its home in the afterlife. In later times, but before Zoroaster, Rashnu seems to have been replaced by Mithra as judge of the dead, and scales were then used instead of a scroll of works.


The holy warrior who constantly fights against the forces of evil. He has no more tasks and is therefore considered the greatest protection against the demons of Angra Mainyu. He is depicted in various forms, changing his form depending on the circumstances of the battle. It can be a bull with yellow ears and golden horns, a white horse adorned with gold, a strong camel, a mighty boar, a strong 15-year-old youth (considered the ideal age for a boy to become a man), a ram big, a deer, a warrior with a golden sword, a strong wind or a big bird. As a bird, Verethragna was associated with Simurgh, the legendary bird of the mountains whose feathers could be rubbed or burned to call for its aid in times of need.

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Twelve gods of Persian mythology (4)

skin and tischria

Tishtrya was the god of rain and harvest who is sometimes given a twin brother, Tiri, god of agriculture. Tiri is not well attested and was probably another name for Tishtrya, although it is possible that he was an earlier god later conflated with Tishtrya. Tishtrya is depicted as a white horse with golden ears and adorned with golden bows, running across the sky and plunging into the earth, even under the sea, to fight the evil witch Duzhyairya (symbol of bad harvest) and the demon Apaosha (drought). ). ) struggle. . . ). ). He is often depicted emerging from the sea of ​​Vourukasha, the source of all waters, and rising into the air to meet and fight his enemies. The strength of it depends on the proper worship of the people. If the people did not perform the correct rites in the correct spirit, Tishtrya would weaken, dark forces would prevail, and drought and crop failure would come.


Fire was seen as the presence of Atar himself in rituals and, after the rise of Zoroastrianism, the presence of Ahura Mazda.

Atar was the god of fire and the element itself, son of Ahura Mazda. Depicted as a flame, he follows Mithras' chariot into battle. Fire was seen as the presence of Atar himself in rituals and, after the rise of Zoroastrianism, the presence of Ahura Mazda. He is closely related to Mithra (as well as the Vedic deityAgni) and is the decisive factor in his fight with the dragon Azhi Dahaka, who stole Divine Grace. Cornered, Atar threatens the dragon, scaring it into unleashing divine mercy on the heroes. The meat offerings were brought to Atar, given by the supplicants while holding them.barsomTwigs in hand, a certain number necessary for certain rituals. EITHERbarsomThe branches represented the earth and honored the Creator through creation. These branches are believed to have originally been stems of the Haoma plant, connecting Atar to the god Haoma.


Haoma was the god of the harvest, health, vigor and vitality and the power that gave the homonymous plant its potency. He was associated with Anahita, Mithra and Atar. People prayed to the haoma for strong children, and the haoma plant is said to have been instrumental in Zoroaster's conception when his father mixed the haoma with the milk that he and his wife drank before having sexual intercourse. The plant is believed to be in the genus Ephedrine (although this is disputed) and was pressed for its juice, which was then consumed to produce a heightened, altered state of consciousness in which one can clearly perceive the divine. In this state one had more strength, vitality and vision, gifts from Haoma and a bountiful harvest. Haoma does not appear to have been worshiped in any particular ritual, rather he participated in any ritual that used the juices of the haoma plant.

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Twelve gods of Persian mythology (5)


Also known as Vayu-Vatu, he was the god of the wind who lived between the kingdoms of Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu and as such could be good or bad. Vayu was considered oneshe thinks(Adorable Spirit) orDaeva(evil spirit), literally depending on which way the wind is blowing. He is depicted as a fierce warrior with golden weapons and an exceptionally sharp spear who charges the forces of darkness, scattering them to maintain order, but he can also turn and become a formidable opponent of the forces of light. In the later religion of Zorvanism, Vayu-Vatu became associated with earthly space and time within the vastness of infinite space and time.


Zorvan (also known as Zurvan) was a minor god of time in the early belief system who later became known as Zorvan Akarana, God of Infinite Time. Initially, Zorvan seems to have represented the time and space in which religious rituals were performed, but sometime in the second half of the century.achaemenid empire(ca. 550-330 BC) became the supreme deity, the personification of time, giving birth to the equally powerful twins Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu. in the moment ofSassanid Reichthe Zorvanist movement was fully developed. It is believed that this belief grew in response to the need for an answer to the question of the origin of evil. If Ahura Mazda was the supreme uncreated being from whom all creation came and everything was good, where did the evil come from? Zorvanism responded by making time the supreme deity and Ahura Mazda one created being among many others.

Twelve gods of Persian mythology (6)


The myths of early Iranian religion, like those of any ancient religion.civilizationHe explained, among other things, how the world worked, why it rained at certain times and not at others, how the seasons changed, and why bad things happened to good people. Scottish anthropologist and folklorist James G. Frazer (l. AD 1854-1941) states in his workthe golden branch(1890 AD) that the ancients were naturally concerned with the forces that could do them the most harm—those that brought drought, flood, fire, infant mortality—and so they first confronted the dark and dangerous gods and tried to appease them with certain rituals and sacrifices. This, he claims, is evident in the development of mythological figures such as Erra, the destructive force of Mesopotamian mythology, or the similar figure Set in ancient times.egyptian religion.

This belief, Frazer continues, eventually led to the creation of benevolent deities who responded in a similar way to sacrifice and worship. These gods now, through their rituals, would assume the duties of protection of the responsibilities of humans; Now the rites were dedicated to the gods who controlled the weather and people.Destinationsand minimized threats from the forces of darkness.

Whether this paradigm applied to the development of early Iranian religion is unknown, but the system as it existed before Zarathustra seems to have gone in a different direction (if Frazer's theory is accepted), in which benevolent gods, fully developed , They appeared first and then those who represented evil and discord. There is no fully developed character in the belief system that developed into ancient Persian mythology comparable to Erra or Set or evenerisVonGreece- all represent chaos and disorder - as Angra Mainyu is simply the embodiment of evil and destruction. The detailed development of the origin and character of evil is notto appearthey only appear long after Zoroastrianism has become fully established.

It could well be that there were entrenched myths about Angra Mainyu and her legions that simply have not survived. The Persians made no compromises in their early religious visionWriteand all that is known of the gods comes from later Zoroastrian works written in the Sasanian period, or even from later works ofliteratureand legends likeShahnamehor thethousand nights and one night. However, it may be that from the beginning the Persian vision focused on the more admirable qualities symbolized by the benevolent gods, knowing that the darker forces were ultimately irrelevant, as they would eventually be defeated by goodness and justice.

editorial reviewThis article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability, and compliance with scholarly standards prior to publication.

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Twelve gods of Persian mythology? ›

For this reason, much of what is known today about the ancient Persian polytheistic religion is informed by Zoroastrianism, which is a monotheistic religion that established Ahura Mazda as the most powerful creator god, with the other deities serving as his agents. Ahura Mazda is the supreme god of Zoroastrianism.

Who is the most powerful Persian god? ›

For this reason, much of what is known today about the ancient Persian polytheistic religion is informed by Zoroastrianism, which is a monotheistic religion that established Ahura Mazda as the most powerful creator god, with the other deities serving as his agents. Ahura Mazda is the supreme god of Zoroastrianism.

Who is the Persian main god? ›

God in Zoroastrianism is known as Ahura Mazda, an omnipotent, supreme figure. In an older Iranian tradition, Ahura Mazda was said to have created the twin spirits of good and evil — Spenta Mainyu and Angra Mainyu, also known as Ahriman.

Who was the first Persian god? ›

Ahura Mazda

who created this earth, who created yonder heaven, who created man, who created happiness for man, who made Darius king. Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord") was probably the main god in pantheon of the pre-Zoroastrian Iranians.

Who is the god of evil in Persia? ›

Angra Mainyu, (Avestan: “Destructive Spirit”) Middle Persian Ahriman, the evil, destructive spirit in the dualistic doctrine of Zoroastrianism.

What did the Persians call god? ›

Khoda (Persian: خدا) is the Persian word for God.

Who is the god of moon in Persian? ›

Learn about this topic in these articles:

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Ashi (Avestan: 𐬀𐬴𐬌 aṣ̌i/arti) is the Avestan language word for the Zoroastrian concept of "that which is attained." As the hypostasis of "reward," "recompense," or "capricious luck," Ashi is also a divinity in the Zoroastrian hierarchy of yazatas.

What is Iran's mythical creature? ›

Azhdaha, Azhdahak, Ezhdeha (Persian: اژدها) or Azhdar (اژدر) is a mythical creature in Iranian mythology, roughly equivalent to the dragon. They are gigantic snake-like creatures living in the air, in the sea, or on the earth.

Who is the Persian god of intelligence? ›

Persian mythology

Chista, goddess of wisdom and knowledge, she leads the mortals to the right way in life and the afterlife; she is also the goddess of religion in Zoroastrian mythology.

How many gods did Persia have? ›

Twelve Gods of Persian Mythology.

What is the oldest Persian religion? ›

Zoroastrianism is an ancient Persian religion that may have originated as early as 4,000 years ago. Arguably the world's first monotheistic faith, it's one of the oldest religions still in existence.

Who is the oldest known god? ›

Inanna is among the oldest deities whose names are recorded in ancient Sumer. She is listed among the earliest seven divine powers: Anu, Enlil, Enki, Ninhursag, Nanna, Utu, and Inanna. These seven would form the basis for many of the characteristics of the gods who followed.

Who is the most wicked God? ›

1. Lamashtu: Worst of The Mesopotamian Evil Gods. Coming in at number #1 above all other evil gods is the Mesopotamian goddess-demoness Lamashtu, the most terrible of all the female demons.

Why did Persia lose its name? ›

1, 1989. In 1935 the Iranian government requested those countries which it had diplomatic relations with, to call Persia "Iran," which is the name of the country in Persian. The suggestion for the change is said to have come from the Iranian ambassador to Germany, who came under the influence of the Nazis.

What's the oldest religion in the world? ›

The word Hindu is an exonym, and while Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, many practitioners refer to their religion as Sanātana Dharma (Sanskrit: सनातन धर्म, lit.

What religion was Persia? ›

By 650 BCE, the Zoroastrian faith, a monotheistic religion founded on the ideas of the philosopher Zoroaster, had become the official religion of ancient Persia.

Who is the Persian god of rainbows? ›

Verethragna or Bahram (Avestan: 𐬬𐬆𐬭𐬆𐬚𐬭𐬀𐬖𐬥𐬀‎ vərəθraγna) is an Indo-Iranian deity.

Who is the Persian god of healing? ›

Anahita is the ancient Persian goddess of fertility, water, health and healing, and wisdom.

Who is the Persian goddess of love? ›

Anahita, literally “unstained” or “immaculate,” was the Persian virgin goddess of fertility, love, and war. She is particularly associated with water and its life-giving powers. In Modern Persian, her name, Nahid, is also the name for the planet Venus.

What is the evil spirit in Persian? ›

Angra Mainyu (/ˈæŋrə ˈmaɪnjuː/; Avestan: 𐬀𐬢𐬭𐬀⸱𐬨𐬀𐬌𐬥𐬌𐬌𐬎 Aŋra Mainiiu) is the Avestan name of Zoroastrianism's hypostasis of the "destructive/evil spirit" and the main adversary in Zoroastrianism either of the Spenta Mainyu, the "holy/creative spirits/mentality", or directly of Ahura Mazda, the highest deity of ...

What are the names of the Persian devils? ›

A list of ten demons is provided in the Shahnameh: Besides the afore-mentioned Az "greed", Kashm "wrath" (Avestan Aeshma), Nang "dishonor", Niaz "want", and Rashk "envy", the epic poem includes Kin "vengeance", Nammam "tell-tale", Do-ruy "two-face", napak-din "heresy", and (not explicitly named) ungratefulness.

What is the Iranian word for demon? ›

Div or dev (Persian: Dīv: دیو) (with the broader meaning of demons or fiends) are monstrous creatures within Middle Eastern lore. Most of their depictions derive from Persian mythology, integrated to Islam and spread to surrounding cultures including Armenia, Turkic countries and Albania.

Who did Persia conquer in the Bible? ›

Judea was a subject province to the Persian Empire from 530 until 334 B.C.When Persia overthrew Babylon, the Jews in Babylonian captivity saw the Persians as their liberators.

What do Persians believe in? ›

The vast majority of Persians practice Shīʿite Islam. Before the Muslim conquest of Persia in the 7th century ce, most Persians followed Zoroastrianism, based on the teachings of the ancient prophet Zoroaster (Zarathustra), who lived during the first half of the 1st millennium bce.

How old is Persian mythology? ›

Persian mythology developed in what is now Iran around 1500 bce. About a thousand years later, a religion known as Zoroastrianism (pronounced zor-oh-AS-tree-uhn-iz-m) emerged in the region. It held on to many of the earlier beliefs but added new themes, gods, and myths.

Is Persian older than Arabic? ›

As for the question that which of them is older, then Persian takes the prize if we include the history of its earliest version. The Old Persian had been around since 550-330 BC until it transitioned into the Middle version of the tongue in 224 CE. Old Arabic, on the other hand, emerged in the 1st century CE.

Is Zoroastrianism banned in Iran? ›

Rights in the Islamic Republic

This new Constitution acknowledges the rights of recognized religious minorities, like the Armenian, Assyrian and Persian Jewish communities, Zoroastrianism is therefore still recognized as a religion in Iran and the followers have certain rights.

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He was the youngest, but the most powerful of three brothers. His oldest brother was Hades who ruled the Underworld. His other brother was Poseidon, god of the sea.

What is the oldest myth in the world? ›

The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the most well known Mesopotamian myths, and is often regarded as the oldest known piece of literature in the world.

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Christ: True God and True Man.

Who is god jealous of? ›

God is most jealous for his own glory, fame, and honor! God desires above all else that his name be preserved and promoted and he will act quickly and powerfully to vindicate his glory. “The jealousy of Yahweh,” writes Ray Ortlund, “is his profoundly intense drive within to protect the interests of his own glory (Ex.

Who is the most jealous god? ›

Personification of Envy and Jealousy
Armento vase painting 375-350 BC
Roman equivalentInvidia

Who is the most beautiful god? ›

Kamadeva appears in many stories and becomes the object of devotional rituals for those seeking health, physical beauty, husbands, wives, and sons.

Who was the strongest Persian hero? ›

Rustam, the son of Zal, stands out as the most celebrated and complex character in the Shahnameh and to this day he is considered Iran greatest folk hero. Known for his extraordinary strength, bravery and loyalty.

Who is the greatest hero in Persian mythology? ›

Rostam or Rustam (Persian: رستم [rosˈtæm]) is a legendary hero in Persian mythology, the son of Zāl and Rudaba, whose life and work was immortalized by the 10th-century Persian poet Ferdowsi in the Shahnameh, or Epic of Kings, which contains pre-Islamic Iranian folklore and history.

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Most famous for his failure to conquer Greece, King Xerxes is perhaps one of the most notorious Achaemenid Persian kings. Xerxes I had a reputation for harsh punishments, womanizing, and draining the Persian empire's coffers.

Who was the most evil Persian king? ›

Zahhāk or Zahāk (pronounced [zæhɒːk]) (Persian: ضحّاک), also known as Zahhak the Snake Shoulder (Persian: ضحاک ماردوش, romanized: Zahhāk-e Mārdoush), is an evil figure in Persian mythology, evident in ancient Persian folklore as Azhi Dahāka (Persian: اژی دهاک), the name by which he also appears in the texts of the ...

Which Greek king beat the Persians? ›

In 499 BC, the tyrant of Miletus, Aristagoras, embarked on an expedition to conquer the island of Naxos, with Persian support; however, the expedition was a debacle and, preempting his dismissal, Aristagoras incited all of Hellenic Asia Minor into rebellion against the Persians.

What were Persian warriors called? ›

Immortals (Ancient Greek: Ἀθάνατοι, romanized: Athánatoi) or Persian Immortals was the name given by Herodotus to an elite heavy infantry unit of 10,000 soldiers in the army of the Achaemenid Empire.

Did the Persian Immortals exist? ›

The Persian Immortals were an elite military unit in operation for around two centuries, almost the entire lifespan of the Achaemenid empire, which ran from 550 BC until 330 BC.


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