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(1,217 words)

Author(s): De Jong, Albert
Zoroaster is the Graeco-Latin name of the Iranian prophet Zarathustra (Avestan zaraθuštra), who is thought to have lived around 1000 B.C. in southern Central Asia. He is regarded as the founder of Zoroastrianism by all Zoroastrians and by most modern scholars, although credible information about his life and teachings is very sparse. In classical (i.e. pre-modern) Zoroastrianism, the whole of the Avesta, the revealed literature of Zoroastrianism, which comprises the texts of the Avesta in Avestan and their…

Zosimus of Panopolis

(1,979 words)

Author(s): De Jong, Albert
Zosimus of Panopolis, fl. late 3rd/early 4th century Panopolis The first alchemist from antiquity whose works can be studied somewhat more firmly in historical context is Zosimus of Panopolis, who lived in Egypt around the beginning of the 4th century C.E. Despite his own constant protestations that he is merely relying on earlier authorities and bringing nothing new, Zosimus is generally seen as a pivotal figure in the development of ancient → alchemy. In particular, the development of alchemy from a pr…


(8,288 words)

Author(s): De Jong, Albert | Teeuwen, Mariken | Gouk, Penelope | Godwin, Joscelyn
Music I: Antiquity Music was a highly developed art in the ancient world. From very early texts and a number of musical scores, from representations in visual art and actual instruments that have been found in excavations, a whole spectrum of musical practice and theory has been recovered for virtually every ancient culture. Given the aural nature of music, it is almost impossible to reconstruct the sounds of antiquity, but much progress has been made in reconstructing both the technical aspects of…


(9,856 words)

Author(s): De Jong, Albert | Fanger, Claire | Faivre, Antoine
Secrecy I: Antiquity 1. Introduction The only fruitful way to study secrecy in ancient cultures and religions is to study it as a social phenomenon. The private secrets of individuals, that is knowledge of facts kept hidden from everyone (for example a woman who hides from her husband the fact that the child she is bearing is not his), are not only lost to us forever, but also do not really constitute a subject that could be analysed profitably. That is why, following a lead from the German sociologi…