Priesthood, Rituals and Ritual Infrastructures
Michael Stausberg [+]
University of Bergen
Most rulers of the Pre-Islamic Iranian kingdoms professed their allegiance to Ahura Mazdā and other deities of the Zoroastrian pantheon. However, the interrelationships between “state” and “religious” institutions in Pre-Islamic Iranian history varied according to period and region. In at least some periods, the same persons could perform “judicial” and “religious” tasks. Many rulers may have undertaken religious commitments and investments out of genuine conviction, others out of mere convention. Such investments included, for example, the funding and sponsoring of temples, fires or other constructions, and the performance of various rituals by priests; on the other hand, the “religiosity” of the kings was probably an important source for their recognition as legitimate (generally accepted) rulers. “Religion” provides a kind of symbolic capital which can be used for the achievement of various interests.