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Religion, Empire, and TortureThe Case of Achaemenian Persia, with a Postscript on Abu Ghraib$
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Bruce Lincoln

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226481968

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226481913.001.0001

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Creation 4

Creation 4

Chapter:
(p.51) Creation 4
Source:
Religion, Empire, and Torture
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226481913.003.0004

This chapter assesses the pattern and purpose which the Persians perceived in history, and how this informed their sense of sacred mission. The narrative of creation dominates later Achaemenian discourse, in terms of both its frequency and its emphatic placement at the beginning of every inscription in which it appears. The Wise Lord's first four acts form a set, which can be referred to as the original creation. The Wise Lord's response to some unexpected event or his attempt to redress some newly arisen problem is considered. The historical discourse of Bisitun and the mythic discourse of the later inscriptions complement each other. Correlating Bisitun and the Achaemenian cosmogonies yields a tripartite temporal schema in which a period of primordial perfection is followed by one of historical crisis and struggle.

Keywords:   creation, sacred mission, Achaemenian discourse, inscription, Wise Lord, Bisitun, Achaemenian cosmogonies

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