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Document Details :

Title: Mithraism
Subtitle: A Religion for the Ancient Medes
Author(s): BIVAR, A.D.H.
Journal: Iranica Antiqua
Volume: 40    Date: 2005   
Pages: 341-358
DOI: 10.2143/IA.40.0.583215

Abstract :
Among the major kingdoms of the Near East, that of the Medes in northwest Iran is surely the most enigmatic. Their later reigns, at any rate, fall in the full light of history, yet we know next to nothing of the internal workings of their state. One reason is the likelihood that they possessed no system of written record which could have come down to us. Despite hypotheses put forward by several authorities that the Old Persian cuneiform writing system could have originated under the Medes, no inscription or writing attributable to the period before the Achaemenids has been securely identified. The more credible view is that the Medes had no written language. It is in harmony with this conclusion, of course, that the Zoroastrian scriptures of the Avesta, parts of which on any reckoning must date back into Median times, are known to have been transmitted orally for centuries, even after the rise of the Achaemenids.

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