In Zarathushtras life, there are two important places: where he was born, and where he converted King Vishtaspa to his philosophy. In the first case, the importance is self-evident, in the second case, it is important because that was the turning point of the propagation of Zarathushtras philosophy, where his religion began to increase in leaps and bounds.
Like the time of Zarathushtra, his place is also the subject of many scholarly disputes and disagreements. There are two major groups. One group places his birthplace in Western Iran, mainly based on the traditional evidence that he was one of the magi, coming from a priestly family. The other claims that he was born in North Eastern Iran, mainly on historical and philological evidence. And within each group, there are many different claims to the exact location of his birth.
The following is a table of some of the locations claimed to be his birthplace and some of the claims on King Vishtaspas country:
What is evident from the historical accounts is that since there is a distinct lack of reference to the location of Zarathushtras birth, or King Vishtaspas country in the Gathas, historians have had to refer to post Zarathushtra literature.
Furthermore, it seems that although initially people knew where Airyana Vaejah was, with the passing of time, they lost any sense of recognition of this land. So as the geographical land became a mythic place, only passed along in legendary stories, the priests and rulers of different places began to claim that their land was where Zarathushtra was born, or their country was that of King Vishtaspa.
They began to find locations with similar names as those referred to in the earlier accounts, to prove their points, and consequently created more legendary stories.
From linguistic and historical evidence of the Aryan migration, and assuming that Zarathushtra was born somewhere around or just before the migration, it is safe to assume that his place, as well as that of King Vishtaspa was either somewhere around the Aral sea, or somewhere further to the North East.
© Shahriar Shahriari
Information presented in the table above are extracted from:
This page was last updated on Friday, February 11, 2005.