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West Asia

The Persian equivalent of the Hindu Soma, the elixir of life. As a celestial deity Haoma was ‘correct in faith and the adversary of death’, the intermediary between earth and heaven. The sacrament of ancient Persian religion, probably connected with the blood-offering, said to have been instituted by Yima, the haoma rite was condemned for its ‘filthy drunkenness’ by Zoroaster. However, the orgiastic character suitably modified, it became at last the central act of the Zoroastrian liturgy, while Herodotus tells us that Xerxes sacrificed bulls during his invasion of Greece (480 bc).

Subjects: Religion.

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