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The Ethics and Praxis of Mehr and Mithras and the Social Institution of the ʿayyārs in the Epic Romance of Samak-e ʿayyār*

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AbstractGiving a very brief and introductory summary of the many avatars of the Iranian god, Mithra, throughout Eurasia, as well as the primordial functions of the god, this article proceeds to discuss the Iranian Mithraic world-view, as seen in the ethics and practices of the “chivalrous” brotherhoods and sisterhoods of the ʿayyārs. Through a preliminary examination of the Parthian epic romance of Samak-e ʿayyār, we shall argue here that this literary epic provides us with a fascinating template for decoding not only; 1) the ethics, “ideal” social mores and praxes and the ideological super-structures of the “chivalrous” brotherhood, or ‘ayyars, of Iran, but also; 2) what was in effect the ethics of Mithraic brotherhoods and sisterhoods of the Iranian world.

Affiliations: 1: The Ohio State University


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