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Zoroastrianism as a factor initiating changes in the legislation concerning slavery in the state of Cyrus the Great


Musik, Grzegorz



Subject and Keywords:

slavery   zoroastrianism   legislation of ancient nations   religion versus law   impact of axiological standards on legislation


The author explores the question of the impact Zoroastrian religion had on the legislation of selected ancient nations, concerning slavery. The customs established in the ancient nations inhabiting the eastern basin of the Mediterranean and the legislation arising therefrom were overtly supporting and establishing slavery within the framework of the economies of the countries. This led to a rise in the significance of slavery within the framework of the functioning of these organisms. The author presents the ethical standards arising from zoroastrianism as contradictory to the common practice of the discussed period in this respect. These standards were to lead directly to a change of the legislation’s direction in the Achaemenid Empire, from the rule of Cyrus the Great onwards. As in the area of ancient Iran it really was the actions of the ruler that was indicative of the binding legal norms, the actions undertaken by Cyrus the Great were, in fact, not an evolution, but a revolution in the field of slavery; the outcomes of which – in the bigger picture – due to the sudden nature of changes and the institutional weakness of the country, weren’t strengthened in a way that would enable full stability of the regulations in view of the successions of the subsequent monarchs of the country. These actions, however, have left a lasting mark on the structure of slavery of the ancient eastern countries, establishing the quantitative and meaningful advantage of slavery in the palatial form. The meaning of the contemporary word „slave” does not overlap with the range of its comprehension in Antiquity, when different categories of slaves existed, depending on the country. These categories of slaves could have even broader opportunities for advancement than the free population. According to the author, the axiological standards arising from zoroastrianism which condemned slavery complied with the fact of the maintenance of slavery in the palatial form, as the population that belonged to that category, was indeed benefiting from the above mentioned privileges. Through actual measures undertaken by the rulers following the axiological standards arising from zoroastrianism, they found their own place in legislation and, altogether with the exchange of thoughts and the reception of viewpoints, they spread in that part of the Mediterranean basin, making a lasting impact on legislation concerning slavery, which, in the end, led to the limitation of its economic meaning

Place of publishing:



E-Wydawnictwo. Prawnicza i Ekonomiczna Biblioteka Cyfrowa. Wydział Prawa, Administracji i Ekonomii Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego


Górnicki, Leonard. Red.

Date issued:


Detailed Type:



ISSN 2450-3932




pol   eng

WUL Catalog:

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Is part of:

Folia Iuridica Universitatis Wratislaviensis. 2019, vol. 8, no 1

Is referenced by:



Folia Iuridica Wratislaviensis

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Rights holder:

Copyright by Wydział Prawa, Administracji i Ekonomii Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego

Location of original object:

Library of the Faculty of Law, Administration and Economics

Autor opisu:

WR U/PAdjm   TK