220 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.
drinker experienced, and the sudden exalta tion of his faculties under the influence of the inebriating cup-were not these the gift of a god? What other power in all the earth could so bring man into communion with the joyous divinities? Thus did Soma become the plant and drink of the deities. The gods in their revels and excesses grew drunken. So said the coarser theology of the people. But the Zoroastrian reformers were scandalized at the thought, and declared that the gods were sober, and that men were made into beasts by the power of Soma. Thus was a schism begun between the Aryans of the Median plateau, and their older kinsmen, the Brahmins, of India. Fora while, after the Zoroastrian reform, the line was sharply drawn between the temperate theology of the Bactrian prophet and the license of the older system of faith. As already said, the Zoroastrian system of divinity recognized the existence of devas, or "fiends", as the antagonists of the gods. The latter were known by the general name of ahuras, or "deities." It was the system of dualism in its infancy. Good and evil were opposed. Out of the conflicting forces of nature the intellect of man worked its way backwards to antagonistic principles. It is interesting to note, moreover, how in the theology of the Bactrians and Medes a spirit of optimism prevailed over the pessimistic tendency of thought. The gods and the angels and good spirits were differentiated into individual character. They were arranged in orders and hierarchies, the one above the other, and were given names. Ahura-Mazdao was at the head. But not so of the devas. These were all grouped together. They had no individual names or characters. They were simply unclassified devils. There was no fiend-in-chief standing over against Mazdao, like Lucifer in the Miltonic theology. A deva was simply a deva-a malicious sprite working mischief to the affairs of men.
Traces of the counter system of good and evil appear in the oldest hymns of the Zend avesta. The primitive Zoroastrians recognized the unceasing conflict between the powers of light und darkness. Truth and falsehood, purity and depravity, are set against each other. There were splits of light and spirits of darkness. Nature had her storms and her sunshine, Man vibrated between smiles and tears, yet the bardsand sages dwelt upon the joyful rather than the gloomy aspect of life. The good gods were adored more than the devas were feared.
At the outset much of the Medo-Bactrian system of dualism was traceable to the poetic language of the Zoroastrian sages. Abstract conceptions were personified. What was purely natural in the beginning became ideal in the imagination of the poets, and was then rendered concrete by personification. Natural philosophy be- came religion by ascribing the conflicts of nature to personal causes. Further on in the history of the system the dualistic belief rose higher, and in later times ventured to set up AHRIMAN as the foe and rival of Ahura-Maadao. The world became a battlefield between the antagonistic powers of the air. Man was alternately aided and beset. Health and prosperity and happiness were shadowed by sickness, calamity, and sorrow-visitations of the spirits of evil and malevolence.
Then did the priests elaborate their system of dual theology and adorn it with decorations. They made out two great hierarchies, the one heavenly, the other infernal. The six leading attributes of Ahura- Mazdao were personified into six great deities. One was known as the "Good Mind." Another was the "Highest Truth"; a third was "Wealth." To the fourth was given the name of the "White," or "Holy"; while the fifth and the sixth were called respectively "Health" and "Immortality." Then the demon Ahriman was invented. He was the "Bad Mind." With him were associated as councilors Indraand Shiva-both from the pantheon of the Brahmins. Three other personified principles of evil were set in the Council of the Bad; and thus the armies of the air were marshaled to elevate or debase, to aid or destroy the children of mankind. The faith of the Medes was by no means