Founder of Zoroastrianism
Zoroaster (, UK also ; Greek: Ζωροάστρης Zōroastrēs), also known as Zarathustra (, UK also ; Avestan: 𐬰𐬀𐬭𐬀𐬚𐬎𐬱𐬙𐬭𐬀 Zaraθuštra), Zarathushtra Spitama or Ashu Zarathushtra (Persian: زرتشت), was an ancient Iranian spiritual leader who founded what is now known as Zoroastrianism. His teachings challenged the existing traditions of the Indo-Iranian religion and inaugurated a movement that eventually became the dominant religion in Ancient Persia. He was a native speaker of Old Avestan and lived in the eastern part of the Iranian Plateau, but his exact birthplace is uncertain.There is no scholarly consensus on when he lived. However, approximating using linguistic and socio-cultural evidence allows for dating to somewhere in the second millennium BC. This is done by estimating the period in which the Old Avestan language (as well as the earlier Proto-Indo-Iranian and Proto-Iranian languages and the related Vedic Sanskrit) were spoken, the period in which the Proto-Indo-Iranian religion was practised, and correlation between the burial practice described in the Gathas with the archeological Yaz culture. However, other scholars still date him in the 7th and 6th century BC as a near-contemporary of Cyrus the Great and Darius I to as far back as the sixth millennium BC. Zoroastrianism eventually became the official religion of Ancient Persia and its distant subdivisions from the 6th century BCE to the 7th century CE. Zoroaster is credited with authorship of the Gathas as well as the Yasna Haptanghaiti, hymns composed in his native dialect, Old Avestan, and which comprise the core of Zoroastrian thinking. Most of his life is known from these texts. By any modern standard of historiography, no evidence can place him into a fixed period, and the historicization surrounding him may be a part of a trend from before the 10th century that historicizes legends and myths.
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