A selection of 25 important articles and reviews by the distinguished Iranianist Ily Gershevitch is reprinted in this volume marking the occason of his 70th birthday. The articles, all written in English, orginally appeared between 1942 and 1977 were corrected and updated for this edition. This volume also contains a portait of the author as well as a complete bibliography of his writings and extensive indexes which greatly enhance the usefulness of this collection.
The Avestan Hymn to Mithra, written in the fifth century BC, is the one extensive, ancient literary record of the attributes, companions and cult of the Iranian god whose worship spread, five or six centuries later, as far as Britain. Dr Gershevitch here reproduces Geldner's text and critical apparatus of the Hymn, adding his own introduction, translation and commentary. The introduction offers an orientation on the main problems concerning Mithra: how the god came to be included in the Zoroastrian religious system, his relation to Zarathustra's god Ahura Mazdah, his functions, his development from the stage at which the Indian Mitra is found in the Rig Veda, and the extent to which the Western Mithras has preserved the characteristics of the Avestan Mithra. The text is faced by the English translation, and is followed by Dr Gershevitch's exhaustive commentary.