zoroaster-sorcerer_supreme-zorazztor-carpet.jpgZOROASTER

Real Name: Zarathustra (see comments)

Identity/Class: Magic-user;
    human vs. human variant (see comments);

   
post-Hyborian/BC era (possibly before and beyond)

Occupation: Sorcerer, scholar;
    former
Sorcerer Supreme;
    former guardian of the Crown of Wisdom;

Group Membership: Sorcerers Supreme

Affiliations: Aged Genghis, the Vishanti (Hoggoth, Oshtur, Agamotto);
    seekers of wisdom;
    formerly Noyo;
    formerly an unidentified pair, at least, of handmaidens;
    formerly an unwitting agent of Set

Enemies: Conan, Dreeme, Noyo;
    indirectly Pau-Styss;
    presumably others unidentified

Known Relatives: Allegedly Pourusaspa (father);
    Dughdova (sister, wife)

Aliases: Zoroaster, Zoroazztor the Sage;
    Noyo addressed him as "Great One";
    Conan insulted him as a "fat-bellied fop," "old man," and "pot belly"zoroaster-sorcerer_supreme-zorazztor-mosque.jpg

Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
    formerly Persia;
    formerly a mosque on the outskirts of Anshan, Iranistan

First Appearance: (Zoroazztor) Conan the Barbarian I#129 (December, 1981);
    (Zoroaster actively adapted into the Marvel Universe) Marvel Tarot#1 (July, 2007)zoroaster-sorcerer_supreme-zorazztor-library.jpg

Powers/Abilities: Zoroaster rode a flying carpet, which could hover in the air indefinitely, and without requiring his mental concentration to maintain its position (it would remain in position while he was deep in thought, reading his books); it moved swiftly upon his mental commands.

    He could simultaneously control at least a second flying carpet, on which a pair of his hand-maidens could stand and fan him as he read. He had at least a third flying carpet within his mosque.

    He could mystically manipulate objects in his vicinity, and he could even alter architecture, closing a doorway through solid stone at a whim.

    Zoroaster was supremely skilled at a chess-like board game.

    Zoroaster was allegedly at least 9000 years old, and possibly much older. It is unrevealed whether he used magic to extend his life, or whether his longevity (extended lifespan) was from some other means.

    Zoroaster, at least near the end of the time he held the Crown of Wisdom, was obsessed with his fanatically obsessed with his library and its books. Threats to his books could distract him from his guardianship of the Crown.

    Though he possessed the Crown of Wisdom, he kept it within a mystic cage, and it is unrevealed whether he actually directly utilized its power; however, his mind was likely affected negatively by its corrupting presence (see comments).

     At the time he was Sorcerer Supreme, at least, Zoroaster was one of the most powerful magic users of his era. He could almost certainly access the astral plane and other dimensions, transport others across dimensional barriers, project magical bolts, magically extend his lifespan for perhaps 9000+ years, and call on power from entities such as the Vishanti.

    Zoroaster formerly possessed the three Eyes of Agamotto (the greater Eye; the lesser Eye, aka the Amulet of Agamotto; and the Orb of Agamotto) and could utilize them to an unspecified degree.
    See the Agamotto profile powers/abilities section for more details on these mystic items' abilities.

    He presumably possessed and could utilize the Book of the Vishanti.

    The full range of his abilities remains unrevealed.

Height: Unrevealed (he is only seen seated; perhaps 5'6")
Weight: Unrevealed (perhaps 160 lbs.)
Eyes: Unrevealed (they are not clearly shown; presumably brown)
Hair: Gray (including beard)
zoroaster-sorcerer_supreme-zorazztor-face.jpg

History:
(
Conan the Barbarian#129 (fb) - BTS) - Because of the his wisdom, Zoroazztor was chosen as the keeper of the Crown of Wisdom, one of the Cornerstones of Creation, a set of four mystic artifacts created by the Elder Gods.

(Mystic Arcana: Scarlet Witch#1) - The Crown of Wisdom was secretly (apparently unknown to anyone involved with it at the time) an aspect/incarnation/something of the Serpent Crown, created by the Elder God Set.

(Conan the Barbarian#129 (fb) - BTS) - Zoroazztor guarded the Crown for "untold ages."

(Conan the Barbarian#129 (fb) - BTS) <Circa 10,000 BC> - Based out of a mosque in the outskirts of Anshan, the thriving capital of Iranistan, Zoroazztor kept a massive library and was known as an aged seer; he was considered the wisest of the wise.

(Conan the Barbarian#129 (fb) - BTS) - Zoroazztor was friends with Princess Noyo, a priestess of the Elder Gods. Noyo was amused by Zoroazztor's jests.

(Conan the Barbarian#129 (fb) - BTS) - Zoroazztor's mental faculties dimmed over time, but not his love for knowledge.

(Conan the Barbarian#129 (fb) - BTS) - Seekers of wisdom gathered in obeisance outside of Zoroazztor's mosque.

(Conan the Barbarian#129 (fb) - BTS) - The demon lord sorcerer Pau-Styss sought the power of the Cornerstones of Creation and kidnapped Laynnen to force his wife, Noyo, priestess of the Elder Gods, to recover the Cornerstones of Creation. She was joined on her quest by Laynnen's childhood friend, Conan; her and Laynnen's son, Dreeme, also came along.

(Conan the Barbarian#129 (fb) - BTS) - Having already obtained the Sword of Strength (as aspect of Oshtur's Sword of Bones), Noyo, Conan, and Dreeme mystically traveled to Anshan and traveled to Zoroazztor's mosque to obtain the Crown of Wisdom.

(Conan the Barbarian#129) - As a pair of hand-maidens fanned Zoroazztor from a floating carpet a couple feet above his own, Zoroazztor read pages from his library.

    After Noyo, Conan, and Dreeme entered, Conan voiced his astonishment at the floating carpets and the huge volume of books. Identifying Conan by name, Zoroazztor explained that these were food and soul for the mind, "nourishment for old Zoroazztor!" Conan immediately instructed Zoroazztor to give them the Crown or he would lose his fact-heavy head. When Zoroazztor noted that Conan was direct, though foolish, Conan hurled his sword at Zoroazztor's face, telling him they'd see who was foolish and who was not. Smiling, Zoroazztor acknowledged that they would indeed see, as he eased his flying carpet out of the sword's path. However, as the sword continued on and struck one of his shelves, dislodging several books, Zoroazztor's calm veneer evaporated, and he frantically cried out as he flew his carpet down to catch his precious books; he comforted the books, telling his "children" it was alright and that he wouldn't let any harm befall them; "That pea-brained cur won't dare such a thing again."

    Though Conan was furious, Noyo convinced him to stand down while she tried to defeat Zoroazztor by wits alone, according to the "laws of creation," by which she was sworn to abide. Acknowleding Zoroazztor as "Great One," Noyo announced she had come for the challenge, and Zoroazztor advised her that -- though his mind was not as sharp as once it was -- she would not coax the Cornerstone from him. zoroaster-sorcerer_supreme-zorazztor-game.jpgzoroaster-sorcerer_supreme-zorazztor-gameboard.jpg

    In derence to their past friendship, Zoroazztor allowed Noyo to choose in which challenge they would engage. Noyo chose the game, and then mocked Zoroazztor's apparent surprise at her choice, noting he had left his sacred (chess-like) board floating near the ground to seduce her to choose it. Zoroazztor indignantly claimed that though it was his speciality, he should not be suspected thusly; but Noyo, not amused due to her husband's life being at stake, interrupted, leapt atop another flying carpet and rose to meet her opponent.

    Acknowledging that he was always ready, Zoroazztor mystically neutralized the illusions that cloaked the Crown of Wisdom, exposing it, its cage, and the aura of energy it exuded. When the Crown urged her to place it upon her brow and it would make her a god, Noyo, trembling and vacant-faced, reached for it, but Zoroazztor stopped her, using a mystic shock to restore her senses and still the crown's call. Though he advised her of its potency and that none but the chosen one could ever wear it, Noyo insisted she needed and would have the Crown; Zoroazztor agreed that her need was beyond dispute, but made it clear her having it was not.

    Sombre and wordless, Zoroazztor gestured toward the chess-like game, and the contest began: They sat for hours before a signel piece was moved, and then they ponderd for hours more before a counter move was made; the power of the play entranced Conan and Dreeme, who watched silently.

    Finally, the silence was broken by Zoroazztor's cackle, as a sparkling, scintillant energy burst forth from his forehead, and he triumphantly moved his final piece as he announced his victory. He advised she would do well to learn from the encounter; arguing that Zoroazztor could do the same, Conan advised Noyo he had given her law a chance, and now it was his turn. Conan torched at least three of Zoroazztor's bookshelves, and the ancient wood and tomes swiftly spread the fire. As Zoroazztor predictably flew down and desperately tried to stamp out the flames, Conan scaled another shelf, dove through the air, snatched the Crown (within its casing), and landed on Noyo's flying carpet. zoroaster-sorcerer_supreme-zorazztor-flames.jpg

    As Conan and Noyo prepared to depart, Zoroazztor lamented the deaths of his dear books and then cursed Conan and Noyo as stinking liars: "What you're doing is...evil...dishonest!" Conan advised him that this was how life was, and then bade him farewell. Zoroazztor acknowledged that goodbyes would be said, but to life, and he caused the door out of his mosque to vanish, before he transported himself and his handmaidens away to parts unrevealed.

(Conan the Barbarian#129 - BTS) - Noyo mystically transported herself, Conan, Dreeme, and the Crown to Khitai; she placed the Crown in a realm between time and space so it could not try to seduce them again.

(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z (hardcover) Vol. 7: Appendix: Magic (from the journals of Ian McNee) (fb) - BTS) - Apparently succeeding via the challenge of the Vishanti, next to "wear the Eyes" (from 1800 - 1300 BC) was the Persian Wizard Priest Zoroaster who saw the universe as the cosmic struggle between aša ("truth") and druj ("lie"). 

(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z (hardcover) Vol. 7: Appendix: Magic (from the journals of Ian McNee) (fb) - BTS) - Zoroaster was succeeded by the Assyrian Sorceress Queen Semiramis (aka Salome'; 1300 - 1100 BC).

    At some point Zoroaster founded the religion Zoroastrianism (see comments).

Comments: Zoroaster is a real world historical figure.
    Zorazztor created by J.M. DeMatteis and Gil Kane.
    Zoroaster actively adapted to the Marvel Univere by David Sexton.

Zoroaster was an important religious figure in ancient Persia (present-day Iran and surrounding areas), whose teachings became the foundation of a religious movement named Zoroastrianism, a tradition that would largely dominate Persia until the mid-7th century AD, when Islam gained ascendancy in the region after the fall of the Sasanian Empire, the last pre-Islamic Persian empire.
--Christian Violatti

Per writer David Sexton:

Zoroastrianism believes in a constant struggle between opposing forces of good and evil. My original thought with Zoroaster was that he was connected to the Eternals and Deviants. He is actually the Zoroazztor that appears in Conan in possession of one of the Cornerstones of Creation, the Serpent Crown. He sought to use the tainted artifact for good and it broke his mind. I don't know that this works with the timeline. Maybe after Conan claimed the crown, Zoroaster recovered, started Zoroasterism and eventually became the SS.

    The idea of the Crown of Wisdom being the concealed/disguised Serpent Crown is pretty solid, as it clearly mentally called out to and tried to seduce others.

    Many Conan-era stories showed people reading only pages, scrolls, and tablets, aside from the occasional iron-bound books. Zoroazztor had many of what appeared to be conventionally bound books...but that was never discussed.

    As you might guess, Iranistan was a Hyborian era nation that was a likely precuror of Persia/Iran. Khitai was a precursor of China.

Disclaimer: While I thoroughly enjoy mythology and the history of religions, Zoroastianism, etc. is not one of those I had known much about. When I first saw the spider-character Zoroaster, I thought its name was "Zor - roast - er"...so, no clue to start with. Via the Appendix and the Yazatas entry in the Encyclopedia Mythologica, etc., I've gained SOME knowledge. I am certain people with more expertise will correct me.
    Nonetheless, my understanding of real world information (on which there is significant disagreement, and mythological beliefs used to be included as historical fact; consider all information below as disputed), based largely on review of the Ancient History Encyclopedia entry on Zoroaster (I checked out Encyclopedia Brittanica, Wikipedia, and a couple more sites, and tried to include the most consistent info; as long as I'm extending the paratheticals, I'll off er that I have paraphrased, and that I've converted BCE to BC, and CE to AD) is as follows:

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Zoroaster is the inspiration for the names of:


images: (without ads)
Conan the Barbarian#129, pg. 14, panel 4 (mosque, exterior);
       pg. 15, panel 1 (mosque interior; library);
          panel 2 (seated and reading);
       pg. 17. panel 1 (seated on magic carpet);
       pg. 19, panel 4 (game);
       pg. 20, panel 3 (face);
       pg. 22, panel 1 (in flames)
       


Appearances:
Conan the Barbarian#129 (December, 1981) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Gil Kane (pencils), Gil Kane & P. Craig Russell (?) (inks), Louise Jones (editor)
Conan the Barbarian#130 (January, 1982) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Gil Kane (artist), Louise Jones (editor)


First posted: 08/31/2018
Last updated: 08/31/2018

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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