Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Angra Mainyu

Angra Mainyu (also: Aŋra Mainiiu) is the Avestan-language name of Zoroastrianism's hypostasis of the "destructive spirit". The Middle Persian equivalent is Ahriman.

Avestan angra mainyu "seems to have beent an original conception of Zoroaster's." In the Gathas, which are the oldest texts of Zoroastrianism and are attributed to the prophet himself, angra mainyu is not yet a proper name. In the one instance in these hymns where the two words appear together, the concept spoken of is that of a mainyu ("mind", r "spirit" etc.) that is angra ("destructive", "inhibitive", "malign" etc, of which a manifestation can be anger). In this single instance—in Yasna 45.2—the "more bounteous of the spirits twain" declares angra mainyu to be its "absolute antithesis".

A similar statement occurs in Yasna 30.3, where the antithesis is however aka mainyu, aka being the Avestan language word for "evil". Hence, aka mainyu is the "evil spirit" or "evil mind" or "evil thought," as contrasted with spenta mainyu, the "bounteous spirit" with which Ahura Mazda conceived of creation, which then "was".

The aka mainyu epithet recurs in Yasna 32.5, when the principle is identified with the daevas that deceive humankind and themselves. While in later Zoroastrianism, the daevas are demons, this is not yet evident in the Gathas: Zoroaster stated that the daevas are "wrong gods" or "false gods" that are to be rejected, but they are not yet demons.

In Yasna 32.3, these daevas are identified as the offspring, not of Angra Mainyu, but of akem manah, "evil thinking". A few verses earlier it is however the daebaaman, "deceiver"—not otherwise identified but "probably Angra Mainyu"—who induces the daevas to choose achistem manah—"worst thinking." In Yasna 32.13, the abode of the wicked is not the abode of Angra Mainyu, but the abode of the same "worst thinking". "One would have expected [Angra Mainyu] to reign in hell, since he had created 'death and how, at the end, the worst existence shall be for the deceitful' (Y. 30.4)."

Ahriman is featured under the name "Arimanes" in Lord Byron's dramatic poem Manfred.
John Wellington Wells in Gilbert and Sullivan's 1877 operetta The Sorcerer states that either he or Alexis Pointdextre must yield up his life to Ahrimanes in order to undo the love potion's effect.
Ormazd and Ahriman feature heavily in the Philip K. Dick novel The Cosmic Puppets (1957).
In Eva Ibbotson's Which Witch? (1979) The Great Wizard Arriman the Awful tries to select a suitable witch wife.
Ahriman features as the alter-ego of the antihero in Roger Zelazny book The Mask of Loki (1990).
Angra Mainyu is the deity worshiped by The Mahrkagir and his death priests in the third book of Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Legacy series, titled Kushiel's Avatar (2003).
Ahriman is featured as a demonic enemy of Duncan MacLeod in the last episode of season 5 and the first couple episodes of season 6 of the Highlander TV series.
Video games
Ahriman features in the Sega CD turn-based strategy game Dark Wizard (1993). The English version of the game uses the spelling "Arliman", which is likely to be the effect of an improper Japanese transliteration.
Angra Mainyu is the final boss of the fighting game Severance: Blade of Darkness (2001).
A powerful enemy known as Angra Mainyu can be fought in the role-playing video game Final Fantasy X-2 (2003).
Angra Mainyu dwells within the Holy Grail in the visual novel Fate/stay night (2004), and in the sequel Fate/hollow ataraxia (2005) as a servant.
Ahriman occasionally appears as a boss in Megami Tensei series.
Angra is the final boss of the beat-'em-up video game God Hand (2006).
Ormazd and Ahriman are featured in Prince of Persia (2008).
The name Angra Mainyu was changed to Shandra Manaya, the queen of the destructive Argons, in the video game TERA (2011).
Angra Mainyu is a high-level boss in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (2013).
A painting depicting Angra Mainyu can be seen in one of the endings of Anna: Extended Edition (2013).
Other Media
Ahzek Ahriman is the name given to a Chaos Sorcerer in Games Workshops' Warhammer 40,000, appearing in the table-top game and various related literature. Notably, he is mentioned as having a now-dead brother named Ohrmuzd.

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