Page:Barlaam and Josaphat. English lives of Buddha.djvu/28

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xxii
INTRODUCTION.

Mazdeism under the later Sassanides of Persia. The idolaters are spoken of in the book as Chaldeans, and their faith as worship of the elements. There is a Chief of the Magi referred to, whose relations with the King of the "Indians" exactly corresponds to the position of the supreme Mobed in the Sassanide Kingdom. Grappling more closely with his subject, M. Zotenberg then points out common traits of Abenner and Chosroes the Great of Persia (531-79). Both kings are distinguished by their devotion to duty and to the national faith, and at the same time by their interest in, and inquiries about, competing creeds. It is besides a remarkable fact that Anushzad, son of Chosroes, was imprisoned for a rebellion, for which the motive was mainly religious. Finally, the great disputation between the Magi and the Christians in the Barlaam finds a remarkable parallel in a similar public disputation held circa 525 before Kobad, King of Persia, and his son Chosroes. To these arguments of M. Zotenberg, connecting Barlaam with the reign of Chosroes, I would add the fact that it is with his reign that a well-founded tradition associates the first stage