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Zopyrus, writer on *physiognomy, known from his judgement on Socrates' appearance.



Heleen Sancisi-Weerdenburg and W. F. M. Henkelman

Zoroaster, Ζωροάστρης (Ζαθραύστης, Ζαράτας), is the Greek form Old Iranian Zarathuštra. He is considered by Zoroastrian tradition as prophet of a new religion; the revolutionary nature of his teachings is, however, debatable. In the oldest part of the Avesta, the Gāthā, he is called a ma̢thrān, ‘he who possesses the sacred formulas’. The Gāthā, ritualistic hymns, portray a dualistic system in which Aṣ̌a (truth, rightness) is opposed to Druj (lie, deceit) with *Ahura Mazdā is the supreme deity. They are dated, on linguistic grounds, to c.1000 bce. Whether Zoroaster was a historical figure, lived around this date, and wrote the Gāthā is debated; his persona certainly served as focal point of an emergent religious community. A date in the 6th cent. bce is suggested by late Zoroastrian tradition, but not supported by conclusive historical evidence. The Greeks knew of Zoroaster by the 5th cent. bce (*Xanthus(2) of Lydia in Diog.



John F. Matthews

Zosimus, Greek historian. Little is known of his life except that he had been advocatus fisci (see fiscus) and obtained the dignity of comes (see comites). His identification with either the sophist Zosimus of Ascalon or the sophist Zosimus of Gaza is very unlikely (see second sophistic). He wrote a history (Historia nova) of the Roman empire from *Augustus reaching as far as ce 410, where his extant text terminates just before the sack of Rome by *Alaric. He completed his work after 498, if indeed he refers to the abolition of the auri lustralis collatio (2. 38; see collatio lustralis), and c.518, since the work is quoted in the chronicle of Eustathius of Epiphania, written apparently in the early years of Justin II. Book 1 summarizes the history of the first three centuries of the empire (the section of *Diocletian is lost); in books 2–4 he gives a more precise account of the 4th cent.