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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Rages; Ragau

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rā´jēz , rā´gô

1. Location:

("Rages," Tobit 1:14 ; 4:1,20 ; 5:5 ; 6:9,12 ; 9:2 ; "Ragau," Judith 1:5,15 ; Ῥαγαί , Rhagaı́ , Ῥάγα , Rhága , Ῥάγη , Rhágē , Ῥαγαύ , Rhagaú ; in Darius' Behistun Inscriptions, II, 71,72, Ragā , a province; in Avesta, Vend . I, 15, Ragha , city and province; perhaps, "the excellent"): In Eastern Media, one forced march from Caspian Gates, 11 days' journey from Ecbatana, 5 1/2 miles South of present Ṭehrān ; the capital of the province of the same name, though by Ptolemy called Rhagiana.

2. History:

(1) Ancient.

A very ancient city, the traditional birthplace of Zoroaster (Zarathustra; Pahlavi Vendidad , Zad sparad XVI , 12, and Dabistan i Mazahib ). In Yasna XIX , 18, of the Avesta, it is thus mentioned: "The Zoroastrian, four-chief-possessing Ragha, hers are the royal chiefs, both the house-chief, the village-chief, and the town-chief: Zôr oaster is the fourth." In Vend . I, 15: "As the tenth, the best of both districts and cities, I, who am Ahura Mazda, did create Ragha, which possesses the three classes," i.e. fire-priests, charioteers, husbandmen. Later it was the religious center of magism. A large colony of captive Israelites settled there. Destroyed in Alexander's time, it was rebuilt by Seleucus Nicator (circa 300 BC), who named it Europos. Later, Arsaces restored it and named it Arsacia.

(2) Medieval.

In the early Middle Ages Ragha, then called Rai, was a great literary and often political center with a large population. It was the birthplace of Harun'al Rashid (763 AD). It was seized and plundered (1029 AD) by Sultān Maḥmūd , but became Tughril's capital. In the Vı̄s o Rāmı̄n (circa 1048 AD) it is an important place, 10 days journey across the Kavir desert from Merv. It was a small provincial town in about 1220 AD. It was sacked by Mongols in 1220 AD and entirely destroyed under Ghazan Khan circa 1295. A Z oroastrian community lived there in 1278 AD, one of whom composed the Zarātusht - Nāmah .

(3) Present Condition.

Near the ruins there now stands the village of Shāh ‛Abdu'l ‛Aẓı̄m , connected with Ṭehrān by the only railway in Persia (opened in 1888).

Literature

Ptolemy, Diodorus Siculus, Pliny, Strabo; Ibnu'l Athı̄r , Jami‛u 't Tawārikh , Tārı̄kh i Jahān - gushā Yāqūt ; Justi, Iranisches Namenbuch ; E.G. Browne, Literary Hist of Persia ; modern travelers.


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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Rages; Ragau'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/isb/r/rages-ragau.html. 1915.

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