For the Achaemenid kings of ancient Persia, the world outside their dominion was a desert to turn into a garden. Ahura Mazda, Zoroastrianism’s creator and most wise lord, had given them power, and with it the responsibility of regency. In conquest and faithful rule they would undo the drought and disorder made by diabolic Angra Mainyu and bring forth in the dry places fresh springs of water, both verily in walled gardens and metaphorically with truth. What they built with their hands and their laws was to make one paradise.

In Genesis we are told Jehovah planted a garden in the east in Eden, and that there he put the man whom he had formed. He put him in that paradise to dress it and to keep it. For man was made in God’s image, after his likeness, male and female. And God said unto them, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it,” and gave them dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. But man and woman fell in disobedience. And therefore the Lord God sent man forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.

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