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Also sprach Zarathustra
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Also sprach Zarathustra

Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spake Zarathustra) is a book started in 1885 by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, that significantly influenced the modern world. The book was originally written as three separate volumes over a period of several years. Later, Nietzsche decided to write another three volumes but only managed to write a fourth. After Nietzsche's death, it was printed as a single volume.

The book chronicles the wanderings and teachings of a philosopher, self-named Zarathustra after the founder of Zoroastrianism in ancient Persia. The book uses a poetic, fictional form, often satirizing the New Testament, to explore many of Nietzsche's ideas.

Central to Zarathustra is the notion that human beings are a transitional form between apes and what Nietzsche called the Übermensch, literally "over-person," usually translated as "superman" or more literally "overman." The name is one of the many puns in the book and refers most clearly to the image of the sun coming over the horizon at dawn as well as the basic notion of overcoming.

Largely episodic, the stories in Zarathustra can be read in any order. Zarathustra contains the famous statement, "God is dead," although this also appeared in Nietzsche's earlier book Die fröhliche Wissenschaft (The Gay Science).

The final two unwritten volumes of the book were planned to depict Zarathustra's missionary work and his eventual death.

Also sprach Zarathustra is also the title of a symphonic poem by Richard Strauss, composed in 1896 and inspired by the book. It is best known for its use in Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film . The opening "Dawn" section is used three times, most famously in the opening title sequence.

Since being popularized by its use in the movie, the "Dawn" section has been used as the entrance music for professional wrestling star Ric Flair and the University of South Carolina football team. The theme "Also sprach Zarathustra" is actually used by all major University of South Carolina teams, which started in 1983 by the late football coach Joe Morrison. This has spread to pre-game introductions for basketball and is played for baseball also, and is used in graduation ceremonies at the University.

In the United Kingdom the musical work is popularly associated with the BBC's coverage of the Apollo Moon launches.

See also: Übermensch

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