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December 15    Scripture

Ancient Persia: Ancient Texts
Inscription, Text Documents, Words and More from the Archives of Persian History

Achaemenid Royal Inscriptions In ca.521, the Persian king Darius I the Great ordered that a new alphabet, which he called the Aryan script, was to be developed. It was used for a small corpus of inscriptions, known as the Achaemenid Royal Inscriptions. This page offers links to transcriptions, translations and pictures.
http://www.livius.org/aa-ac/achaemenians/inscriptions.html


ACHAEMENID ROYAL INSCRIPTIONS FROM PERSEPOLIS Oriental Institute - ACHAEMENID ROYAL INSCRIPTIONS FROM PERSEPOLIS By Matthew W. Stolper, Professor of Assyriology in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and Gene Gragg, Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Director of the Oriental Institute The University of Chicago. From 550 BC on, Cyrus the Great and his successors, the Persian kings of the Achaemenid dynasty, conquered and held an empire on a scale that was without precedent in earlier Near Eastern history, and without parallel until the formation of the Roman Empire. At its greatest extent, its corners were in Libya and Ethiopia, Thrace and Macedonia, Afghanistan and Central Asia, and the Punjab. It incorporated ancient literate societies in Elam, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and elsewhere. It engaged the emerging Greek states in a long confrontation that had profound effects on Greek and later European historical consciousness. It lasted without substantial loss of control until it was conquered by Alexander the Great, and then dismantled by his successors after 330 BC.
http://oi.uchicago.edu/research/pubs/nn/spr98_ari.html


Avesta Avesta: the holy book of Zoroastrianism, the Iranian religion that was founded by the legendary Bactrian prophet Zarathustra. Like the Bible, the Avesta (sometimes incorrectly called Zend-Avesta) is actually a library, containing different sacred texts which were written during a very long period in different languages. A difference with the Bible is that the Avesta often resembles a prayer book and has few narratives.
http://www.livius.org/au-az/avesta/avesta.html


Behistun Inscription The Behistun Inscription is to cuneiform what the Rosetta Stone is to Egyptian hieroglyphs: the document most crucial in the decipherment of a previously lost script. It is located in the Kermanshah Province of Iran. The inscription includes three versions of the same text, written in three different cuneiform script languages: Old Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian. A British army officer, Sir Henry Rawlinson, had the inscription transcribed in two parts, in 1835 and 1843. Rawlinson was able to translate the Old Persian cuneiform text in 1838, and the Elamite and Babylonian texts were translated by Rawlinson and others after 1843. Babylonian was a later form of Akkadian: both are Semitic languages.
http://www.crystalinks.com/cyrustablets.html


Daiva Inscription Achaemend Royal Inscriptions: XPh ("Daiva Inscription") In ca.521, the Persian king Darius I the Great ordered that a new alphabet, the Aryan script, was to be developed. This was used for a small corpus of inscriptions, known as the Achaemenid Royal Inscriptions. One of the most important Achaemenid Royal Inscriptions is the "Daiva inscription". The Old Persian text is known from three slabs of stone from Persepolis and Pasargadae. (Elamite and Babylonian copies exist.) The interesting detail for which this text has become famous is the rebel country mentioned in section #4, although -unfortunately- it cannot be identified with sufficient certainty. Much depends on the meaning of the word daiva, which clearly means 'demon' and looks similar to the word daeva in the Avesta, the holy book of Zoroastrianism . If daiva and daeva are identical, we can assume that the rebels lived in Iran, where the Zoroastrian religion was influential.
http://www.livius.org/aa-ac/achaemenians/XPh.html


Darius the Great and the Bisutun Inscription J. Andrew McLaughlin. What is the significance of the association between Darius I ("The Great") of Persia and the inscription on the rock of Bisutun? Of what importance is this association to the reconstruction of Persian history? This inscription, carved 300 feet above the ground near Bisutun (a.k.a. Bisitun, Behistun, and Bahistun) in modern Iran, exhibits a relief depicting Darius' ascension to the throne of Persia, his triumph over his enemies, and his endorsement by the chief god Ahuramazda. This carving is supplemented by a large amount of accompanying text in three languages important at the time of the Persian empire: Babylonian, Old Persian, and Elamite. R.
http://www.visopsys.org/andy/essays/darius-bisitun.html


Darius' Suez Inscriptions Darius I (Old Persian Dârayavauš): king of ancient Persia, whose reign lasted from 522 to 486. He seized power after killing king Gaumâta, fought a civil war (described in the Behistun inscription), and was finally able to refound the Achaemenid empire, which had been very loosely organized until then. Darius fought several foreign wars, which brought him to India and Thrace. When he died, the Persian empire had reached its largest extent. He was succeeded by his son Xerxes.
http://www.livius.org/aa-ac/achaemenians/DZ.html


Discovery of the First Old-Persian-Inscription Discovery of the First Old-Persian-Inscription among the Persepolis' Fortification-Tablets. LONDON, (CAIS) -- Researchers at Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago for the first time have identified an Old-Persian (Aryan) inscription among the loaned Achaemenid-clay tablets, announced Abdolmajid Arfaee, an Iranian Archaeologist with ICHT . This invaluable collection of clay tablets is currently housed in the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago in trust for further studies. Dr Arfaee stated that University of Chicago has not disclosed their discovery in detail, but they will publish their findings soon. This discovery is expected to shed further light on the administrative, economic and political situation of Iran during the reign of the Achaemenid dynasty (550-330 BCE).
http://www.cais-soas.com/News/2007/May2007/31-05-discovery.htm


Ganjnameh Inscription Ganjnameh is an ancient inscription, 5 km southwest of Hamedan, on the side of Alvand Mountain in Iran. The inscription, which has been carved in granite, is composed of two sections. One (on the left) ordered by Darius I (521-485 BC) and the other (on the right) ordered by Xerxes I (485-65 BC). Both sections, which have been carved in three ancient languages of Old Persian, Neo-Babylonian and Neo-Elamite, start with praise of God (Ahura Mazda) and describe the lineage and deeds of the mentioned kings. The later generations who could not read the Cuneiform alphabets of the ancient Persian assumed that they contained the guide to an uncovered treasury; hence they called it Ganjnameh. The name literally means "treasure epistle", but it has also been called Jangnameh (Persian: Ìä?äÇãå) whose literal translation is "war epistle".
http://www.pbase.com/k_amj/ganj


Khark Stone Inscription Tehran Times - Khark stone inscription may add five new words to ancient Persian TEHRAN -- It is possible that five words have been added to our knowledge of the ancient Persian language by the recent discovery of a stone inscription on Khark Island in the Persian Gulf, the Persian service of CHN reported on Tuesday. The cuneiform inscription, comprising six words on six different horizontal lines inscribed on a piece of uneven rock encrusted with corals, has been found last week during a road construction project. Measuring about a meter square, the rock has become detached from its original terrain.
http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=157573


Old Persian Texts The Achaemenian Kings left extensive cuneiform inscriptions in Old Persian dated roughly between 600 BCE and 300 BCE. They also left ruins which have been described as the most grandiose of the ancient world. While it is by no means certain that they were orthodox Zoroastrians, the majority opinion among scholars is that this is very likely. One of the strongest arguments for this is the frequent mention of Ahura Mazda in the inscriptions, which is almost certainly an innovation of Zarathushtra's. Their religion is also described by Herodotus in sufficient detail to leave little doubt that they were basically Zoroastrian.
http://www.avesta.org/op/op.htm


Persepolis fortification tablets Persepolis fortification tablets: large collection of ancient Persian cuneiform administrative texts, written between 506 and 497 BCE. They are one of the most important sources for the study of the administration of the Achaemenid empire. Persepolis was one of the capitals of the ancient Persian empire, founded by king Darius I the Great in 518 BCE. It was excavated by the Oriental Institute of Chicago: Ernst Herzfeld and F. Schmidt were working in Persepolis from 1931 to 1939. During the excavations, two archives of cuneiform texts were discovered.
http://www.livius.org/pen-pg/persepolis/fortification_tablets.html


Persian Testimonies About Ancient Macedonian Ethnicity Yauna Takabara. The Persian Story of Zulqarneen. Bahram Yasht.
http://history-of-macedonia.com/wordpress/2007/05/23/persian-testimonies-about-ancient-macedonian-ethnicity/


The Achaemenids Law Dâta By: Rüdiger Sshmitt. Dâta, Old Iranian term for "law" (originally the neuter verbal adjective dâta-m from the root dâ- "to put, place," thus "(the law) set/laid down"; cf. Ger. Gesetz and Eng. law respectively), attested both in Avestan texts (Old and Younger Av. dâta-) and in Achaemenid royal inscriptions (Old Pers. dâta-; Kent, Old Persian, p. 189). The Old Persian term was incorporated into the languages of several neighboring peoples during the Achaemenid and subsequent periods (e.g., El. da-ad-da-um, da-at-tam, da-tam, da-ad-da-(-ma) [cf. Hinz and Koch, pp. 246-47, 256, 298], Late Babylonian da-a-ta/ti/tu, Hebrew dt-, biblical Aram. d´t, dât, inscriptional Aram... [Xanthos] dt-h, Syr. dt-´, Arm. dat (cf. Mid. Pers., NPers. dâd, etc.). In the Achaemenid royal inscriptions Old Persian dâta- is used in a dual sense. In texts of Darius I the Great (q.v. iii; 522-486 B.C.E.) all the references are to the king's law, by which order was established and guaranteed in his empire (DB I.23: "these countries obeyed my law"; DNa 21-22=DSe 20-21=XPh 18-19: "my law"that held them (firm)"; DSe 37-39 "my law"of that they are afraid"). In two instances in Xerxes' so-called "daiva inscription," however, the law of Ahura Mazdâ (q.v.) is mentioned ("obey that law which Auramazdâ has established"; the man who obeys "both becomes happy while living and blessed when dead"; XPh 49-56; Kent, Old Persian, pp. 151-52). Divine law thus apparently applied not only to order on earth but also to welfare in the life to come.
http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Law/data.htm


The Cyrus Cylinder Text. The Cyrus Cylinder, discovered in 1879 and now in the British Museum, is one of the most famous cuneiform texts, because it was once believed that it confirmed what the Bible says (Isaiah 44.23-45.8; Ezra 1.1-6, 6.1-5; 2 Chronicles 36.22-23): that in 539 BCE, the Persian conqueror Cyrus the Great had allowed the Jews to return from their Babylonian Exile.
http://www.livius.org/ct-cz/cyrus_I/cyrus_cylinder.html


The Cyrus Cylinder - Translation The Cyrus Cylinder was discovered in 1879 and rapidly became one of the most famous cuneiform texts, as it seemed to confirm that the Persian conqueror Cyrus the Great had allowed the Jews to return from their Babylonian Exile. Although this is a bit exaggerated (more...), it remains an interesting text.
http://www.livius.org/ct-cz/cyrus_I/cyrus_cylinder2.html


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