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Achaemenid Royal Inscriptions: DNb

Tomb of Darius. Photo Marco Prins.
Darius' Tomb
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. An overview of all inscriptions can be found here.

Darius was buried at Naqš-i Rustam, where he left two inscriptions.

  • DNa, in the upper register, can be regarded as his political autobiography;
  • DNb as a theological and moral testament. It is in the central register of the tomb.
The text of DNb is identical to a inscription by Darius' son Xerxes (known as XPl) and reads as follows:

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The lower tomb inscription at Naqs-i Rustam (DNa). Photo Marco Prins. The lower inscription
  1. baga \ vazraka \ Auramazdâ \ hya \ adadâ \ i
  2. ma \ frašam \ tya \ vainataiy \ hya \ adadâ \ ši
  3. yâtim \ martiyahyâ \ hya \ xrathum \ ut
  4. â \ aruvastam \ upariy \ Dârayavaum \ xšâ
  5. yathiyam \ nîyasaya \ thâtiy \ Dârayavauš \ xšâya
  6. thiya \ vašnâ \ Auramazdâha \ avâkaram \ a
  7. miy \ tya \ râstam \ dauštâ \ amiy \ mitha \ na
  8. iy \ dauštâ \ amiy \ naimâ \ kâma \ tya \ skauth
  9. iš \ tunuvatahyâ \ râdiy \ mitha \ kariyaiš
  10. \ naimâ \ ava \ kâma \ tya \ tunuvâ \ skauthaiš \ r
  11. âdiy \ mitha \ kariyaiš \ tya \ râstam \ ava \ mâm \
  12. kâma \ martiyam \ draujanam \ naiy \ dauštâ \ am
  13. iy \ naiy \ manauviš \ amiy \ tyâmaiy \ dartana
  14. yâ \ bavatiy \ daršam \ dârayâmiy \ manahâ \
  15. uvaipašiyahyâ \ daršam \ xšayamna \ amiy \
  16. martiya \ hya \ hataxšataiy \ anudim \ hakarta
  17. hyâ \ avathâdim \ paribarâmiy \ hya \ v
  18. inâithayatiy \ anudim \ vinastahyâ \ avath
  19. â \ parsâmiy \ naimâ \ kâma \ tya \ martiya
  20. \ vinâthayais \ naipatimâ \ ava \ kâma \ yadi
  21. y \ vinâthayaiš \ naiy \ frathiyaiš \ martiya \
  22. tya \ patiy \ martiyam \ thâtiy \ ava \ mâm \
  23. naiy \ varnavataiy \ yâtâ \ uradanâm \ hadu
  24. gâm \ âxšnautiy \ martiya \ tya \ kunau
  25. tiy \ yadivâ \ âbaratiy \ anuv \ tauman
  26. išaiy \ xšnuta \ amiy \ utâ \ mâm \ vas
  27. iy \ kâma \ utâ \ uxšnauš \ amiy \ avâkaram
  28. camaiy \ ušîy \ utâ \ framânâ \ yathâmai
  29. y \ tya \ kartam \ vainâhy \ yadivâ âxšnav
  30. âhy \ utâ \ vithiyâ \ uta \ spâthma
  31. idayâ \ aitamaiy \ aruvastam \
  32. upariy \ manašcâ \ ušîcâ \ ima \ patimai
Faravahar, the visual aspect of Ahuramazda. Relief from Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins.
Faravahar, the visual aspect
of Ahuramazda. Relief from
Persepolis.
A great god is Ahuramazda, who created this excellent thing which is seen, who created happiness for man, who set wisdom and capability down upon King Darius.

King Darius says: By the grace of Ahuramazda I am of such a sort, I am a friend of the right, of wrong I am not a friend. It is not my wish that the weak should have harm done him by the strong, nor is it my wish that the strong should have harm done him by the weak.

The right, that is my desire. To the man who is a follower of the lie I am no friend. I am not hot-tempered. What things develop in my anger, I hold firmly under control by my thinking power. I am firmly ruling over my own impulses.

The man who is cooperative, according to his cooperation thus I reward him. Who does harm, him according to the harm I punish. It is not my wish that a man should do harm; nor indeed is it my wish that if he does harm he should not be punished.

What a man says against a man, that does not convince me, until I hear the sworn statements of both

What a man does or performs, according to his ability, by that I become satisfied with him, and it is much to my desire, and I am well pleased, and I give much to loyal men.

Of such a sort are my understanding and my judgment: if what has been done by me you see or hear of, both in in the palace and in the expeditionary camp, this is my capability over will and understanding.

  1. y \ aruvastam \ tyamaiy \ tanûš \ tâvaya
  2. tiy \ hamaranakara \ amiy \ ušhamaranakara \ hakara
  3. mciy \ ušîyâ \ gâthavâ \ vainâtaiy \ yaciy \
  4. vainâmiy \ hamiçiyam \ yaciy \ naiy \ vainâ
  5. miy \ utâ \ ušîbiyâ \ utâ \ framânâyâ
  6. \ adakaiy \ fratara \ maniyaiy \ aruvâyâ \ ya
  7. diy \ vainâmiy \ hamiçiyam \ yathâ \ yadiy \
  8. naiy \ vainâmiy \ yâumainiš \ amiy \ u
  9. tâ \ dastaibiyâ \ utâ \ pâdaibiyâ \ asabâ
  10. ra \ uvâsabâra \ amiy \ thanuvaniya \ utha
  11. nuvaniya \ amiy \ utâ \ pastiš \ utâ
  12. \ asabâra \ ârštika \ amiy \ uvârštika \
  13. utâ \ pastiš \ utâ \ asabâra \ utâ \ ûvnarâ
  14. \ tyâ \Auramazdâ \ upariy \ mâm \ nîyasaya \ utâ
  15. diš \ atâvayam \ bartanaiy \ vašnâ \ Auramazdâh
  16. â \ tyamaiy \ kartam \ imaibiš \ ûvnaraibiš \ aku
  17. navam \ tyâ \ mâm \ Auramazdâ \ upariy \ nîyasaya
  18. \ marîkâ \ daršam \ azdâ \ kušuvâ \ ciyâkaram
  19. \ amiy \ ciyâkaramcamaiy \ ûvnarâ \ ciyâkara
  20. mcamaiy \ pariyanam \ mâtaiy \ duruxtam \
  21. thadaya \ tyataiy \ gaušâyâ \ xšnnutam \ avaš
  22. ciy \ âxšnudiy \ tya \ partamtaiy \ asti
  23. y \ marîkâ \ mâtaiy \ avašciy \ duruxta
  24. m \ kunavâtaiy \ tya \ manâ \ kartam \ astîy
  25. \ avašciy \ dîdiy \ yaciy \ nipištam \ mâ \
  26. taiy \ dâtâ \ +++++ \ mâ \ ++++++âtiy
  27. â \ ayâu(ma)iniš \ bavâtiy \ marîkâ \ xšâyathiya
  28. \ mâ \ raxthatuv \ +++++++++++++++ina \
This indeed my capability: that my body is strong. As a fighter of battles I am a good fighter of battles. When ever with my judgment in a place I determine whether I behold or do not behold an enemy, both with understanding and with judgment, then I think prior to panic, when I see an enemy as when I do not see one.

I am skilled both in hands and in feet. As a horseman, I am a good horseman. As a bowman, I am a good bowman, both on foot and on horseback. As a spearman, I am a good spearman, both on foot and on horseback.

These skills that Ahuramazda set down upon me, and which I am strong enough to bear, by the will of Ahuramazda, what was done by me, with these skills I did, which Ahuramazda set down upon me.

O man, vigorously make you known of what sort I am, and of what sort my skillfulnesses, and of what sort my superiority. Let not that seem false to you, which has been heard by your ears. Listen to what is said to you. 

O man, let that not be made to seem false to you, which has been done by me. That do you behold, which has been inscribed. Let not the laws be disobeyed by you. Let not anyone be untrained in obedience. [The last line is unintelligible]

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