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Achaemenid Royal Inscriptions: XPf ("Harem 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. An overview of all inscriptions can be found here.
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XPf, the Harem inscription, in the Persepolis museum. Photo Marco Prins.
XPf, the "Harem inscription", in the Persepolis museum
The "Harem inscription", a slab of limestone that looks like a large clay tablet, was discovered in the queen's apartments of the palace of Persepolis. Its contents are rather stereotypical, but on the reverse is an interesting reference to the accession of Xerxes. There are four copies and there is a Babylonian version (below).


XPf, the Harem inscription, in the National Archaeological Museum, Tehran (Iran). Photo Marco Prins.
XPf, the "Harem inscription" (National Archaeological
Museum
, Tehran)
  1. baga \ vazraka \ Auramazd‚ \ hya \ im‚
  2. m \ bumim \ ad‚ \ hya \ avam \ asm
  3. ‚nam \ ad‚ \ hya \ martiyam \ ad‚ \
  4. hya \ šiy‚tim \ ad‚ \ martiyahy
  5. ‚ \ hya \ Xšay‚rš‚m \ xš‚yathiyam
  6. \ akunauš \ aivam \ parun‚m \ xš
  7. ‚yathiyam \ aivam \ parun‚m \ fram
  8. ‚t‚ram \ adam \ Xšay‚rš‚ \ xš‚
  9. yathiya \ vazraka \ xš‚yathiya \ xš‚
  10. yathiy‚n‚m \ xš‚yathiya \ dahyŻ
  11. n‚m \ paruv \ zan‚n‚m \ xš‚yath
  12. iya \ ahy‚y‚ \ bumiy‚ \ vazrak
  13. ‚y‚ \ dŻraiy \ apiy \ D‚rayavaha
  14. uš \ xš‚yathiyahy‚ \ puÁa \ Hax‚
  15. manišiya \ th‚tiy \ Xšay‚rš‚ \
  16. xš‚yathiya \ man‚ \ pit‚ \ D‚raya
  17. vauš \ D‚rayavahauš \ pit‚ \ Viš
  18. t‚spa \ n‚ma \ ‚ha \ Višt‚spahy
  19. ‚ \ pit‚ \ Arš‚ma \ n‚ma \ ‚ha \ u
  20. t‚ \ Višt‚spa \ ut‚ \ Arš‚ma \
  21. ub‚ \ ajivatam \ aciy \ Auramaz
  22. d‚m \ avath‚ \ k‚ma \ ‚ha \ D‚rayava
  23. um \ hya \ man‚ \ pit‚ \ avam \ xš
  24. ‚yathiyam \ akunauš \ ahy‚y‚ \
  25. bumiy‚ \ yath‚ \ D‚rayavahauš \ xš
  26. ‚yathiya \ abava \ vasiy \ tya \ frathara
  27. m \ akunauš \ th‚tiy \ Xšay‚rš‚
[1-8] A great god is Ahuramazda, who created this earth, who created heaven, who created man, who created happiness for man, who made Xerxes king, one king of many kings, commander of many commanders.

[8-15] I am Xerxes, the great king, the king of kings, the king of all countries and many men, the king in this great earth far and wide. 

[15-27] King Xerxes says: My father was Darius; Darius' father was named Hystaspes; Hystaspes' father was named Arsames. Both Hystaspes and Arsames were living at the time -thus was Ahuramazda's desire- when my father Darius was made king of this earth. When Darius became king, he did much that was excellent. [King] Xerxes says ...


XPf, reverse (Chicago
Oriental Institute; ©!!!)

The Babylonian version of XPf. National Archaeological Museum, Tehran. Photo Marco Prins.
The Babylonian version of XPf. (National Archaeological Museum, Tehran)
  1. \ xš‚yathiya \ D‚rayavauš \ puÁ‚ \
  2. aniyaiciy \ ‚hat‚ \ Auramazd‚m
  3. \ avatha \ k‚ma \ ‚ha \ D‚rayavauši \ hya
  4. \ man‚ \ pit‚ \ pas‚ \ tanŻm \ m‚m
  5. \ mathištam \ akunauš \ yath‚maiy
  6. \ pit‚ \ D‚rayavauš \ g‚thav‚ \ a
  7. šiyava \ vašn‚ \ Auramazdah‚ \ ada
  8. m \ xš‚yathiya \ abavam \ piÁa \ g‚
  9. thav‚ \ yath‚ \ adam \ xš‚yathiya \ a
  10. bavam \ vasiy \ tya \ fratharam \ aku
  11. navam \ tyamaiy \ piÁa \ kartam \ ‚ha
  12. \ ava \ adam \ apayaiy \ ut‚ \ ani
  13. ya \ kartam \ abij‚vayam \ tyapati
  14. y \ adam \ akunavam \ utamaiy \ tya
  15. \ pit‚ \ akunauš \ ava \ visam \
  16. vašn‚ \ Auramazdah‚ \ akum‚ \ th
  17. ‚tiy \ Xšay‚rš‚ \ xš‚yathiya \
  18. m‚m \ Auramazd‚ \ p‚tuv \ utama
  19. iy \ xšaÁam \ ut‚ \ tya \ man‚ \ kar
  20. tam \ ut‚ \ tyamaiy \ piÁa \ kartam
  21. \ avašciy \ Auramazd‚ \ p‚tuv
[28-43] Darius had other sons, but  -thus was Ahuramazda's desire- my father Darius made me the greatest [mathišta] after himself. When my father Darius went away from the throne, by the grace of Ahuramazda I became king on my father's throne. When I became king, I did much that was excellent. What had been built by my father, I protected, and other I added other buildings. What I built, and what my father built, all that by the grace of Ahuramazda we built.

[44-48] King Xerxes says: May Ahuramazda protect me, my kingdom, and what was done by my father. May Ahuramazda protect this.

Babylonian text

[1-8] A great god is Ahuramazda, who created this earth, who created heaven, who created humanity, who gave prosperity to man, who made Xerxes king, one among numerous kings, commander of many commanders.

[8-15] I am Xerxes, the great king, the king of all countries and all languages, king of this great and wide world

[15-27] King Xerxes says: My father was Darius; Darius' father was named Hystaspes; Hystaspes' father was named Arsames. Both Hystaspes and Arsames were living at the time -thus was Ahuramazda's desire- when my father Darius was made king of this earth. When Darius became king, he did much that was excellent. [King] Xerxes says ...

[28-43] Darius had other sons, but  -thus was Ahuramazda's desire- my father Darius made me the greatest  after himself. When my father Darius went away from the throne, by the grace of Ahuramazda I became king on my father's throne. When I became king, I did much that was excellent. What had been built by my father, I protected, and other I added other buildings. What I built, and what my father built, all that by the grace of Ahuramazda we built.

[44-48] King Xerxes says: May Ahuramazda protect me, my kingdom, and what was done by my father. May Ahuramazda protect this.





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