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Achaemenid Royal Inscriptions


One of Cyrus' inscriptions in Pasargadae. Photo Marco Prins.
One of Cyrus' inscriptions
in Pasargadae
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.
  • The general system to refer to these texts consists of three letters. The first one indicates the king (e.g, X = Xerxes); the second the site (e.g., S = Susa); the third letter is added to distinguish the inscriptions of the same ruler on the same site.
  • On this page,  = Photo;  = Drawing;  = original text (usually Persian);  = English translation.
  • I am creating these pages because these important sources are not available online, and not every library in the world owns the relevant iranological books.
  • The drawings were scanned from R.N. Sharp, The Inscriptions in Old Persian Cuneiform of the Achæmenian Emperors (s.l., s.d.). They will be replaced by something better as soon as I have mastered Unicode.
  • If you see a mistake, or have a better picture, contact me.
Ariaramnes
Darius I
Darius II
Arsames
Xerxes
Artaxerxes II
Cyrus
Artaxerxes I
Artaxerxes III
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Ariaramnes, Hamadan
  • AmH: gold tablet, possibly a fake (Drawing of the text availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)



Arsames, Hamadan
  • AsH: gold tablet, possibly a fake (Drawing of the text availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)


Cyrus' cylinder. British museum, London (Britain). Photo Marco Prins.
Cyrus' cylinder (British Museum)
Cyrus the Great (559-530), Babylon
  • CB ("Cyrus Cilinder"), in Babylonian (Photo availableEnglish translation available)
Cyrus the Great (559-530), Pasargadae / Murghab

Statue of Darius, once erected in Egypt, but later brought to Susa. Archaeological Museum of Tehran (Iran). Photo Marco Prins.
Statue of Darius, once erected in Egypt, but later brought to Susa. (Archeological Museum of Tehran)
Darius I the Great (522-486), Behistun Darius I the Great (522-486), Gandj Nameh / Elvend
  • DE, on a rock near a waterfall (Photo availableDrawing of the text availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
Darius I the Great (522-486), Gherla
  • DG, fragment from a clay tablet from Rumania (English translation available)
Darius I the Great (522-486),  Hamadan
  • DH, gold and silver tablet (text identical to DPh) (Persian text availableEnglish translation available)
Darius I the Great (522-486), Naqš-i Rustam
  • DNa, upper register of Darius' tomb (Photo availableDrawing of the text availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • DNb, lower register of Darius' tomb (Photo availableDrawing of the text availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available) (later copied as XPl)
  • DNc, brief honorific text for Gobryas (Photo availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • DNd, brief honorific text for Aspathines (Persian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • DNe, names of peoples (Persian text availableEnglish translation available)
Darius I the Great (522-486), Persepolis Darius I the Great (522-486), Susa
  • DSa, two tiles (Drawing of the text availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • DSb, two tiles (Drawing of the text availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • DSc, column base (Persian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • DSd, column base (Persian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • DSe, empire list (Photo availableDrawing of the text availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • DSf, foundation inscription (Drawing of the text availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • DSg, column base (Drawing of the text availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • DSi, column base (Drawing of the text availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • DSj, column base (Drawing of the text availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • DSk, brick (Drawing of the text availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • DSl, brick (Drawing of the text availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • DSm, incomplete inscription on glazed bricks (Persian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • DSn, statue (Persian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • DSo, slab of marble (Persian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • DSp, incomplete slab of marble (Drawing of the text availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • DSq, slab of marble (Persian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • DSs, slab of marble (Persian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • DSt, slab of marble (Drawing of the text availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • DSu, Elamite inscription on a slab of marble (English translation available)
  • DSv, damaged Babylonian list on a slab of marble (English translation available)
  • DSw, Babylonian inscription on a slab of marble (English translation available)
  • DSy, column base (Photo availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • DSz, adaptation of DSf (English translation available)
  • DSaa, abridged Babylonian version of DSf (English translation available)
  • DSab, a statue, in Egyptian (Photo availableEnglish translation available)

Seal of king Darius the Great. British Museum, London (Britain).
Seal of Darius the Great (British Museum; ©!!!)
Darius I the Great (522-486), Suez
  • Three texts on one stela:
    • a cartouche (DZaPersian text availableEnglish translation available)
    • a brief "signature" (DZbPersian text availableEnglish translation available)
    • a description of the Red Sea canal (DZc; (Drawing of the text availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
Darius I the Great (522-486), Others
  • DWa, weight (Persian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • DWb, weight (Persian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • DWc, weight (Photo availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • DWd, weight (Photo availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • Seal (Photo available)
  • Vase (Photo availableEnglish translation available) (possibly of Darius II Nothus)


Inscription XV, south of the citadel of Van. Photo Marco Prins.
Inscription XV
Xerxes I (486-465), Gandj Nameh / Elvend
  • XE, on a rock near a waterfall (Photo availableDrawing of the text availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
Xerxes I (486-465), Hamadan
  • XH, fragment of a silver pitcher (Persian text availableEnglish translation available)
Xerxes I (486-465), Persepolis Xerxes I (486-465), Susa
  • XSa, column bases (Drawing of the text availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • XSb, Babylonian inscription on column bases (English translation available)
  • XSc, inscription on a slab of marble (Drawing of the text availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • XSd, column bases (English translation available)
  • XSe, Babylonian inscription on a slab of marble (English translation available)
Xerxes I (486-465), Tušpa
  • XV, rock inscription (Drawing of the text availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
Xerxes I (486-465)


Artaxerxes I Makrocheir (465-424), Persepolis Artaxerxes I Makrocheir (465-424)
  • Vases: A1Va (Persian text availableEnglish translation available), A1Vb (Persian text availableEnglish translation available), A1Vc = A1Vd (Persian text availableEnglish translation available)



Darius II Nothus (424-404), Hamadan
  • D2Ha, gold tablet (English translation available)
Darius II Nothus (424-404), Susa
  • D2Sa, column base (Drawing of the text availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • D2Sb, column bases (Drawing of the text availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
Darius II Nothus (424-404), Others
  • Vase (English translation available) (possibly of Darius II the Great)


The copy of A2Sb in the National Archaeological Museum of Tehran (Iran). Photo Marco Prins.
A2Sb (National Archaeological Museum, Tehran)
Artaxerxes II Mnemon (404-358), Hamadan
  • A2Ha, column base (Photo availableDrawing of the text availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • A2Hb, column bases (Persian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • A2Hc, gold tablet (Drawing of the text availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
Artaxerxes II Mnemon (404-358), Persepolis Artaxerxes II Mnemon (404-358), Susa
  • A2Sa, column bases (Photo availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • A2Sb, column bases (Photo availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • A2Sc, stone tablet (Persian text availableEnglish translation available)
  • A2Sd, column bases (Photo availableDrawing of the text availablePersian text availableEnglish translation available)


Inscription of Artaxerxes III Ochus from the Palace of Darius at Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins.
A3Pa in the Palace of
Darius at Persepolis
Artaxerxes III Ochus (358-338), Persepolis Artaxerxes III Ochus (358-338)

Related texts

Literature

  • Pierre Lecoq, Les inscriptions de la Perse achéménide (1997 Paris)




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