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The Behistun inscription (translation II)

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The Behistun Relief. Photo Leen van Dorp.
Behistun or Bisotun: town in Iran, site of several ancient monuments, including a famous inscription by the Persian king Darius I the Great. Here you can find a translation of the inscription (start here); for the other monuments, go here.
 

Column three

(36) King Darius says: Then did I send a Persian army unto Hystaspes from Rhagae. When that army reached Hystaspes, he marched forth with the host. At a city in Parthia called Patigrabanâ he gave battle to the rebels. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda Hystaspes utterly defeated that rebel host. On the first day of the month Garmapada [11 July 521] the battle was fought by them.

(37) King Darius says: Then was the province mine. This is what done by me in Parthia.

Introduction
Discovery
Other monuments
Medieval legend
Translation 1
Translation 2

Persian text
Minor inscriptions

Sakan king Skunkha. Behistun relief. Photo Leen van Dorp.
Frâda (center)

Revolt of Frâda of Margiana

(38) King Darius says: The province called Margiana revolted against me. A certain Margian named Frâda they made their leader. Then sent I against him a Persian named Dâdarši, my servant, who was satrap of Bactria, and I said unto him: 'Go, smite that  host which does not acknowledge me.' Then Dâdarši went forth with the army, and gave battle to the Margians. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda my army utterly overthrew that rebel host. Of the twenty-third day of the month Âçiyâdiya [28 December 521] was the battle fought by them.

(39) King Darius says: Then was the province mine. This is what was done by me in Bactria.
 

Revolt of Vahyazdâta of Persia

(40) King Darius says: A certain man named Vahyazdâta dwelt in a city called Târavâ in a district in Persia called Vautiyâ. This man rebelled for the second time in Persia, and thus he spoke unto the people: 'I am Smerdis, the son of Cyrus.' Then the Persian people who were in the palace fell away from allegiance. They revolted from me and went over to that Vahyazdâta. He became king in Persia.

Vahyazdata. Behistun relief. Photo Leen van Dorp.
Vahyazdâta

(41) King Darius says: Then did I send out the Persian and the Median army which was with me. A Persian named Artavardiya, my servant, I made their leader. The rest of the Persian army came unto me in Media. Then went Artavardiya with the army unto Persia. When he came to Persia, at a city in Persia called Rakhâ, that Vahyazdâta, who called himself Smerdis, advanced with the army against Artavardiya to give him battle. They then fought the battle. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda my host utterly overthrew the army of Vahyazdâta. On the twelfth day of the month Thűravâhara [24 May 521] was the battle fought by them.

(42) King Darius says: Then that Vahyazdâta fled thence with a few horsemen unto Pishiyâuvâda. From that place he went forth with an army a second time against Artavardiya to give him battle. At a mountain called Parga they fought the battle. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda my host utterly overthrew the army of Vahyazdâta. On the fifth day of the month Garmapada [15 July 521] was the battle fought by them. And they seized that Vahyazdâta, and the men who were his chief followers were also seized.

(43) King Darius says: Then did I crucify that Vahyazdâta and the men who were his chief followers in a city in Persia called Uvâdaicaya.

(44) King Darius says: This is what was done by me in Persia.



Fighting in Arachosia

(45) King Darius says: That Vahyazdâta, who called himself Smerdis, sent men to Arachosia against a Persian named Vivâna, my servant, the satrap of Arachosia. He appointed a certain man to be their leader, and thus he spoke to him, saying: 'Go smite Vivâna and the host which acknowledges king Darius!' Then that army that Vahyazdâta had sent marched against Vivâna to give him battle. At a fortress called Kapiša-kaniš they fought the battle. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda my army utterly overthrew that rebel host. On the thirteenth day of the month Anâmaka [29 December 522] was the battle fought by them.

(46) King Darius says: The rebels assembled a second time and went out against Vivâna to give him battle. At a place called Gandutava they fought a battle. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda my army utterly overthrew that rebel host. On the seventh day of the month Viyaxana [21 February 521] the battle was fought by them.

(47) King Darius says: The man who was commander of that army that Vahyazdâta had sent forth against Vivâna fled thence with a few horsemen. They went to a fortress in Arachosia called Aršâdâ. Then Vivâna with the army marched after them on foot. There he seized him, and he slew the men who were his chief followers.

(48) King Darius says: Then was the province mine. This is what was done by me in Arachosia.


Arakha. Behistun relief. Photo Leen van Dorp.
Arakha

Second Babylonian revolt

(49) King Darius says: While I was in Persia and in Media, the Babylonians revolted from me a second time. A certain man named Arakha, an Armenian, son of Haldita, rebelled in Babylon. At a place called Dubâla, he lied unto the people, saying: 'I am Nebuchadnezzar, the son of Nabonidus.' Then did the Babylonian people revolt from me and they went over to that Arakha. He seized Babylon, he became king in Babylon.

(50) King Darius says: Then did I send an army unto Babylon. A Persian named Intaphrenes, my servant, I appointed as their leader, and thus I spoke unto them: 'Go, smite that  Babylonian host which does not acknowledge me.' Then Intaphrenes marched with the army unto Babylon. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda Intaphrenes overthrew the Babylonians and brought over the people unto me. On the twenty-second day of the month Markâsanaš [27 November] they seized that Arakha who called himself Nebuchadnezzar, and the men who were his chief followers. Then I made a decree, saying: 'Let that Arakha and the men who were his chief followers be crucified in Babylon!'
 

Column four

(51) King Darius says: This is what was done by me in Babylon.

Darius the Great on the Behistun Relief. Photo Peter Veerman.
Darius

Summary and conclusion

(52) King Darius says: This is what I have done. By the grace of Ahuramazda have I always acted. After I became king, I fought nineteen battles in a single year and by the grace of Ahuramazda I overthrew nine kings and I made them captive.
  • One was named Gaumâta, the Magian; he lied, saying 'I am Smerdis, the son of Cyrus.' He made Persia to revolt.
  • Another was named ššina, the Elamite; he lied, saying: 'I am king the king of Elam.' He made Elam to revolt.
  • Another was named Nidintu-Bęl, the Babylonian; he lied, saying: 'I am Nebuchadnezzar, the son of Nabonidus.' He made Babylon to revolt.
  • Another was named Martiya, the Persian; he lied, saying: 'I am Ummanniš, the king of Elam.' He made Elam to revolt.
  • Another was Phraortes, the Mede; he lied, saying:  'I am Khshathrita, of the dynasty of Cyaxares.' He made Media to revolt.
  • Another was Tritantaechmes, the Sagartian; he lied, saying: 'I am king in Sagartia, of the dynasty of Cyaxares.' He made Sagartia to revolt.
  • Another was named Frâda, of Margiana; he lied, saying: 'I am king of Margiana.' He made Margiana to revolt.
  • Another was Vahyazdâta, a Persian; he lied, saying: 'I am Smerdis, the son of Cyrus.' He made Persia to revolt.
  • Another was Arakha, an Armenian; he lied, saying: 'I am Nebuchadnezzar, the son of Nabonidus.' He made Babylon to revolt.
(53) King Darius says: These nine king did I capture in these wars.

(54) King Darius says: As to these provinces which revolted, lies made them revolt, so that they deceived the people. Then Ahuramazda delivered them into my hand; and I did unto them according to my will.

(55) King Darius says: You who shall be king hereafter, protect yourself vigorously from lies; punish the liars well, if thus you shall think, 'May my country be secure!'

Affirmation of the truth of the record

(56) King Darius says: This is what I have done, by the grace of Ahuramazda have I always acted. Whosoever shall read this inscription hereafter, let that which I have done be believed. You must not hold it to be lies.

(57) King Darius says: I call Ahuramazda to witness that is true and not lies; all of it have I done in a single year.

(58) King Darius says: By the grace of Ahuramazda I did much more, which is not graven in this inscription. On this account it has not been inscribed lest he who shall read this inscription hereafter should then hold that which has been done by me to be excessive and not believe it and takes it to be lies.

Affirmation that it is pious to make known the record

(59) King Darius says: Those who were the former kings, as long as they lived, by them was not done thus as by the favor of Ahuramazda was done by me in one and the same year.

(60) King Darius says: Now let what has been done by me convince you. For the sake of the people, do not conceal it. If you do not conceal this edict but if you publish it to the world, then may Ahuramazda be your friend, may your family be numerous, and may you live long.

(61) King Darius says: If you conceal this edict and do not publish it to the world, may Ahuramazda slay you and may your house cease.

(62) King Darius says: This is what I have done in one single year; by the grace of Ahuramazda have I always acted. Ahuramazda brought me help, and the other gods, all that there are.


Faravahar, the visual aspect of Ahuramazda. Photo Peter Veerman.
Faravahar, the visual aspect
of Ahuramazda.

The importance of righteousness

(63) King Darius says: On this account Ahuramazda brought me help, and all the other gods, all that there are, because I was not wicked, nor was I a liar, nor was I a despot, neither I nor any of my family. I have ruled according to righteousness. Neither to the weak nor to the powerful did I do wrong. Whosoever helped my house, him I favored; he who was hostile, him I destroyed.

(64) King Darius says: You who may be king hereafter, whosoever shall be a liar or a rebel, or shall not be friendly, punish him!

Blessings and curses

(65) King Darius says: You who shall hereafter see this tablet, which I have written, or these sculptures, do not destroy them, but preserve them so long as you live!

(66) King Darius says: If you shall behold this inscription or these sculptures, and shall not destroy them, but shall preserve them as long as your line endures, then may Ahuramazda be your friend, and may your family be numerous. Live long, and may Ahuramazda make fortunate whatsoever you do.

(67) King Darius says: If you shall behold this inscription or these sculptures, and shall destroy them and shall not preserve them so long as your line endures, may Ahuramazda slay you, may your family come to nought, and may Ahuramazda destroy whatever you do!


A Persian nobleman. Terracotta figure from Persepolis. Archaeological museum, Tehran (Iran). Photo Marco Prins.
A Persian nobleman.
Terracotta figure from
Persepolis (Archaeological
museum, Tehran)

Names of Darius' supporters

(68) King Darius says: These are the men who were with me when I slew Gaumâta the Magian, who was called Smerdis; then these men helped me as my followers: (69) King Darius says: You who may be king hereafter, protect the family of these men.

(70) King Darius says: By the grace of Ahuramazda this is the inscription which I have made. Besides, it was in Aryan script, and it was composed on clay tablets and on parchment. Besides, a sculptured figure of myself I made. Besides, I made my lineage. And it was inscribed and was read off before me. Afterwards this inscription I sent off everywhere among the provinces. The people unitedly worked upon it.



Column five

A new rebellion on Elam (Autumn 521)

(71) King Darius says: The following is what I did in the second and third year of my rule. The province called Elam revolted from me. An Elamite named Atamaita they made their leader. Then I sent an army unto Elam. A Persian named Gobryas, my servant, I made their leader. Then Gobryas set forth with the army; he delivered battle against the Elamites. Then Gobryas destroyed many of the host and that Atamaita, their leader, he captured, and he brought him unto me, and I killed him. Then the province became mine.

(72) King Darius says:  Those Elamites were faithless and Ahuramazda was not worshipped by them. I worshipped Ahuramazda; by the grace of Ahuramazda I did unto them according to my will.
 


Sakan king Skunkha. Behistun relief. Photo Leen van Dorp.
Skunkha (right)
(73) King Darius says: Whoso shall worship Ahuramazda, divine blessing will be upon him, both while living and when dead.

War against the Scythians (520/519)

(74) King Darius says: Afterwards with an army I went off to Scythia, after the Scythians who wear the pointed cap. These Scythians went from me. When I arrived at the river, I crossed beyond it then with all my army. Afterwards, I smote the Scythians exceedingly; [one of their leaders] I took captive; he was led bound to me, and I killed him. [Another] chief of them, by name Skunkha, they seized and led to me. Then I made another their chief, as was my desire. Then the province became mine.

(75) King Darius says: Those Scythians were faithless and Ahuramazda was not worshipped by them. I worshipped Ahuramazda; by the grace of Ahuramazda I did unto them according to my will.

(76) King Darius says: [Whoso shall worship] Ahuramazda, [divine blessing will be upon him, both while] living and [when dead.]





 
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