Livius.Org Anatolia Carthage Egypt Germ. Inf. Greece Judaea Mesopotamia Persia Rome Other

Gandj Nameh


The waterfall near Gandj Nameh. Photo Marco Prins.
The waterfall near Gandj Nameh.
Gandj Nameh: place near Hamadan (ancient Ecbatana), where two Achaemenid kings left inscriptions. The nearest village is called Abbasabad.

The waterfall near Gandj Nameh is at the end of a small valley near the ancient road from Ecbatana to Konkobar and Behistun, about eight kilometers westsouthwest of modern Hamadan. The valley is lovely, with trees of common ash (which is locally known as "sparrow's tongue"). In Antiquity, this must have been a splendid picknicking place along the road, just like today. A satellite photo of the area can be found here.

To the left of the waterfall are two Achaemenid inscriptions, written in what Darius I the Great called the "Aryan script". In more recent times, the inscription was believed to indicate where a treasure could be found; in fact, "Gandj Nameh" means something like "treasure text". 

Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine
The two inscriptions near Gandj Nameh. Photo Marco Prins.
The two inscriptions: Darius left, Xerxes right.

The two texts are almost identical. Both are in three columns of twenty lines, and in three languages: Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian. They both begin with praise for the supreme god Ahuramazda, continue with the genealogy of the maker, and end with the royal titles. There is one striking difference, however: Darius calls Ahurmazda "a great god", while in Xerxes' text, he is called "the greatest of all gods". The first document sounds monotheistic, the second one polytheistic. Excellent copies of the two texts can be found in the nice Archaeological museum of Hamadan.
Copy of Darius' inscription in the Hamadan Museum. Photo Marco Prins. Copy of Xerxes' inscription in the Hamadan Museum. Photo Marco Prins.
Copy of Darius' inscription Copy of Xerxes' inscription
TEXT TEXT
© Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2004
Revision: 26 Oct. 2009
Livius.Org Anatolia Carthage Egypt Germ. Inf. Greece Judaea Mesopotamia Persia Rome Other