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Gandj Nameh: Xerxes' Inscription


Xerxes' inscription at Gandj Nameh. Photo Marco Prins.
Xerxes' inscription at Gandj Nameh.
Gandj Nameh: site of two Achaemenid inscriptions.

Near the waterfall of Gandj Nameh, at the end of a small valley near the ancient road between Ecbatana and Behistun, eight kilometers southwest of modern Hamadan, are two almost identical, Achaemenid inscriptions, by Darius I the Great and Xerxes. 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".

Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine
Copy of Xerxes' inscription in the Hamadan Museum. Photo Marco Prins.
Copy of Xerxes' inscription in the Hamadan Museum. To the right, the nine first lines of the text.
Copy of Xerxes' inscription in the Hamadan Museum. Photo Marco Prins.

  1. baga \ vazraka \ Auramazdâ \
  2. hya \ mathišta \ bagânâm \
  3. hya \ imâm \ bumim \ ad
  4. â \ hya \ avam \ asmânam \
  5. adâ \ hya \ martiyam \ ad
  6. â \ hya \ šiyâtim \ adâ
  7. \ martiyahyâ \ hya \ Xša
  8. yâršâm \ xšâyathiyam \
  9. akunauš \ aivam \ parun
  10. âm \ xšâyathiyam \ aivam
  11. \ parunâm \ framâtâram
  12. \ adam \ Xšayâršâ \ xšâ
  13. yathiya \ vazraka \ xšâyathi
  14. ya \ xšâyathiyânâm \ xš
  15. âyathiya \ dahyunâm \ par
  16. uzanânâm \ xšâyathiya \
  17. ahiyâyâ \ bumiyâ \ va
  18. zrakâyâ \ duraiy \ apiy
  19. \ Dârayavahauš \ xšâyathiya
  20. hyâ \ puça \ Haxâmanišiya 
A great god is Ahuramazda, who is the greatest god, who created this earth, who created yonder heaven, who created men, who created happiness for man, who made Xerxes king. One king for many, one lord for all.

I am Xerxes, the great king, king of kings, king of countries containing all kinds of men, king in this great earth far and wide, son of king Darius, an Achaemenian.

© Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2004
Revision: 11 Dec. 2008
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