Achaemenid Royal Inscriptions: collection of Old Persian cuneiform texts from the sixth, fifth, and fourth centuries BCE, left by the Achaemenid kings on their official monuments.
The Persian king Darius I the Great (r.521-486) was buried in Naqš-e Rustam. On his tomb, he left two inscriptions.
- DNa, in the upper register, can be regarded as his political autobiography, in which he boasts of his achievements;
- DNb as a theological and moral testament or, perhaps more accurately, as a portrait of the perfect king. It is in the central register of the tomb and will be discussed on this page.
The text of DNb is identical to a inscription by Darius' son Xerxes (known as XPl) and reads as follows:
- baga \ vazraka \ Auramazdâ \ hya \ adadâ \ i
- ma \ frašam \ tya \ vainataiy \ hya \ adadâ \ ši
- yâtim \ martiyahyâ \ hya \ xrathum \ ut
- â \ aruvastam \ upariy \ Dârayavaum \ xšâ
- yathiyam \ nîyasaya \ thâtiy \ Dârayavauš \ xšâya
- thiya \ vašnâ \ Auramazdâha \ avâkaram \ a
- miy \ tya \ râstam \ dauštâ \ amiy \ mitha \ na
- iy \ dauštâ \ amiy \ naimâ \ kâma \ tya \ skauth
- iš \ tunuvatahyâ \ râdiy \ mitha \ kariyaiš
- \ naimâ \ ava \ kâma \ tya \ tunuvâ \ skauthaiš \ r
- âdiy \ mitha \ kariyaiš \ tya \ râstam \ ava \ mâm \
- kâma \ martiyam \ draujanam \ naiy \ dauštâ \ am
- iy \ naiy \ manauviš \ amiy \ tyâmaiy \ dartana
- yâ \ bavatiy \ daršam \ dârayâmiy \ manahâ \
- uvaipašiyahyâ \ daršam \ xšayamna \ amiy \
- martiya \ hya \ hataxšataiy \ anudim \ hakarta
- hyâ \ avathâdim \ paribarâmiy \ hya \ v
- inâithayatiy \ anudim \ vinastahyâ \ avath
- â \ parsâmiy \ naimâ \ kâma \ tya \ martiya
- \ vinâthayais \ naipatimâ \ ava \ kâma \ yadi
- y \ vinâthayaiš \ naiy \ frathiyaiš \ martiya \
- tya \ patiy \ martiyam \ thâtiy \ ava \ mâm \
- naiy \ varnavataiy \ yâtâ \ uradanâm \ hadu
- gâm \ âxšnautiy \ martiya \ tya \ kunau
- tiy \ yadivâ \ âbaratiy \ anuv \ tauman
- išaiy \ xšnuta \ amiy \ utâ \ mâm \ vas
- iy \ kâma \ utâ \ uxšnauš \ amiy \ avâkaram
- camaiy \ ušîy \ utâ \ framânâ \ yathâmai
- y \ tya \ kartam \ vainâhy \ yadivâ âxšnav
- âhy \ utâ \ vithiyâ \ uta \ spâthma
- idayâ \ aitamaiy \ aruvastam \
- upariy \ manašcâ \ ušîcâ \ ima \ patimai
A great god is Ahuramazda, who created this excellent thing which is seen, who created happiness for man, who set wisdom and capability down upon King Darius.
King Darius says: By the grace of Ahuramazda I am of such a sort, I am a friend of the right, of wrong I am not a friend. It is not my wish that the weak should have harm done him by the strong, nor is it my wish that the strong should have harm done him by the weak.
The right, that is my desire. To the man who is a follower of the lie I am no friend. I am not hot-tempered. What things develop in my anger, I hold firmly under control by my thinking power. I am firmly ruling over my own impulses.
The man who is cooperative, according to his cooperation thus I reward him. Who does harm, him according to the harm I punish. It is not my wish that a man should do harm; nor indeed is it my wish that if he does harm he should not be punished.
What a man says against a man, that does not convince me, until I hear the sworn statements of both.
What a man does or performs, according to his ability, by that I become satisfied with him, and it is much to my desire, and I am well pleased, and I give much to loyal men.
Of such a sort are my understanding and my judgment: if what has been done by me you see or hear of, both in in the palace and in the expeditionary camp, this is my capability over will and understanding.
- y \ aruvastam \ tyamaiy \ tanûš \ tâvaya
- tiy \ hamaranakara \ amiy \ ušhamaranakara \ hakara
- mciy \ ušîyâ \ gâthavâ \ vainâtaiy \ yaciy \
- vainâmiy \ hamiçiyam \ yaciy \ naiy \ vainâ
- miy \ utâ \ ušîbiyâ \ utâ \ framânâyâ
- \ adakaiy \ fratara \ maniyaiy \ aruvâyâ \ ya
- diy \ vainâmiy \ hamiçiyam \ yathâ \ yadiy \
- naiy \ vainâmiy \ yâumainiš \ amiy \ u
- tâ \ dastaibiyâ \ utâ \ pâdaibiyâ \ asabâ
- ra \ uvâsabâra \ amiy \ thanuvaniya \ utha
- nuvaniya \ amiy \ utâ \ pastiš \ utâ
- \ asabâra \ ârštika \ amiy \ uvârštika \
- utâ \ pastiš \ utâ \ asabâra \ utâ \ ûvnarâ
- \ tyâ \Auramazdâ \ upariy \ mâm \ nîyasaya \ utâ
- diš \ atâvayam \ bartanaiy \ vašnâ \ Auramazdâh
- â \ tyamaiy \ kartam \ imaibiš \ ûvnaraibiš \ aku
- navam \ tyâ \ mâm \ Auramazdâ \ upariy \ nîyasaya
- \ marîkâ \ daršam \ azdâ \ kušuvâ \ ciyâkaram
- \ amiy \ ciyâkaramcamaiy \ ûvnarâ \ ciyâkara
- mcamaiy \ pariyanam \ mâtaiy \ duruxtam \
- thadaya \ tyataiy \ gaušâyâ \ xšnnutam \ avaš
- ciy \ âxšnudiy \ tya \ partamtaiy \ asti
- y \ marîkâ \ mâtaiy \ avašciy \ duruxta
- m \ kunavâtaiy \ tya \ manâ \ kartam \ astîy
- \ avašciy \ dîdiy \ yaciy \ nipištam \ mâ \
- taiy \ dâtâ \ +++++ \ mâ \ ++++++âtiy
- â \ ayâu(ma)iniš \ bavâtiy \ marîkâ \ xšâyathiya
- \ mâ \ raxthatuv \ +++++++++++++++ina \
This indeed my capability: that my body is strong. As a fighter of battles I am a good fighter of battles. When ever with my judgment in a place I determine whether I behold or do not behold an enemy, both with understanding and with judgment, then I think prior to panic, when I see an enemy as when I do not see one.
I am skilled both in hands and in feet. As a horseman, I am a good horseman. As a bowman, I am a good bowman, both on foot and on horseback. As a spearman, I am a good spearman, both on foot and on horseback.
These skills that Ahuramazda set down upon me, and which I am strong enough to bear, by the will of Ahuramazda, what was done by me, with these skills I did, which Ahuramazda set down upon me.
O man, vigorously make you known of what sort I am, and of what sort my skillfulnesses, and of what sort my superiority. Let not that seem false to you, which has been heard by your ears. Listen to what is said to you.
O man, let that not be made to seem false to you, which has been done by me. That do you behold, which has been inscribed. Let not the laws be disobeyed by you. Let not anyone be untrained in obedience. [The last line is unintelligible]
- Pierre Lecoq, Les inscriptions de la Perse achéménide (1997 Paris)