Achaemenid Royal Inscriptions: XPh ("Daiva inscription")

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.

XPh, the Daiva Inscription

One of the most important Achaemenid Royal Inscriptions is the "Daiva inscription". The Old Persian text is known from three slabs of stone from Persepolis and the citadel of Pasargadae. (Elamite and Babylonian copies exist.) The interesting detail for which this text has become famous is the rebel country mentioned in section #4, although - unfortunately - it cannot be identified with sufficient certainty. Much depends on the meaning of the word daiva, which clearly means "demon" and looks similar to the word daeva in the Avesta (the holy book of Zoroastrianism). If daiva and daeva are identical, we can assume that the rebels lived in Iran, where the Zoroastrian religion was influential.

However, if these words are not the same, daiva may refer to the gods of Babylonia or Egypt. The latter is mentioned by the Greek researcher Herodotus as rebellious at the beginning of Xerxes reign,note and we know from cuneiform texts from Babylon that there were two Babylonion rebels in 484 (Šamaš-eriba and Bêl-šimânni). We cannot decide where Xerxes had to intervene - Iran, Egypt, or Babylon, but the text is intriguing.

  1. baga \ vazraka \ Auramazdâ \ hya \ imâm \ bûm
  2. im \ adâ \ hya \ avam \ asmânam \ adâ \ hya
  3. \ martiyam \ adâ \ hya \ šiyâtim \ adâ \
  4. martiyahyâ \ hya \ Xšayâršâm \ xšâyathi
  5. yam \ akunauš \ aivam \ parunâm \ xšâyath
  6. iyam \ aivam \ parunâm \ framâtâram \ ada
  7. m \ Xšayâršâ \ xšâyathiya \ vazraka \ xšâya
  8. thiya \ xšâyathiyânâm \ xšâyathiya \ dahy
  9. unâm \ paruv \ zanânâm \ xšâyathiya \ ah
  10. yâyâ \ bumiyâ \ vazrakâyâ \ dûraiy \ a
  11. piy \ Dârayavahauš \ xšâyathiyahyâ \ puça
  12. \ Haxâmanišiya \ Pârsa \ Pârsahyâ \ puça
  13. \ Ariya \ Ariyaciça \ thâtiy \ Xšayâršâ
  14. \ xšâyathiya \ vašnâ \ Auramazdahâ \ imâ \
  15. dahyâva \ tyaišâm \ adam \ xšâyathiya \ âh
  16. âm \ apataram \ hacâ \ Pârsâ \ adamšâm \
  17. patiyaxšayaiy \ manâ \ bâjim \ abaraha \ t
  18. yašâm \ hacâma \ athahiya \ ava \ akunava \ d
  19. âtam \ tya \ manâ \ avadiš \ adâraya \ Mâda
  20. \ Uja \ Harauvatiš \ Armina \ Zraka \ Parthava
  21. \ Haraiva \ Bâxtriš \ Sugda \ Uvârazmi
  22. š \ Bâbiruš \ Athurâ \ Thataguš \ Sparda
  23. \ Mudrâya \ Yaunâ \ tya \ drayahiyâ \ dâ
  24. rayatiy \ utâ \ tyaiy \ paradraya \ dârayat
  25. iy \ Maciyâ \ Arabâya \ Gadâra \ Hiduš \
  26. Katpatuka \ Dahâ \ Sakâ \ haumavargâ \ Sakâ
  27. \ tigraxaudâ \ Skudrâ \ Âkaufaciyâ \
  28. Putâyâ \ Karkâ \ Kušiya \ thâtiy \ Xša

1. A great god is Ahuramazda, who created this earth, who created yonder sky, who created man, who created happiness for man, who made Xerxes king, one king of many, one lord of many.

2. I am Xerxes, the great king, king of kings, king of countries containing many kinds of men, king in this great earth far and wide, son of king Darius, an Achaemenian, a Persian, son of a Persian, an Aryan, of Aryan stock.

3. King Xerxes says: By the grace of Ahuramazda these are the countries of which I was king apart from Persia. I had lordship over them. They bore me tribute. What was said to them by me, that they did. My law, that held them: Media, Elam, Arachosia, Armenia, Drangiana, Parthia, Aria, Bactria, Sogdia, Chorasmia, Babylonia, Assyria, Sattagydia, Lydia, Egypt, Yaunâ, those who dwell on this side of the sea and those who dwell across the sea, men of Maka, Arabia, Gandara, India, Cappadocia, theDahae, the haoma-drinking Sacae, the Sacae wearing pointed caps, Thrace, men of Âkaufaciyâ, Libyans, Carians, and the Nubians.

  29. yâršâ / xšâyathiya / yathâ / tya / adam / x
  30. šâyathiya / abavam / astiy / atar / aitâ
  31. / dahyâva / tyaiy / upariy / nipištâ / a
  32. yauda / pasâvamaiy / Auramazdâ / upastâm /
  33. abara / vašnâ / Auramazdahâ / ava / dahyâvam
  34. / adam / ajanam / utašim / gâthavâ / nišâda
  35. yam / utâ / atar / aitâ / dahyâva / âha / yad
  36. âtya / paruvam / daivâ / ayadiya / pasâva / va
  37. šnâ / Auramazdahâ / adam / avam / daivadâna
  38. m / viyakanam / utâ / patiyazbayam / daivâ /
  39. mâ / yadiyaiša / yadâyâ / paruvam / daivâ /
  40. ayadiya / avadâ / adam / Auramazdâm / ayada
  41. iy / artâcâ / brazmaniya / utâ / aniyaš
  42. ca / âha / tya / duškartam / akariya / ava / ada
  43. m / naibam / akunavam / aita / tya / adam / ak
  44. unavam / visam / vašnâ / Auramazdahâ / aku
  45. navam / Auramazdâmaiy upastâm / abara / y
  46. âtâ / kartam / akunavam / tuva / kâ / hya /
  47. apara / yadimaniyâiy / šiyâta / ahaniy
  48. / jiva / utâ / marta / artâvâ / ahaniy /
  49. avanâ / dâtâ / paridiy / tya / Auramazd
  50. â / nivaštâya / Auramazdâm / yadaišâ / a
  51. rtâcâ / brazmaniya / martiya / hya / avan
  52. â / dâtâ / pariyaita / tya / Auramazdâ / n
  53. ištâya / utâ / Auramazdâm / yadataiy / a
  54. rtâcâ / brazmaniya hauv / utâ / jiva /
  55. šiyâta / bavatiy / utâ / marta / artâvâ
  56. / bavatiy / thâtiy / Xšayâršâ / xšâyath
  57. iya / mâm / Auramazdâ / pâtuv / hacâ / ga
  58. stâ / utamaiy / vitham / utâ / imâm / dah
  59. yâvam / aita / adam / Auramazdâm / jadiy
  60. âmiy / aitamaiy : Auramazdâ / dadâtuv

4. King Xerxes says: when I became king, there was among these countries one that was in rebellion. Ahuramazda bore me aid. By the grace of Ahuramazda I smote that country and put it down in its place.

And among these countries there was a place where previously demons (daiva) were worshipped. Afterwards, by the grace of Ahuramazda I destroyed that sanctuary of demons, and I proclaimed: 'The demons shall not be worshipped!' Where previously the demons were worshipped, there I worshipped Ahuramazda at the proper time and in the proper manner. And there was other business that had been done ill. That I made good. That which I did, all I did by the grace of Ahuramazda. Ahuramazda bore me aid until I completed the work.

You who may live hereafter, if you should think 'Happy may I be when living, and when dead may I be blessed,' have respect for that law which Ahuramazda has established. Worship Ahuramazda at the proper time and in the proper manner. The man who has respect for that law that Ahuramazda has established and worships Ahuramazda at the proper time and in the proper manner, he both becomes happy while alive and becomes blessed when dead.

5. King Xerxes says: May Ahuramazda protect me from harm, and my house, and this land. This I ask of Ahuramazda. This may Ahuramazda give to me