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The final paragraph of the tomb-inscription of Darius I (DNb, 50–60): the Old Persian text in the light of an Aramaic version

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 December 2009

Extract

The great inscription of Darius I at Bisitun has hitherto been the only Achaemenid inscription known to exist not only in the three versions carved on the rock-face—Old Persian, Elamite and Babylonian—but also in an Aramaic translation on papyrus. The fragmentary scroll containing the Aramaic text was first published by Sachau in 1911. In general, the Aramaic version agrees closely with the Babylonian and is therefore comparatively easy to interpret in spite of its poor state of preservation. However, both Sachau and all later editors have been baffled by one passage in the last column of the Aramaic text. The lines preceding and following correspond, at least approximately, to §§44 and 49 of the Babylonian: ‘King Darius states: King, whoever you are, who may arise after me, protect yourself well from lies. Do not trust the man who lies … Believe what I did and tell the truth to the people. Do not conceal (it). If you do not conceal these matters, but you do tell the people, may Ahura Mazda protect you …’. The intervening lines have not been identified up to now and their meaning has remained obscure.

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Copyright
Copyright © School of Oriental and African Studies 1981

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References

1 Sachau, E., Aramäische Papyrus und Ostraka aus einer jüdischen Militär-Kolonie zu Elephantine …, Leipzig, 1911Google Scholar. See also Cowley, A., Aramaic papyri of the fifth century B.C., Oxford, 1923Google Scholar. The Corpus Inscriptionum Iranicarum is shortly to publish a new edition by J. Greenfield and B. Porten, to both of whom I am indebted for helpful discussions concerning the text treated below.

2 Cited here in the translation of von Voigtlander, E. N., The Bisitun inscription of Darius the Great: Babylonian version, London, 1978, 60—1Google Scholar.

3 For the OP text of DNb cf. Weissbach, F. H., Die Keilinschriften der Achämeniden, Leipzig, 1911, 92—5Google Scholar(more convenient than and containing virtually the same text as Die Keilinschriften am Grab des Darius Hystaspis, Abh. der phil.-hist. Kl. der kôniglichen sächsischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, xxix, 1, 1911)Google Scholar; Herzfeld, E., Altpersische Inschriften, Berlin, 1938, 413Google Scholar with Abb. 4; Kent, R. G., JNES, iv, 1945, 3952Google Scholar, and Old Persian, 2nd ed., New Haven, 1953, 138–40Google Scholar; Hinz, W., ZDMG, cxv, 1965, 227–41, andGoogle ScholarAltiranische Funde und Forschungen, Berlin, 1969, 5362Google Scholar.

4 Hinz, ibid. Only isolated words were legible to Weissbach.

5 Herzfeld, loc. cit. with Abb. 5; R. Borger apud Hinz, loc. cit. with Abb. 21.

6 For advice on the interpretation of the Babylonian text I am grateful to Professor D. J. Wiseman.

7 For XPI see Mayrhofer, M., Supplement zur Sammlung der altpersischen Inschriften, Sb. der phil.-hist. Kl. der Österr. Akad. der Wiss., CCCVIII, 1978, 21–5Google Scholar(with references to previous literature).

8 See Gershevitch, I., TPS, 1979, 129–30Google Scholar.

9 On the unusually large number of transcribed OP words in the EI. version of DNb see Hinz, , op. cit., 61–2Google Scholar.

10 I am grateful to Dr. Gershevitch for drawing my attention to this third possibility as well as for other valuable suggestions.

11 Sachau, , op. cit., 196Google Scholar(Papyrus 62 Verso, Col. 1, 11. 3–6), cf. PI. 55.

12 Cowley, , op. cit., 253Google Scholar(Col. 4, 11. 52–5).

13 Schmidt, E., Persepolis, III, Chicago, 1970, Pl. 34—6Google Scholar, illustrates all three versions of DNb together with the accompanying but unconnected inscription in Aram, script (on which see Henning, W. B., ‘Mitteliranisch’, 24–5Google Scholar).

14 I am indebted to Dr. A. D. H. Bivar for bringing these photographs to my notice and to the Council of the Corpus Inscriptionum Iranicarum for allowing me to make use of them.

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