Tag Archives: Old Persian

From Babylonian to Old Persian Cuneiform

Bergerhausen, Johannes. 2014. Digitale Keilschrift | Digital cuneiform. Mainz: Schmidt.
For three millennia, cuneiform was the dominant writing system in the ancient eastern world. More than half a million cuneiform tablets are still in existence. They are stored in museums and collections, some of them have never been translated.  Ever since the rediscovery of these ancient cultures in the 19th century, the pictographic characters of the world’s oldest script have fascinated researchers and fans alike. Today, the shapes seem surprisingly modern and thrill not just archaeologists and scholars, but typographers, textile designers and tattooists, too.This book presents a typographical journey through time in book form – a key to the ancient cultures or the earliest form of type hype with 544 pages with all known cuneiform characters from Mesopotamian to Babylonian to Ancient Persian, with numerals and punctuation, type tables and background information as well as access to the digital cuneiform font.

From Old to New Persian

Utas, Bo. 2013. From Old to New Persian: Collected essays (Beiträge Zur Iranistik 38). Edited by Carina Jahani & Mehrdad Fallahzadeh. Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag.

In a long series of essays, written during almost half a century, Bo Utas analyses the development of West Iranian languages, particularly Old, Middle, and New Persian, from various perspectives. The focus is placed on the transition from Middle to New Persian and the final essays (hitherto partly unpublished) especially elucidate this process in the light of an interaction between oral and written language.
This book is the second volume of collected articles by Bo Utas. The first volume, Manuscript, Text and Literature. Collected Essays on Middle and New Persian Texts, was published on the occasion of his 70th birthday as no. 29 in the series Beiträge zur Iranistik in 2008.
The seventeen articles in the present volume cover a time span of about 2,500 years and encompass all the stages of Persian. It also contains two entirely new articles, “The Grammatical Transition from Middle to New Persian” and “Between Spoken and Written: The Formation of New Persian”, which sum up much of Bo Utas’ philological research.

For more information, see the preface to this volume and the ToC.
Continue reading From Old to New Persian

A new inscription of Xerxes? One more forgery

Schmitt, Rüdiger. 2015. A new inscription of Xerxes? One more forgeryARTA: Achaemenid Research on Texts and Archaeology 3. 1–8.

In 2007, a complete collection of inauthentic inscriptions in Old Persian cuneiform script was published. It described and discussed, in detail, (1) ancient texts not originating from the king, who was their supposed author, as well as (2) modern forgeries designed to mislead, and (3) imitations of cuneiform inscriptions fabricated more for ‘fun’ than any more serious intent. Since then, the number of such forged inscriptions has increased. There is now a tapestry including an Old Persian text, which turned out to be an adaptation of Xerxes’ Persepolis inscription XPe. A silver tablet purporting to be that of Darius I’s co-conspirator Otanes is a blatant forgery given the serious grammatical mistakes in the Old Persian . Such forged inscriptions are found on a variety of objects and, in virtually every case, display their individual peculiarities.

Dictionary of the Old Persian royal inscriptions

Schmitt, Rüdiger. 2014. Wörterbuch der Altpersischen Königsinschriften. Wiesbaden: Reichert.

The present volume is closing a gap of the specialist literature felt for some time, because the glossaries and dictionaries available cover the Old Persian vocabulary only in part and are defective in some respects. For preparing a new Old Persian dictionary the situation is quite favourable at present, since a complete edition of the royal inscriptions has been published in 2009 by the author in his book “Die altpersischen Inschriften der Achaimeniden” (Wiesbaden 2009), where only some texts of minor relevance, the inscriptions on vessels, seals (and sealings) and weights, had been ignored. A dictionary like the present comprehensive work probably never had been tackled before for a corpus language like Old Persian, for in order to cope the divergent needs of all sorts of users it contains six separate lists or indexes: lists of (1) the transliterated and (2) the transcriptional word-forms (this one giving a short grammatical definition and a list of all references), (3) the lexicon proper, arranged by word-stems, roots etc. and giving a translation as well as short information about the (syntactical, phraseological or other) use of the word and its etymology, and finally (4–5) reverse indexes of the first two lists and (6) of the dictionary itself (verbal roots, nominal and pronominal stems and indeclinable words being kept apart).

For more information see the ToC and read the Preface (in German) to this volume .

About the Author:

Rüdiger Schmitt, from 1979 to his retirement in 2004 Professor of Comparative Indo-European Philology and Indo-Iranian Studies at Saarland University in Saarbrücken; born in Würzburg on June 1, 1939; studies from 1958 to 1965 in Würzburg, Erlangen and Saarbrücken, particularly with Manfred Mayrhofer; after publications on Indo-European poetical language, on the Greek and Armenian languages specialized on the ancient Iranian languages, Old Persian epigraphy and, above all, Iranian personal names.