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.
This website is a digital collection of texts from the Parthian empire, one of the biggest and longest-lasting empires of antiquity. Under the kings of the Arsacid dynasty (c. 247 BCE to 224 CE), the Parthians ruled a kingdom that stretched from central Asia in the east to the Euphrates river in the west. Their history is a crucial part of the legacy of ancient Iran, though in many respects it is still poorly understood.
Some of the texts here are in ancient Greek. Others are in Parthian, an Iranian language that outlasted the Arsacid empire and remained in use even after the overthrow of the dynasty. Coming soon are a few inscriptions in Latin composed by Parthians living in the territory of the Roman empire.
At the moment this site is a work in progress, with content being added on a regular basis.
This site is authored and maintained by Jake Nabel, a PhD student in the Department of Classics at Cornell University. His research focuses on Parthia’s relationship with Rome, its imperial peer (and sometimes rival) to the west.
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.
Gregoratti, Leonardo. 2015. Palmyra: trade families, city and territory through the epigraphic sources. In Giorgio Affanni, Cristina Baccarin, Laura Cordera, Angelo Di Michele & Katia Gavagnin (eds.), Broadening Horizons 4, Conference of young researchers working in the Ancient Near East, Egypt and Central Asia, University of Torino, October 2011 (British Archaeological Reports International Series 2698), 55–59 . Oxford: Archaeopress.
Morano, Enrico. 2013. On some recently found ostraca from Old Nisa. In Sergei Tokhtasev & Pavel Lurje (eds.), Commentationes Iranicae. Vladimiro f. Aaron Livschits nonagenario donum natalicium, 111–117. St. Petersburg: Nestor-Historia.
de la Vaissière, Etienne. 2013. Iranian in Wusun? A tentative reinterpretation of the Kultobe inscriptions. In Sergei Tokhtasev & Pavel Lurje (eds.), Commentationes Iranicae. Vladimiro f. Aaron Livschits nonagenario donum natalicium, 320–325. St. Petersburg: Nestor-Historia.