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Articles

Miscellanea Epigraphica Susiana

Fattori, Marco. 2023. Miscellanea Epigraphica Susiana. Textual Observations on some Achaemenid Inscriptions from Susa. Arta 2023.003.

This article presents some new philological observations on three Achaemenid texts from Susa (DSe, DSi, A2Se) based on a new inspection of the inscriptions. These include the edition of previously unpublished fragments and the attribution of previously misplaced fragments to the texts under examination. For each inscription, a brief epigraphic, philological and linguistic commentary is provided.

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Articles

Servant or Slave

Sheikh, Hossein. 2023. Servant or slave: The Old Persian words Bandaka, Marika and Daha and their cognates in Middle Iranian languages. In: Jeannine Bischoff, Stephan Conermann and Marion Gymnich (eds.), Naming, defining, phrasing strong asymmetrical dependencies: A textual approach, 55-67. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter.

In this paper, I will briefly examine the concept of superiority/inferiority in the Achaemenid administrative system in particular and in the ancient Iranian world in general. In doing so, I will focus on the word bandaka, its meanings and its nuance in Iranian languages in the context of ancient Near Eastern culture, as this word plays a very important role in the definition of terminology related to slavery and associated terms in the Iranian world. In addition, I will discuss two additional words related to this topic that shed more light on the concept of superiority/inferiority in Ancient Iranian societies. Our main sources for this study are inscriptions, letters and contracts from a variety of Western and Central Asian cultures. In this study, I chose three Middle Iranian languages, Sogdian, Pahlavi, and Bactrian, because the geography in which these languages were spoken was a part of the Achaemenid Empire.

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A Portuguese edition of the Behistun Inscription (Old Persian text)

Treuk Medeiros de Araujo, Matheus. 2023. A inscrição de Behistun (c. 520 a.C.): tradução do texto Persa Antigo para o Português, introdução crítica e comentários. Revista de História 182, 1-35.

The monumental Achaemenid inscription at mount Behistun (Bisitun), in the Iranian province of Kermanshah (western Iran), reports the official version of Darius’ accession to power in Ancient Persia. Written in three languages and scripts (Old Persian, Elamite, and Akkadian), this invaluable historical document was vital to the decipherment of the cuneiform script in the 19th century. It also enabled the reconstruction of the Achaemenid Empire’s history, previously known to us mainly through the accounts of Greek and biblical sources. Due to the importance and uniqueness of the Behistun Inscription, we propose the translation of the Old Persian text directly to the Portuguese language, providing wider access to the document for specialized and non-specialized audiences. Historical commentaries approaching the most important debates associated with the inscription also follow the text.

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Books

Towards a Morphosyntax of Old Persian Cases

Benvenuto, Maria Carmela & Flavia Pompeo. 2020. Towards a morphosyntax of Old Persian cases : The genitive (Indogermanische Textlinguistik, Poetik und Stilistik 3). Hamburg: Baar-Verlag.

To date, there has been no comprehensive study specifically devoted to the syntax or morphosyntax of Old Persian cases. The authors of the present work have decided to remedy this with a study regarding an Old Persian case that from various viewpoints is not only the most complex, but also the most interesting: the genitive. Progressing from traditional approaches, the authors analyze the Old Persian genitive adopting both semasiological and onomasiological methods. Through a semasiological approach, emphasis is placed on case functions as well as on the constructions in which the genitive case is implied and the various meanings that they convey. Through an onomasiological approach, a given semantic/functional domain, such as ditransitive constructions and expressions of possession, is investigated, and the relevant alternating constructions are analyzed.

Thanks to this integrated methodology, the new monograph in the Indo-European Text Linguistics, Poetics and Stylistics series will be of great interest to specialists in Old Iranian philology and comparative-historical Indo-European linguistics as well as to scholars working in the fields of general linguistics (morphosyntax) and linguistic typology.

To see the ToC, click here.

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Ancient Indo-European Languages between Linguistics and Philology

Bianconi, Michele, Marta Capano, Domenica Romagno & Francesco Rovai (eds.). 2022. Ancient Indo-European Languages between Linguistics and Philology: Contact, Variation, and Reconstruction (Brill’s Studies in Historical Linguistics, 18). Leiden: Brill.

Studying the Indo-European languages means having a privileged viewpoint on diachronic language change, because of their relative wealth of documentation, which spans over more than three millennia with almost no interruption, and their cultural position that they have enjoyed in human history.

The chapters in this volume investigate case-studies in several ancient Indo-European languages (Ancient Greek, Latin, Hittite, Luwian, Sanskrit, Avestan, Old Persian, Armenian, Albanian) through the lenses of contact, variation, and reconstruction, in an interdisciplinary and intradisciplinary way. This reveals at the same time the multiplicity and the unity of our discipline(s), both by showing what kind of results the adoption of modern theories on “old” material can yield, and by underlining the centrality and complexity of the text in any research related to ancient languages.

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Books

A Relative Chronology of Persian

Korn, Agnes. 2021. Contributions to a relative chronology of Persian: The non-change of postconsonantal y and w in Middle Persian in context. Indo-European Linguistics 1–43.

Old Persian shows a change of postconsonantal y, w to iy, uw, respectively. However, if one applies (pre-)Middle Persian sound changes to the Old Persian forms, the result is at variance with certain Middle Persian forms. If one were to assume a syncope reversing the Old Persian change of y, w to iy, uw, this would also affect old cases of iy, uw and likewise yield incorrect results for Middle Persian. The Old Persian change can thus not have operated in the prehistory of Middle Persian, and there is a dialectal difference between attested Old Persian and the later stages of the language, which is to be added to those already noted. The paper also discusses some sound changes that are connected to the Old Persian change in one way or the other. Cases in point are the processes called Epenthesis and Umlaut in previous scholarship, which this article suggests to interpret as occurring in different contexts and in different periods. The former is limited to Vry, which yields Vir and feeds into a monophthongisation that, as shown by some late Old Persian word forms, occurred within Achaemenid times, giving ēr and īr from ary and əry. Epenthesis did not occur in the prehistory of Parthian, whereas the monophthongisation did. The Appendix presents a tentative sequence of the processes discussed in this article, which is intended as a contribution to the relative chronology of Persian historical phonology.

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Books

From Aṣ̌ǝm Vohū to Dareios’ Inscription

Oettinger, Norbert, Stefan Schaffner & Thomas Steer (eds.). 2020. “Denken Sie einfach!”: Gedenkschrift für Karl Hoffmann (Münchener Studien zur Sprachwissenschaft 30). Dettelbach: Verlag J.H. Röll.

Two chapters of the edited Gedenkschrift-volume for Karl Hoffmann are for special intrest of the study of Avestan and Old Persian:

  • Kellens, Jean. 2020. L’Aṣ̌ǝm Vohū entre Gâthâs et Visprad, 113–121.
  • Schmitt, Rüdiger. 2020. Dareios’ Inschrift „DPd“ – Gebet, Dichtung, in metrischer Form? , 235–254.

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Books

The Bīsotūn Inscription – A Jeopardy of Achaemenid History

Ahmadi, Amir. 2020. The Bīsotūn Inscription – A Jeopardy of Achaemenid History. The Journal of Archaeology and Ancient History 27. 3–56.

Darius the Great (r. 522–486 BC)
Behistūn Relief

According to the currently favoured view among historians of the Persian Empire, the Bīsotūn Inscription is a deceitful piece of propaganda whose purpose was to resolve Darius’s legitimacy problem. To this effect, Darius cobbles a family relation with Cyrus and fabricates the story of a magus who impersonates Smerdis, son of Cyrus, and usurps the throne. This view, however, contradicts not only the Bīsotūn Inscription but also the ancient Greek testimonies. This article examines the arguments historians have given for their position. Since allviews of the two issues in question are necessarily interpretations of the relevant sources that rely on argumentation, reasons and inferences must stand up to critical scrutiny.

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Articles

An Inscription of Darius I from Phanagoria

Shavarebi, Ehsan. 2019. An Inscription of Darius I from Phanagoria (DFa): Preliminary report of a work in progress. Arta 2019. 005.

The present paper is a preliminary study of an Achaemenid fragmentary inscription recently discovered from Phanagoria, southwestern Russia. After a brief introduction to the discovery of the inscription, the preserved Old Persian text will be analysed and reconstructed.

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Articles

DNf: A New Inscription Emerges from the Shadow

Delshad, Soheil, and Mojtaba Doroodi. 2019. DNf: A new inscription emerges from the shadow. Arta 2019.001.

DNf is a recently-discovered trilingual inscription on the tomb of Darius I at Naqsh-e Rostam. This article presents images, a first edition of the texts, observations on why the inscription was not recognized earlier, and comments on the relationship between the inscription and the sculptured figures below it.