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Old Persian Sample
73
Saith Darius the King: Whoso shall worship Auramazda, divine blessing will be upon him, both (while) living and (when) dead.
qatiy: Darayavauy: xyayaqiya: hya: Auramazda
m: yadataiy: avahya: yanam: ahatiy: uta:
jivhya: uta: martihya
Darius, Behistan
(Old Persian, Roland G. Kent, New Haven, 1953)

Old Persian

4.
The completion of the decipherment. After a gap of twenty-one years other scholars took up the task, but progress was mainly in identifying individual characters and single words. The notable steps in the decipherment were the following: Lassen in 1836 supplied the vowel a after many consonants; that is, he realized that these consonants had an inherent a. Lassen in 1839 noted that some characters were used only before i and others only before u; Rawlinson in 1846, Hincks in 1846, and Oppert in 1847 independently realized that these consonants had inherent i and inherent u. Oppert at the same time discovered that diphthongs were indicated by i or u after a consonants with inherent a, and that n and m were omitted before consonants.

5.
The Old-Persian syllabary. The inscriptions composed in the old Persian language are inscribed on various hard material in a syllabary, each character having the value of a vowel or of a consonant plus a vowel. To the 36 characters of this nature must be added 5 ideograms, one ligature of ideogram and case ending, the world-divider, and numerical symbols.
This syllabary quite obviously goes back to the cuneiform syllabary of Akkadian, but its simplicity as compared with its parent syllabary shows that it has been specially drawn up for its present purpose. There is no conclusive evidence how the Akkadian characters were utilized and how the new characters received OP values; though several scholars have advanced theories.
It is uncertain also when this old Persian system of writing was invented. The extant inscriptions are largely those of Darius I and of Xerxes, and it is tempting to ascribe the invention to the orders of Darius when he wished to record the events of his accention, on the Rock of Behistan; but there are three inscriptions of Cyrus, as well as one each purporting to be of Ariaramnes and of Arsames. These last two may have been set up as labels to small monuments or other objects of a later period; the orthography points to aproximately the time of Artaxerxes II. Of the inscriptions of Cyrus, one is very fragmentary, and the other two are brief labels; yet as they were inscribed in the palace which belonged to Cyrus, at Pasargadae (Murghab), they show that the OP cuneiform syllabary existed and was in use in Cyrus's time.

3) More informations

1.
Declension in OP. The OP noun, along with the pronoun and the adjective, shows approximately the expected assortment of forms.
All the cases found in Sanskrit and Avestan are found in OP, except the dative, which has been lost, its functions being assumed by the genitive form. The Ablative has no distinctive form, but has been merged in the instrumental and the locative either by phonetic development or by analogy; except for one form, babirauy, which is identical with the genitive, as in Sanskrit. Similarly the accusative plural has become identical with the nominative, either by phonetic process or by analogy, except in the enclitic pronouns which have no nominative form.
Both singular and plural numbers are represented in OP, and there are a few dual forms.

2.
The Persian calendar and Behistan. In Behistan 4.4, Darius states that the 19 battles recorded by him in the first three columns of the inscription, with the attendant capture of 9 usupers, took place hamahyaya q arda 'in one and the same year'. For eighteen of the battles dates are given in the Persian calendar, with translation into the Elamite and the Akkadian. The difficulty has been to arrange these dates within one year, beginning with the killing of Gaumata, the false Smerdis; for the order of the months in the Persian calendar, and in the other calendars, was by no means certain. Now, however, with evidence from additional Akkadian and Elamite tablets which have no Old Persian version, Arno Poebel has succeeded in reconstructing the lists of month, as follows:

  Old Persian

    Elamite

Akkadian

Equivalent

1 Adukanaiya

hadukannay

Nisannu

Mch.-Apr.

2 quravahara 

Turmar

Aiiaru

Apr.-May

3 qaigarciy

Sakurrisiy

Simannu

May-June

4 Garmapada

Karmabaday

Du’uzu

June-July

5 …………….

Turnabasiy

Abu

July-Aug.

6 …………….

Qarbayi(ia)y

Ululu

Aug.-Spt.

7 Bagayadiy

Bagiiatiy

Tayritu

Spt.-Oct.

8 Varkazana

Marqasanay

Arahsamna

Oct.-Nov.

9 AViyadiya

hayiiati(ia)yy

Kis(i)limu

Nov.-Dec.

10 Anamaka

hanamakay

Tebetu

Dec.-Jan.

11 ………….

Sami(ia)may

yabatu

Jan.-Feb.

12 Viyaxna

Mi(ia)kannay

Addaru

Feb.-Mch.

Abstracted from : Old Persian, Roland G. Kent, New Haven, 1953

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