Behistun Inscription

related topics
{god, call, give}
{language, word, form}
{work, book, publish}
{son, year, death}
{church, century, christian}
{land, century, early}
{war, force, army}
{@card@, make, design}
{build, building, house}
{island, water, area}
{water, park, boat}
{town, population, incorporate}

Coordinates: 34°23′18″N 47°26′12″E / 34.38833°N 47.43667°E / 34.38833; 47.43667

The Behistun Inscription (also Bistun or Bisutun, Modern Persian: بیستون ; Old Persian: Bagastana, meaning "the god's place or land") is a multi-lingual inscription located on Mount Behistun in the Kermanshah Province of Iran, near the city of Kermanshah in western Iran.

Authored by Darius the Great sometime between his coronation as king of the Persian Empire in the summer of 522 BC and his death in autumn of 486 BC, the inscription begins with a brief autobiography of Darius, including his ancestry and lineage. Later in the inscription, Darius provides a lengthy sequence of events following the deaths of Cyrus the Great and Cambyses II in which he fought nineteen battles in a period of one year (ending in December of 521 BC) to put down multiple rebellions throughout the Persian Empire. The inscription states in detail that the rebellions, which had resulted from the deaths of Cyrus the Great and his son Cambyses II, were orchestrated by several impostors and their co-conspirators in various cities throughout the empire, each of whom falsely proclaimed kinghood during the upheaval following Cyrus's death.

Darius the Great proclaimed himself victorious in all battles during the period of upheaval, attributing his success to the "grace of Ahura Mazda".

The inscription includes three versions of the same text, written in three different cuneiform script languages: Old Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian (a later form of Akkadian) — Babylonian being a Semitic language. In effect, then, the inscription is to cuneiform what the Rosetta Stone is to Egyptian hieroglyphs: the document most crucial in the decipherment of a previously lost script.

Translation of the text was a multi-step and multi-national effort based on earlier work done on the decipherment of the Old Persian script by Georg Friedrich Grotefend in the late 18th century when Grotefend discovered that, unlike Elamite and Babylonian texts, Old Persian text is alphabetic. In the following years, the efforts of Burnouf, Lassen, and Rawlinson (who had the remainder of the inscription transcribed in two parts, in 1835 and 1843) contributed to translating the Old Persian cuneiform text using the Zoroastrian book Avesta as a key, in addition to cross-referencing with modern Persian and Vedic languages.[1] With the Old Persian text deciphered, Rawlinson and others were then able to decipher the Elamite and Babylonian texts (both of which were translations of the Old Persian text).

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