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Old Iranian Online

Lesson 8: Old Persian

Scott L. Harvey, Winfred P. Lehmann, and Jonathan Slocum

The inscriptions that bequeath to us the Old Persian language were commissioned by the Achaemenid kings, or those of the regnal line descended from Achaemenes, a minor ruler in the region of present-day southwestern Iran. From Achaemenes the line follows through Teispes to Cyrus the Great, who founded the Persian Empire by conquering the Median king Astyages sometime between 559 and 549 B.C. Upon Cyrus' death, his son Cambyses usurped the throne after secretly killing his older brother Smerdis. Cambyses then left the realm to invade Egypt, and nine vassal kings revolted in his absence. The inscription at Behistan records each of these rebellions and the subsequent reconquest by Darius, first cousin to Cambyses, ninth in the line of Achaemenid kings.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The narrative of revolts in the inscription at Behistan, structured by their geographic distance from the imperial center, begins with conquest of the capital by the warrior-priest Gaumata, who won support by claiming to be Smerdis. Upon hearing of this dissidence, Cambyses took his own life and Darius stepped in to restore the kingdom with the aid of a few loyal men (and Ahura Mazda!). Column one records Gaumata's rise to power and Darius' progress over the course of several months, ending with Gaumata's final defeat at the 'fortress' of Sikayauvati in Media.

26 - ... θātiy

  • θātiy -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active <θah> 'speak, say, declare' -- declares

27 - Dārayavauš xšāyaθiya ima tya manā kartam pasāva yaθā xšāyaθiya

  • Dārayavauš -- proper name; nominative singular masculine <Dārayavahu-> 'Darius' -- Darius
  • xšāyaθiya -- noun; nominative singular masculine <xšāyaθiya-> 'royal, king' -- the King
  • ima -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular neuter <ima-> 'he, this' -- this
  • tya -- relative pronoun; nominative singular neuter <tya-> 'who, which; that' -- what
  • manā -- personal pronoun; genitive singular <adam> 'I' -- by me
  • kartam -- past participle passive; nominative singular neuter <kar> 'do, make' -- was done
  • pasāva -- adverb; <pasāva> 'after(wards)' -- then
  • yaθā -- adverbial conjunction; <yaθā> 'as, when, because' -- when
  • xšāyaθiya -- noun; nominative singular masculine <xšāyaθiya-> 'royal, king' -- the King

28 - abavam Kabūjiya nāma Kūrauš puça amāxam taumāyā

  • abavam -- verb; 1st person singular imperfect indicative active <bu> 'be, become' -- did become
  • Kabūjiya -- proper name; nominative singular masculine <Kambūjiya-> 'Cambyses' -- Cambyses
  • nāma -- adverb; <nāma> 'by name, named, called' -- by name
  • Kūrauš -- proper name; genitive singular masculine <Kūru-> 'Cyrus' -- of Cyrus
  • puça -- noun; nominative singular masculine <puça-> 'son' -- the son
  • amāxam -- personal pronoun; genitive plural <adam> 'I' -- our
  • taumāyā -- noun; genitive singular feminine <taumā-> 'family' -- family

29 - hauvam idā xšāyaθiya āha avahyā Kabūjiyahyā brātā

  • hauvam -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <hauv-> 'he, this' -- he
  • idā -- adverb; <idā> 'here' -- here
  • xšāyaθiya -- noun; nominative singular masculine <xšāyaθiya-> 'royal, king' -- the king
  • āha -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active <ah> 'be' -- was
  • avahyā -- demonstrative pronoun; genitive singular masculine <ava-> 'this, that' -- that
  • Kabūjiyahyā -- proper name; genitive singular masculine <Kambūjiya-> 'Cambyses' -- of Cambyses
  • brātā -- noun; nominative singular masculine <brātar-> 'brother' -- brother

30 - Bardiya nāma āha hamātā hamapitā Kabūjiyahyā pasāva Kabūjiya

  • Bardiya -- proper name; nominative singular masculine <Bardiya-> 'Bardiya', known from Greek sources as Smerdis -- Smerdis
  • nāma -- adverb; <nāma> 'by name, named, called' -- by name
  • āha -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active <ah> 'be' -- was
  • hamātā -- adverb; <hama-> 'same' + noun; feminine singular nominative <mātar-> 'mother' -- having the same mother
  • hamapitā -- adverb; <hama-> 'same' + noun; masculine singular nominative <pītar-> 'father' -- having the same father
  • Kabūjiyahyā -- proper name; genitive singular masculine <Kambūjiya-> 'Cambyses' -- as Cambyses
  • pasāva -- adverb; <pasāva> 'after(wards)' -- and then
  • Kabūjiya -- proper name; nominative singular masculine <Kambūjiya-> 'Cambyses' -- Cambyses

31 - avam Bardiyam avāja yaθā Kabūjiya Bardiyam avāja kārahyā

  • avam -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular masculine <ava-> 'this, that' -- that
  • Bardiyam -- proper name; accusative singular masculine <Bardiya-> 'Bardiya', known from Greek sources as Smerdis -- Smerdis
  • avāja -- verbal prefix; <ava> 'away, down' + verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative middle <jan> 'smite, strike, slay' -- struck down
  • yaθā -- adverbial conjunction; <yaθā> 'as, when, because' -- as
  • Kabūjiya -- proper name; nominative singular masculine <Kambūjiya-> 'Cambyses' -- Cambyses
  • Bardiyam -- proper name; accusative singular masculine <Bardiya-> 'Bardiya', known from Greek sources as Smerdis -- Smerdis
  • avāja -- verbal prefix; <ava> 'away, down' + verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative middle <jan> 'smite, strike, slay' -- struck down
  • kārahyā -- noun; genitive singular masculine <kāra-> 'man, person; the people' -- among the people

32 - naiy azdā abava tya Bardiya avajata pasāva Kabūjiya Mudrāyam

  • naiy -- negative particle; <naiy> 'not' -- not
  • azdā -- adverb; <azdā> 'known' -- known
  • abava -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative middle <bu> 'be, become' -- did become
  • tya -- relative conjunction; accusative singular neuter <tya-> '(so/in order) that' -- that
  • Bardiya -- proper name; accusative singular masculine <Bardiya-> 'Bardiya', known from Greek sources as Smerdis -- Smerdis
  • avajata -- verbal prefix; <ava> 'away, down' + verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative middle <jan> 'smite, strike, slay' -- had struck down
  • pasāva -- adverb; <pasāva> 'after(wards)' -- and then
  • Kabūjiya -- proper name; nominative singular masculine <Kambūjiya-> 'Cambyses' -- Cambyses
  • Mudrāyam -- geographic name; accusative singular masculine <Mudrāya-> 'Egypt' -- to Egypt

33 - ašiyava yaθā Kabūjiya Mudrāyam ašiyava pasāva kāra arika abava

  • ašiyava -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative middle <šiyu> 'set out, go' -- set out
  • yaθā -- adverbial conjunction; <yaθā> 'as, when, because' -- when
  • Kabūjiya -- proper name; nominative singular masculine <Kambūjiya-> 'Cambyses' -- Cambyses
  • Mudrāyam -- geographic name; accusative singular masculine <Mudrāya-> 'Egypt' -- to Egypt
  • ašiyava -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative middle <šiyu> 'set out, go' -- set out
  • pasāva -- adverb; <pasāva> 'after(wards)' -- and then
  • kāra -- noun; nominative singular masculine <kāra-> 'man, person; the people' -- the people
  • arika -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <arika-> 'treacherous, evil, hostile' -- treacherous
  • abava -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative middle <bu> 'be, become' -- grew

34 - pasāva drauga dahyauvā vasiy abava utā Pārsaiy utā Mādaiy utā

  • pasāva -- adverb; <pasāva> 'after(wards)' -- and thus
  • drauga -- noun; nominative singular masculine <drauga-> 'deceit, the Lie' -- deceit
  • dahyauvā -- noun; locative singular feminine <dahyu-> 'country, land, region' -- throughout the land
  • vasiy -- adverb; <vasiy> 'greatly, utterly' -- rampantly
  • abava -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative middle <bu> 'be, become' -- rose
  • utā -- conjunction; <utā> 'and' -- both
  • Pārsaiy -- geographic name; locative singular masculine <Pārsa-> 'Persia' -- in Persia
  • utā -- conjunction; <utā> 'and' -- and
  • Mādaiy -- geographic name; locative singular masculine <Māda-> 'Media' -- in Media
  • utā -- conjunction; <utā> 'and' -- and

35 - aniyāuvā dahyušuvā θātiy Dārayavauš xšāyaθiya pasāva

  • aniyāuvā -- adjective; locative plural feminine <aniya-> 'other' -- other
  • dahyušuvā -- noun; locative plural feminine <dahyu-> 'country, land, region' -- in the lands
  • θātiy -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active <θah> 'speak, say, declare' -- declares
  • Dārayavauš -- proper name; nominative singular masculine <Dārayavahu-> 'Darius' -- Darius
  • xšāyaθiya -- noun; nominative singular masculine <xšāyaθiya-> 'royal, king' -- the King
  • pasāva -- adverb; <pasāva> 'after(wards)' -- later

36 - I martiya maguš āha Gaumāta nāma hauv udapatatā hacā Paišiyāuvādāyā

  • I -- Roman numeral; <I> 'one' -- one
  • martiya -- noun; nominative singular masculine <martiya-> 'mortal, man, human being' -- man
  • maguš -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <magu-> 'Magian' -- Magian
  • āha -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active <ah> 'be' -- was
  • Gaumāta -- proper name; nominative singular masculine <Gaumāta-> 'Gaumata' -- Gaumata
  • nāma -- adverb; <nāma> 'by name, named, called' -- by name
  • hauv -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <hauv-> 'he, this' -- he
  • udapatatā -- verbal prefix; <ud> 'up' + verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative middle <pat> 'fly, fall' -- rose up
  • hacā -- adposition; <hacā> 'from, out of' -- from
  • Paišiyāuvādāyā -- geographic name; ablative singular feminine <Paišiyāuvādā-> 'Paishiyauvada' -- from Paishiyauvada

37 - Arakadriš nāma kaufa hacā avadaša Viyaxnahya māhyā

  • Arakadriš -- geographic name; nominative singular masculine <Arakadri-> a mountain in Persia -- Arakadri
  • nāma -- adverb; <nāma> 'by name, named, called' -- named
  • kaufa -- noun; nominative singular masculine <kaufa-> 'mountain' -- mountain
  • hacā -- adposition; <hacā> 'from, out of' -- from
  • avadaša -- adverb; <avadā> 'then, there' + enclitic demonstrative pronoun; ablative singular masculine <ša-> 'he, this' -- there
  • Viyaxnahya -- proper name; genitive singular masculine <Viyaxna-> twelfth month of the Persian calendar, February - March -- of Viyakhna
  • māhyā -- noun; genitive singular masculine <māha-> 'month' -- of the month

38 - XIV raucabiš θakatā āha yadiy udapatatā hauv kārahyā avaθā

  • XIV -- Roman numeral; <XIV> 'fourteen' -- fourteen
  • raucabiš -- noun; instrumental plural neuter <raucah-> 'day' -- days
  • θakatā -- adjective; nominative plural neuter <θakatay-> 'past' -- completed
  • āha -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect indicative active <ah> 'be' -- were
  • yadiy -- adverb; <yadiy> 'if, when' -- when
  • udapatatā -- verbal prefix; <ud> 'up' + verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative middle <pat> 'fly, fall' -- rose up
  • hauv -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <hauv-> 'he, this' -- he
  • kārahyā -- noun; genitive singular masculine <kāra-> 'man, person; the people' -- to the people
  • avaθā -- adverb; <avaθa> 'thus, then' -- thus

39 - adurujiya adam Bardiya amiy hya Kūrauš puça Kabūjiyahyā brātā

  • adurujiya -- verb; 1st person singular imperfect indicative middle <drug-> 'lie, deceive' -- he deceived
  • adam -- personal pronoun; nominative singular <adam> 'I' -- I
  • Bardiya -- proper name; nominative singular masculine <Bardiya-> 'Bardiya', known from Greek sources as Smerdis -- Smerdis
  • amiy -- verb; 1st person singular present indicative active <ah> 'be' -- I am
  • hya -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <hya-> 'who, what, which' -- who
  • Kūrauš -- proper name; genitive singular masculine <Kūru-> 'Cyrus' -- of Cyrus
  • puça -- noun; nominative singular masculine <puça-> 'son' -- the son
  • Kabūjiyahyā -- proper name; genitive singular masculine <Kambūjiya-> 'Cambyses' -- of Cambyses
  • brātā -- noun; nominative singular masculine <brātar-> 'brother' -- brother

40 - pasāva kāra haruva hamiçiya abava hacā Kabūjiyā abiy avam

  • pasāva -- adverb; <pasāva> 'after(wards)' -- thereupon
  • kāra -- noun; nominative singular masculine <kāra-> 'man, person; the people' -- the people
  • haruva -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <haruva-> 'all' -- all
  • hamiçiya -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <hamiçiya-> 'rebellious' -- rebellious
  • abava -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative middle <bu> 'be, become' -- grew
  • hacā -- adposition; <hacā> 'from, out of' -- against
  • Kabūjiyā -- proper name; ablative singular masculine <Kambūjiya-> 'Cambyses' -- Cambyses
  • abiy -- preposition; <abiy> 'to, toward, against' -- to
  • avam -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular masculine <ava-> 'this, that' -- him

41 - ašiyava utā Pārsa utā Māda utā aniyā dahyāva xšaçam hauv

  • ašiyava -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative middle <šiyu> 'set out, go' -- went over
  • utā -- conjunction; <utā> 'and' -- and
  • Pārsa -- geographic name; nominative singular masculine <Pārsa-> 'Persia' -- Persia
  • utā -- conjunction; <utā> 'and' -- and
  • Māda -- geographic name; nominative singular masculine <Māda-> 'Media' -- Media
  • utā -- conjunction; <utā> 'and' -- and
  • aniyā -- adjective; nominative plural feminine <aniya-> 'other' -- the other
  • dahyāva -- noun; nominative plural feminine <dahyu-> 'country, land, region' -- lands
  • xšaçam -- noun; accusative singular neuter <xšaça-> 'kingship, sovereignty, kingdom' -- kingdom
  • hauv -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <hauv-> 'he, this' -- he

42 - agarbāyatā Garmapadahya māhyā IX raucabiš θakatā āha avaθā xšaçam

  • agarbāyatā -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative causative middle <grab> 'seize, grab' -- seized
  • Garmapadahya -- proper name; genitive singular masculine <Garmapada-> fourth month of the Persian calendar, June - July -- of Garmapada
  • māhyā -- noun; genitive singular masculine <māha-> 'month' -- of the month
  • IX -- Roman numeral; <IX> 'nine' -- nine
  • raucabiš -- noun; instrumental plural neuter <raucah-> 'day' -- days
  • θakatā -- adjective; nominative plural neuter <θakatay-> 'past' -- completed
  • āha -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect indicative active <ah> 'be' -- were
  • avaθā -- adverb; <avaθa> 'thus, then' -- thus
  • xšaçam -- noun; accusative singular neuter <xšaça-> 'kingship, sovereignty, kingdom' -- kingdom

43 - agarbāyatā pasāva Kabūjiya uvāmaršiyuš amariyatā ...

  • agarbāyatā -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative causative middle <grab> 'seize, grab' -- seized
  • pasāva -- adverb; <pasāva> 'after(wards)' -- and then
  • Kabūjiya -- proper name; nominative singular masculine <Kambūjiya-> 'Cambyses' -- Cambyses
  • uvāmaršiyuš -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <uvāmaršiyu-> 'self-inflicted death' -- by his own hand
  • amariyatā -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative middle <mar> 'die' -- died

48 - ... θātiy Dārayavauš xšāyaθiya naiy āha martiya

  • θātiy -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active <θah> 'speak, say, declare' -- declares
  • Dārayavauš -- proper name; nominative singular masculine <Dārayavahu-> 'Darius' -- Darius
  • xšāyaθiya -- noun; nominative singular masculine <xšāyaθiya-> 'royal, king' -- the King
  • naiy -- negative particle; <naiy> 'not' -- no
  • āha -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active <ah> 'be' -- was
  • martiya -- noun; nominative singular masculine <martiya-> 'mortal, man, human being' -- man

49 - naiy Pārsa naiy Māda naiy amāxam taumāyā kašciy hya avam Gaumātam

  • naiy -- negative particle; <naiy> 'not' -- not
  • Pārsa -- geographic name; nominative singular masculine <Pārsa-> 'Persia' -- Persia
  • naiy -- negative particle; <naiy> 'not' -- not
  • Māda -- geographic name; nominative singular masculine <Māda-> 'Media' -- Media
  • naiy -- negative particle; <naiy> 'not' -- not
  • amāxam -- personal pronoun; genitive plural <adam> 'I' -- our
  • taumāyā -- noun; genitive singular feminine <taumā-> 'family' -- family
  • kašciy -- indefinite pronoun; nominative singular masculine <kašciy-> 'any, anyone, anything' -- any
  • hya -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <hya-> 'who, what, which' -- who
  • avam -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular masculine <ava-> 'this, that' -- that
  • Gaumātam -- proper name; accusative singular masculine <Gaumāta-> 'Gaumata' -- Gaumata

50 - tyam magum xšaçam dītam caxriyā kārašim hacā daršam atarsa

  • tyam -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular masculine <tya-> 'he, this, that' -- the
  • magum -- adjective; accusative singular masculine <magu-> 'Magian' -- Magian
  • xšaçam -- noun; accusative singular neuter <xšaça-> 'kingship, sovereignty, kingdom' -- kingdom
  • dītam -- past participle passive; accusative singular neuter <> 'give, take' -- deprived
  • caxriyā -- verb; 3rd person singular perfect optative causative active <kar> 'do, make' -- could render
  • kārašim -- noun; nominative singular masculine <kāra-> 'man, person; the people' + enclitic demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular masculine <ša-> 'he, this' -- the people... him
  • hacā -- adposition; <hacā> 'from, out of' -- ...
  • daršam -- adverb; <daršam> 'greatly, mightily, steadfastly' -- greatly
  • atarsa -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative middle <tars> 'fear, be afraid' -- feared

51 - kāram vasiy avājaniyā hya paranam Bardiyam adānā avahyarādiy

  • kāram -- noun; accusative singular masculine <kāra-> 'man, person; the people' -- the people
  • vasiy -- adverb; <vasiy> 'greatly, utterly' -- the numerous
  • avājaniyā -- verbal prefix; <ava> 'away, down' + verb; 3rd person singular present optative active <jan> 'smite, strike, slay' -- lest he would strike down
  • hya -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <hya-> 'who, what, which' -- who
  • paranam -- adverb; <paranam> 'before' -- previously
  • Bardiyam -- proper name; accusative singular masculine <Bardiya-> 'Bardiya', known from Greek sources as Smerdis -- Smerdis
  • adānā -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect middle <xšnā> 'learn, know' -- knew
  • avahyarādiy -- demonstrative pronoun; genitive singular masculine <ava-> 'this, that' + adverb; <rādiy> 'on account of' -- on account of this

52 - kāram avājaniyā mātyamām xšnāsātiy tya adam naiy Bardiya

  • kāram -- noun; accusative singular masculine <kāra-> 'man, person; the people' -- the people
  • avājaniyā -- verbal prefix; <ava> 'away, down' + verb; 3rd person singular present optative active <jan> 'smite, strike, slay' -- lest he would strike down
  • mātyamām -- injunctive particle; <> (expresses prohibition) + relative conjunction; accusative singular neuter <tya-> '(so/in order) that' + personal pronoun; accusative singular <adam> 'I' -- lest... me
  • xšnāsātiy -- verb; 3rd person singular present subjunctive active <xšnā> 'learn, know' -- he would know
  • tya -- relative pronoun; accusative singular neuter <tya-> 'who, which; that' -- who
  • adam -- personal pronoun; nominative singular <adam> 'I' -- I
  • naiy -- negative particle; <naiy> 'not' -- not
  • Bardiya -- proper name; nominative singular masculine <Bardiya-> 'Bardiya', known from Greek sources as Smerdis -- Smerdis

53 - amiy hya Kūrauš puça kašciy naiy adaršnauš cišciy θastanaiy

  • amiy -- verb; 1st person singular present indicative active <ah> 'be' -- am
  • hya -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <hya-> 'who, what, which' -- who
  • Kūrauš -- proper name; genitive singular masculine <Kūru-> 'Cyrus' -- of Cyrus
  • puça -- noun; nominative singular masculine <puça-> 'son' -- the son
  • kašciy -- indefinite pronoun; nominative singular masculine <kašciy-> 'any, anyone, anything' -- one
  • naiy -- negative particle; <naiy> 'not' -- no
  • adaršnauš -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active <dars> 'dare' -- dared
  • cišciy -- indefinite pronoun; accusative singular masculine <kašciy-> 'any, anyone, anything' -- anything
  • θastanaiy -- infinitive; <θah> 'speak, say, declare' -- to say

54 - pariy Gaumātam tyam magum yātā adam arasam pasāva adam Auramazdām

  • pariy -- adverb; <pariy> 'toward, with respect to' -- against
  • Gaumātam -- proper name; accusative singular masculine <Gaumāta-> 'Gaumata' -- Gaumata
  • tyam -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular masculine <tya-> 'he, this, that' -- the
  • magum -- adjective; accusative singular masculine <magu-> 'Magian' -- Magian
  • yātā -- adverbial conjunction; <yātā> 'until, while, as long as' -- until
  • adam -- personal pronoun; nominative singular <adam> 'I' -- I
  • arasam -- verb; 1st person singular imperfect indicative active <ar> 'move toward' -- came
  • pasāva -- adverb; <pasāva> 'after(wards)' -- after that
  • adam -- personal pronoun; nominative singular <adam> 'I' -- I
  • Auramazdām -- proper name; accusative singular masculine <Auramazdāh-> 'Ahura Mazda' -- Ahura Mazda

55 - patiyāvahyaiy Auramazdāmaiy upastām abara Bāgayādaiš

  • patiyāvahyaiy -- preposition; <patiy> 'against, during, with respect to' + denominative; 1st person singular imperfect middle <avahya-> 'ask for help' -- asked for help
  • Auramazdāmaiy -- proper name; nominative singular masculine <Auramazdāh-> 'Ahura Mazda' + enclitic personal pronoun; accusative singular <adam> 'I' -- Ahura Mazda... me
  • upastām -- noun; accusative singular feminine <upastā-> 'aid, support' -- aid
  • abara -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect indicative active <bar> 'bear, carry' -- bore
  • Bāgayādaiš -- proper name; genitive singular masculine <Bāgayādi-> seventh month of the Persian calendar, September - October -- of Bagayadi

56 - māhyā X raucabiš θakatā āha avaθā adam hadā kamnaibiš martiyaibiš

  • māhyā -- noun; genitive singular masculine <māha-> 'month' -- of the month
  • X -- Roman numeral; <X> 'ten' -- ten
  • raucabiš -- noun; instrumental plural neuter <raucah-> 'day' -- days
  • θakatā -- adjective; nominative plural neuter <θakatay-> 'past' -- completed
  • āha -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect indicative active <ah> 'be' -- were
  • avaθā -- adverb; <avaθa> 'thus, then' -- when
  • adam -- personal pronoun; nominative singular <adam> 'I' -- I
  • hadā -- preposition; <hadā> 'with, together with' -- together with
  • kamnaibiš -- adjective; instrumental plural masculine <kamna-> 'few' -- a small number of
  • martiyaibiš -- noun; instrumental plural masculine <martiya-> 'mortal, man, human being' -- with men

57 - avam Gaumātam tyam magum avājanam utā tyaišaiy fratamā martiyā

  • avam -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular masculine <ava-> 'this, that' -- that
  • Gaumātam -- proper name; accusative singular masculine <Gaumāta-> 'Gaumata' -- Gaumata
  • tyam -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular masculine <tya-> 'he, this, that' -- the
  • magum -- adjective; accusative singular masculine <magu-> 'Magian' -- Magian
  • avājanam -- verbal prefix; <ava> 'away, down' + verb; 1st person singular imperfect indicative active <jan> 'smite, strike, slay' -- I struck down
  • utā -- conjunction; <utā> 'and' -- and
  • tyaišaiy -- relative pronoun; nominative plural masculine <tya-> 'who, which; that' + enclitic pronoun; genitive singular masculine <sa-> 'he, this' -- those who... his
  • fratamā -- adjective; nominative plural masculine <fratama-> 'first, foremost' -- leading
  • martiyā -- noun; nominative plural masculine <martiya-> 'mortal, man, human being' -- men

58 - anušiyā āhatā Sikayauvatiš nāmā didā Nisāya nāmā

  • anušiyā -- noun; nominative plural masculine <anušiya-> 'follower, ally' -- allies
  • āhatā -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect indicative middle <ah> 'be' -- were
  • Sikayauvatiš -- geographic name; nominative singular masculine <Sikayauvati-> 'Sikayauvati' -- Sikayauvati
  • nāmā -- adverb; <nāma> 'by name, named, called' -- called
  • didā -- noun; nominative singular feminine <didā-> 'fortress, wall' -- stronghold
  • Nisāya -- geographic name; nominative singular masculine <Nisāya-> 'Nisaya' -- Nisaya
  • nāmā -- adverb; <nāma> 'by name, named, called' -- called

59 - dahyāuš Mādaiy avadašim avājanam xšaçamšim adam adīnam vašnā

  • dahyāuš -- noun; nominative singular feminine <dahyu-> 'country, land, region' -- land
  • Mādaiy -- geographic name; locative singular masculine <Māda-> 'Media' -- in Media
  • avadašim -- adverb; <avadā> 'then, there' + enclitic demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular masculine <ša-> 'he, this' -- there... him
  • avājanam -- verbal prefix; <ava> 'away, down' + verb; 1st person singular imperfect indicative active <jan> 'smite, strike, slay' -- I struck down
  • xšaçamšim -- noun; accusative singular neuter <xšaça-> 'kingship, sovereignty, kingdom' + enclitic demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular masculine <ša-> 'he, this' -- kingdom... him
  • adam -- personal pronoun; nominative singular <adam> 'I' -- I
  • adīnam -- verb; 1st person singular imperfect indicative active <> 'take, seize' -- seized
  • vašnā -- noun; instrumental singular masculine <vašna-> 'will, favor' -- by the will

60 - Auramazdāha adam xšāyaθiya abavam Auramazdā xšaçam manā frābara ...

  • Auramazdāha -- proper name; genitive singular masculine <Auramazdāh-> 'Ahura Mazda' -- of Ahura Mazda
  • adam -- personal pronoun; nominative singular <adam> 'I' -- I
  • xšāyaθiya -- noun; nominative singular masculine <xšāyaθiya-> 'royal, king' -- king
  • abavam -- verb; 1st person singular imperfect indicative active <bu> 'be, become' -- became
  • Auramazdā -- proper name; nominative singular masculine <Auramazdāh-> 'Ahura Mazda' -- Ahura Mazda
  • xšaçam -- noun; accusative singular neuter <xšaça-> 'kingship, sovereignty, kingdom' -- the kingdom
  • manā -- personal pronoun; genitive singular <adam> 'I' -- upon me
  • frābara -- verbal prefix; <fra> 'to, toward, forth' + verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative middle <bar> 'bear, carry' -- bestowed

Lesson Text

26 ... θātiy 27 Dārayavauš xšāyaθiya ima tya manā kartam pasāva yaθā xšāyaθiya 28 abavam Kabūjiya nāma Kūrauš puça amāxam taumāyā 29 hauvam idā xšāyaθiya āha avahyā Kabūjiyahyā brātā 30 Bardiya nāma āha hamātā hamapitā Kabūjiyahyā pasāva Kabūjiya 31 avam Bardiyam avāja yaθā Kabūjiya Bardiyam avāja kārahyā 32 naiy azdā abava tya Bardiya avajata pasāva Kabūjiya Mudrāyam 33 ašiyava yaθā Kabūjiya Mudrāyam ašiyava pasāva kāra arika abava 34 pasāva drauga dahyauvā vasiy abava utā Pārsaiy utā Mādaiy utā 35 aniyāuvā dahyušuvā θātiy Dārayavauš xšāyaθiya pasāva 36 I martiya maguš āha Gaumāta nāma hauv udapatatā hacā Paišiyāuvādāyā 37 Arakadriš nāma kaufa hacā avadaša Viyaxnahya māhyā 38 XIV raucabiš θakatā āha yadiy udapatatā hauv kārahyā avaθā 39 adurujiya adam Bardiya amiy hya Kūrauš puça Kabūjiyahyā brātā 40 pasāva kāra haruva hamiçiya abava hacā Kabūjiyā abiy avam 41 ašiyava utā Pārsa utā Māda utā aniyā dahyāva xšaçam hauv 42 agarbāyatā Garmapadahya māhyā IX raucabiš θakatā āha avaθā xšaçam 43 agarbāyatā pasāva Kabūjiya uvāmaršiyuš amariyatā ... 48 ... θātiy Dārayavauš xšāyaθiya naiy āha martiya 49 naiy Pārsa naiy Māda naiy amāxam taumāyā kašciy hya avam Gaumātam 50 tyam magum xšaçam dītam caxriyā kārašim hacā daršam atarsa 51 kāram vasiy avājaniyā hya paranam Bardiyam adānā avahyarādiy 52 kāram avājaniyā mātyamām xšnāsātiy tya adam naiy Bardiya 53 amiy hya Kūrauš puça kašciy naiy adaršnauš cišciy θastanaiy 54 pariy Gaumātam tyam magum yātā adam arasam pasāva adam Auramazdām 55 patiyāvahyaiy Auramazdāmaiy upastām abara Bāgayādaiš 56 māhyā X raucabiš θakatā āha avaθā adam hadā kamnaibiš martiyaibiš 57 avam Gaumātam tyam magum avājanam utā tyaišaiy fratamā martiyā 58 anušiyā āhatā Sikayauvatiš nāmā didā Nisāya nāmā 59 dahyāuš Mādaiy avadašim avājanam xšaçamšim adam adīnam vašnā 60 Auramazdāha adam xšāyaθiya abavam Auramazdā xšaçam manā frābara ...

Translation

26 Darius the King 27 declares: This is what was done by me when the king 28 I did become. The son of Cyrus, of our family, Cambyses by name -- 29 he was the king here. Of that Cambyses [there] was a brother, 30 Smerdis by name, having the same mother and father as Cambyses. And then Cambyses 31 struck down that Smerdis. When Cambyses struck down Smerdis, 32 it did not become known among the people that [he] had struck down Smerdis. And then Cambyses 33 went to Egypt. And when Cambyses went to Egypt, the people grew treacherous, 34 and thus deceit rose rampantly in both Persia and Media and 35 in the [Empire's] other lands. Darius the King declares: Later, 36 there was one man, a Magian, Gaumata by name, and he rose up from Paishiyauvada. 37 [There is] a mountain in Persia named Arakadri. From there, when fourteen days of the month of Viyakhna 38 were completed, he rose up, [and] he deceived the people [saying] thus: 39 "I am Smerdis, the son of Cyrus who [is] brother of Cambyses." 40 Thereupon, all the people became rebellious against Cambyses and went over to him, [Smerdis], 41 Persia and Media and the other lands, [and] he seized the kingdom. 42 Nine days were completed in the month of Garmapada [when] he seized the kingdom thus. 43 And then Cambyses died by his own hand ...
48 ... Darius the king declares: There was no man, 49 neither Persian nor Median nor any among our family who could render that Gaumata 50 kingdom-deprived. The people feared him greatly, 51 lest he would strike down the numerous people who knew him previously as Smerdis; 52 lest he would strike down the people on account of this: "Lest he who would know me [would know that] I am not Smerdis, 53 the son of Cyrus." No one dared to say anything 54 against Gaumata the Magian until I came. After that, 55 I asked Ahura Mazda for help, [and] Ahura Mazda bore me aid. 56 Ten days of the month of Bagayad were completed when, with a small number of men, 57 I struck down that Gaumata the Magian and those men who 58 were his foremost allies. [There was] a fortress called Sikayauvati, a land called Nisaya, 59 in Media, [and] there I struck him down. I seized the kingdom [from] him, [and] by the will 60 of Ahura Mazda, I became king. Ahura Mazda bestowed the kingdom to me.

Grammar

6. Short and Long i- and u-Stem Nouns

Nominal stems in short i and u are not easily distinguished from those in long ī and ū except by comparison with other Indo-Iranian languages. The declensions take identical inflections in all cases of the masculine and feminine and in the oblique cases of the neuter. Long ī- and ū-stem cognates with the Sanskrit are attested, e.g., bumi-, Skt. bhūmī-, but again these do not appear to have had declensions distinctive from the short i- and u-.

6.1. i- and u-Stem Nouns, Masculine and Neuter
Masculine   skauθi- 'poor'   magu- 'priest'
Nom. sg.   skauθiš   maguš
Acc. sg.   skauθim   magum
Instr. sg.   unattested   *maguvā
Abl. sg.   unattested   *magauš, *magauv
Gen. sg.   skauθaiš   *magauš
Loc. sg.   unattested   magauv
         
Gen. pl.   unattested   magunām
         
Neuter   dāru- 'wood'
Nom/Acc. sg.   dāruv
7. Personal Pronouns

Fewer Old Persian pronominal forms are attested than in the Avestan. The first and second person are known in only a few declensions, while the third person is found in only the nominative and accusative singular. As in the Avestan, the oblique cases of all personal pronouns form a suppletive system, i.e., they are based on a stem different from that of the nominative case.

7.1. First and Second Person Pronouns

The first and second person pronouns have no inherent gender. The azem- 'I' and tvə̄m- 'you' paradigms are given here, with enclitic forms given in parentheses.

    First Person   Second Person
Nom. sg.   adam   tuvam
Acc. sg.   mām   θuvām
Abl. sg.   (ma)   unattested
Gen. sg.   manā   (taiy)
         
Nom. pl.   vayam   unattested
Gen. pl.   amāxam   unattested
7.2. Third Person Pronouns

The third person pronoun stem hauv- 'he' is found in only its masculine form.

    Masculine
Nom. sg.   hauv, hauvam
Acc. sg.   (šim), (dim)
Acc. pl.   (šiš), (diš)
Instr. pl.   tāiš
Abl. pl.   taēibyō
8. Athematic Presents

As noted in Lesson 1, verbs of the present system are based on various stems. Those stems ending with the theme-vowel -a-, called thematic stems, were discussed there. Athematic stems are similarly attested. They are constructed in five distinctive but systematic ways.

The root class stems add their ending directly to the verbal root, e.g. ahmiy 'I am', first person singular present indicative active of ah 'be'. The root may appear in its strong or weak grade, depending on the verb's ablaut pattern (cf. Section 2.2).

The reduplicating class forms its stem by adding a reduplicated syllable to the beginning of a verbal root. Only a few instances of reduplicating class verbs are found in Old Persian: the 1st and 3rd person singular imperfect indicative adadā, from 'make'; the 3rd person singular present imperative active dadātuv, from 'give'; and the 2nd person singular present imperative middle dīdiy, from 'think, see, know'.

The na̱- and nu- classes add a form of -na̱-/-na- or -nau-/-nu- to the root, according to ablaut pattern. A third nasal category, the infix class, is found where the -na- appears inside the root itself in its middle or zero grade.

Athematic Present Paradigms: ah 'be'

Indicative   Active   Middle
1 sg.   ahmiy   *ahmiy
3 sg.   astiy 1   *astiy
1 pl.   ahmahi   unattested
         
Imperative        
2 sg.   *zdiy   unattested
3 sg.   *astuv   unattested
2 pl.   *zdā   unattested
         
Optative        
3 sg.   ahā   unattested
         
Imperfect        
1 sg.   āham   unattested
3 sg.   āha2   unattested
3 pl.   āha   unattested
9. Causatives and Denominatives

The causative stem -aya- that appears in Avestan conveying the sense of causativity (cf. Section 2.9) is also found in the Old Persian, though it does not necessarily effect a change of meaning: e.g., 3rd person singular imperfect indicative middle agarbāyatā 'he seized', from grab 'seize, grab'. The causative takes the endings of the present system.

A denominative stem is formed from a noun by adding the suffix -ya- to the noun stem. Like the causative, it takes the endings of the present system: patiyāvahyaiy 'I asked for help', from the prefix patiy added to the noun-stem avah- 'aid'.

10. Adverbs, Adpositions, and Preverbs

Old Persian adverbs function as adpositions (prepositions or postpositions) and verbal prefixes. Some function as both, some as one or the other. Adpositions precede or follow the noun they modify, while preverbs are attached immediately to the front of verbs. Some common examples of each are as follows:

Adposition or Verbal Prefix   Meaning   Case of Governance
ā   near   Locative
upa   up to   Accusative
ni   down   Locative
patiy   toward, against   Accusative, Instrumental, Locative
pariy   around   Accusative
parā   away   Accusative
         
Adposition Only   Meaning   Case of Governance
anuv   along, according to   Instrumental, Genitive
antar   between   Accusative
tara   through   Accusative
pasā   after   Accusative, Genitive
rādiy   on account of   Genitive
hacā   from   Ablative
hadā   with   Instrumental
         
Verbal Prefix Only   Meaning
ava   down
ud   up
niš   out
fra   forth, toward
vi   apart
ham   together

Footnotes

1   Proto-Indo-Iranian /s/ > Old Persian /h/ in most environments, but not in consonant clusters. Note here that the /m/ in first person ahmi is considered a resonant -- i.e. a sound that functions as a consonant when in a vocalic environment, or as a vowel when in a consonantal environment. Hence, the rule does not apply.
     
2   Final consonants are dropped in Old Persian, but a third person imperfect ending in t and n can be inferred from comparison with other Indo-Iranian languages. Thus, the 3rd singular āha is assumed to have developed out of the earlier form *āhat, and the plural out of *āhan.