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Old Iranian Online

Lesson 9: Old Persian

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

The tomb of Darius is located at Naqs-i-rastam, a few miles north of the ancient Persian capital at Persepolis. The second in a series of three other burial chambers with entryways carved, in the shape of Orthodox crosses each roughly seventy-three feet high, into the face of a cliff, it bears a relief of Darius standing at the base of his throne, supported by two lines of fifteen throne-bearers. Darius looks toward an altar; Ahura Mazda looks down from above. There are two inscriptions. Directly behind the Darius figure, 60 lines are carved in Old Persian, translated into 48 lines of Elamite and 36 lines of Akkadian on the adjacent rock. The second inscription flanks the door, with panels in Old Persian, Elamite, Aramaic, and Akkadian. Together, these constitute the Emperor's last public decrees, highlighting his deeds and moral and physical fortitude, both praising the god Ahura Mazda.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The passage behind Darius on the relief panel, called the inscription of Darius at Naqs-i-rastam A (DNa), opens by declaring Ahura Mazda great by virtue of his creation of the earth, sky, and happiness for humankind, and for making Darius the king. It immediately follows with Darius declaring himself and his noble ancestry to posterity and moves on to list the countries that bore him tribute during his reign. The passage then mentions, again, that Darius was made king by his god, but this time adds the reason: Ahura Mazda saw disorder, rebellion, and moral laxity on the earth, and therefore put Darius in charge, presumably to bring the people back into accordance with Zoroastrian teaching. Darius then refers his readers to the relief itself, should they forget just how many lands he conquered: "look at the reliefs [of those] who bear the throne." Their number is carved in stone. The passage closes with a request for Ahura Mazda to continue to protect him and his descendents from harm and, finally, a last command that his subjects never again rise in rebellion.

1 - baga vazraka Auramazdā hya imām

  • baga -- noun; nominative singular masculine <baga-> 'god' -- the god
  • vazraka -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <vazraka-> 'great' -- great
  • Auramazdā -- proper name; nominative singular masculine <Auramazdāh-> 'Ahura Mazda' -- Ahura Mazda
  • hya -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <hya-> 'who, what, which' -- who
  • imām -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular masculine <ima-> 'he, this' -- this

2 - būmim adā hya avam asmānam

  • būmim -- noun; accusative singular feminine <būmi-> 'earth' -- earth
  • adā -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist indicative active <> 'put, make, create' -- created
  • hya -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <hya-> 'who, what, which' -- who
  • avam -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular masculine <ava-> 'this, that' -- this
  • asmānam -- noun; accusative singular masculine <asman-> 'sky' -- sky

3 - adā hya martiyam adā hya

  • adā -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist indicative active <> 'put, make, create' -- created
  • hya -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <hya-> 'who, what, which' -- who
  • martiyam -- noun; accusative singular masculine <martiya-> 'mortal, man, human being' -- mankind
  • adā -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist indicative active <> 'put, make, create' -- created
  • hya -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <hya-> 'who, what, which' -- who

4 - šiyātim adā martiyahyā

  • šiyātim -- noun; accusative singular feminine <šiyati-> 'welfare, peace, happiness' -- happiness
  • adā -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist indicative active <> 'put, make, create' -- created
  • martiyahyā -- noun; genitive singular masculine <martiya-> 'mortal, man, human being' -- for mankind

5 - hya Dārayavaum xšāyaθiyam akunauš

  • hya -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine <hya-> 'who, what, which' -- who
  • Dārayavaum -- proper name; accusative singular masculine <Dārayavahu-> 'Darius' -- Darius
  • xšāyaθiyam -- noun; accusative singular masculine <xšāyaθiya-> 'royal, king' -- the king
  • akunauš -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active <kar> 'do, make' -- made

6 - aivam parūvnām xšāyaθiyam

  • aivam -- adjective; accusative singular masculine <aiva-> 'one' -- one
  • parūvnām -- adjective; genitive plural masculine <paru-> 'much, many' -- of many
  • xšāyaθiyam -- noun; accusative singular masculine <xšāyaθiya-> 'royal, king' -- king

7 - aivam parūvnām framātāram

  • aivam -- adjective; accusative singular masculine <aiva-> 'one' -- one
  • parūvnām -- adjective; genitive plural masculine <paru-> 'much, many' -- of many
  • framātāram -- noun; accusative singular masculine <framātar-> 'lord, master' -- overlord

8 - adam Dārayavauš xšāyaθiya vazraka

  • adam -- personal pronoun; nominative singular <adam> 'I' -- I
  • Dārayavauš -- proper name; nominative singular masculine <Dārayavahu-> 'Darius' -- Darius
  • xšāyaθiya -- noun; nominative singular masculine <xšāyaθiya-> 'royal, king' -- the king
  • vazraka -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <vazraka-> 'great' -- great

9 - xšāyaθiya xšāyaθiyānām

  • xšāyaθiya -- noun; nominative singular masculine <xšāyaθiya-> 'royal, king' -- king
  • xšāyaθiyānām -- noun; genitive plural masculine <xšāyaθiya-> 'royal, king' -- of kings

10 - xšāyaθiya dahyūnām vispazanānām

  • xšāyaθiya -- noun; nominative singular masculine <xšāyaθiya-> 'royal, king' -- king
  • dahyūnām -- noun; genitive plural feminine <dahyu-> 'country, land, region' -- of the lands
  • vispazanānām -- adjective; <vispa-> 'all, every' + noun; genitive plural masculine <zana-> 'man' -- of all men

11 - xšāyaθiya ahyāyā būmiyā

  • xšāyaθiya -- noun; nominative singular masculine <xšāyaθiya-> 'royal, king' -- king
  • ahyāyā -- demonstrative pronoun; locative singular feminine <a-> 'this' -- this
  • būmiyā -- noun; locative singular feminine <būmi-> 'earth' -- on earth

12 - vazrakāyā dūraiapiy Vištāspahyā

  • vazrakāyā -- adjective; locative singular feminine <vazraka-> 'great' -- great
  • dūraiapiy -- adverb; <dūra> 'far' + enclitic particle; <apiy> emphatic particle -- far and wide
  • Vištāspahyā -- proper name; genitive singular masculine <Vištāspa-> 'Hystaspes' -- of Hystaspes

13 - puça haxāmanišiya pārsa pārsahyā

  • puça -- noun; nominative singular masculine <puça-> 'son' -- son
  • haxāmanišiya -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <haxāmanišiya-> 'Achaemenid' -- an Achaemenid
  • pārsa -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <pārsa-> 'Persian' -- a Persian
  • pārsahyā -- adjective; genitive singular masculine <pārsa-> 'Persian' -- of a Persian

14 - puça ariya ariyaciça ...

  • puça -- noun; nominative singular masculine <puça-> 'son' -- son
  • ariya -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <ariya-> 'Aryan' -- an Aryan
  • ariyaciça -- adjective; <ariya-> 'Aryan' + noun; nominative singular masculine <ciça-> 'seed, lineage' -- of Aryan descent

30 - ... θātiy

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

31 - Dārayavauš xšāyaθiya Auramazdā yaθā

  • Dārayavauš -- proper name; nominative singular masculine <Dārayavahu-> 'Darius' -- Darius
  • xšāyaθiya -- noun; nominative singular masculine <xšāyaθiya-> 'royal, king' -- the King
  • Auramazdā -- proper name; nominative singular masculine <Auramazdāh-> 'Ahura Mazda' -- Ahura Mazda
  • yaθā -- adverbial conjunction; <yaθā> 'as, when, because' -- when

32 - avaina imām būmim yaudatim

  • avaina -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative middle <vaina-> 'see' -- saw
  • imām -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular masculine <ima-> 'he, this' -- this
  • būmim -- noun; accusative singular feminine <būmi-> 'earth' -- earth
  • yaudatim -- present participle active; accusative singular feminine <yaud> 'rise up, bubble over' -- rising up

33 - pasāvadim manā frābara mām xšāyaθiyam

  • pasāvadim -- adverb; <pasāva> 'after(wards)' + enclitic demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular masculine <di-> 'this' -- thereupon... it
  • manā -- personal pronoun; genitive singular masculine <adam> 'I' -- upon me
  • frābara -- verbal prefix; <fra> 'to, toward, forth' + verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active <bar> 'bear, carry' -- he bestowed
  • mām -- personal pronoun; accusative singular masculine <adam> 'I' -- me
  • xšāyaθiyam -- noun; accusative singular masculine <xšāyaθiya-> 'royal, king' -- king

34 - akunauš adam xšāyaθiya

  • akunauš -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active <kar> 'do, make' -- made
  • adam -- personal pronoun; nominative singular <adam> 'I' -- I
  • xšāyaθiya -- noun; nominative singular masculine <xšāyaθiya-> 'royal, king' -- king

35 - amiy vašnā Auramazdāhā adamšim

  • amiy -- verb; 1st person singular present indicative active <ah> 'be' -- am
  • vašnā -- noun; instrumental singular masculine <vašna-> 'will, favor' -- will
  • Auramazdāhā -- proper name; genitive singular masculine <Auramazdāh-> 'Ahura Mazda' -- of Ahura Mazda
  • adamšim -- personal pronoun; nominative singular <adam> 'I' + enclitic pronoun; accusative singular feminine <ši-> 'she, this' -- I... it

36 - gāθavā niyašādayam tyašām

  • gāθavā -- noun; locative singular feminine <gāθu-> 'place, throne, battlefield' -- in place
  • niyašādayam -- verbal prefix; <ni> 'down' + verb; 1st person singular present imperfect indicative active causative <had> 'sit' -- put down
  • tyašām -- relative pronoun; accusative singular neuter <tya-> 'who, which; that' + enclitic demonstrative pronoun; genitive plural masculine <ša-> 'he, this' -- which... of them

37 - adam aθaham ava akunava yaθā mām

  • adam -- personal pronoun; nominative singular <adam> 'I' -- I
  • aθaham -- verb; 1st person singular imperfect indicative active <θah> 'speak, say, declare' -- commanded
  • ava -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular neuter <ava-> 'this, that' -- that
  • akunava -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect indicative middle <kar> 'do, make' -- they did
  • yaθā -- adverbial conjunction; <yaθā> 'as, when, because' -- as
  • mām -- personal pronoun; accusative singular masculine <adam> 'I' -- my

38 - kāma āha yadipatiy maniyāhaiy tya

  • kāma -- noun; nominative singular masculine <kāma-> 'wish, desire' -- wish
  • āha -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active <ah> 'be' -- was
  • yadipatiy -- relative adverb; <yadiy> 'if, when' + adverb; <patiy> 'against, during, with respect to' -- if again
  • maniyāhaiy -- verb; 2nd person singular present subjunctive middle <man> 'think' -- you would wonder
  • tya -- relative conjunction; accusative singular neuter <tya-> '(so/in order) that' -- ...

39 - ciyakaram āha avā dahyāva

  • ciyakaram -- adverb; <cayakaram> 'how much, how many' -- how many
  • āha -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect indicative active <ah> 'be' -- were
  • avā -- relative pronoun; nominative plural feminine <ava-> 'this, that' -- those
  • dahyāva -- noun; nominative plural feminine <dahyu-> 'country, land, region' -- countries

40 - tyā Dārayavauš xšāyaθiya

  • tyā -- relative pronoun; nominative plural feminine <tya-> 'who, which; that' -- which
  • Dārayavauš -- proper name; nominative singular masculine <Dārayavahu-> 'Darius' -- Darius
  • xšāyaθiya -- noun; nominative singular masculine <xšāyaθiya-> 'royal, king' -- the king

41 - adāraya patikarā dīdiy tyaiy gāθum

  • adāraya -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative middle causative <dar> 'hold, support' -- held
  • patikarā -- noun; accusative plural masculine <patikara-> 'picture, carved/incised likeness' -- the reliefs
  • dīdiy -- verb; 2nd person singular present imperative middle <di> 'see, look' -- look at
  • tyaiy -- relative pronoun; accusative plural masculine <tya-> 'who, which; that' -- who
  • gāθum -- noun; accusative singular feminine <gāθu-> 'place, throne, battlefield' -- the throne

42 - baratiy avadā xšnāsāhy

  • baratiy -- verb; 3rd person plural present indicative active <bar> 'bear, carry' -- bear
  • avadā -- adverb; <avadā> 'then, there' -- then
  • xšnāsāhy -- verb; 2nd person singular present subjunctive active <xšnā> 'learn, know' -- you will know

43 - adataiy azdā bavātiy pārsahyā

  • adataiy -- adverb; <ada> 'then' + enclitic personal pronoun; genitive singular <tuvam-> 'you' -- thus... to you
  • azdā -- adverb; <azdā> 'known' -- known
  • bavātiy -- verb; 3rd person singular present subjunctive active <bu> 'be, become' -- it will become
  • pārsahyā -- adjective; genitive singular masculine <pārsa-> 'Persian' -- of a Persian

44 - martiyahyā dūraiy arštiš

  • martiyahyā -- noun; genitive singular masculine <martiya-> 'mortal, man, human being' -- for mankind
  • dūraiy -- adverb; <dūraiy> 'afar, far away' -- a great distance
  • arštiš -- noun; nominative singular feminine <aršti-> 'spear, weapon' -- spear

45 - parāgmatā adataiy azdā bavātiy

  • parāgmatā -- adverb; <parā> 'forth, forward, beyond' + past participle passive; nominative singular feminine <gam> 'go' -- has gone forth
  • adataiy -- adverb; <ada> 'then' + enclitic personal pronoun; genitive singular <tuvam-> 'you' -- thus... to you
  • azdā -- adverb; <azdā> 'known' -- known
  • bavātiy -- verb; 3rd person singular present subjunctive active <bu> 'be, become' -- it will become

46 - pārsa martiya dūrayapiy hacā Pārsā

  • pārsa -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <pārsa-> 'Persian' -- a Persian
  • martiya -- noun; nominative singular masculine <martiya-> 'mortal, man, human being' -- man
  • dūrayapiy -- adverb; <dūra> 'far' + enclitic particle; <apiy> emphatic particle -- extremely far
  • hacā -- adposition; <hacā> 'from, out of' -- from
  • Pārsā -- geographic name; ablative singular masculine <Pārsa-> 'Persia' -- Persia

47 - partaram patiyajatā θātiy

  • partaram -- noun; accusative singular neuter <partara-> 'battle' -- battle
  • patiyajatā -- verbal prefix; <patiy> 'against, during, with respect to' + verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative middle <jan> 'smite, strike, slay' -- has done battle
  • θātiy -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active <θah> 'speak, say, declare' -- declares

48 - Dārayavauš xšāyaθiya aita tya kartam

  • Dārayavauš -- proper name; nominative singular masculine <Dārayavahu-> 'Darius' -- Darius
  • xšāyaθiya -- noun; nominative singular masculine <xšāyaθiya-> 'royal, king' -- the King
  • aita -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular neuter <aita-> 'he, this' -- this
  • tya -- relative pronoun; nominative singular neuter <tya-> 'who, which; that' -- which
  • kartam -- past participle passive; nominative singular neuter <kar> 'do, make' -- has been done

49 - ava visam vašnā Auramazdāhā

  • ava -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular neuter <ava-> 'this, that' -- that
  • visam -- adjective; accusative singular neuter <visa-> 'all, every' -- all
  • vašnā -- noun; instrumental singular masculine <vašna-> 'will, favor' -- will
  • Auramazdāhā -- proper name; genitive singular masculine <Auramazdāh-> 'Ahura Mazda' -- of Ahura Mazda

50 - akunavam Auramazdāmaiy upastām abara

  • akunavam -- verb; 1st person singular imperfect indicative active <kar> 'do, make' -- I did
  • Auramazdāmaiy -- proper name; nominative singular masculine <Auramazdāh-> 'Ahura Mazda' + personal pronoun; genitive singular <adam> 'I' -- Ahura Mazda... me
  • upastām -- noun; accusative singular feminine <upastā-> 'aid, support' -- aid
  • abara -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative middle <bar> 'bear, carry' -- bore

51 - yātā kartam akunavam mām

  • yātā -- adverbial conjunction; <yātā> 'until, while, as long as' -- until
  • kartam -- past participle passive; accusative singular neuter <kar> 'do, make' -- task
  • akunavam -- verb; 1st person singular imperfect indicative active <kar> 'do, make' -- I accomplished
  • mām -- personal pronoun; accusative singular masculine <adam> 'I' -- me

52 - Auramazdā pātuv hacā gastā utāmaiy

  • Auramazdā -- proper name; nominative singular masculine <Auramazdāh-> 'Ahura Mazda' -- Ahura Mazda
  • pātuv -- verb; 3rd person singular present imperative active <> 'protect' -- may... protect
  • hacā -- adposition; <hacā> 'from, out of' -- from
  • gastā -- noun; ablative singular neuter <gasta-> 'evil, harm' -- evil
  • utāmaiy -- conjunctive particle; <utā> 'and' + personal pronoun; genitive singular <adam> 'I' -- and my

53 - viθam utā imām dahyāum aita adam

  • viθam -- noun; accusative singular feminine <viθ-> 'house(hold), clan, royal court' -- house
  • utā -- conjunction; <utā> 'and' -- and
  • imām -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular feminine <ima-> 'he, this' -- this
  • dahyāum -- noun; accusative singular feminine <dahyu-> 'country, land, region' -- country
  • aita -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular neuter <aita-> 'he, this' -- this
  • adam -- personal pronoun; nominative singular <adam> 'I' -- I

54 - Auramazdām jadiyāmiy aitamaiy

  • Auramazdām -- proper name; accusative singular masculine <Auramazdāh-> 'Ahura Mazda' -- Ahura Mazda
  • jadiyāmiy -- verb; 1st person singular present indicative active <jad> 'pray, ask' -- I pray
  • aitamaiy -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular neuter <aita-> 'he, this' + personal pronoun; genitive singular <adam> 'I' -- this... me

55 - Auramazdā dadātuv

  • Auramazdā -- proper name; nominative singular masculine <Auramazdāh-> 'Ahura Mazda' -- Ahura Mazda
  • dadātuv -- verb; 3rd person singular present imperative active <> 'give, take' -- may... give

Lesson Text

1 baga vazraka Auramazdā hya imām 2 būmim adā hya avam asmānam 3 adā hya martiyam adā hya 4 šiyātim adā martiyahyā 5 hya Dārayavaum xšāyaθiyam akunauš 6 aivam parūvnām xšāyaθiyam 7 aivam parūvnām framātāram 8 adam Dārayavauš xšāyaθiya vazraka 9 xšāyaθiya xšāyaθiyānām 10 xšāyaθiya dahyūnām vispazanānām 11 xšāyaθiya ahyāyā būmiyā 12 vazrakāyā dūraiapiy Vištāspahyā 13 puça haxāmanišiya pārsa pārsahyā 14 puça ariya ariyaciça ...

30 ... θātiy 31 Dārayavauš xšāyaθiya Auramazdā yaθā 32 avaina imām būmim yaudatim 33 pasāvadim manā frābara mām xšāyaθiyam 34 akunauš adam xšāyaθiya 35 amiy vašnā Auramazdāhā adamšim 36 gāθavā niyašādayam tyašām 37 adam aθaham ava akunava yaθā mām 38 kāma āha yadipatiy maniyāhaiy tya 39 ciyakaram āha avā dahyāva 40 tyā Dārayavauš xšāyaθiya 41 adāraya patikarā dīdiy tyaiy gāθum 42 baratiy avadā xšnāsāhy 43 adataiy azdā bavātiy pārsahyā 44 martiyahyā dūraiy arštiš 45 parāgmatā adataiy azdā bavātiy 46 pārsa martiya dūrayapiy hacā Pārsā 47 partaram patiyajatā θātiy 48 Dārayavauš xšāyaθiya aita tya kartam 49 ava visam vašnā Auramazdāhā 50 akunavam Auramazdāmaiy upastām abara 51 yātā kartam akunavam mām 52 Auramazdā pātuv hacā gastā utāmaiy 53 viθam utā imām dahyāum aita adam 54 Auramazdām jadiyāmiy aitamaiy 55 Auramazdā dadātuv

Translation

1 Great is the god Ahura Mazda, who 2 created this earth, who 3 created this sky, who created mankind, who 4 created happiness for mankind, 5 who made Darius the king, 6 one king of many, 7 one overlord of many. 8 I [am] Darius: great king, 9 king of kings, 10 king of the lands of all men, 11 king on this great earth 12 far and wide, son of Hystaspes 13 an Achaemenid, a Persian, son 14 of a Persian, an Aryan of Aryan descent ...
30 ... Darius the king declares: 31 When Ahura Mazda 32 saw the [peoples of] the earth rising up, 33 he then bestowed it upon me. He 34 made me king, [and therefore] I 35 am king. By the will of Ahura Mazda 36 I put it down in [its] place. 37 They did that which I asked of them, as 38 was my wish. [And] if you would wonder, 39 "How many were those countries 40 which Darius the King 41 held?" look at the reliefs [of those] who 42 bear the throne. Then you will know. 44 "The spear of a Persian man has 45 gone forth a great distance." [And] thus it will become known to you: 46 "A Persian man has done 47 battle far indeed from Persia." Darius the King 48 declares: I did all this which has been done 49 by the will of Ahura Mazda. 50 Ahura Mazda bore me aid 51 until I accomplished the task. 52 May Ahura Mazda protect me from evil, and 53 my house, and this country. This I 54 pray to Ahura Mazda: may Ahura Mazda 55 give this to me.

Grammar

11. r- and n-stem Nouns
11.1. r-stem Nouns

Old Persian nouns ending in the suffix tar function either as agent nouns that indicate the performers of actions -- e.g., jantar- 'slayer' -- or as relational nouns describing familial ties -- e.g., mātar- 'mother'. Based on Sanskrit evidence, a slight variation in declension would be expected in the nominative and accusative cases, but attestations in Old Persian are too few to verify this. The nominative, accusative, and genitive of pitar- 'father' are given here. The feminine mātar- declines similarly. Neuter declensions do not appear.

Nom. sg.   pitā
Acc. sg.   *pitārām
Gen. sg.   piça, piçah
11.2. an-, man-, and van-stem Nouns

Old Persian nouns ending in an, man, and van generally function as action nouns. Their masculine and neuter endings are given here. Feminines are not attested.

    Masculine xšayāršan- 'Xerxes'   Neuter tauman- power'
Nom. sg.   xšayāršā   taumā
Acc. sg.   xšayāršām,1 *xšayāršānam   *taumanam
Instr. sg.   unattested   *taumnā
Gen. sg.   xšayāršāha   unattested
         
Instr. pl.   unattested   taumaniš
12. Pronouns
12.1. Demonstrative Pronouns

In Section 7.2, the third person pronoun hauv- 'this' was described as functioning also as a demonstrative in the masculine and feminine. There are two other demonstratve pronouns, i- 'this' and ava- 'that', in masculine, feminine, and neuter declensions. The neuter third person pronoun aita- is also attested.

i-declension   Masculine   Neuter   Feminine
Nom. sg.   iyam   ima   iyam
Acc. sg.   imam   ima   imām
Instr. sg.   anā   unattested   unattested
Loc. sg.   unattested   unattested   ahyāyā
             
Nom/Acc. pl.   imaiy   unattested   imā
Instr. pl.   unattested   unattested   imaibiš
Gen. pl.   imaišām   unattested   unattested
             
             
ava-declension            
Nom. sg.   ava   ava, avaš-ca   unattested
Acc. sg.   avam   ava, avaš-ca   avām
Instr. sg.   unattested   avamā   unattested
Gen. sg.   avahyā   unattested   unattested
             
Nom. pl.   avaiy   avā   a, avā
Acc. pl.   avaiy   unattested   avāh
Gen. pl.   avaišām   unattested   unattested
12.2. Relative Pronouns

Old Persian relative pronouns form a suppletive system, combining the *ha/ta demonstrative system with the *ya relative system of Indo-Iranian. (It happens to be the only pronoun declension that includes a dual form, not shown here.)

hya-declension   Masculine   Neuter   Feminine
Nom. sg.   hya   tya   hyā
Acc. sg.   tyam   tya   tyām
Instr. sg.   unattested   tyanā   unattested
             
Nom/Acc. pl.   tyaiy   tyā   imā
Gen.pl   imaišām   unattested   tyaišām
13. The Aorist Tense

As in Avestan, the Old Persian includes an aorist stem. By this time, however, the complexity of the aorist system had been significantly reduced, both in the number of forms and in modal function (cf. Avestan Lesson 3, Section 13 on the injunctive/indicative distinction for the aorist tense). The augment is always included in all moods except the optative, which may employ it or not, and the form conveys a simple past tense no different in meaning from the imperfect.

A sigmatic aorist is formed from the roots paiθ 'engrave' (with the prefix ni), e.g. niyapaišam, and dar 'support', e.g. adaršiy, in the first person singular adaršiyam. The root aorist, shown here, is more common, though still infrequent.

Root Aorist Paradigm: 'put, place, create'

Indicative   Active   Middle
1 sg.   unattested   *adamā
3 sg.   adāt   *adātā
         
Imperative        
2 sg.   adāuvā   unattested
Optative        
2 sg.   (a)dyā, (a)dyāh   unattested
3 sg.   (a) dyā, (a)dyāt   unattested
14. Verbal Adjectives and Nouns

A participle is a verbal adjective -- a verb stem that takes an adjectival suffix. It functions syntactically as either an adjective modifying a noun, or as a substantive replacing it. Like verbs, participles are formed in the active, middle, and passive voices, and the past, present, and future tenses.

An example of the present participle in English is the word 'running'. In the sentence "The running water is cold," the verb 'run' functions as an adjective to describe 'water'. In Old Persian, the word might also be used as the subject of the sentence to describe someone or something that is running, as in "The running (one) is passing by," but this is unusual in English. Keeping in mind that a participle is adjectival, the common slang phrase "the big, the bad, and the ugly" may illustrate the same principle. Though 'big', 'bad', and 'ugly' are not participles, they are adjectives standing in place of the nouns they modify (e.g., 'the big men', 'the bad men', etc.) -- a usage that participles commonly have in Old Persian.

The present active participle is formed by adding the ending -ant to a present verbal stem, which declines according to the an- paradigm, given in Section 12, in the masculine and neuter. The feminine is formed by weakening the ant-ending to at and adding a long ī. The form then declines accordingly (cf. Section 6). The present middle participle adds the ending -amna to the verbal stem and declines like the a-/ā-stems in Section 3.

In addition to the present active and middle participles, Old Persian employs a perfect and a future passive participle. The perfect passive participle is most commonly formed by adding ta to the zero-grade root, e.g. marta 'dead', from mar 'die', though it is occasionally added to a stronger grade. A few roots add na, also to the zero-grade, instead of ta. The form is translated as a simple past tense verb with adjectival function, e.g. marta 'dead' as seen in line 48 ('[when I am] dead') of Lesson 10. It may also be used substantively, as in karta 'deed', from kar 'do, make', in line 46 of Lesson 10.

The future passive participle adds ata to the zero- or middle-grade root, e.g. θakata- 'past' from θak 'pass'. Despite the name passive, the form only appears in Old Persian with intransitive verbs and is therefore active in meaning.

The infinitive is the only verbal noun formation in Old Persian. It is formed by adding the suffix tanaiy to a middle grade root. It is translated as the English infinitive, e.g. bartanay 'to bear' from bar 'support, bear'.

15. Relative-Correlative Syntax

Native English speakers sometimes find the Indo-Iranian relative clause difficult since it is not usually embedded within the main clause, as it is in English, but rather precedes the clause, which 'picks up' the relative pronoun with a corresponding demonstrative, or correlative, pronoun. The relative pronoun may be placed anywhere within its own clause, though it is often found at the beginning. The correlative must begin the main clause. The antecedent, or the word that the relative pronoun represents in the relative clause, is included, somewhat counter-intuitively, in the relative clause, usually immediately following the relative pronoun.

The relative clause in lines 48 and 49 above provide an illustration:

    aita   tya   kartam   ava   visam   vašnā   auramazdāhā
    this   which   has been done,   that   all   by the will   of Ahura Mazda

This is translated into English as "I did all this which has been done by the will of Ahura Mazda."

Footnote

1   Built on analogy with the h-stem paradigm, probably after Ahura Mazdah-.