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Early Indo-European Texts

Old Persian

Scott L. Harvey and Jonathan Slocum

This page contains a text in Old Persian with a modern English translation. This particular text and its translation are extracted from a lesson in the Early Indo-European Online series, where one may find detailed information about this text (see the Table of Contents page for Old Iranian Online in EIEOL), and general information about the Old Persian language and its speakers' culture.

Old Persian: excerpt from DB I

26  th‚tiy 27 D‚rayavaush xsh‚yathiya ima tya man‚ kartam pas‚va yath‚ xsh‚yathiya 28 abavam KabŻjiya n‚ma KŻraush puc*a am‚xam taum‚y‚ 29 hauvam id‚ xsh‚yathiya ‚ha avahy‚ KabŻjiyahy‚ br‚t‚ 30 Bardiya n‚ma ‚ha ham‚t‚ hamapit‚ KabŻjiyahy‚ pas‚va KabŻjiya 31 avam Bardiyam av‚ja yath‚ KabŻjiya Bardiyam av‚ja k‚rahy‚ 32 naiy azd‚ abava tya Bardiya avajata pas‚va KabŻjiya Mudr‚yam 33 ashiyava yath‚ KabŻjiya Mudr‚yam ashiyava pas‚va k‚ra arika abava 34 pas‚va drauga dahyauv‚ vasiy abava ut‚ P‚rsaiy ut‚ M‚daiy ut‚ 35 aniy‚uv‚ dahyushuv‚ th‚tiy D‚rayavaush xsh‚yathiya pas‚va 36 I martiya magush ‚ha Gaum‚ta n‚ma hauv udapatat‚ hac‚ Paishiy‚uv‚d‚y‚ 37 Arakadrish n‚ma kaufa hac‚ avadasha Viyaxnahya m‚hy‚ 38 XIV raucabish thakat‚ ‚ha yadiy udapatat‚ hauv k‚rahy‚ avath‚ 39 adurujiya adam Bardiya amiy hya KŻraush puc*a KabŻjiyahy‚ br‚t‚ 40 pas‚va k‚ra haruva hamic*iya abava hac‚ KabŻjiy‚ abiy avam 41 ashiyava ut‚ P‚rsa ut‚ M‚da ut‚ aniy‚ dahy‚va xshac*am hauv 42 agarb‚yat‚ Garmapadahya m‚hy‚ IX raucabish thakat‚ ‚ha avath‚ xshac*am 43 agarb‚yat‚ pas‚va KabŻjiya uv‚marshiyush amariyat‚ 48  th‚tiy D‚rayavaush xsh‚yathiya naiy ‚ha martiya 49 naiy P‚rsa naiy M‚da naiy am‚xam taum‚y‚ kashciy hya avam Gaum‚tam 50 tyam magum xshac*am dÓtam caxriy‚ k‚rashim hac‚ darsham atarsa 51 k‚ram vasiy av‚janiy‚ hya paranam Bardiyam ad‚n‚ avahyar‚diy 52 k‚ram av‚janiy‚ m‚tyam‚m xshn‚s‚tiy tya adam naiy Bardiya 53 amiy hya KŻraush puc*a kashciy naiy adarshnaush cishciy thastanaiy 54 pariy Gaum‚tam tyam magum y‚t‚ adam arasam pas‚va adam Auramazd‚m 55 patiy‚vahyaiy Auramazd‚maiy upast‚m abara B‚gay‚daish 56 m‚hy‚ X raucabish thakat‚ ‚ha avath‚ adam had‚ kamnaibish martiyaibish 57 avam Gaum‚tam tyam magum av‚janam ut‚ tyaishaiy fratam‚ martiy‚ 58 anushiy‚ ‚hat‚ Sikayauvatish n‚m‚ did‚ Nis‚ya n‚m‚ 59 dahy‚ush M‚daiy avadashim av‚janam xshac*amshim adam adÓnam vashn‚ 60 Auramazd‚ha adam xsh‚yathiya abavam Auramazd‚ xshac*am man‚ fr‚bara


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.