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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 ... 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.