55, no. to proclaim his great accomplishments. The work tells the story of the victory of the Persian king Darius I (the Great, r. 522-486 BCE) over his rebellious satraps when he took the throne of the Achaemenid Empire (c. 550-330 BCE) in 522 BCE. The inscription has been measured to be about 15 m (49 ft) in height and 25 m (82 ft) in width, and was created by the Achaemenid king, Darius I in 521 BC. The inscription can be found on Mount Behistun in the Kermanshah Province of Iran and proclaims the glories and victories of this ancient king. The Behistun Rock is an important monument in Iran created by Darius the Great (Darius Hystaspes) in 515 B.C. The Behistun Inscription is a relief with accompanying text carved 330 feet (100 meters) up a cliff in Kermanshah Province, Western Iran. The Behistun Inscription (also Bisotun, Bistun or Bisutun; Persian: بیستون‎, Old Persian: Bagastana, meaning "the place of god") is a multilingual inscription and large rock relief on a cliff at Mount Behistun in the Kermanshah Province of Iran, near the city of Kermanshah in western Iran, established by Darius the Great (r. 522–486 BC). From Persepolis to Jerusalem: A Reevaluation of Old Persian-Hebrew Contact in the Achaemenid Period, Artist or Architect: Darius the Great, ruled 522–486 BCE, Offbeat Fact: The earliest known example of political propaganda, Languages: Old Persian, Elamite, Akkadian. Later in the inscription, Darius provides an eye-witness account of battles he successfully fought over a one year period to put down rebellions which had resulted from the deaths of Cyrus the Great, and his son Cambyses II: Relief of Tritantaechmes: "This is Tritantaechmes. King Darius says: Eight of my dynasty were kings before me; I am the ninth. The most notable of all the inscriptions is the Behistun Inscription written by Darius I which contains many references to Ahura Mazda. Darius's main purpose was to establish the legitimacy of his claim to Cyrus the Great's throne, to which he had no blood connection. 59–68, 1960, W. C. Benedict and Elizabeth von Voigtlander, Darius' Bisitun Inscription, Babylonian Version, Lines 1–29, Journal of Cuneiform Studies, vol. Our greatest asset is the Behistun inscription, which is nothing less than Darius' autobiography.It is engraved on a cliff about 100 meters off the ground along the road between Ecbatana and Babylon, and consists of a relief and a text. In the interim, Rawlinson spent a brief tour of duty in Afghanistan, returning to the site in 1843. The legend states that, exiled for his transgression, Farhad was given the task of cutting away the mountain to find water; if he succeeded, he would be given permission to marry Shirin. Sometime after his coronation, Darius ordered an inscription to be carved on a limestone cliff of Mount Behistun in modern Iran. The Behistun Mountain is recognized the temple for worshipping the ancient gods of Iran. The translation of the Old Persian sections of the Behistun Inscription paved the way to the subsequent ability to decipher the Elamite and Babylonian parts of the text, which greatly promoted the development of modern Assyriology. For centuries, instead of being attributed to Darius the Great, it was believed to be from the reign of Khosrau II of Persia—one of the last Sassanid kings, who lived over 1000 years after the time of Darius the Great. The figures are carved 300 feet (90 meters) above the Royal Road of the Achaemenids, known today as the Kermanshah-Tehran highway in Iran. [3], German surveyor Carsten Niebuhr visited in around 1764 for Frederick V of Denmark, publishing a copy of the inscription in the account of his journeys in 1778. She suggests that the written portion was meant not only for public consumption but that there was likely a ritual component, that the text was a message to the cosmos about the king. Other bits of Darius's braggadocio are found in others of these trilingual passages, as well as big architectural projects at Persepolis and Susa, and the burial places of Cyrus at Pasargadae and his own at Naqsh-i-Rustam. The Behistun Rock Engraved on a cliff ledge 345 feet about the ground, the Behistun Inscription stands as a monumental feat of the ancient world. The inscription is approximately 15 m (49 ft) high by 25 m (82 ft) wide and 100 m (330 ft) up a limestone cliff from an ancient road connecting the capitals of Babylonia and Media (Babylon and Ecbatana, respectively). He lied, saying "I am king of Margiana. [18], Ancient multilingual stone inscription in Iran. 392–416, 1938, Paul J. Kosmin, A New Hypothesis: The Behistun Inscription as Imperial Calendar, Iran - Journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies, August 2018, This page was last edited on 7 December 2020, at 16:22. In the first section of the inscription, Darius the Great declares his ancestry and lineage: King Darius says: My father is Hystaspes [Vištâspa]; the father of Hystaspes was Arsames [Aršâma]; the father of Arsames was Ariaramnes [Ariyâramna]; the father of Ariaramnes was Teispes [Cišpiš]; the father of Teispes was Achaemenes [Haxâmaniš]. ""[15], Relief of Frâda: "This is Frâda. King Darius says: That is why we are called Achaemenids; from antiquity we have been noble; from antiquity has our dynasty been royal. In the summer of 2003 I had the privilege of visiting Kermanshah and viewing the Behistun inscription of Darius the Great. Label: "This is Skunkha the Sacan."[15]. 1, pp. See Tavernier (2001) for more specifics about the Aramaic script. 47–54, 1951, George G. Cameron, The Elamite Version of the Bisitun Inscriptions, Journal of Cuneiform Studies, vol. Long before it was Iran, this region was known as Persia, and it was the center of some of the greatest empires the world has ever known. The figures measure some 60x10.5 ft (18x3.2 m) and the four panels of text more than double the overall size, creating an irregular rectangle of approximately 200x120 ft (60x35 m), with the lowest part of the carving some 125 ft (38 m) above the road. Albeit what they write is mostly propaganda like Ramesses II victory monument over the Hittites. The site covers an area of 116 hectares. One figure appears to have been added after the others were completed, as was Darius's beard, which is a separate block of stone attached with iron pins and lead. K. Kris Hirst is an archaeologist with 30 years of field experience. He went mad, threw his axe down the hill, kissed the ground and died. It is told in the book of Khosrow and Shirin that his axe was made out of a pomegranate tree, and, where he threw the axe, a pomegranate tree grew with fruit that would cure the ill. Shirin was not dead, according to the story, and mourned upon hearing the news. The idea of the "Lie" as a sign of evil and corruption was a key concept in Zoroastrian/Early Persian morality. As the town of Bisotun's name was anglicized as "Behistun" at this time, the monument became known as the "Behistun Inscription". E. Denison Ross, The Broadway Travellers: Sir Anthony Sherley and his Persian Adventure, Routledge, 2004, Carsten Niebuhr, Reisebeschreibung von Arabien und anderen umliegenden Ländern, 2 volumes, 1774 and 1778. ... Why is the Behistun Inscription useful? Behistun Inscription. ""[15], Relief of Arakha: "This is Arakha. The inscription is mentioned by Ctesias of Cnidus, who noted its existence some time around 400 BC and mentioned a well and a garden beneath the inscription. Who is important to Darius' clai mto the throne? Of course, it would have be… The Behistun Inscription The monument and the inscription. [4] Niebuhr's transcriptions were used by Georg Friedrich Grotefend and others in their efforts to decipher the Old Persian cuneiform script. [17], The inscriptional tradition of the Achaemenids, starting especially with Darius I, is thought to have derived from the traditions of Elam, Lullubi, the Babylonians and the Assyrians. [16] The Lullubian reliefs were the model for the Behistun reliefs of Darius the Great. Why is the Behistun Rock Important? King Darius says: By the grace of Ahuramazda am I king; Ahuramazda has granted me the kingdom. Cameron, George G. "Darius Carved History on Ageless Rock". In fact, there are huge gaps in the history contained in the Bible. In 1835, Sir Henry Rawlinson, an officer of the British East India Company army assigned to the forces of the Shah of Iran, began studying the inscription in earnest. Behistun Inscription, Statue of Hercules, Farhad Tarash, Incomplete Sassanid Palace, Safavid Caravansary and Bisitun Cave are the most remarkable monuments of this archaeological site. The Old Persian, Elamite and Babylonian translations of these proclamations have helped greatly in the translation of ancient cuneiform. Grotefend had deciphered ten of the 37 symbols of Old Persian by 1802, after realizing that unlike the Semitic cuneiform scripts, Old Persian text is alphabetic and each word is separated by a vertical slanted symbol.[5]. In 1938, the inscription became of interest to the Nazi German think tank Ahnenerbe, although research plans were cancelled due to the onset of World War II. 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. It gives a voice to a long forgotten people. The Bible does not record all history. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. An Achaemenid Royal Inscription: The Text of Paragraph 13 of the Aramaic Version of the Bisitun Inscription. Henry Rawlinson is credited with the first successful translation in English, scrambling up the cliff in 1835, and publishing his text in 1851. The ancient billboard includes four panels of cuneiform writing around a set of three-dimensional figures, cut deep into a limestone cliff. This inscription was written in three languages, and is accompanied by a large rock relief. Abraham's Victory over the Kings of the Four Quadrants in Light of Darius I's Bisitun Inscription, Memoir on the Babylonian and Assyrian Inscriptions. Despite its relative inaccessibility, Rawlinson was able to scale the cliff with the help of a local boy and copy the Old Persian inscription. Darius I has been recognized as the earliest known historian of Persia and the Behistun Inscription relief is known as the earliest Iranian historical account. The site was visited by the American linguist A. V. Williams Jackson in 1903. Far better, for example, than that of most of his successors. Dating to the 6th century BC, it describes itself as having been composed “in ariya” – … In Antiquity, Bagastâna, which means "place where the gods dwell", was the name of a village and a remarkable, isolated rock along the road that connected the capitals of Babylonia and Media, Babylon and Ecbatana (modern Hamadan). A. V. Williams Jackson, "The Great Behistun Rock and Some Results of a Re-Examination of the Old Persian Inscriptions on It", George G. Cameron, The Old Persian Text of the Bisitun Inscription, Journal of Cuneiform Studies, vol. After the fall of the Persian Empire's Achaemenid Dynasty and its successors, and the lapse of Old Persian cuneiform writing into disuse, the nature of the inscription was forgotten, and fanciful explanations became the norm. Her work has appeared in scholarly publications such as Archaeology Online and Science. Deciphering of the Behistun Inscription not only opened up the history, culture and religious practices of the ancient people of Mesopotamia, but has also helped to reveal the substantial historicity of ancient texts. He found an enterprising local boy to climb up a crack in the cliff and suspend ropes across the Babylonian writing, so that papier-mâché casts of the inscriptions could be taken. With the Persian text, and with about a third of the syllabary made available to him by the work of Georg Friedrich Grotefend, Rawlinson set to work on deciphering the text. The Old Persian text was copied and deciphered before recovery and copying of the Elamite and Babylonian inscriptions had even been attempted, which proved to be a good deciphering strategy, since Old Persian script was easier to study due to its alphabetic nature and because the language it represents had naturally evolved via Middle Persian to the living modern Persian language dialects, and was also related to the Avestan language, used in the Zoroastrian book the Avesta. In, A. T. Olmstead, Darius and His Behistun Inscription, The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures, vol. Behistun Inscription 2 November, 2016 - 20:46 dhwty The Behistun Inscription is an engraving located on the cliff of Mount Behistun (said to have had the meaning of ‘place where the gods dwell’ in antiquity). "Writing in another tongue: Alloglottography in the Ancient Near East". When the Hittite cuneiform was deciphered. 10, no. Shows us how he/ Persian kings want to be remembered Leaves out the murder of Cambyses. Thompson, R. Campbell. The Behistun Inscription – engraved high on the side of Mount Behistun in the Kermanshah Province of Iran – contains the oldest epigraphically-attested reference to an Iranian language. A version of the Behistun inscription written in Aramaic (the same language of the Dead Sea Scrolls) was discovered on a papyrus scroll in Egypt, probably written during the early years of the reign of Darius II, about a century after the DB was carved into the rocks. The reign of king Darius is very well documented. It was crucial to the decipherment of cuneiform script as the inscription includes three versions of the same text, written in three different cuneiform script languages: Old Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian (a variety of Akkadian). Most scholars agree that the Behistun inscription is a bit of political bragging. The carving is located near the town of Bisotun, Iran, about 310 miles (500 kilometers) from Tehran and about 18 mi (30 km) from Kermanshah. He lied, saying "I am king of Sagartia, from the family of Cyaxares. G. Mysteries Unearthed. A legend began around Mount Behistun (Bisotun), as written about by the Persian poet and writer Ferdowsi in his Shahnameh (Book of Kings) c. 1000 AD, about a man named Farhad, who was a lover of King Khosrow's wife, Shirin. The attitude of the ruler, the trampling of an enemy, the lines of prisoners are all very similar, to such extent that it was said that the sculptors of the Behistun Inscription probably have seen the Anubanini relief beforehand and were inspired by it. The ancient billboard includes four panels of cuneiform writing around a set of three-dimensional figures, cut deep into a limestone cliff. The Behistun Inscription is an engraving located on the cliff of Mount Behistun near Kermanshah (said to have had the meaning of "place where the gods dwell" in antiquity). Darius also lists the territories under his rule: King Darius says: These are the countries which are subject unto me, and by the grace of Ahuramazda I became king of them: Persia [Pârsa], Elam [Ûvja], Babylonia [Bâbiruš], Assyria [Athurâ], Arabia [Arabâya], Egypt [Mudrâya], the countries by the Sea [Tyaiy Drayahyâ], Lydia [Sparda], the Greeks [Yauna (Ionia)], Media [Mâda], Armenia [Armina], Cappadocia [Katpatuka], Parthia [Parthava], Drangiana [Zraka], Aria [Haraiva], Chorasmia [Uvârazmîy], Bactria [Bâxtriš], Sogdia [Suguda], Gandhara [Gadâra], Scythia [Saka], Sattagydia [Thataguš], Arachosia [Harauvatiš] and Maka [Maka]; twenty-three lands in all. The 19th-century Persian scholar Mohammad Hasan Khan E'temad al-Saltaneh (1843–96) published the first Persian translation of the Behistun translation. Darius is attended to the left by two servants, and nine one-meter figures stand to the right, with hands tied and rope around their necks, representing conquered peoples. Nine in succession we have been kings. The Behistun inscription (also spelled Bisitun or Bisotun and typically abbreviated as DB for Darius Bisitun) is a 6th century BCE Persian Empire carving. Archeological evidence indicates that this region became a human shelter 40,000 years ago. It is significant because it reveals the names used to identify the Lost Tribes of Israel. Like the Rosetta Stone, the Behistun text greatly assisted in the decipherment of those ancient languages: the inscription includes the earliest known use of Old Persian, a sub-branch of Indo-Iranian. "The Rock of Behistun". The Behistun (also spelt Bisotoun, Bistoon, Bisitun, Bisutun) Historic Site is located in the northwest Iranian province of Kermanshah on a branch of the Aryan Trade Roads (also called the Silk Roads), a portion of which became the Royal Road of Darius I, the Great. Some of them are: Herakles at Behistun, sculpted for a Seleucis Governor in 148 BC. The supine figure is reputed to be the pretender Gaumata. Discovery of the Behistun Rock The discovery and copying of the inscription. The figures show the crowned Persian king Darius I stepping on Guatama (his predecessor and rival) and nine rebel leaders standing before him connected by ropes around their necks. ""[15], Behistun relief of Skunkha. 14, no. Why is the Cyrus Cylinder important in knowing historical accuracy, and does it have any knowledge of the future? Today, many people only know where Iran is because of its relation to major struggles in the Middle East. 4, pp. 2, pp. 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. The Bible is the only ancient, well-organized and authentic framework in which to fit all the facts of history. The Behistun Inscription (also Bisotun, Bistun or Bisutun; Persian: بیستون‎, Old Persian: Bagastana, meaning "the place of god") is a multilingual inscription and large rock relief on a cliff at Mount Behistun in the Kermanshah Province of Iran, near the city of Kermanshah in western Iran, established by Darius the Great (r. 522–486 BC). The UNESCO recognized heritage of Behistun or Bisotun is a spectacular mountainous site overlooking a vast plain on the northeast of Kermanshah. The Behistun Inscription. I am king in Babylon. [13], In 2012, the Bisotun Cultural Heritage Center organized an international effort to re-examine the inscription.[14]. The writing on the Behistun inscription, like the Rosetta Stone, is a parallel text, a type of linguistic text that consists of two or more strings of written language placed alongside each other so they can be easily compared. The text of the Behistun inscription describes the early military campaigns of the Achaemenid rule King Darius I (522 to 486 BCE). The Persian Rosetta Stone. The Old Persian text contains 414 lines in five columns; the Elamite text includes 593 lines in eight columns, and the Babylonian text is in 112 lines. Diodorus also writes of "Bagistanon" and claims it was inscribed by Semiramis. Deciphering of the Behistun inscription in the 19th century was one of the most remarkable archaeological advancements and most vital to understanding ancient writings uncovered in the Fertile Crescent. Legitimises it as it was a god's wishes & links them together. The Elamite was across a chasm, and the Babylonian four meters above; both were beyond easy reach and were left for later. Darius tells us how the supreme gods Ahuramazda choose him to dethrone a … The Bisotun script was the most important historical text during the Achaemenid times since it depicted the description of the victory of Darius the Great on Gaumata magus The Behistun Inscription is located on Mount Behistun, about 60 m (196 ft) above the plain, in the western Iranian province of Kermanshah. The Persian Empire started as a collection of semi-nomadic tribes who raised sheep, goats and cattle on the Iranian plateau.Cyrus the Great—the leader of one such tribe—began to defeat nearby kingdoms, including Media, Lydia and Babylon, joining them under one rule. When an unknown writing system is deciphered. For the city in Iran, see, Other historical monuments in the Behistun complex. The site became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006. Within the site is Mount Behistun along whose side is carved the famous rock relief of Darius. Darius was the son of Hystaspes, the satrap (provincial governor) of Parthia.The principal contemporary sources for his history are his own inscriptions, especially the great trilingual inscription on the Bīsitūn (Behistun) rock at the village of the same name, in which he tells how he gained the throne. 2, pp. The inscription was illustrated by a life-sized bas-relief of Darius I, the Great, holding a bow as a sign of kingship, with his left foot on the chest of a figure lying on his back before him. The Behistun Inscription, the text of which Darius wrote, came to have great linguistic significance as a crucial clue in deciphering cuneiform script. 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. In 1598, the Englishman Robert Sherley saw the inscription during a diplomatic mission to Persia on behalf of Austria, and brought it to the attention of Western European scholars. The inscription, carved shortly after Darius's accession to the throne between 520 and 518 BCE, gives autobiographical, historical, royal and religious information about Darius: the Behistun text is one of several pieces of propaganda establishing Darius's right to rule. The Behistun inscription is recorded in three different languages: in this case, cuneiform versions of Old Persian, Elamite, and a form of Neo-Babylonian called Akkadian. The Behistun Inscription is to cuneiform what the Rosetta Stone is to Egyptian hieroglyphs: the document most crucial in the decipherment of a previously lost script. He founded the first Persian Empire, also known as the Achaemenid Empire, in 550 B.C.The first Persian Empire under Cyrus the Great soon became the w… By matching the names and the characters, Rawlinson deciphered the type of cuneiform used for Old Persian by 1838 and presented his results to the Royal Asiatic Society in London and the Société Asiatique in Paris. What has been recovered of them, including a statue dedicated in 148 BC, is consistent with Tacitus's description. [7][8][9][10] The representation and invocation of Ahura Mazda can be seen on royal inscriptions written by Achaemenid kings.