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date: 29 January 2023

Persian, Oldlocked

Persian, Oldlocked

  • Heleen Sancisi-Weerdenburg
  •  and Josef Wiesehöfer


Old Persian (abbr. OP), an *Indo-European language of western Iran (first millennium bce). The identification of an administrative document written in OP among the texts in the Persepolis Fortification Archive indicates that, contrary to previous orthodoxy, the written language was not limited to royal inscriptions. The syllabic script has only 44 signs. The oldest extant and largest inscription is that of *Bisitun. It is debated whether the script was invented by *Darius I or had predecessors in western Iran. The majority of texts dates from the reigns of Darius and *Xerxes I. Thereafter texts are scarcer and contain more errors. OP was the first *cuneiform script to be deciphered (Grotefend, Rawlinson).


  • Linguistics
  • Near East

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