Middle Persian (Pahlavi) Online School
3 weeks, from Apr 19, 2021 to May 07, 2021

Online from Yerevan, Armenia

Apply Now

Apply by Mar 31, 2021

Price: $900

Discounted Price: $750 (If payment done until Mar 15, 2021)

Armenian School of Languages and Cultures - ASPIRANTUM is organizing Middle Persian (Pahlavi) online school. The 3 weeks Pahlavi online school will start on April 19, 2021, and last till May 7, 2021. The Middle Persian language online school will help the participants become skillful in reading and interpreting Pahlavi texts.

This 3 weeks Middle Persian online school will be organized on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays each week (4 days each week, 12 days during three weeks) and will include 42 hours of intensive Middle Persian teaching (3.5 hours during each day). 

The syllabus of the course is available here: https://aspirantum.com/curriculum/middle-persian-pahlavi-syllabus 

We are planning to start the online classes at 9 PM Yerevan time. This time is mainly comfortable for the students from European and American countries. Depending on applicants' geography, the time may be changed, and all applicants will be informed about the time changes before the course. 

The 3 hours class of each day will be divided into the following sections:

First class - Homework and discussion
Second class - Pahlavi Grammar and Readings
Third class - Pahlavi Readings

During the Pahlavi classes, the following components will be covered every day:

Grammar: Everyday class will cover the main grammatical concepts of the Middle Persian language.
Vocabulary: During the 3 weeks (42 hours) course, the participants will learn more than 500 new Middle Persian words.
Speaking: Participants will be forced to speak Middle Persian and tortured if not, just like in ancient schools. This language teaching methodology has been productive at all times :) (this is a joke, no one will be tortured, it will even be impossible because the class is online).
Writing: Each day, the participants will have writing assignments and homework to complete for the next day.
Readings: During the course, the students will complete two entire Middle Persian texts - the Kārnāmag ī Ardaxšēr ī Pābagān and Wizārišn ī čatrang ud nihišn ī nēw-ardaxšīr. In the last week, the readings will also include excerpts from Ardā-Wirāz-nāmag, an engaging eschatological text, often compared to Dante Alighieri's "Divina Commedia".

About Kārnāmag ī Ardaxšēr ī Pābagān and other texts: Kārnāmag ī Ardaxšēr ī Pābagān or simply Kārnāmag, is one of the most popular secular texts written in Middle Persian or Pahlavi. Its title may be translated as "The Book of deeds of Ardashir son of Pabak" or a bit more archaically as "Res Gestae of Ardaxšēr son of Pābag". Despite its title, this text is not the official historical account of the Sasanian empire's founder. The story can be freely called the 'tale' of Ardashir, son of Pabak, because it is as historical as the Iliad or the Odyssey. The text tells us the adventurous tale of the Sasanian dynasty founder in a lively style and rich cultural references. This is an exciting text with simple grammar and is very convenient for teaching Middle Persian to beginners.

Other texts that will be read in this course include the "Wizārišn ī čatrang ud nihišn ī nēw-ardaxšīr" and selections from the "Ardā-Wirāz-nāmag".

The benefits of the course: Familiarity with Middle Persian conveys benefits not only for those interested in Zoroastrianism and Iranian linguistics but also for a student interested in the more in-depth understanding of Classical Persian literature and the Persianate world. It should also be considered a gateway to Late Antique Iran's study when the country was ruled by the royal Sasanian dynasty and confessed Zoroastrianism. 

One might point out that the study of Sasanian Iran and Zoroastrianism is impossible without a Middle Persian familiarity.

The knowledge of Middle Persian will also provide the student with the necessary tools for studying and understanding Persian's phonetic structure throughout its various stages of development. The lexical and semantic patterns that are especially important for a correct understanding of Classical Persian texts' meaning will also be studied. Additional time will be spent explaining and exploring various cultural, historical, and social aspects of Sassanian and Zoroastrian Iran during the course.

It would be challenging to overestimate Middle Persian's importance for a correct and deep understanding of Classical Persian literature and language in general.

The student will also be given various academic articles on Middle Persian, which will help him/her get a deeper understanding of the academic principles in work behind our current knowledge of the language.

Learning the Middle Persian alphabet and script
Learning c. 500 Middle Persian words.
Recognizing the main features of the Middle Persian grammar
Being able to read Middle Persian texts of intermediate difficulty.

Required prior reading: P. O. Skjærvø, Introduction to Pahlavi, Chapters I-III.

The Middle Persian online course will have 1 group of up to 10 participants. The participants must already have at least an upper elementary level of Modern Persian knowledge before starting the classes with ASPIRANTUM. 

If you have no prior knowledge of Persian please contact us and we will find an individual solution for you. 

Upper elementary level (A1-A2):
You know the alphabet and can sometimes read words and expressions with difficulties; you can write words, expressions, and sentences in Middle Persian or Modern Persian. You master specific typical phrases in Persian and know how to write them.

ASPIRANTUM's Middle Persian language schools are organized so that undergraduate and graduate students, researchers and professors, and anyone interested in learning Pahlavi will benefit from it. Thus, everyone with an upper elementary level of Persian is welcome to apply and participate in ASPIRANTUM's "Middle Persian" course from April 19, 2021, till May 7, 2021, online.

Instructor: Mr. Ruben Nikoghosyan will teach the "Middle Persian" online course. 

Regular Deadline:
The deadline to apply to the "Middle Persian" online course is March 31, 2021.

To apply, please fill in the application form below.

Deadline for discounted fee:
March 10, 2021 (see discount details in the "Participation fee" section below).

Participation fee:
The participation fee for the 3 weeks Middle Persian online course is $900.

Discount 1
If you apply before March 10, 2021, and make the payment by March 15 the participation fee will be 750 USD.

Discount 2
Need-based discounts will also be available. Please send an email to [email protected] describing your situation, and we will consider your case individually.

Each participant of the online school may find financial aid sources from their own University/School/Community or other relevant foundations.

Letter of Invitation
If necessary, ASPIRANTUM will provide applicants with an official letter to support scholarship applications.

Maximum capacity in the group: 10 students

Communication medium: The online course will be organized through Zoom.

To apply, please fill in the application form below.

Registered participants should send 100% of the participation fee before April 5, 2021, online via debit/credit card (Visa or Mastercard).

For questions and inquiries, please contact [email protected] or Whatsapp Dr. Khachik Gevorgyan +374-91-557978

To apply, please fill in the application form below.


  • “The fact that Armenian has retained a staggering number of Middle Iranian loan words, and Ruben’s ability to masterfully cast light on such historical linguistics contacts, makes ASPIRANTUM the ideal place for studying Middle Persian.”
    Kristof Szitar
    PhD in Islam in India, Université de Lausanne, Switzerland


Ruben Nikoghosyan profile image

Ruben Nikoghosyan

Instructor of Persian Language

Mr. Nikoghosyan has read the Shahname not only in Persian but also has carefully studied the Armenian, Russian, English and German translations of this masterpiece. He knows the history of every single word in Shahname and is going to share his knowledge with students in an impressive manner.

Course Syllabus

Middle Persian (Pahlavi) Syllabus

This three-week intensive Middle Persian (Pahlavi) language course is intended to introduce the Middle Persian (aka Pahlavi) language. The method accepted for this introductory course is the "practical approach". It means that students will learn Middle Persian grammar not by memorizing long theoretical rules of grammar with their numerous exceptions, but by dealing individually and practically with almost all grammatical features and points of importance of Middle Persian while reading the text itself. Thus, students will be reading and understanding essential and well-known Middle Persian literature texts during this three-week course.

Learn More


After you fill in all fields and press the APPLY button you will receive an email with the copy of your application, which will confirm, that we have received your application. If you do not receive the mentioned email with the copy of your application form within 20 minutes please send an email to us at [email protected]

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