Old Persian Online Course Syllabus

This three-week intensive course is an introduction to the Old Persian language. Students will learn the language by studying several Achaemenid Persian royal inscriptions, including the famous Behistun Inscription of Darius the Great and the mysterious Daiva text of Xerxes. Thus, this course will give students not only a familiarity with the grammar of Old Persian but also with the corpus of Achaemenid royal inscriptions.

Old Persian Online School, from May 10, 2021 to May 28, 2021 (3 weeks)

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Week 1 - Reading and Interpreting the Behistun Inscription

Week 1 of the course will essentially be an introduction to the grammar, script, and corpus of Old Persian. We will also begin reading the famous Behistun Inscription of King of Kings Darius I.

Week 2 - Completing the Behistun Inscription and reading the Naqsh-e Rustam texts

Week 2 of the course will be devoted to the completion of the Behistun Inscription. Of course, the cultural and historical implications of the text will also be summarized. We will also begin reading the Naqsh-e Rustam texts of Darius I and focus on the differences and developments that occurred between the composition of the first Old Persian text, the Behistun Inscription, and Naqsh-e Rustam.

Week 3 - Reading Texts of Other Kings

In the third week, we will be completing our reading of Darius I's Naqsh-e Rustam inscriptions and begin reading texts of other kings. The Xerxes Daiva Text, Artaxerxes II Susa inscription, and the late Artaxerxes III Persepolis texts will be covered. We will focus on the development of Old Persian and its changes, as it slowly transformed into what we now call Middle Persian.