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Naqshe' Rajab


Professor D. N. Mackenzie



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  Kartir and his inscription at Naqsh-e Rajab (Click to enlarge)


Kartir, chief priest of the early Sasanian empire, set up the Zoroastrian church state. In this third century inscription he declares the orthodox position regarding the afterlife, heaven, and hell.



(1) I, Kartir, am known in the empire for righteousness and eminence, and known to (2) have been of good service and good will to the Yazads and lords. Further I to the Yazads ward this also (3) thus promised, that, if by the help of the Yazads I, Kartir, for the living upon (4) highest rank were made to look then also by me further to the departed ward of heaven (5) and hell the essential features would be outlined (or proclaimed or enlarged) for the sake, also, of these divine services as within the empire they are performed, for the sake of these also. (6) Further, of whatever kind they may be, that were to be outlined by me by way of becoming more authoritative, and that (7) thus, as I had promised to the Yazads. Further by me those which were established, even thus as by me it (was to be done for) (8) heaven and hell, for these services also orthodoxy and heterodoxy (in) their essential features (9) were (to be) outlined.


Now for me then, when by the help of the Yazads this also was established, to the departed (10) ward this thus was outlined, then (to) the Yazads of much better service and will (11) have I become. And for my own soul I have become more provident and quiet. (12) And also on these offerings and services which within the empire are performed much (13) more authoritative have I become. And whosoever sees this inscription (14) and reads it, that one for Yazads and lords and his own soul straight (15) and right let him be. And beyond this, also, in the offerings and services and the Mazdayasnian religion, (16) which is now performed for the living, let him become more authoritative.


Now another (17) matter; not everyone may issue a command at will. Let it be known what I have decided: (18) There is a heaven and there is a hell. And whoever is a welldoer shall go straight to heaven. (19) And whoever is a sinner shall be cast down to hell. And whoever is a welldoer and after (20) welldoing persistently runs, this one (in) this bone-endowed body good fame and prosperity (21) shall attain and also (in) this bone-endowed spirit orthodoxy shall (he) overtake, (22) as I, Kartir, have attained. Now I have written this inscription for this purpose, that (23) since for me, Kartir, from of yore onward by rulers and lords many fires (24) with (their) magi by imperial deeds were instituted and for me the great glory of my own name (25) on imperial deeds and documents stands written, that whoever in future (26) time imperial documents or deeds or other inscriptions may see, that one (27) should know, that I am Kartir, who (under) Shahpuhr, King of Kings, Kartir the (28) Magupat [Magus-master] and Ehrpat was entitled; and under Hormizd, King of Kings, and Varahran, King of (29) Kings, son of Shahpuhr, Kartir, Ahura Mazda's Magupat was entitled; and under Varahran, (30) [King of] Kings, son of Varahran, Kartir, Soul-savior of Varahran and Ahura Mazda's Magupat was entitled. (31) Written by Buhtak, scribe of Kartir, the Lord.




Extracted From/Source: Henning Memorial Volume, p. 264, concludes that ltps'k denotes 'the whole ceremony of the gahambar.'



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