inscriptions are written on the Naqsh-e Rustam, Sarmashhad, Naqsh-e Rajab,
and Zoroaster’s Kaba monuments, which are located near Iran’s southern
city of Shiraz in Fars Province.
to the difficult language and literature of the inscriptions and the
damage to the texts, no comprehensive study has been carried out on the
inscriptions. I will publish precise translations and interpretations of
the inscriptions by many of the world’s renowned linguists and
archaeologists,” said Akbarzadeh, who is the curator of the inscriptions
section of the National Museum of Iran.
inscription on the Sarmashhad monument which is located near Sarmashhad, a
village west of Jarreh and south of Kazerun, has 58 lines, but it has
suffered serious damage. In it, Karter has spoken about his ascension to
the Mainu world (heaven), thus its text has a complex philosophical
language. In this inscription, Karter has used religious and philosophical
words and expressions of the time, so the inscription is more difficult to
understand than the other Sassanid era inscriptions.
also spelled Karter, or Karder, was an influential high priest of
Zoroastrianism whose aim was to purge Iran of all other religions,
especially the eclectic Manichaeism founded by the 3rd-century
self-proclaimed prophet Mani.
little is known of Kartir comes from inscriptions on cliff faces, mostly
dating from the reign of Shapur I (241–272). On more than 700 cliffs he
proclaimed the fundamental doctrines of the religion of Zoroaster.
his career under King of Kings Ardashir I (ruled 224–241), Kartir
restored the purity of the Mazdean religion (Zoroastrianism). Under
Emperor Shapur I, he held the title of ehrpat (“master of learning”).
Later, under another Hormizd, he was elevated to the rank of “ma ga
put”, or chief, of the Magi of Hormizd, a title previously unknown to
the Magi, the priestly caste of ancient Persia.
Bahram I (ruled 273–276) assumed the throne, Kartir was at last afforded
an opportunity to get rid of his archrival Mani, who had been protected by
put Mani in prison, where he finally died. Kartir managed to reestablish
orthodox Zoroastrianism and proceeded to persecute all other religions,
especially the Zandiks (Zoroastrian heretics, perhaps Zurvanites), who
insisted on interpreting the Avesta in the light of their own thinking.
the death of Kartir, a degree of religious tolerance gradually reasserted
itself, and the many titles created for Kartir or taken by him were
recovered by other priests.