the vocabulary of the Sasanid and Parthian Pahlavi
inscriptions, seals, papyri, and pottery are
collected and are to be published in a
comprehensive dictionary by end of September.
The book is the most complete collection ever of
the Pahlavi words found in rock inscriptions,
seals, pottery writing, and papyri dating back to
the Sasanid and Parthian era.
According to Darius Akbarzadeh, director of the
Hall of Inscriptions of the Iranian National
Museum which is in charge of the project, the book
covers all the words inscribed at the two era, not
only those of the large and famous inscriptions,
and both those found on rocks and mountains and
the movable ones.
“Each entry of the dictionary includes the
original form of the word, its phonetics, its
frequency of use, the address of the including
inscription(s), and finally the Persian
translation,” explains Akbarazadeh.
The dictionary is planned to come to the market by
end of September 2005.
Previously, just a concise collection of Pahlavi
words of unmovable inscriptions found on rocks and
mountains were compiled by Sorbonne professor,
director of the studies of ancient Iran religions,
and president of the association for the
development of Iranian studies, Philippe Gignoux.
Pahlavi was the formal language of the Parthian
and Sasanid era.
The Parthian Empire was the dominating force on
the Iranian plateau beginning in the late 3rd
century BCE, and intermittently controlled
Mesopotamia between ca 190 BCE and 224 CE. Iran's Parthian
Dynasty was the arch-enemy of the Roman Empire in
the East and it limited Rome's expansion beyond
Cappadocia (central Anatolia). The end of the
empire came in 224 CE.
Of the Parthian times, no literary inscription is
left because Aramaic and Greek were the more
popular languages of the time. Writings on clays
and rocks are the only Pahlavi remnants of the
The Sasanid dynasty (also Sasanian) ruled Iran
during the era of the second Persian Empire, from
224 until 651, when the last Sasanid King of
Kings, Yazdegerd III, lost a 14-year struggle to
Arab invaders, whom brutally massacred large
number of Iranians and finally forced them to
inscriptions of Ardeshir in Naghsh-e Rostam of
Shiraz, Fars, those of Shapur, and the one related
to Zoroaster in the Zoroastrian Kaaba are the most
important ones remaining from the Sasanid era.
Pahlavi words of the Sasanid era are also found on
bowls, glasses, mirror frames, etc.