The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
(CAIS) -- The
name of Farnaka, who was the uncle of Darius the Great, has been identified in a
newly discovered Old Persian Achaemenid inscription for the first time.
Written in Old Persian
cuneiform, known to Achaemenids as Aryan, the stone inscription bears the names
of Darius the Great and his uncle, Farnaka, the Persian service of CHN reported
His name had previously
only been found in historical texts written in other languages. Greek texts
refer to him as Pharnaces and Elamite texts call him Parnaka.
“Sometime ago, I
discovered the tablet at the foundation of a monument during an official
mission,” archaeologist Shahrokh Razmju said.
Razmju with the help of Professor
Nicholas Sims-Williams of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS),
University of London, who is a leading expert on several ancient Iranian
languages, are trying to reconstruct the damaged inscription and decipher the
Razmju described Farnaka
as an important official during the Achaemenid dynastic era (550-330 BCE) and
added, “The inscription also refers to Farnaka’s post as the Darius’s
empire’s chief superintendent of receipts and payments.”
“The style of engraving
of the inscription-tablet and the type of stone are different than similar
inscriptions previously found in Persepolis,” Razmju explained.
Farnaka was one of Arshama's (Arsames) three sons and brother to Vishtaspa (Hystaspes), father of Darius the Great. According to Elamite inscription tablets discovered in Persepolis known as the 'treasury tablets', Farnaka as the head of entire economic and administrative system was the second most important person after Gobryas in the Darius the Great's government.
Farnaka's son Artabazus became satrap of Dascylium who commanded the Parthians and Chorasmians in Xerxes' eastern border war (480-79 BCE) and was in the Hellespont region in 470 BCE. His descendants continued to sustain their positions as the satraps and rulers of Dascylium almost to the years leading to the demise of the empire in 330 BCE.
One group of lesser officers from a cadet branch of the house of Pharnaces produced the dynasty that created the Kingdom of Pontus in 302 BCE which survived until 64 BCE. The Persian kingdom of Pontus remembered as one of Rome's most formidable and successful enemies.
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