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Monday, 7-Aug-2006 18:52 Email | Share | Bookmark
BISTON - Kermanshah province,West of Iran

 
 
 
 
A large relief (5½ x 3 meters) depicting king Darius
 
 
 
 
a nice statue of a reclining Heracles
of a reclining Heracles that dates back to 148 BC
 
 
 
 
Inscription of shikhalikhan zanganeh( Safavid Era)
This is the left-hand side of the first Parthian relief
a seventeenth-century inscription
 
 
Stonecarving : Farhad Tarash
Huge stone carving
look at my friend
 
the unfinished relief
 
Lectern
 
opposite side of Lectern
 
 
Safavid carvansaray
Ilkhanid carvansaray
 
 
The Behistun Inscription (also Bisitun or Bisutun, بیستون in modern Persian; in Old Persian is Bagastana the meaning is "the god's place or land") is to cuneiform what the Rosetta Stone is to Egyptian hieroglyphs: the document most crucial in the decipherment of a previously lost script. It is located in the Kermanshah Province of Iran.
The inscription includes three versions of the same text, written in three different cuneiform script languages: Old Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian. A British army officer, Sir Henry Rawlinson, had the inscription transcribed in two parts, in 1835 and 1843. Rawlinson was able to translate the Old Persian cuneiform text in 1838, and the Elamite and Babylonian texts were translated by Rawlinson and others after 1843. Babylonian was a later form of Akkadian: both are Semitic languages
The inscription
The text of the inscription is a statement by Darius I of Persia, written three times in three different scripts and languages: two languages side by side, Old Persian and Elamite, and Babylonian above them. Darius ruled the Persian Empire from 521 to 486 BC. Some time around 515 BC, he arranged for the inscription of a long tale of his accession in the face of the usurper Smerdis of Persia (and Darius' subsequent successful wars and suppressions of rebellion) to be inscribed into a cliff near the modern town of Bisistun, in the foothills of the Zagros Mountains of Iran, just as one reaches them from the Kermanshah Plain.
The inscription is approximately 15 metres high by 25 metres wide, and 100 metres up a limestone cliff from an ancient road connecting the capitals of Babylonia and Media (Babylon and Ecbatana). It is extremely inaccessible as the mountainside was removed to make the inscription more visible after its completion. The Old Persian text contains 414 lines in five columns; the Elamite text includes 593 lines in eight columns and the Babylonian text is in 112 lines. The inscription was illustrated by a life-sized bas-relief of Darius, holding a bow as a sign of kingship, with his left foot on the chest of a figure lying on his back before him. The prostrate figure is reputed to be the pretender Gaumata. Darius is attended to the left by two servants, and ten one-metre figures stand to the right, with hands tied and rope around their necks, representing conquered peoples. Faravahar floats above, giving his blessing to the king. One figure appears to have been added after the others were completed, as was (oddly enough) Darius' beard, which is a separate block of stone attached with iron pins and lead.
It is believed that Darius placed the inscription in an inaccessible position to make it tamper-resistant. Readability took second place to this demand: the text is completely illegible from ground level. The Persian king did not account for the creation of a pool of water at the bottom of the cliff, which brought increased human traffic to the area. Considerable damage has been caused to some figures.

Translation:
The inscription was noted by an Arab traveller, Ibn Hawqal, in the mid-900s, who interpreted the figures as a teacher punishing his pupils. It was not until 1598, when the Englishman Robert Sherley saw the inscription during a diplomatic mission to Persia on behalf of Austria, that the inscription first came to the attention of western European scholars. His party came to the conclusion that it was a picture of the ascension of Jesus with an inscription in Greek.

Biblical misinterpretations by Europeans were rife for the next two centuries. French General Gardanne thought it showed Christ and his twelve apostles, and Sir Robert Ker Porter thought it represented the 12 tribes of Israel and Shalmaneser of Assyria. Italian explorer Pietro della Valle visited the inscription in the course of a pilgrimage in around 1621, and German surveyor Carsten Niebuhr visited in around 1764 while exploring Arabia and the middle east for Frederick V of Denmark, publishing a copy of the inscription in the account of his journeys in 1777. Niebuhr's transcriptions were used by Georg Friedrich Grotefend and others in their efforts to decipher the Old Persian cuneiform script. Grotefend had deciphered ten of the 37 symbols of Old Persian by 1802.

In 1835, Sir Henry Rawlinson, a British army officer training the army of the Shah of Iran, began studying the inscription in earnest. As the town of Bisistun's name was anglicized as "Behistun" at this time, the monument became known as the "Behistun Inscription". Despite its inaccessibility, Rawlinson was able to scale the cliff and copy the Old Persian inscription. The Elamite was across a chasm, and the Babylonian four metres above; both were beyond easy reach and were left for later.

Armed with the Persian text, and with about a third of the syllabary made available to him by the work of Grotefend, Rawlinson set to work on deciphering the text. Fortunately, the first section of this text contained a list of Persian kings identical to that found in Herodotus, and by matching the names and the characters, Rawlinson was able to crack the form of cuneiform used for Old Persian by 1838 and present his results to the Royal Asiatic Society in London and the Société Asiatique in Paris.

Next came the remaining two texts. After a stretch of service in Afghanistan, Rawlinson returned in 1843. Using planks he crossed the gap between the Old Persian text and the Elamite, and copied that. He was then able to find an enterprising local boy to climb up a crack in the cliff and rig ropes across the Babylonian writing, so that papier-mâché casts of it could be taken. Rawlinson set to work and translated the Babylonian writing and language, working independently of Edward Hincks, Julius Oppert and William Henry Fox Talbot, who also contributed to the decipherment; Edwin Norris and others were the first to do the same for the Elamite. As three of the primary languages of Mesopotamia, and three variations of the cuneiform script, these decipherments were one of the keys to putting Assyriology on a modern footing.
The unfinished relief

Khusrau is also connected to the last known monument at Behistun: the unfinished relief. His armies had ravaged the cities of Syria, sacked Jerusalem in 614 (seizing the relic of the True Cross), invaded Egypt and even reached Constantinople. It seemed as if the Achaemenid empire was restored, and Khusrau ordered the making of brilliant rock reliefs at Taq-e Bostan and Behistun. The monument at Taq-e Bostan was finished, but the Behistun relief was not: all that is visible is a piece of rock that was cleared. In 627, the Byzantine emperor Heraclius attacked the Sassanid empire and had been very successful; the Persian army mutinied and Khusrau was murdered (628). His successor Ardašir III made peace and the relic of the True Cross was restored to Jerusalem.
After this, the two empires were an easy target for the rise of Islam. In 641, the Arabs invaded Iran and defeated the Sassanids at Nehavand. On their march to the east, they had taken the main road along Behistun.


http://www.bisotun.ir/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behistun
http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1222
http://www.livius.org/be-bm/behistun/behistun01.html
http://www.payvand.com/news/04/aug/1149.html
https://www.sharemation.com/zoroaster7/BISOTUN.PDF?uniq=ksz8bm
http://library.case.edu/ksl/ecoll/books/anoscu00/anoscu00.pdf



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