“Darius” tripartite inscription in “Behistun

King Darius left us an inscription on a high rock in a mountain range near Hamadan.
 The credit for identifying this monument and deciphering its symbols goes to the archaeologist Rawlinson, who suffered greatly in moving it from the rock, which is about four thousand feet high, the text was finally translated by King and Thompson, and this is the most recent and reliable translation to this day.


Discover the inscription 

The inscription is at a height of between 130 and 140 meters, and he used to climb to it by tying it with ropes so that he could translate it, he was already able to translate the Assyrian and Babylonian texts after 12 years.

Henry Rawlinson, a member of the British diplomatic corps, took care to copy this inscription, the entire text was published, translated into the Babylonian language, in 1851. Rawlinson was named the father of cuneiform studies.

The owner of the inscription (King Darius)

His origin and  his inauguration

He is the son of Hystapes, and belongs to one of the branches of the Achaemenid dynasty, he was characterized by wisdom and reason since his youth, he held some positions and participated in the campaign against Egypt, after the death of Cambyses, he was entrusted with returning the army to the Persian capital, and there he succeeded with his friends and some clerics from the Zoroastrian priests in defeating On the revolt of the priest Gomatha (the alleged Smerdis), then his brother Artephernes, king of the Persians, killed Bardia, after that, Darius seized the throne. 

His suppression of internal revolutions

Revolts broke out all over the empire after the death of Cambyses, and he had to subjugate them one by one, he began to subdue the revolution in Elam, after the rebellion of Atrin, the relative of its former ruler, Darius sent an army to Shush, and he arrested the rebel and killed him.

His struggle with the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar III

As for Babylon, one of Nabonidus' sons declared the revolution and declared himself its king in the name of Nebuchadnezzar III, Darius headed an army to Babylon. the army faced great difficulties in crossing the Tigris River due to the strength of the Babylonian fleet, but Darius launched a surprise attack, crossed the river and defeated the Babylonians who took refuge inside their city and fortified themselves there. Herodotus indicates that the siege of Babylon lasted twenty months, and Darius was unable to enter it except by deception. 

a. Herodotus may have exaggerated the duration of its siege, because Darius knew well that controlling Babylon was the key to eliminating all other revolts, and so he focused his attention on subjugating the city, which surrendered in February 521 BC.

After that, Darius attacked Madi (Media), defeated its army, captured its king and executed him by hanging in Hamadan, as he entrusted some of his leaders with putting down the revolution of Parthia (Khorasan) and Girkan, and this was done for him.

Darius's armies were able to put down a revolution in Egypt in 519 BC, and to occupy Thrace in southeastern Europe in 513 BC, years later, Persian forces occupied what is now called southern Pakistan.

Darius successfully ruled his vast empire by dividing it into large territories, among the actions carried out by the workers chosen by Darius to administer these territories were the increase in local taxes for the royal coffers, and the supply of soldiers to Darius.

He was able to defeat the Median king (Kaumata), and that was in the year 522 BC, From that date, the Achaemenid era began, and many kings came to rule the empire, and he was succeeded by his son, Xerxes I, during his reign, Dariush issued the order to build a group of Fars Takht Jamshid palaces in the north of the city of Shiraz. 

Thus, Darius put down all the revolutions, and was able, with his iron will and strength, to overcome all the problems that confronted him, and reunified the empire again.

Darius recorded his victories in detail in the famous “Bahistun” inscription - as it will be mentioned - which was written in three languages, ancient Persian, Babylonian, and Elamite.

He says: 

“Within one year, after I became king, I fought nineteen battles, and by the will of Ahuramazda, I won all of them and captured nine kings.”

Darius, a young man of twenty years, took over the reins of power for a period of more than a generation, which began with recording the history of his country on a huge column, followed by his marriage to Atossa, the daughter of Kyros and the widow of Cambyses, his third achievement was the reorganization of the empire, such as paving and paving roads to facilitate postal correspondence, and receiving news from his spies quickly.

One of his most important works was the administrative division of his states, which amounted to twenty, so that he annexed the Ionian settlements to the state of Lydia in Asia Minor, he also allowed the Jews to complete the construction of the Temple again in the year 515 BC.

Description of the inscription

On this painting, King Dara was represented, followed by two great officials His statesmen, and it is thought  that one of them is his father-in-law called: “Gobryas” and he is victorious over his enemies.

And the king appears treading with his left foot “Jumata” the Magusi, and he is lying on his back with his arm raised in supplication to the king, and in front of him seven disobedient men are seen tied together with their hands tied, and the name of each one of them was mentioned with him, and above that the god “Ahuramazda” flutters and the king turned his right hand out of adoration and fear. 

This immortal monument was inscribed in three languages: Persian, New Elamite, and then Babylonian, it presents us with the titles of King Darius and the expansion of his kingdom. 

Then it refers to the death of “Bardia” or “Smerdis” at the hands of “Dara,” and the revolution carried out by “Smerdis,” the antichrist, who is “Gomata,” the Magian, during the absence of “Cambyses” in “Egypt.” The death of this claimant was mentioned.  

The death of this claimant at the hands of “Darius” was mentioned in some detail, and then comes the revolutions that took place against “Dara” in detail, and the inscription ends with the swearing of the upcoming Persian rulers to warn the impostors, just as the reader swears to protect the inscription from damage.

The great king cast a curse on anyone who destroys this monument in the following word: “Darius” the king says: If you look at this tablet and these inscriptions and break them and do not preserve them throughout the continuation of your lineage, So, may Ahuramazda slaughter you, may your lineage be wiped out, and may everything you do, may Ahuramazda destroy it.

The importance of discovering this inscription

It is impossible to appreciate here the importance of this triple inscription; Its importance is not limited only to its archaeological value, but more than that, especially because of the light it sheds on cuneiform, Babylonian, and Assyrian writing, the solution of which has become possible through the explanation of these Persian documents. 

The discovery of this inscription was similar in importance to the discovery of the Rosetta Stone in Egypt during the French campaign, which led to the French scientist Champollion discovering the symbols of ancient Egyptian writing through it.























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