Behistun Monument of Darius the Great, Persia


Sited high on a sheer cliff face at Behistun is the rock relief and inscriptions of Darius The Great in three cuneiform scripts ,Old Persian, Elamite and Babylonian. Decipherment of these scripts following determined efforts to reach the cliff face by Henry Rawlinson helped open up the study of Assyriology.

Darius ruled the Persian Empire from 521 B.C.E. to 486 B.C.E., and some time around 515 B.C.E., he arranged for the inscription to be made. It was inscribed on a cliff near the modern town of Behistun, in the foothills of the Zagros Mountains of  Iran, just as one reaches them from the Kermanshah Plain.

The inscription is approximately 15 meters high by 25 meters wide, and 100 meters up a limestone cliff from an ancient road connecting the capitals of Babylonia and Hamadan. The site itself is extremely inaccessible, as the mountainside was removed to make the inscription more visible after its completion .It is believed that Darius placed the inscription in an inaccessible position to make it tamper-resistant. The text is completely illegible from ground level.

Gaumāta lies under the boot of Darius the Great. The last person in line  is Shunkha between his coronation as king of the Persians in the summer of 522 BC and his death in autumn of 486 BC, the inscription begins with a brief autobiography of Darius, including his ancestry and lineage. A Faravar  floats above, giving its blessing to the king.




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