Old Persian

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Related to Old Persian: Avestan

Old Persian


one of the ancient languages of the Iranian group. Old Persian is known from cuneiform inscriptions dating from the time of the Achaemenid dynasty (558-330 B.C.). The largest collection of inscriptions was preserved from the period when Darius I (522-486 B.C.) and Xerxes I (486-465 B.C.) ruled. Old Persian was spoken in southwestern Iran.

Phonetically, Old Persian is characterized by oppositions based on vowel length. The grammatical structure ot Old Persian, which possessed a well-developed system of inflectional forms, is similar to that of Avestan and Sanskrit. Distinctions were made between masculine, feminine, and neuter genders; singular, dual, and plural number; and nominative, accusative, genitivedative, locative, ablative, instrumental, and vocative cases. The verb system consisted of active and middle voices; indicative, imperative, optative, and subjunctive moods; present, imperfect, aorist, and perfect tenses.


Oranskii, I. M.Vvedenie v iranskuiu filologiiu. Moscow, 1960.
Oranskii, I. M.Iranskie iazyki. Moscow, 1963.
Bartholomae, C.Altiranisches Wörterbuch, 2nd ed. Berlin, 1961.
Brandenstein, W., and M. Mayrhofer.Handbuch des Altpersischen. Wiesbaden, 1964.
Kent, R.Old Persian: Grammar, Texts, Lexicon, 2nd ed. New Haven, 1953.
Meillet, A.Grammaire du vieux perse, 2nd ed. Paris, 1931.


References in periodicals archive ?
The name Khuzestan means "The Land of the Khuzi", refers to the original inhabitants of this province, the "Susian" people (Old Persian "Huza", Middle Persian "Khuzi" (the Shushan of the Hebrew sources) in the same evolutionary manner that Old Persian changed the name Sindh into Hind").
The contributions include not only the obvious Semitic languages, but also a chapter on Old Persian (by de Vaan and Lubotsky) and Greek (by Willi), as well as a chapter on the alphabet (by Millard).
Written by Esmahan Aykol and published by Bitter Lemon, James explains that "the good old Persian word 'baksheesh' covers a wide range of payments, including charitable giving, tips and payments to expedite services.
The founders took their company's name, Magoosh, from a play on an old Persian word, "magush," meaning, "one who is highly-learned, wise and generous.
Q My old Persian cat has started drinking more than normal and is keen to jump up to the sink.
He'll be nine next year, but old Persian Punch went on for a long time," added Millman.
Principal Private Secretary at 10 Downing Street Sir Robert Armstrong wrote: "This makes an old Persian rug look pretty crumby.
40 Newmarket: The most popular result of the Jockey Club Cup would be if old Persian Punch could follow up his wins last year and in 2000 but, given his poor recent effort at Longchamp, I reckon the Millennium St Leger hero MILLENARY can spoil the party.
They also said city government shouldn't get involved in responding to complaints about raccoons, deer and other wildlife, and they were as indifferent as an old Persian cat to a proposal to require feline licenses.
The second page of analysis listed several problems with the mummy's inscription that led the scholar to believe that its author wrote in a manner inconsistent with Old Persian.
Rita has spoken similar thoughts about her album, which she presents unabashedly to the Israeli public as Persian, although she provided decidedly modern beats to old Persian tunes.
Hinz's erroneous translation of a paragraph (DB [section]70) of Darius's Behistun Inscription to maintain that it was this king who invented the Old Persian (OP) script.