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Home > Research > Publications > Annual Reports > 1997-98 Annual Report

Achaemenid Royal Inscriptions Project


Gene Gragg and Matthew W. Stolper

An article in Oriental Institute News & Notes 157 (Spring 1998) describes the first version of a searchable electronic study edition of Achaemenid royal inscriptions from Persepolis, available on the Internet at (the URL is case-sensitive; the site can also be reached by following links under "Electronic Resources" or under "ABZU" on the Oriental Institute's home page). By the time the article was printed and distributed, the edition had undergone some changes in design and operation and some changes in detail and contents.

The site presents twenty-eight royal inscriptions on buildings, tombs, and movable objects from Persepolis. Many of them are bilingual or trilingual, so that there is a total of sixty-three Old Persian, Elamite, and Akkadian versions, ranging from a single line to several hundred words in length. By following links from the front page or from the banner that accompanies each of the main pages, a reader can view the complete transliterated text of a single inscription in one of the languages, with or without accompanying English translation. He can view variants and epigraphic comments on demand in separate windows. He can view section-by-section displays of the transliterated text of one, two, or three versions, with or without accompanying English translations. He can view glossaries of the words attested in each of the three languages or can follow links from the lists of occurrences of each form to the transliterations of the sections of text in which the form occurs. He can search the lexicon and the transliterations for occurrences of words, parts of words, or regular expressions in any of the three languages. He can submit comments, corrections, questions, and criticisms by e-mail.

Two components have been improved since the description was published in News & Notes. The catalogue offers more information on the provenience and primary publications of the exemplars of each version of each inscription, with more reliable links to the editions and the running bibliography. In addition, the site now includes plans of the buildings on the Persepolis terrace to show the locations of inscriptions, with links both to larger-scale versions of the plans and to the catalogue entries (from which the viewer can follow links to the editions, etc.).

Current work on the project includes scanning excavation photographs of inscriptions, inscribed buildings, and inscribed objects that were previously published in the microfiche set Persepolis and Ancient Iran (1976), to be linked to the catalogue or the plans; adding to the glossary entries in each language links to the translations or equivalents of each word in the other languages; continuing correction of typographical and design flaws; and approximately monthly re-indexing and updating of the project's component files.

Related work includes scanning the rest of the photographs from Persepolis and Ancient Iran (listed and described at; entering and marking up the collated texts of the first six hundred of Richard T. Hallock's transliterations of unpublished Elamite administrative texts from the Persepolis Fortification archive in a form consistent with the Achaemenid Royal Inscriptions, and adapting the component programs of the Achaemenid Royal Inscriptions project for on-line publication of searchable editions and glossaries of these and other Elamite and Aramaic administrative texts from Persepolis.

Revised: February 23, 2007

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