Inscriptions-posts

Abnūn Inscription from the Time of Šāpūr I (ŠAb)

A fire-alter was found at the site of Barm-e Delak which carries a much discussed and translated Middle Persian inscription. The date of the inscription is mentioned to be from the third year of Šāpūr I, which if we are to follow Frye, it would be 243/4 CE, when Gordian and the Romans faced off with the Sasanians. It seems that a person by the name of Abnūn in the province of Persis/Pārs had heard of the Roman invasion and had entreated the gods that if the Iranians were victorious, the following fire-alter would be constructed. We do not have the pictures of the entire inscription, but we (Daryaee) were able to see the fire-alter before it was placed in a glass cover, and then again subsequently after. The pictures are from the visits to Shiraz at the beautiful Narenjestan, where they were being showcased.

 

There are several major translations, first by Tavoosi; Gignoux; Livshits & Nikitin; Skjærvø; and finally by MacKenzie. It is important to note that all five translations are at times significantly different from another. We have chosen the latest translation by MacKenzie as the basis, allowing for some minor changes, along with Skjærvø’s important observations after the publication of MacKenzie. The problem with this inscription is that while these alter portray figures with their names, the inscription on fire-alter circles around it. The inscription is also grammatically problematic and tends to confuse the reader, hence the multiple interpretations and translations.

 

Bibliography

  • Akbarzadeh, D. & Tavoosi, M. Pahlavi Inscriptions, Khaneye Farhikhtegan-e Honarhaye Sonati, Tehran, 2006.
  • Chaumont, M.-L. “Framadār,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, ed. E. Yarshater, 2000.
  • Frye, R.N. “Historical Interpretations in Middle Iranian,” Medioiranica Proceedings of the International Colloquium Organized by the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven From the 21st to the 23rd of May 1990, pp. 65-70.
  • Gignoux, Ph. “D’Abnūn á Māhān,” Etude de deux inscriptions sassanides,” Studia Iranica 20, 1991, pp. 23-32.
  • Livshits, V.A. & Nikitin, A.B. “Some Notes on the Inscription from Nasrābād,” BAI 5, 1991, pp. 41-43.
  • MacKenzie, D.N. “The Fire Altar of Happy *Frayosh,” BAI 7, 105-109.
  • Skjærvø, P.O. “L’Inscription d’Abnūn et l’imparfait en Moyen-Perse,” Studia Iranica, 21, 1992,153-160.
  • Skjærvø, P.O. “Achaemenid *Vispašiyātiš – Sasanian Wispšād,” Studia Iranica, 21, 1992, pp. 79-80.
  • Skjærvø, P.O. “On the Middle Persian Imperfect,” Syntaxe des langues Indo-Iraniennes anciennes, ed. E. Pirart, Editorial AUSA, Barcelona, 1997, pp. 161-188.
  • Tavoosi, R.N., “An Inscribed Capital Dating from the Time of Shapur I,” BAI 3, 1989, pp. 25-38.

Part 1

’rthštr MLKAn MLKA

’spyc ZY dlpty whn’m ZY prmtr

šhpwhry MLKAn MLKA

’bnwn ZY PW špstn ’dnyk

 

Part 2

ZNE ’twlg’hy ’bnwn ZY PWN špstn

’dnyk prm’t MN(W) kr(t)y AP KZY

plm’d(t) AYKm HT YDEn HWE

ADYN NWRA-1 TNE YTYBWN’n

AHL AMT QDM (Š)NT 3 šh-

pwhry MLKAn MLKA

AMT hlwm’dy

QDM p’lsy AP plswby

YATWNd AHL ANE TNE

PWN W[s]pš’ty [pr]d[w]š[y YHWWNm] AHL AYK

OŠMEN AYK hlwm’dy

YATWNd AHL ANE yzd’n p’t[w]yhy[t] AYK

[HT šh]pwhry ZY MLKA]n

MLKA c[yly YHWWN AP] hlwm’dyn

MHYTN APšn SLYtr OBYDWN [ODn]

PWN OB[D]kyhy YKOYMWNd ADYNn hyl’n  

AD NWRA-1 TNE YTYBWN’n AHL

AYK OŠMEN AYK hlwm’dy

YATWNt [H](WE)nd AP šhpwhry

ZY MLKAn MLKA MHYTN HWEnd APš

SLYtr klty [*HWEnd ODn PWN OBDkyhy

YKOYMWNd ADYNm *nywst NWRA-1]

YTYBWNn APš pt’y

šhpwhry ’bnwn ŠM OBYDW[N]

 

Transcription:

Part 1

Ardaxšīr šāhāhn šāh

Aspēz ī darbed Wahnām ī framdār

Šāhbuhr šāhān šāh

Abnūn ī pad šabestān āyēnīg

 

Part 2

ēn ādurgāh Abnūn ī pad šabestān

āyēnīg framād kē kard ud ahy

framāyēd kū-m agar dastan hē

ēg ādur-ēw ēdar nišāyān

pas ka abar sāl 3 (ī) šā-

buhr šāhān šāh

ka Hrōmāy

abar Pārs ud Pahlaw

āyēnd pas an ēdar

pad wispāšd

*Frayōš bawēm pas kū

āšnūd kū Hrōmāy

āyēnd pas man

yazdān paywahīd kū

agar Šābuhr ī šāhān

šāh č[ēr būd ud] Hrōmāyān

zad u-šān wattar kard [tā]-n

pad bandagīh ēstēnd ēg *an hilān

tā ādur-ēw ēdar nišāyāyn pas

kū āšnūd kū Hrōmāy

āmad hēnd ud Šābuhr

ī šāhān šāh zad hēnd u-š

wattar kard [*hēnd tā-n pad bandagīh

ēstēnd ēg-im niwist ādur-ēw]

nišāyān u-š Pattāy-

Šābuhr-Abnūn nām kard

 

Ardaxšīr, king of kings

Aspēz, master of the court, Wahnām the commander

Šāpūr, king of kings

Abnūn, master of Ceremonies of the Harem

 

This fire-alter, Abnūn, the Master of Ceremonies of the Harem ordered that it should be made, and initially he said: If I am able, then I will establish this fire. Then when in the third year of king of kings, Šābuhr when the Romans came to Pārs and Pahlaw, then I was here in all-happy Frayosh, then when it was heard that the Romans were coming, then I entreated the gods that if the king of kings, Šāpūr is victorious and strikes the Romans, and worsts them, so they fall into our captivity, then I shall establish a fire here. Then when it was heard that the Romans had come and the king of kings, Šāpūr had struck them, and had worsted them, so they fell into our captivity, then I established a fire, and it was named Remain Šāpūr (and) Abnūn

 

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