Inscriptions-posts

Šāpūr I’s Inscription at Hajjiābād (ŠH)

Among the early Sasanian inscriptions, this is one of the more interesting in terms of the subject matter. It shows some early notions of heroism and manliness which we find with Šāpūr I. The subject is the arrow which Šāpūr I has shot and the way the event is told reminds us of Araš the Archer in the Iranian tradition, something that would have been known to our king of kings. It is a more difficult inscription to read and there are different readings of certain words and phrases. This is a preliminary reading based on Nyberg, MacKenzie, with attention to Klíma’s work. Nyberg has reproduced the text in his A Manual of Pahlavi, and had already translated it earlier in the festschrift for A. Christensen, based on excellent photographs and the monumental work of Herzfeld’s Paikuli. Many others have worked on this inscription, including G. Gropp and an ancient copy of the text on a magic bowl from the 4th-5th CE, has been studied and published by Skjærvø.

What is of interest is that those who have worked on this inscription in Iran have completely overlooked MacKenzie’s translation. We have followed this work, with some variant readings. For example, the term nēw dast (nēw-dast as MacKenzie has it), is translated by MacKenzie as “strong arm.” O. Klíma in 1968 and 1971 has dedicate almost two entire articles to this matter and another another word. The first word in the inscription (tiγrāhē), is the subject of one article, and then another work where he connects nēw to Old Persian naiba-, not in the sense of “brave,” but rather “good,” which can give us a “good hand,” when it comes to shooting an arrow. Nyberg also provides some good and important observations, but there are only minor issues as such with the Hajjiābad inscription. We (Touraj Daryaee, Khodadad Rezakhani, Kamyar Abdi) visited the inscription a decade ago and photographed it.

 

Bibliography

  • Akbarzadeh, D. & Tavousi, M. Pahlavi Inscriptions, Tehran, 2006.
  • Gignoux, Ph. “Hajiabad i. Inscriptions,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, ed. E. Yarshater, 2002.
  • Klíma, O. “Etliche Bemerkungen zur Interpretation der Inschriften von Hajjiabad,” Archiv Orientální 36, 1968, pp. 19-23.
  • Klíma, O. “Der Ausderuck dast Nēv in der Sassanidischen Inschrift von Hajjiabad,” Archiv Orientální 39, 1971, pp. 260-267.
  • MacKenzie, D.N. “Shapur’s Shooting,” BSO(A)S 41/3, 1978, p. 499-511, 
  • Nyberg, S.H. A Manual of Pahlavi, I, Wiesbaden, 1964, pp. 122-23.
  • Oryan, S. Manual of Middle Iranian Inscriptions, ICHO, Tehran, 1382.
  • Skjærvø, P.O. “A Copy of the Hajiabad Inscription in the Babylonian Collection, Yale,” Bulletin of the Asia Institute, N.S. 4, 1990, pp. 289-93.

 

MP by Touraj Daryaee

Transliteration:
tgl’hy ZNE LY mazdysn bgy šhpwhry MLKAn
MLKA ’yr’n W ’nyr’n MNW ctry MN yzt’n
BRE mzdysn bgy ’rthštr MLKAn MLKA ’yr’n
MNW ctry MN yzt’n npy bgy p’pky MLKA APn
AMT ZNE HTYA ŠDYTN ADYn LOYNY štldl’n
W BRBYTAn W wclk’n W ’zat’n ŠDYTN APn LGLH PWN
ZNE drky HNHTWN ’Pn HTYA LCDr ZK cyt’k
BRA LMYTN BRA OLE wy’k AYK HTYA LMYTN
TME wy’k ZK ’wgwn LA YHWWN AYK HT cyt’k
cyty HWH ADYN bylwny pty’k YHWWN HWH
AHL LNH prm’t MNW cyt’ky ’wlndly
cyty MNW YDH TB HWH ZK LGLH PWN
ZNE drky ’yw HNHTWN W HTYA OL ZK
cyt’ky ’yw ŠDYTN AHL MNW
HTYA OL ZK cyt’k LMYTN
OLE YDH TB

Transcription:
tigrāh ēn man mazdēsn bay Šābuhr šāhān
šāh Ērān ud anērān kē čihr az yazdān
pus mazdēsn bay Ardxašīr šāhān šāh Ērān
kē čihr az yazdān nab bay Pābag šah u-n
ka ēn tigr wist ēg-in pēš šahryārān 
ud wispuhrān ud wzurgān ud āzādān wist u-n pāy pad
ēn darrag nihād u-n tigr tar ān čēdāg
be abgand be ōy gyāg kū tigr abgand
ānō gyāg ān owōn nē būd kū agar čēdāg
čīd hē ēg bērōn paydāg būd hē
pas amah framād kē čēdāg ōrōndar
čīd kē dast-nēw hē ān pāy pad
ēn darrag ēw nihē(n)d ud tigr ō ān
čēdāg ēw wihē(n)d pas kē
tigr ō ān čēdāg abganē(n)d
ōy dast-nēw

Translation:

This is my bow shot (of) the Mazda-worshipping lord Šāpūr, king
of kings of the Iranians and non-Iranians, whose lineage is from the gods,
the son of Mazda-worshipping lord Ardaxšīr, king of kings of the Iranians,
whose lineage is from the gods, grandson of the lord, king Pābag. And
when we shot this arrow it was before the sovereigns,
and the princes of the blood and the grandees and the nobility. And when we placed our foot
on this rock, and we shot an arrow beyond that cairn,
but that place where the arrow was thrown,
there where the arrow fell, it was not that if the cairn was there,
it would not be visible from the outside,
thus, we ordered that the cairn be set further down,
whoever may have a “good hand,” let them place their foot on
this rock and let them shoot an arrow towards that cairn, 
then, whoever throws the arrow toward that cairn,
they have a “good hand.”

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