Tomb of Darius I
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Tomb of Darius I

Coordinates: 29°59?20?N 52°52?29?E / 29.98889°N 52.87472°E / 29.98889; 52.87472

Tomb of Darius the Great
Tomb of Darius I.jpg
View of Tomb of Darius the Great in Naqsh-e Rustam
ProvinceFars province
LocationIran Marvdasht, Iran
SectorNaqsh-e Rustam

The tomb of Darius the Great (Darius I) is one of the four tombs of Achaemenid kings at the historical site of Naqsh-e Rustam located about 12 km northwest of Persepolis, Iran. They are all at a considerable height above the ground.

The tomb

Darius I on the tomb.

One of the tombs is explicitly identified by an accompanying inscription to be the tomb of Darius I (r. 522-486 BC). The other three tombs are believed to be those of Xerxes I (r. 486-465 BC), Artaxerxes I (r. 465-424 BC), and Darius II (r. 423-404 BC). The fifth tomb (incomplete) might be that of Artaxerxes III (r. 358-338 BC) or the last Achaemenid king, Darius III (r. 336-330 BC). The tombs were looted following the conquest of the Achaemenid empire by Alexander the Great.

The inscriptions

DNa inscription

An inscription by Darius I, from c. 490 BC, generally referred to as the "DNa inscription" (Darius Naqsh-i Rostam inscription a) in scholarly works, appears in the top left corner of the facade of his tomb. It mentions the conquests of Darius I and his various achievements during his life. Its exact date is not known, but it can be assumed to be from the last decade of his reign.[1] Like several other inscriptions by Darius, the territories controlled by the Achaemenid Empire are clearly listed.[2]

Darius I inscription
(DNa inscription)
English translation Original

A great god is Ahuramazda, who created this earth, who created yonder sky, who created man, who created happiness for man, who made Darius king, one king of many, one lord of many.

I am Darius the great king, king of kings, king of countries containing all kinds of men, king in this great earth far and wide, son of Hystaspes, an Achaemenid, a Persian, son of a Persian, an Aryan, having Aryan lineage.

King Darius says: By the favor of Ahuramazda these are the countries which I seized outside of Persia; I ruled over them; they bore tribute to me; they did what was said to them by me; they held my law firmly; Media, Elam, Parthia, Aria, Bactria, Sogdia, Chorasmia, Drangiana, Arachosia, Sattagydia, Gandara [Gadâra], India [Hidu?], the haoma-drinking Scythians, the Scythians with pointed caps, Babylonia, Assyria, Arabia, Egypt, Armenia, Cappadocia, Lydia, the Greeks (Yauna), the Scythians across the sea (Sakâ), Thrace, the petasos-wearing Greeks [Yaunâ], the Libyans, the Nubians, the men of Maka and the Carians.

King Darius says: Ahuramazda, when he saw this earth in commotion, thereafter bestowed it upon me, made me king; I am king. By the favor of Ahuramazda I put it down in its place; what I said to them, that they did, as was my desire.

If now you shall think that "How many are the countries which King Darius held?" look at the sculptures [of those] who bear the throne, then shall you know, then shall it become known to you: the spear of a Persian man has gone forth far; then shall it become known to you: a Persian man has delivered battle far indeed from Persia.

Darius the King says: This which has been done, all that by the will of Ahuramazda I did. Ahuramazda bore me aid, until I did the work. May Ahuramazda protect me from harm, and my royal house, and this land: this I pray of Ahuramazda, this may Ahuramazda give to me!

O man, that which is the command of Ahuramazda, let this not seem repugnant to you; do not leave the right path; do not rise in rebellion!

-- DNa inscription of Darius I.[3][4][5]
Darius I inscription (the DNa inscription) on the upper left corner of the facade of his tomb.

DNe inscription

Ethnicities of the Empire, on the tomb of Darius I. The nationalities mentioned in the DNa inscription are also depicted on the upper registers of all the tombs at Naqsh-e Rustam, starting with the tomb of Darius I.[6] The ethnicities on the tomb of Darius further have trilingual labels over them for identification, collectively known as the DNe inscription. One of the best preserved friezes is that of Xerxes I.

The nationalities mentioned in the DNa inscription are also depicted on the upper registers of all the tombs at Naqsh-e Rustam, starting with the tomb of Darius I, as a group of 30 soldiers of the Empire in their native clothing and bearing weapons, supporting the platform on which the Emperor stands for his devotions to Ahuramazda.[6][7] One of the best preserved friezes is that of Xerxes I.

All of the 30 soldiers on the tomb of Darius further have trilingual labels over them for their ethnic identification, known collectively as the DNe inscription (Darius Naqsh-e Rustam inscription "e") in scholarly works.[8] One of the last rulers of the Achaemenid dynasty, Artaxerxes II (r. 404-358 BC), also uses the same labels over the soldiers depicted on his own tomb in Persepolis.[9] These are known collectively as the "A2Pa Inscription".

The list simply goes on with the identification and naming of the ethnicity of each 30 soldier:

  1. ?? (iyam\P?rsa) This is a Persian
  2. ? (iyam\Mâda) This is a Mede
  3. ? (iyam\Uvja) This is an Elamite....
    -- DNe inscription of Darius I (excerpt).[8][10]

The nationalities of the soldiers depicted on the reliefs and mentioned in the individual labels of the DNe inscription are, from left to right: Makan, Persian, Median, Elamite, Parthian, Arian Bactrian, Sogdian, Choresmian, Zarangian, Arachosian, Sattagydian, Gandharan, Hindush (Indian), Saka (haumavarga), Saka (tigraxauda), Babylonian, Assyrian, Arab, Egyptian, Armenian, Cappadocian, Lydian, Ionian, Saka beyond the sea, Skudrian (Thracian), Macedonian, Libyan, Nubian, Carian.[8][10]


Naqsh-e Rustam
Naqsh-e Rustam is located in Iran
Naqsh-e Rustam
Naqsh-e Rustam
Location in Iran
Coordinates: 29°59?20?N 52°52?29?E / 29.98889°N 52.87472°E / 29.98889; 52.87472

See also


  1. ^ Orientalia Lovaniensia Periodica (in French). Instituut voor Oriëntalistiek. 1974. p. 23.
  2. ^ Briant, Pierre (2002). From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire. Eisenbrauns. p. 173. ISBN 9781575061207.
  3. ^ Tolman, Herbert Cushing (1893). A guide to the Old Persian inscriptions. New York, Cincinnati [etc.] American book company. p. 146.This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ "DNa - Livius".
  5. ^ Alcock, Susan E.; Alcock, John H. D'Arms Collegiate Professor of Classical Archaeology and Classics and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Susan E.; D'Altroy, Terence N.; Morrison, Kathleen D.; Sinopoli, Carla M. (2001). Empires: Perspectives from Archaeology and History. Cambridge University Press. p. 105. ISBN 9780521770200.
  6. ^ a b The Achaemenid Empire in South Asia and Recent Excavations in Akra in Northwest Pakistan Peter Magee, Cameron Petrie, Robert Knox, Farid Khan, Ken Thomas p.713-714
  7. ^ NAQ?-E ROSTAM - Encyclopaedia Iranica.
  8. ^ a b c Lecoq, Pierre. Les inscriptions de la perse achemenide (1997) (in French). pp. 221-222.
  9. ^ Briant, Pierre (2015). Darius in the Shadow of Alexander. Harvard University Press. p. 25. ISBN 9780674493094.
  10. ^ a b DNe inscription


External links

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