The Function of Non- Iranian Languages in the Persian Achamenid Empire


  • Hassan Kohansal Vajargah


In the Achaemenid Empire( 331-559 B.C.)there were different tribes with various cultures. Each of these tribes spoke their own language(s). They mainly included Iranian and non- Iranian languages. The process of  changes in the Persian language can be divided into three periods, namely , Ancient , Middle, and Modern Persian. The Iranian languages  in ancient times ( from the beginning of of the Achaemenids to the end of the Empire) included :Median,Sekaee,Avestan,and Ancient Persian. At the time of the Achaemenids ,Ancient Persian was the language  spoken in Pars state and  the South Western part  of Iran.Documents show that this language was not used in political and state affairs. The only remnants of this language are the slates and inscriptions  of the Achaemenid Kings. These works are carved on stone, mud,silver and golden slates. They can also be found on coins,seals,rings,weights and plates.The written form of this language is exclusively found in inscriptions. In fact ,this language was used to record the great and glorious achivements of the Achaemenid kings. It was also used to be a remnant of  the greatness of the  Persians. There are no recorded works of the other three languages of Ancient Persian era at the time of the Achaemenids. The question raised in this research is: what functions did the  non- Iranian languages have  in the  Achaemanid Empire? The non Iranian languages of this era were Akkadian, Elamite,and Aramic.Akkadian , a branch of Semetic languages, was used in the region of Middle Roudan(Mesopotamia) 3000 B.C.This language had two major dialects which were: 1. Babylonian dialect being used in the Southern parts of Middle Round and 2. Assyrian dialect which was in common in the Northern parts of Middle Roundan. Due to these reasons ,this language is also called" Assyrian- Babylonian" .Akkadian is one of those  three languages which possessed inscriptional functions and it was used in Bisoton inscriptions. Another language was Elamite. The Elamites had a privillaged  status in the history  of ancient West Asia. They lived in mountainous areas ranging from Mesopotamia  to Iranian Platue,including the Zagrous mountains ,Lorestan and current Khuzastan. The Elamite language is an independent one. It has no connection with any other ancient languages. Like Akkadian, Elamite had an inscriptional function and was used in Bisoton. This language was used as an official language in the Achaemenid Empire for quite a while.In Persepolis excavations  ,  many inscriptions were found  in Elamite and they were mainly connected to financial and accounting  documents. The third non- Iranian language was Aramic. It was a collection of dialects from the family of Semetic languages. It was used in Middle Roudan in ancient times between 7th century B. C. to 7th century A.D. This language gradually took the place of other languages. The Aramics were busy doing office services  in Akkadian Adminestrations. They were also admitted doing secreterial jobs in State offices in the Achaemenid Empire .  The Achaemenids used the  Aramic language in their country's affairs. Some scientists coined the term " Aramic  Kingdom "for the Aramic language used in the Achaemenid Adminstration. Some written documents obtained from the Achaemenid era prove that Aramic was the official and adminestrative language of that time. The method used in this research work is descriptive - analytic and the data are library source based.


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How to Cite

Hassan Kohansal Vajargah. (2021). The Function of Non- Iranian Languages in the Persian Achamenid Empire . PalArch’s Journal of Archaeology of Egypt / Egyptology, 18(4), 2127 - 2134. Retrieved from