THE XERXES QUADRILINGUAL ALABASTRON

MS MS 4536/1
MS Short Title XERXES QUADRILINGUAL ALABASTRON
Text XERXES - MIGHTY KING, KING OF KINGS
Description MS in Old Persian, Elamite, Neo Babylonian and Egyptian on cream coloured alabaster, Syria, 485-465 BC, 1 jar, h. 42 cm, diam. 18 cm, panel of inscriptions forming a "T", the top bar: (3x14 cm), 3 lines in Old Persian semi-alphabetic cuneiform script, Elamite cuneiform script and Neo Babylonian cuneiform script; the vertical shaft: (10x3 cm), in hieroglyphs, Xerxes' name within a cartouche.
Binding
Context MS 4536/3 of Xerxes, MS 4536/2 of Antaxerxes.
Provenance
Commentary Some jar fragments with quadrilingual inscriptions are known (British Museum has 5 small fragments of Xerxes and a heavily restored jar of Dareius, but no complete examples). Together with MS 4536/2 this is the only known complete example of a quadrilingual royal inscription. The 2 jars also illustrate the vast extension of the empire. While MS 4536/1, with the royal insciption of Xerxes, was found on the coast of Syria, MS 4536/2, with the royal inscription of Artaxerxes, as well as MS 4536/3, were found on the empire's eastern border, in Northern Afghanistan. The first 3 lines are in the same languages and in the same order as the famous Behistun Rock inscription of King Dareius in South West Iran, used by Sir H.C. Rawlinson to decipher the cuneiform scripts about 150 years ago. The present jar is a Behistun Rock inscription in miniature, but with hieroglyphs in addition. Cf. MS 204, Miniature Rosetta Stones.
Published Andrew George, ed.: Cuneiform Royal Inscriptions and Related Texts in the Schøyen Collection, Cornell University Studies in Assyriology and Sumerology, vol. 17, Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection, Cuneiform texts VI. CDL Press, Bethesda, MD, 2011, text 92, p. 192, pl. LXXVI.
Exhibited
Mentioned
See also
Place of origin Syria
Dates 485 - 465 BC

Location