The Info List - Middle Persian

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Middle Persian
Middle Persian
is the Middle Iranian language or ethnolect of southwestern Iran
that during the Sasanian Empire
Sasanian Empire
(224–654) became a prestige dialect and so came to be spoken in other regions of the empire as well. Middle Persian
Middle Persian
is classified as a Western Iranian language. It descends from Old Persian
Old Persian
and is the linguistic ancestor of Modern Persian. Traces of Middle Persian, or Parsik, are found in remnants of Sasanian inscriptions and Egyptian papyri, coins and seals, fragments of Manichaean writings, and treatises and Zoroastrian books from the Sasanian era, as well as in the post-Sasanian Zoroastrian variant of the language sometimes known as Pahlavi, which originally referred to the Pahlavi scripts,[2][3] and that was also the preferred writing system for several other Middle Iranian languages. Aside from the Aramaic alphabet-derived Pahlavi script,[4] Zoroastrian Middle Persian was occasionally also written in Pazend, a system derived from the Avestan alphabet
Avestan alphabet
that, unlike Pahlavi, indicated vowels and did not employ logograms. Manichaean Middle Persian
Middle Persian
texts were written in the Manichaean alphabet, which also derives from Aramaic but in an Eastern Iranian form via the Sogdian alphabet.


1 Name 2 Transition from Old Persian 3 Transition to New Persian 4 Surviving literature 5 Samples

5.1 Poetry 5.2 Other sample texts

6 Vocabulary

6.1 Affixes 6.2 Location suffixes 6.3 Comparison of Middle Persian
Middle Persian
and Modern Persian
Modern Persian
vocabulary 6.4 Middle Persian
Middle Persian
loanwords in other languages 6.5 Comparison of Middle Persian
Middle Persian
and Modern Persian
Modern Persian

7 See also 8 References 9 Sources

Name[edit] "Middle Iranian" is the name given to middle stage of development of the numerous Iranian languages
Iranian languages
and dialects.[5]:1 The middle stage of Iranian languages
Iranian languages
begins around 450 BCE and ends around 650 CE. One of those Middle Iranian languages
Iranian languages
is Middle Persian, i.e. the middle stage of the language of the Persians, an Iranian peoples of Persia proper, which lies in the south-western highlands on the border with Babylonia. The Persians called their language Parsik, meaning "Persian". Another Middle Iranian language was Parthian, i.e. the language of the northwestern Iranian peoples of Parthia
proper, which lies along the southern/south-eastern edge of the Caspian sea and is adjacent to the boundary between western and eastern Iranian languages. The Parthians called their language Parthawik, meaning "Parthian". Via regular sound changes Parthawik became Pahlawik, from which the word 'Pahlavi' eventually evolved. The -ik in parsik and parthawik was a regular Middle Iranian appurtenant suffix for "pertaining to". The New Persian equivalent of -ik is -i. When the Arsacids (who were Parthians) came to power in the 3rd-century BCE, they inherited the use of written Greek (from the successors of Alexander the Great) as the language of government. Under the cultural influence of the Greeks (Hellenization), some Middle Iranian languages, such as Bactrian, also had begun to be written in Greek script. But yet other Middle Iranian languages
Iranian languages
began to be written in a script derived from Aramaic. This occurred primarily because written Aramaic had previously been the written language of government of the former Achaemenids, and the government scribes had carried that practice all over the empire. This practice had led to others adopting Imperial Aramaic as the language of communications, both between Iranians and non-Iranians, as well as between Iranians.[6]:1251-1253 The transition from Imperial Aramaic to Middle Iranian took place very slowly, with a slow increase of more and more Iranian words so that Aramaic with Iranian elements gradually changed into Iranian with Aramaic elements.[7]:1151 Under Arsacid hegemony, this Aramaic-derived writing system for Iranian languages came to be associated with the Parthians in particular (it may have originated in the Parthian chancellories[7]:1151), and thus the writing system came to be called pahlavi "Parthian" too.[8]:33 Aside from Parthian, Aramaic-derived writing was adopted for at least four other Middle Iranian languages, one of which was Middle Persian. In the 3rd-century CE, the Parthian Arsacids were overthrown by the Sassanids, who were natives of the south-west and thus spoke Middle Persian as their native language. Under Sassanid hegemony, the Middle Persian language
Persian language
became a prestige dialect and thus also came to be used by non-Persian Iranians. In the 7th-century, the Sassanids were overthrown by the Arabs. Under Arab influence, Iranian languages
Iranian languages
began be written in Arabic script
Arabic script
(adapted to Iranian phonology), while Middle Persian
Middle Persian
began to rapidly evolve into New Persian and the name parsik became Arabicized farsi. Not all Iranians were comfortable with these Arabic-influenced developments, in particular, members of the literate elite, which in Sassanid times consisted primarily of Zoroastrian priests. Those former elites vigorously rejected what they perceived as 'Un-Iranian', and continued to use the "old" language (i.e. Middle Persian) and Aramaic-derived writing system.[8]:33 In time, the name of the writing system, pahlavi "Parthian", began to be applied to the "old" Middle Persian language
Persian language
as well, thus distinguishing it from the "new" language, farsi.[8]:32-33 Consequently, 'pahlavi' came to denote the particularly Zoroastrian, exclusively written, late form of Middle Persian.[9] Since almost all surviving Middle Persian literature is in this particular late form of exclusively written Zoroastrian Middle Persian, in popular imagination the term 'Pahlavi' became synonymous with Middle Persian
Middle Persian
itself. The ISO 639 language code for Middle Persian
Middle Persian
is pal, which reflects the post-Sasanian era use of the term Pahlavi to refer to the language and not only the script. Transition from Old Persian[edit]

History of the Persian language

Proto-Iranian (c. 1500 BCE) Western Iranian languages

Old Persian
Old Persian
(c. 525 – 300 BCE) Old Persian
Old Persian

Middle Persian
Middle Persian
(c. 300 BCE – 800 CE) Pahlavi scripts
Pahlavi scripts
Manichaean alphabet
Manichaean alphabet

Modern Persian
Modern Persian
(from 800) Persian alphabet
Persian alphabet
• Tajiki Cyrillic alphabet

In the classification of the Iranian languages, the Middle Period includes those languages which were common in Iran
from the fall of the Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
in the fourth century BCE up to the fall of the Sasanian Empire
Sasanian Empire
in the seventh century CE. The most important and distinct development in the structure of Iranian languages
Iranian languages
of this period is the transformation from the synthetic form of the Old Period ( Old Persian
Old Persian
and Avestan) to an analytic form:

nouns, pronouns, and adjectives lost their case inflections prepositions were used to indicate the different roles of words. many tenses began to be formed from a composite form

Transition to New Persian[edit] The modern-day descendant of Middle Persian
Middle Persian
is New Persian. The changes between late Middle and Early New Persian were very gradual, and in the 10th-11th centuries, Middle Persian
Middle Persian
texts were still intelligible to speakers of Early New Persian. However, there are definite differences that had taken place already by the 10th century:

Sound changes, such as

the dropping of unstressed initial vowels the epenthesis of vowels in initial consonant clusters the loss of -g when word final change of initial w- to either b- or (gw- → g-)

Changes in the verbal system, notably the loss of distinctive subjunctive and optative forms, and the increasing use of verbal prefixes to express verbal moods Changes in the vocabulary, especially the substitution of a large number of Arabic loanwords for words of native or Aramaic origin The substitution of Arabic script
Arabic script
for Pahlavi script.

Surviving literature[edit] Pahlavi Middle Persian
Middle Persian
is the language of quite a large body of literature which details the traditions and prescriptions of Zoroastrianism, which was the state religion of Sasanian Iran
(224 to c. 650) before the Muslim conquest of Persia. The earliest texts in Zoroastrian Middle Persian
Middle Persian
were probably written down in late Sasanian times (6th–7th centuries), although they represent the codification of earlier oral tradition.[10] However, most texts, including the translated versions of the Zoroastrian canon, date from the ninth to the 11th century, when Middle Persian
Middle Persian
had long ceased to be a spoken language, so they reflect the state of affairs in living Middle Persian only indirectly. The surviving manuscripts are usually 14th-century copies.[2] Other, less abundantly attested varieties are Manichaean Middle Persian, used for a sizable amount of Manichaean religious writings, including many theological texts, homilies and hymns (3rd–9th, possibly 13th century), and the Middle Persian
Middle Persian
of the Church of the East, evidenced in the Pahlavi Psalter (7th century); these were used until the beginning of the second millennium in many places in Central Asia, including Turpan
and even localities in South India.[11] All three differ minimally from one another and indeed the less ambiguous and archaizing scripts of the latter two have helped to elucidate some aspects of the Sasanian-era pronunciation of the former.[12] Samples[edit] Below is transcription and translation of the first page of the facsimile known as Book of Arda Viraf, originally written in a Pahlavi script. [13]

pad nām ī yazdān ēdōn gōwēnd kū ēw-bār ahlaw zardušt dēn ī padīrift andar gēhān rawāg be kard. tā bawandagīh [ī] sēsad sāl dēn andar abēzagīh ud mardōm andar abē-gumānīh būd hēnd. ud pas gizistag gannāg mēnōg [ī] druwand gumān kardan ī mardōmān pad ēn dēn rāy ān gizistag *alek/sandar ī *hrōmāyīg ī muzrāyīg-mānišn wiyāb/ānēnīd *ud pad garān sezd ud *nibard ud *wišēg ō ērān-šahr *frēstīd. u-š ōy ērān dahibed ōzad ud dar ud xwadāyīh wišuft ud awērān kard. ud ēn dēn čiyōn hamāg abestāg ud zand [ī] abar gāw pōstīhā ī wirāstag pad āb ī zarr nibištag andar staxr [ī] pābagān pad diz [ī] *nibišt nihād ēstād. ōy petyārag ī wad-baxt ī ahlomōγ ī druwand ī anāg-kardār *aleksandar [ī] hrōmāyīg [ī] mu/zrāyīg-mānišn abar āwurd ud be sōxt.

In the name of God Thus they have said that once the righteous Zoroaster
accepted a religion, he established it in the world. After/Within the period of 300 years (the) religion remained in holiness and the people were in peace and without any doubt. But then, the sinful, corrupt and deceitful spirit, in order to cause people doubt this religion, illusioned/led astray that Alexander the Roman, resident of Egypt, and sent him to Iran
with much anger and violence. He murdered the ruler of Iran
and ruined court, and the religion, as all the Avesta and Zand (which were) written on the ox-hide and decorated with water-of-gold (gold leaves) and had been placed/kept in Stakhr of Papak in the 'citadel of the writings.' That wretched, ill-fated, heretic, evil/sinful Alexander, The Roman, who was dwelling in Egypt, and he burned them up.

Poetry[edit] A sample Middle Persian
Middle Persian
poem from manuscript of Jamasp Asana:

Original in Middle Persian:

Dārom andarz-ē az dānāgān   Az guft-ī pēšēnīgān   Ō šmāh bē wizārom   Pad rāstīh andar gēhān   Agar ēn az man padīrēd   Bavēd sūd-ī dō gēhān  

Near literal translation into Modern Persian:

Dāram andarz-ē az dānāyān دارم اندرزی از دانایان Az gufta-yi pēšēniyān از گفتهٔ پیشینیان Ba šumā be-gozāram به شما بگزارم Ba rāstī andar jahān به راستی اندر جهان agar īn az man pazīrēd اگر این از من پذیرد Buwad sūd-i dō jahān بوَد سود دو جهان

Translation into English:

I have a counsel from the wise,   from the advises of the ancients,   I will pass it upon you   By truth in the world   If you accept this counsel   It will be your benefits for this life and the next  

Other sample texts[edit]

Šābuhr šāhān šāh ī hormizdān hamāg kišwarīgān pad paykārišn yazdān āhang kard ud hamāg gōwišn ō uskār ud wizōyišn āwurd pas az bōxtan ī ādūrbād pad gōwišn ī passāxt abāg hamāg ōyšān jud-sardagān ud nask-ōšmurdān-iz ī jud-ristagān ēn-iz guft kū nūn ka-mān dēn pad stī dēn dīd kas-iz ag-dēnīh bē nē hilēm wēš abar tuxšāg tuxšēm ud ham gōnag kard.

Shapur, the king of kings, son of Hormizd, induced all countrymen to orient themselves to god by disputation, and put forth all oral traditions for consideration and examination. After the triumph of Ādurbād, through his declaration put to trial by ordeal (in disputation) with all those sectaries and heretics who recognized (studied) the Nasks, he made the following statement: ‘Now that we have gained an insight into the Religion in the worldly existence, we shall not tolerate anyone of false religion, and we shall be more zealous.

Andar xwadāyīh šābuhr ī ohrmazdān tāzīgān mad hēnd ušān xōrīg ī rudbār grift was sāl pad xwār tāzišn dāšt t šābuhr ō xwadāyīh mad oyšān tāzīgān spōxt ud šahr aziš stād ud was šāh tāzīgān ābaxšēnēd ud was maragīh.

During the rulership of Shapur, the son of Hormizd, the Arabs came; they took Xorig Rūdbār; for many years with contempt (they) rushed until Shapur came to rulership; he destroyed the Arabs and took the land and destroyed many Arab rulers and pulled out many number of shoulders.

Vocabulary[edit] Affixes[edit] There are a number of affixes in Middle Persian
Middle Persian
that did not survive into Modern Persian:[14][15][16]

Middle Persian English Other Indo-European Example(s)

A- Privative prefix, un-, non-, not- Greek a- (e.g. atom) a-spās 'ungrateful', a-bim 'fearless', a-čār 'inevitable', a-dād 'unjust'

An- Prevocalic privative prefix, un-, non- English -un, German ant- an-ērān 'non-Iranian', an-ast 'non-existent'

-ik (-ig in Late Middle Persian) Having to do with, having the nature of, made of, caused by, similar to English -ic, Latin
-icus, Greek –ikos, Slavic -isku Pārsīk 'Persian', Āsōrik 'Assyrian', Pahlavik 'Parthian', Hrōmāyīk/Hrōmīk 'Byzantine, Roman', Tāzīk 'Arab'

Location suffixes[edit]

Middle Persian Other Indo-European Example(s)

-gerd Russian -grad, German -gart Mithradatgerd "Mithridates City", Susangerd
(City of Susan), Darabgerd "Darius City", Bahramjerd
"Bahram City", Dastgerd, Virugerd, Borujerd

-vīl -ville, villa, village in English/French, Italian villaggio Ardabil
"Holy City", Erbil, Kabul
and Zabol

-āpāt (later -ābād)

Ashkābād > Ashgabat
"Land of Arsaces"

-stān English stead 'town', Russian stan 'settlement', common root with Germanic stand Tapurstan, Sakastan

Comparison of Middle Persian
Middle Persian
and Modern Persian
Modern Persian
vocabulary[edit] There are a number of phonological differences between Middle Persian and New Persian. The long vowels of Middle Persian
Middle Persian
did not survive in many present-day dialects. Also, initial consonant clusters were very common in Middle Persian
Middle Persian
(e.g. سپاس spās "thanks"). However, New Persian does not allow initial consonant clusters, whereas final consonant clusters are common (e.g. اسب asb "horse").

Early Middle Persian English Early New Persian Notes Other Indo-European

Drōt Hello (lit. 'health') Dōrūd (درود)

Pat-drōt Goodbye Bē dōrūd (به درود), later bedrūd (بدرود)

Spās Thanks Sipās (سپاس) Spās in kurdish PIE speḱ-

Pat To, at, in, on Bē (به)

Hač From Az (از)

Šagr, Šēr1 Lion Šēr (شیر) From Old Persian
Old Persian
*šagra-. Preserved as Tajiki шер šer and Kurdish (شێر) šēr

Šīr1 Milk Šīr (شیر) From Old Persian
Old Persian
**xšīra-. Tajiki шир šir and Kurdish (šīr, شیر) from PIE *swēyd-

Āhsan Iron Āhan (آهن) Āsin (آسِن) in Kurdish German Eisen

Arjat Silver seem (سیم) floodlike "silvar" ("سیل وار ") Latin
argentum (French argent), Armenian arsat, Old Irish airget, PIE h₂erǵn̥t-, an n-stem

Arž Silver coinage Arj (ارج) 'value/worth' Same as Arg (АргЪ) 'price' in Ossetian

Ēvārak Evening Extinct in Modern Persian Survived as ēvār (ایوار) in Kurdish and Lurish

Tāpstān (adjective for) summer تابستان Tābestān

Hāmīn Summer Extinct Hāmīn has survived in Balochi, and Central Kurdish. Survived as Hāvīn in Northern Kurdish.

Stārak, Star Star Setāre (ستاره) Stār, Stērk in Northern Kurdish Latin
stella, Old English steorra, Gothic stairno, Old Norse stjarna

Fratom First Extinct Preserved as pronin in Sangsari language First, primary, Greek prim

Fratāk Tomorrow Fardā (فردا) Fra- 'towards' + tāk 'light' Greek pro-, Lithuanian pra, etc. German tag 'day'

Murt Died Mōrd (مرد)

morta, English murd-er, Old Russian mirtvu, Lithuanian mirtis

Rōč Day Rūz (روز) From rōšn 'light'. Kurdish rōž (رۆژ), also preserved as rōč (رُوچ) in Balochi Armenian lois 'light', Latin
lux 'light'

Sāl Year Sāl (سال)

Sanskrit sarð 'year', Armenian sārd 'sun', German sonne, Russian solntsi

Mātar Mother Mādar (مادر)

māter, Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic
mater, Lithuanian motina

Pētar Father Pēdar (پدر)

pater (Italian padre), Old High German fater

Brātar Brother Barādar (برادر)

Old Ch. Slavonic brat(r)u, Lithuanian brolis, Latin
frāter, Old Irish brathair, O. H. German bruoder

Xāhar Sister Xāhar (خواهر)

Armenian khoyr

Dōxtar Daughter Dōxtar (دختر)

Gothic dauhtar, O. H. German tohter, Old Prussian duckti, Armenian dowstr, Lithuanian dukte

Ōhāy Yes ārī (آری)

Nē No Na (نه)

1 Since many long vowels of Middle Persian
Middle Persian
did not survive, a number of homophones were created in New Persian. For example, šir and šer, meaning "milk" and "lion", respectively, are now both pronounced šir. In this case, the correct pronunciation has been preserved in Kurdish and Tajiki.[17] Middle Persian
Middle Persian
loanwords in other languages[edit] There is a number of Persian loanwords in English, many of which can be traced to Middle Persian. The lexicon of Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic
also contains many borrowings from Middle Persian. In such borrowings Iranian consonants that sound foreign to Arabic, g, č, p, and ž, have been replaced by q/k, j, š, f/b, and s/z. Here is a parallel word list of such terms:[18][19][20]

Middle Persian English Indo-European Cognates Arabic Borrowing English

Srat Street Latin
strata 'street', Welsh srat 'plain'; from PIE root stere- 'to spread, extend, stretch out' ( Avestan
star-, Latin
sternere, Old Church Slavonic stira) Sirāt (صراط) Path

Tarjōmak Translation French traduction, Italian traduzione, Greek dragomanos; from PIE root tra- 'to across, over, beyond' Tarjama (ترجمة) Translation

Burg Tower Germanic burg 'castle' or 'fort' Burj (برج) Tower

A-sar; A- (negation prefix) + sar (end, beginning) Infinite, endless A- prefix in Greek; Sanskrit siras, Hittite harsar 'head' Azal (أزل) Infinite

A-pad; a- (prefix of negation) + pad (end) Infinity - Abad (أبد) Infinity, forever

Dēn (from Avestan
daena) Religion

Dīn (دين) Religion

Bōstān (bō 'aroma, scent' + -stan
place-name element) Garden

Bustān (بستان) Garden

Čarāg Lamp

Sirāj (سراج) Lamp

Tag Crown, tiara

Tāj (تاج) Crown

Pargār Compass

Firjār (فرجار) Compass (drawing tool)

Ravāg Current

Rawāj (رواج) Popularity

Ravāk (older form of ravāg; from the root rav (v. raftan) 'to go') Current

Riwāq (رواق) Place of passage, corridor

Gund Army, troop

Jund (جند) Army

Šalwār Trousers

Sirwāl (سروال) Trousers

Rōstāk Village, district, province

Ruzdāq (رزداق) Village

Zar-parān Saffron

zaʿfarān (زعفران) Saffron

Comparison of Middle Persian
Middle Persian
and Modern Persian
Modern Persian

Middle Persian New Persian Old Persian English

Anāhid Nāhid Anāhitā Anahita

Artaxšēr Ardašir Artaxšatra Artaxerxes

Mitr Mehr Mithra Mithra

Rokhsāna Roksāne Rokh-šwana Roxana

Pāpak Bābak

Āleksandar, Sukandar Eskandar

Alexander the Great

Pērōz Pīruz Pērōč

Mithradāt Mehrdād Mithradata Mithridates

Borān Borān


Husraw, Xusraw Khosrow Husravah Chosroes

Zaratu(x)št Zartōšt Zartušt Zoroaster

Ōhrmazd Hormizd Ahura Mazda Ahura Mazda, astr. Jupiter

Middle Persian
Middle Persian
test of at Wikimedia Incubator

See also[edit]

Avestan Old Persian Parthian language Persian language Persian language#History Middle Persian
Middle Persian


^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Pahlavi". Glottolog
3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.  ^ a b "Linguist List - Description of Pehlevi". Detroit: Eastern Michigan University. 2007.  ^ See also Omniglot.com's page on Middle Persian
Middle Persian
scripts ^ Spooner, Brian; Hanaway, William L. (2012). Literacy in the Persianate World: Writing and the Social Order. University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 1-934536-56-3. , p. 14. ^ Henning, Walter Bruno (1958), Mitteliranisch, Handbuch der Orientalistik I, IV, I, Leiden: Brill . ^ Gershevitch, Ilya (1983), "Bactrian Literature", in Yarshatar, Ehsan, The Seleucid, Parthian and Sassanian Periods, Cambridge History of Iran, Vol. 3(2), Cambridge University Press, pp. 1250–1260, ISBN 0-521-24693-8 . ^ a b Boyce, Mary (1983), "Parthian Writings and Literature", in Yarshatar, Ehsan, The Seleucid, Parthian and Sassanian Periods, Cambridge History of Iran, Vol. 3(2), Cambridge University Press, pp. 1151–1165, ISBN 0-521-24693-8 . ^ a b c Boyce, Mary (1968), Middle Persian
Middle Persian
Literature, Handbuch der Orientalistik 1, IV, 2, Leiden: Brill, pp. 31–66 . ^ Cereti, Carlo (2009), "Pahlavi Literature", Encyclopedia Iranica, (online edition) . ^ Sundermann, Werner. 1989. Mittelpersisch. P. 141. In Compendium Linguarum Iranicarum (ed. Rüdiger Schmidt). ^ Sundermann, Werner. 1989. Mittelpersisch. P. 138. In Compendium Linguarum Iranicarum (ed. Rüdiger Schmidt). ^ Sundermann, Werner. 1989. Mittelpersisch. P. 143. In Compendium Linguarum Iranicarum (ed. Rüdiger Schmidt). ^ R. Mehri's Parsik/Pahlavi Web page (archived copy) at the Internet Archive ^ Joneidi, F. (1966). Pahlavi Script and Language (Arsacid and Sassanid) نامه پهلوانی: آموزش خط و زبان پهلوی اشکانی و ساسانی (p. 54). Balkh (نشر بلخ). ^ David Neil MacKenzie (1971). A Concise Pahlavi Dictionary. London: Oxford University Press.  ^ Joneidi, F. (1972). The Story of Iran. First Book: Beginning of Time to Dormancy of Mount Damavand (داستان ایران بر بنیاد گفتارهای ایرانی، دفتر نخست: از آغاز تا خاموشی دماوند). ^ Strazny, P. (2005). Encyclopedia of linguistics (p. 325). New York: Fitzroy Dearborn. ^ Mackenzie, D. N. (2014). A Concise Pahlavi Dictionary. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-136-61396-8.  ^ "ARABIC LANGUAGE ii. Iranian loanwords in Arabic". Encyclopædia Iranica. 15 December 1986. Retrieved 31 December 2015.  ^ Joneidi, F. (1965). Dictionary of Pahlavi Ideograms (فرهنگ هزوارش هاي دبيره پهلوي) (p. 8). Balkh (نشر بلخ).


Lessons in Pahlavi- Pazend
by S.D.Bharuchī and E.S.D.Bharucha (1908) at the Internet Archive
Internet Archive
- Part 1 and 2 Middle Persian
Middle Persian
texts on TITUS Scholar Raham Asha's website, including many Middle Persian
Middle Persian
texts in original and translation An organization promoting the revival of Middle Persian
Middle Persian
as a literary and spoken language (contains a grammar and lessons) Edward Thomas (1868). Early Sassanian inscriptions, seals and coins. Trübner. p. 137. Retrieved 2011-07-05. 

v t e

Persian language


Old Persian Middle Persian Modern Persian


Western (Iranian) Dari (Afghanistan) Tajik Hazaragi Aimaq Kuwaiti Persian Tat Judeo-Persian (Dzhidi) Judeo-Tat
(Juhuri) Judeo-Tajik (Bukhori) Sistani Barbari

Language features


Nouns Verbs



Persian grammar Tajik grammar

Writing system

Old Persian
Old Persian
cuneiform Pahlavi scripts Persian alphabet

Persian calligraphy

Tajik alphabet Romanized Persian alphabet


Persian Braille


Persian literature Middle Persian
Middle Persian
literature Tajik literature

Other topics

List of English words of Persian origin Persian language
Persian language
in South Asia

v t e

Persian literature


Behistun Inscription Old Persian
Old Persian
inscriptions Ganjnameh Inscription of Xerxes the Great in Van Fortress Achaemenid inscription in the Kharg Island


Ayadgar-i Zariran Counsels of Adurbad-e Mahrspandan Dēnkard Book of Jamasp Book of Arda Viraf Karnamak-i Artaxshir-i Papakan Cube of Zoroaster Dana-i Menog Khrat Shabuhragan
of Mani Shahrestanha-ye Eranshahr Bundahishn Menog-i Khrad Jamasp Namag Dadestan-i Denig Anthology of Zadspram Warshtmansr Zand-i Wahman yasn Drakht-i Asurig Shikand-gumanig Vizar



Rudaki Abu-Mansur Daqiqi Ferdowsi
(Shahnameh) Abu Shakur Balkhi Abu Tahir Khosrovani Shahid Balkhi Bal'ami Rabia Balkhi Abusaeid Abolkheir
Abusaeid Abolkheir
(967–1049) Avicenna
(980–1037) Unsuri Asjadi Kisai Marvazi Ayyuqi


Bābā Tāher Nasir Khusraw
Nasir Khusraw
(1004–1088) Al-Ghazali
(1058–1111) Khwaja Abdullah Ansari
Khwaja Abdullah Ansari
(1006–1088) Asadi Tusi Qatran Tabrizi (1009–1072) Nizam al-Mulk
Nizam al-Mulk
(1018–1092) Masud Sa'd Salman (1046–1121) Moezi Neyshapuri Omar Khayyām (1048–1131) Fakhruddin As'ad Gurgani Ahmad Ghazali Hujwiri Manuchehri Ayn-al-Quzat Hamadani (1098–1131) Uthman Mukhtari Abu-al-Faraj Runi Sanai Banu Goshasp Borzu-Nama Afdal al-Din Kashani Abu'l Hasan Mihyar al-Daylami Mu'izzi Mahsati


Hakim Iranshah Suzani Samarqandi Hassan Ghaznavi Faramarz Nama Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi
Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi
(1155–1191) Adib Sabir Falaki Shirvani Am'aq Najm al-Din Razi Attār (1142–c.1220) Khaghani
(1120–1190) Anvari (1126–1189) Faramarz-e Khodadad Nizami Ganjavi
Nizami Ganjavi
(1141–1209) Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (1149–1209) Kamal al-din Esfahani Shams Tabrizi
Shams Tabrizi


Abu Tahir Tarsusi Awhadi Maraghai Shams al-Din Qays Razi Sultan Walad Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī Afdal al-Din Kashani Fakhr-al-Din Iraqi Mahmud Shabistari
Mahmud Shabistari
(1288–1320s) Abu'l Majd Tabrizi Amir Khusro
Amir Khusro
(1253–1325) Saadi (Bustan / Golestān) Bahram-e-Pazhdo Pur-Baha Jami Zartosht Bahram e Pazhdo Rumi Homam Tabrizi (1238–1314) Nozhat al-Majales Khwaju Kermani Sultan Walad


Ibn Yamin Shah Ni'matullah Wali Hafez Abu Ali Qalandar Fazlallah Astarabadi Nasimi Emad al-Din Faqih Kermani


Ubayd Zakani Salman Sawaji Hatefi Jami Kamal Khujandi Ahli Shirzi (1454–1535) Fuzûlî
(1483–1556) Ismail I
Ismail I
(1487–1524) Baba Faghani Shirzani


Faizi (1547–1595) Abu'l-Fazl (1551–1602) Vahshi Bafqi (1523–1583) 'Orfi Shirazi


Taleb Amoli Saib Tabrizi (1607–1670) Kalim Kashani Hazin Lāhiji (1692–1766) Saba Kashani Bēdil Dehlavi (1642–1720) Naw'i Khabushani


Neshat Esfahani Abbas Foroughi Bastami (1798–1857)


(1797–1869) Mahmud Saba Kashani (1813–1893)




Ahmadreza Ahmadi Mehdi Akhavan-Sales Hormoz Alipour Qeysar Aminpour Aref Qazvini Manouchehr Atashi Mahmoud Mosharraf Azad Tehrani Mohammad-Taqi Bahar Reza Baraheni Simin Behbahani Dehkhoda Hushang Ebtehaj Bijan Elahi Parviz Eslampour Parvin E'tesami Forough Farrokhzad Hossein Monzavi Hushang Irani Iraj Mirza Bijan Jalali Siavash Kasraie Esmail Khoi Shams Langeroodi Mohammad Mokhtari Nosrat Rahmani Yadollah Royaee Tahereh Saffarzadeh Sohrab Sepehri Mohammad-Reza Shafiei Kadkani Mohammad-Hossein Shahriar Ahmad Shamlou Manouchehr Sheybani Nima Yooshij Fereydoon Moshiri Rasoul Yunan


Edward Haghverdian


Nadia Anjuman Wasef Bakhtari Raziq Faani Khalilullah Khalili Youssof Kohzad Massoud Nawabi Abdul Ali Mustaghni


Sadriddin Ayni Farzona Iskandar Khatloni Abolqasem Lahouti Gulrukhsor Safieva Loiq Sher-Ali Payrav Sulaymoni Mirzo Tursunzoda


Asad Gulzoda


Muhammad Iqbal


Ali Mohammad Afghani Ghazaleh Alizadeh Bozorg Alavi Reza Amirkhani Mahshid Amirshahi Reza Baraheni Simin Daneshvar Mahmoud Dowlatabadi Reza Ghassemi Houshang Golshiri Aboutorab Khosravi Ahmad Mahmoud Shahriyar Mandanipour Abbas Maroufi Iraj Pezeshkzad

Short stories

Jalal Al-e-Ahmad Shamim Bahar Sadeq Chubak Simin Daneshvar Nader Ebrahimi Ebrahim Golestan Houshang Golshiri Sadegh Hedayat Mohammad-Ali Jamalzadeh Aboutorab Khosravi Mostafa Mastoor Jaafar Modarres-Sadeghi Houshang Moradi Kermani Bijan Najdi Shahrnush Parsipur Gholam-Hossein Sa'edi Bahram Sadeghi Goli Taraqqi


Reza Abdoh Mirza Fatali Akhundzadeh Hamid Amjad Bahram Beyzai Mohammad Charmshir Alireza Koushk Jalali Hadi Marzban Bijan Mofid Hengameh Mofid Abbas Nalbandian Akbar Radi Pari Saberi Mohammad Yaghoubi


Saeed Aghighi Rakhshan Bani-E'temad Bahram Beyzai Hajir Darioush Pouran Derakhshandeh Asghar Farhadi Bahman Farmanara Farrokh Ghaffari Behrouz Gharibpour Bahman Ghobadi Fereydun Gole Ebrahim Golestan Ali Hatami Abolfazl Jalili Ebrahim Hatamikia Abdolreza Kahani Varuzh Karim-Masihi Samuel Khachikian Abbas Kiarostami David Mahmoudieh Majid Majidi Mohsen Makhmalbaf Dariush Mehrjui Reza Mirkarimi Rasoul Mollagholipour Amir Naderi Jafar Panahi Kambuzia Partovi Rasul Sadr Ameli Mohammad Sadri Parviz Shahbazi Sohrab Shahid-Saless


Amrollah Abjadian Jaleh Amouzgar Najaf Daryabandari Behzad Ghaderi Sohi Mohammad Ghazi Lili Golestan Sadegh Hedayat Saleh Hosseini Ahmad Kamyabi Mask Mohammad Moin Ebrahim Pourdavoud Hamid Samandarian Jalal Sattari Jafar Shahidi Ahmad Shamlou Ahmad Tafazzoli Abbas Zaryab


Aydin Aghdashloo Mohammad Ebrahim Bastani Parizi Ehsan Yarshater

Contemporary Persian and Classical Persian are the same language, but writers since 1900 are classified as contemporary. At one time, Persian was a common cultural language of much of the non-Arabic Islamic world. Today it is the official language of Iran, Tajikistan and one of the two official languages of Afghanistan.

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Iranian languages



Old Persian Median


Avestan Old Scythian



Middle Persian Parthian


Bactrian Khwarezmian Ossetic


Saka Scythian Sogdian



Old Azari Balochi Central Iran Zoroastrian Dari Fars Gilaki Gorani Kurdic

Sorani Kurmanji Southern group Laki

Mazandarani Semnani Taleshi Deilami Tati Zazaki



Ishkashimi Sanglechi Wakhi Munji Yidgha Vanji Yazghulami Shughni Roshani Khufi Bartangi Sarikoli



Digor Iron


Central Northern Southern Wanetsi

Yaghnobi Ormuri Parachi




Caucasian Tat Dari Tajik


Feyli Bakhtiari Kumzari

Larestani Bashkardi

Italics indicate extinct languages.

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Ancient Mesopotamia



Euphrates Upper Mesopotamia Mesopotamian Marshes Persian Gulf Syrian Desert Taurus Mountains Tigris Zagros Mountains


Akkad Assyria Babylonia Chaldea Elam Hittites Media Mitanni Sumer Urartu Cities


Pre- / Protohistory

Acheulean Mousterian Trialetian Zarzian Natufian Nemrikian Khiamian Pre-Pottery Neolithic A
Pre-Pottery Neolithic A
(PPNA) Pre-Pottery Neolithic B
Pre-Pottery Neolithic B
(PPNB) Hassuna/Samarra Halaf Ubaid Uruk Jemdet Nasr Kish civilization


Early Dynastic Akkadian Ur III Old Babylonian Kassite Neo-Assyrian Neo-Babylonian Achaemenid Seleucid Parthian Roman Sasanian Muslim conquest Timeline of the Assyrian Empire


Akkadian Amorite Aramaic Eblaite Elamite Gutian Hittite Hurrian Luwian Middle Persian Old Persian Parthian Proto-Armenian Sumerian Urartian

Culture / Society

Architecture Art Cuneiform script Akkadian
literature Sumerian literature Music Religion


Looting Destruction by ISIL