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Ancient Behistun (Bisitun)

The Behistun (Bisitun) Inscription

Darius gathered sculptors and engravers at a stone cliff at Behistun on the heavily travelled road from Babylon to Ecbatana and set them to work on a monument to himself. Two hundred feet up on the jagged and jumbled face of the cliff the artisans flattened an area about 50 feet high and 60 feet wide and carved a bas-relief of bearded Darius standing with one foot on a fallen foe as he faces a dozen captives with their hands manacled behind their backs. Beneath are cuneiform inscriptions enough to make a small book written in Elamite -- Babylonian -- Old Persian. The inscriptions boast of Darius's conquests and achievements. This is the most important historical document of the time because of its side by side comparison of these three languages; unfortunately it and a few others are the only long texts by Persians about their empire ...

The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium