Parsik/Pahlavi
Parsik / Pahlavi پارسیک / پهلوی
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Welcome To the Parsik / Pahlavi Page

By the creation of this site, it is hoped that those who are interested in learning and reading Middle Persian script, texts, and literature would be able to do so through the use of notes and instructions herein compiled and provided.

Those with a background in Modern Persian will discover Pahlavi language particularly rewarding and easy: Modern Persian has a strikingly close affinity with Middle Persian and in many respects it has changed very little.

No doubt, having a knowledge of Pahlavi / Parsik, however basic, would greatly enhance one's knowledge and understanding of the Modern Persian,
its evolution and syncretism throughout its long and rich history.


Reading Parsik / Pahlavi Texts

The above is the image of first page of the facsimile (K. 20) known as Arda Wiraz Namah (ویرازنامه) - or The Book of the Righteous Wiraz -written in Ham-dabirih (Pahlavi/همدبیری) script.

Arda Wiraz Namah (composed in ca. 9th century) is one of the earliest examples of the literary genre known as the apocalyptic (cf. Fereydun Vahman's Arda Wiraz Namag: The Iranian 'Divina Comedia' [London: Curzon Press, 1986]).

The below text is a re-typed form of the facsimile K. 20, in the same Ham-dabirih script using important diacritical signs which greatly facilitate the reading of the text for the beginner.


The transliteration of the above text reads:

Be Nâm i Yazdân
Edon guyand ke yew-bâr ahlâw
(righteous) Zartosht den padiroft,andar jahân ravâ be-kard. Tâ bowandegih i sesad sâl, den andar bezagih (holiness, purity) , u mardom andar be-gumânih budand. U pas, gujasteh (sinful) , gannâ (foul, corrupt) minu druwand, gumân kardan i mardomân be in den râ, an gujasteh Aleksandar i Arumyi (Roman) i Muzrâyi-mânishn (Egyptian; resident of Egypt ) wiyâbânid (illusioned; led astray) u be grân sezd u nabard u bishe be Eran-shahr frestâd. Oy Eran-dehibud ozad (murdered) , u dar (court) u khodâih beshoft u wirân kard; u en den chon hame Avestâ u Zand [ke] bar gâv-pustihâ i wirâsteh, be âb i zarr nebeshteh, andar Stakhr i Pabagân be diž i 'nibisht' nahâdastad, oy, patiyârah i bad-bakht i ahlomog (heretic) i druwand i andar-kerdâr, Aleksandar i Arumyi Mu..."

Translation:

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 Eran with much anger and violence. He murdered the ruler of Eran 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/Istakhr of Papak in the 'citadel of the writings.' That wretched, ill-fated, heretic, evil/sinful Alexander, Roman, (resident of) Eg..."