Middle Persian

Middle Persian, formerly referred to inaccurately as Pahlavi, was a Middle Iranian language which has developed after the Arab-Muslim conquest of Persia today New Persian language. You will receive in Manichaean script, in Pahlavi writings and Psalterschrift.

Distribution area

Originally Middle Persian in the southwestern Iranian province of Persis / Pars (now Fars ) home; it had emerged after the fall of the Parthian Achaimenidenreiches in time gradually from the Old Persian and is valid until 8/9 Century AD survived as a living language. In the Sassanian Empire ( 224-651 AD) was used Middle Persian as official and lingua franca. But was passed as that specified language after the Islamization of Iran into the New Persian, Middle Persian is a "dead " sacred language of the Zoroastrians of Iran to the 10th, of the Manichaeans in Central Asia ( in the Turfanoase in Chinese Turkestan ) to the 13th century been used AD.


The vast majority of the remains of the Middle Persian - the one formerly known generally and still imprecise as Pahlavi ( has ) - comes from the Sassanian period or from an era when this language in the 9th ( and 10th ) century witnessed a renaissance ( given the increasing Islamization of Persia, the Zoroastrians around 800 tried amplified by a preservation of their heritage and way of writing ). The more than a thousand years of use and witnessing this language and its dissemination through its southwestern Iranian homeland are far beyond the reason that these testimonies partly testify different dialect forms and linguistic history development. For example, records for about the language of the n in the 9th and 10th centuries AD incurred Zoroastrian books, the so-called " book - Pahlavi ", by increasing the number of Parthian loanwords than the Manichaean texts whose language Middle Persian well, so to speak embodied in its original, provincial purity. In contrast, the Zoroastrian texts reflect the spätsassanidische form of language, Parthian influences in the areas of administrative, military and partly religious terminology had been exposed for centuries, especially under the Arsacids - had the Parthian its course in the Arsacid throughout Iran as a general traffic culture and language spread, at a time when the middle Persian was still confined to pars. Already in vorsassanidischen Middle Persian Parthian influences are to be accepted; this is also one of the reasons that the Old Persian Achaimenideninschriften and the means comprise Persian language differences, so that this that is not directly continued.

Except for short coin legends there is virtually no language certificates from the period before the 3rd century AD, but then put in the frühsassanidischen rock and stone inscriptions equal to the accent. Your size and importance after project below this written in lapidary texts, inscriptions of the kings Shapur I. on the Ka'ba -yi Zarduscht ( trilingual) and Narseh of Paikuli (bilingual), as well as the high priest Kartir forth. The other king or private inscriptions - these are usually grave inscriptions in cursive ductus - comes just as the coin legends to ( until the 10th century ), the inscriptions on seals, cameos and bulls and the vessel inscriptions from linguistic point of view less meaning. Legal and administrative documents are preserved only in limited numbers: some parchment documents from Dura Europos ( from the occupation period in the 3rd century ), a number of papyri from Egypt ( from the occupation at the beginning of the 7th century ) and nachsassanidische ostraca from Iran. Only occasionally is Middle Persian inscriptions found in the Roman sphere of influence.

The once rich Middle Persian literature of the Sassanian period is now largely lost. Of the known text books in Middle Persian is the oldest one in Bulayiq ( Turfanoase ) found a fragment of a translation of the Psalms of the Old Testament. The time of origin must be younger than the big rock inscriptions of the 3rd century, but can not be within the Sassanid Narrow certainly on to writing and language. Very much more extensive are the texts of the Zoroastrians, the spätsassanidischer of time ( 6th century ) to have been recorded, but only in much more recent manuscripts have been preserved ( since the 14th century ). They include a translation of large parts of the Avesta Corpus, more religious and didactic literature, but also profane literature. The dogmatic and legal treatises that make up the bulk of these books are created but only during the already discussed briefly Pahlavi Renaissance in nachsassanidischer time. Also to the 3rd century AD dates back to the Middle Persian Manichaean literature written that the founder of a religion has established Mani ( 216-277 ) itself, of which the king Shapur ( Schabuhr ) I. dedicated font Schabuhragan longer fragments have been preserved. Numerous other works dogmatic and homiletic content and hymns of Mani, his students and much later followers have become fragmentary known from Turfan.


Apart from the Manichaean texts, for which recording was the very loud true Manichean font usage, all Middle Persian text testimonials are in the hetero- graphic writing system goes back to Aramaic written to the fall of the Sassanid Empire, whose specific Persian variant ( the inscriptions, coins, papyri, books etc. ) is traditionally called Pahlavischrift. If this script was ever further simplified and its character shapes to annäherten strong side in the cursive book hand - the complexity of the system but is illustrated by the number of nearly 1000 Straight grams - so 's her main characteristic of conservatism or historicism: Up to recent texts virtually unchanged conventions reflect namely against the state language of Arsakidenzeit and did not correspond to the current situation. According to the state of such written texts is to close only by comparison with the other sources. Because in nachsassanidischer time the knowledge of this font but gradually lost, Zoroastrian texts were then partially recorded in Avestan or in the new Persian alphabet. One calls this mechanical conversions Pasand or Parsi texts and may sometimes refer to them insightful clues to the actual sound level this late period. The problems of description (be it a unique transliteration or an interpretive transcription) of this document for which a uniform procedure has not been found to date are large.

Overview of the Middle Persian grammar



The Middle Persian has singular and plural. The singular is not marked. The plural is marked by the suffixes - ān from Old Persian - Anam IHA - Singular forms can denote plurals according to number words or quantitiven pronouns: Example: dō bunistag " two fundamental principles " what kas " many people "

In addition, the Middle Persian knows the Abstraktsuffix -IH, which also acts as a collective noun or plural: zanīh "Women" gurgīh "Wolves " šēdaspīh " Romans " ( eigl. " white horses off" )


The Middle Persian is different, but not consistently and in later texts less and less direct ( nominative; emerged from the nominative Old Persian singular -a, Avestan - ō ), and an oblique form (all other case, from Old Persian genitive singular ahya, Avestan - ahe; genitive plural -ā/ī/ūnām ):

In addition, the following markings have at r strains obtained

Adjectives can be found in addition to simple adjectives as compound words, participles, agent nouns. Adjectives inflect like nouns. The word order is optional: frēstagān wuzurgān = wuzurgān frēstagān

Word order in nouns

A) The governing noun precedes the dependent noun preceded: 1 with relative particle ( Ezāfe ): xwadāy ī xwadāyān " Lord of Lords " the hurt ī " good religion" pus ī you " my son " 2 Without relative particle: Pusan ​​rōšnān "Sons of Light" ' šahryār wuzurg "the great prince " " A handful of trophies " dast - ē Jam: If the governing noun is marked with the indefinite article, there is no Ezāfe kanīzag - ē hurt " a good girl " B) The dependent noun is the reigning above: Eran Sahr "land of the Iranians " ādarān saw "King of Fire" garm xwarišn " hot food " one pus " my son " Example record for a relative pronoun as direct object: u - mān mā bar ō gumāngarīh " And lead us not into temptation "


Can be increased:

A) comparative: - tar, - is ( after a vowel, r m, n ) As Komparationsartikel act az and kū az wad Wattar " worse than bad" came Wattar ast kū "it's not as bad as " B) superlative: - tom, - dom ( after a vowel, r m, n ) Some adjectives take a Superlativsuffix - is: wahišt "paradise"


Verbal personal endings in the present stem


Participle of the present tense AG - and - ān, and froze training on -and. Necessitatis participle or verbal noun -ISN. The past participle -t,- tag Together with the copula form the past participles, the past tenses. Infinitive: -tan