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Aramaic Documents from Ancient Bactria (Fourth Century BCE.)

Aramaic Documents from Ancient Bactria
(Fourth Century BCE.)

Published 2012

Joseph Naveh and Shaul Shaked

This is the first publication of a group of 30 documents on leather in Official Aramaic, dating to the 4th century bc and reflecting the practice of the Achaemenian administration in Bactria and Sogdiana. Eighteen inscribed wooden sticks, for use as tallies, dated to the third year of King Darius III, are also included. They are considered to be the second most important discovery of its type known. Two of the leather documents relate to the fall of the Persian Empire: one mentions Bessus, the usurper of the Persian throne, travelling to Warnu (Greek Aornos); the other is a long list of supplies in the year 7 of King Alexander. In addition to their valuable historical contents, the documents enrich our knowledge of Aramaic and its lexicon. The documents are given in Aramaic with translation, introduction, commentary and glossary. The volume is lavishly illustrated.

About the author(s)

The late Joseph Naveh (1928 – 2011) was professor emeritus of West Semitic epigraphy and palaeography at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. He has published numerous books and articles on Aramaic, including Syriac, Nabatean and Mandaic, as well as Hebrew and Phoenician inscriptions. Among his books: Early history of the alphabet, Jerusalem (second revised edition, 1987); Studies in West-Semitic epigraphy. Selected papers, Jerusalem 2009.

Shaul Shaked is professor emeritus of Iranian Studies and Comparative Religion at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. His publications include Amulets and magic bowls: Aramaic incantations of Late Antiquity, Jerusalem (3rd edition, 1998), Magic spells and formulae, Jerusalem, both with Joseph Naveh; Wisdom of the Sasanian Sages, Boulder 1979; Dualism in transformation, London 1994; From Zoroastrian Iran to Islam: studies in religious history and intercultural contacts, Aldershot, 1995.


294 pages; 32 x 25 cm; fully illustrated in colour; hardback with dust jacket; ISBN: 978-1-874780-74-8


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