Elamite language

Elamite is an extinct language that was spoken by the ancient Elamites. It was used in present-day southwestern Iran from 2600 BC to 330 BC.[2] The last written records in Elamite appear around the conquest of the Achaemenid Empire by Alexander the Great. Elamite is generally thought to have no demonstrable relatives and is usually considered a language isolate. The lack of established relatives makes its interpretation difficult.[3]

Tablet of Elamite script
Native toElamite Empire
RegionMiddle East
Erac. 2800–300 BC
Early forms
language of Proto-Elamite?
Elamite cuneiform
Language codes
ISO 639-2elx
ISO 639-3elx

Writing system

Elamite cuneiform, adapted from Akkadian cuneiform, was used from c. 2500 to 331 BC. Elamite cuneiform was largely a syllabary of some 130 glyphs at any one time and retained only a few logograms from Akkadian but, over time, the number of logograms increased.

The complete corpus of Elamite cuneiform consists of c. 20 thousand tablets and fragments. The majority belong to the Achaemenid era, and contain primarily economic records.

Two earlier scripts of the area remain undeciphered but plausibly have encoded Elamite:

  • Proto-Elamite is the oldest known writing system from Iran. It was used during a brief period of time (c. 3100 – 2900 BC); clay tablets with Proto-Elamite writing have been found at different sites across Iran. It is thought to have developed from early cuneiform (proto-cuneiform) and consists of more than 1,000 signs. It is thought to be largely logographic.
  • Linear Elamite is attested in a few monumental inscriptions. It is often claimed that Linear Elamite is a syllabic writing system derived from Proto-Elamite, but it cannot be proven. Linear Elamite was used for a very brief period of time during the last quarter of the third millennium BC.

Linguistic typology

Elamite is an agglutinative language,[4] and its grammar was characterized by a well-developed and pervasive nominal class system. Animate nouns have separate markers for first, second and third person, a rather unusual feature. It can be said to display a kind of Suffixaufnahme in that the nominal class markers of the head are also attached to any modifiers, including adjectives, noun adjuncts, possessor nouns and even entire clauses.


Naram-Sin stele inscription in Elamite
Inscription of Shutruk-Nahhunte in Elamite, circa 1150 BC, on the Victory Stele of Naram-Sin.

The history of Elamite is periodised as follows:

  • Old Elamite (c. 2600–1500 BC)
  • Middle Elamite (c. 1500–1000 BC)
  • Neo-Elamite (1000–550 BC)
  • Achaemenid Elamite (550–330 BC)

Middle Elamite is considered the “classical” period of Elamite, but the best attested variety is Achaemenid Elamite,[5] which was widely used by the Achaemenid Persian state for official inscriptions as well as administrative records and displays significant Old Persian influence. Documents from the Old Elamite and early Neo-Elamite stages are rather scarce.

Neo-Elamite can be regarded as a transition between Middle and Achaemenid Elamite, with respect to language structure.


Because of the limitations of the language's scripts, its phonology is not well understood.

Its consonants included at least stops /p/, /t/ and /k/, sibilants /s/, /ʃ/ and /z/ (with an uncertain pronunciation), nasals /m/ and /n/, liquids /l/ and /r/ and fricative /h/, which was lost in late Neo-Elamite. Some peculiarities of the spelling have been interpreted as suggesting that there was a contrast between two series of stops (/p/, /t/, /k/ as opposed to /b/, /d/, /g/), but in general, such a distinction was not consistently indicated by written Elamite.

Elamite had at least the vowels /a/, /i/, and /u/ and may also have had /e/, which was not generally expressed unambiguously.

Roots were generally CV, (C)VC, (C)VCV or, more rarely, CVCCV (the first C was usually a nasal).


Elamite is agglutinative but with fewer morphemes per word than, for example, Sumerian or Hurrian and Urartian and it uses mostly suffixing.


The Elamite nominal system is thoroughly pervaded by a noun class distinction, which combines a gender distinction between animate and inanimate with a personal class distinction, corresponding to the three persons of verbal inflection (first, second, third, plural).
The suffixes are as follows:

1st person singular: -k
2nd person singular: -t
3rd person singular: -r or Ø
3rd person plural: -p


, -me, -n, -t

The animate third-person suffix -r can serve as a nominalizing suffix and indicate nomen agentis or just members of a class. The inanimate third-person singular suffix -me forms abstracts: sunki-k “a king (first person)” i.e. “I, a king”, sunki-r “a king (third person)”, nap-Ø or nap-ir “a god (third person)”, sunki-p “kings”, nap-ip “gods”, sunki-me “kingdom, kingship”, hal-Ø “town, land”, siya-n “temple”, hala-t “mud brick”.

Modifiers follow their (nominal) heads. In noun phrases and pronoun phrases, the suffixes referring to the head are appended to the modifier, regardless of whether the modifier is another noun (such as a possessor) or an adjective. Sometimes the suffix is preserved on the head as well:

u šak X-k(i) = “I, the son of X”
X šak Y-r(i) = “X, the son of Y”
u sunki-k Hatamti-k = “I, the king of Elam”
sunki Hatamti-p (or, sometimes, sunki-p Hatamti-p) = “the kings of Elam”
temti riša-r = “great lord” (lit. “lord great”)
riša-r nap-ip-ir = “greatest of the gods” (lit. "great of the gods")
nap-ir u-ri = my god (lit. “god of me”)
hiya-n nap-ir u-ri-me = the throne hall of my god
takki-me puhu nika-me-me = “the life of our children”
sunki-p uri-p u-p(e) = ”kings, my predecessors” (lit. “kings, predecessors of me”)

This system, in which the noun class suffixes function as derivational morphemes as well as agreement markers and indirectly as subordinating morphemes, is best seen in Middle Elamite. It was, to a great extent, broken down in Achaemenid Elamite, where possession and, sometimes, attributive relationships are uniformly expressed with the “genitive case” suffix -na appended to the modifier: e.g. šak X-na “son of X”. The suffix -na, which probably originated from the inanimate agreement suffix -n followed by the nominalizing particle -a (see below), appeared already in Neo-Elamite.

The personal pronouns distinguish nominative and accusative case forms. They are as follows:

Case 1st sg. 2nd sg. 3rd sg. 1st pl. 2nd pl. 3rd pl. Inanimate
Nominative u ni/nu i/hi nika/nuku num/numi ap/appi i/in
Accusative un nun ir/in nukun numun appin i/in

In general, no special possessive pronouns are needed in view of the construction with the noun class suffixes. Nevertheless, a set of separate third-person animate possessives -e (sing.) / appi-e (plur.) is occasionally used already in Middle Elamite: puhu-e “her children”, hiš-api-e “their name”. The relative pronouns are akka “who” and appa “what, which”.


Seal of Darius the Great
Seal of Darius the Great hunting in a chariot, reading "I am Darius, the Great King" in Old Persian (𐎠𐎭𐎶𐏐𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁𐎴 𐏋, "adam Dārayavaʰuš xšāyaθiya"), as well as in Elamite and Babylonian. The word 'great' only appears in Babylonian. British Museum.[6][7]

The verb base can be simple (ta- “put”) or “reduplicated” (beti > bepti “rebel”). The pure verb base can function as a verbal noun, or “infinitive”.

The verb distinguishes three forms functioning as finite verbs, known as “conjugations”. Conjugation I is the only one with special endings characteristic of finite verbs as such, as shown below. Its use is mostly associated with active voice, transitivity (or verbs of motion), neutral aspect and past tense meaning. Conjugations II and III can be regarded as periphrastic constructions with participles; they are formed by the addition of the nominal personal class suffixes to a passive perfective participle in -k and to an active imperfective participle in -n, respectively. Accordingly, conjugation II expresses a perfective aspect, hence usually past tense, and an intransitive or passive voice, whereas conjugation III expresses an imperfective non-past action.

The Middle Elamite conjugation I is formed with the following suffixes:

1st singular: -h
2nd singular: -t
3rd singular:
1st plural: -hu
2nd plural: -h-t
3rd plural: -h-š

Examples: kulla-h ”I prayed”, hap-t ”you heard”, hutta-š “he did”, kulla-hu “we prayed”, hutta-h-t “you (plur.) did”, hutta-h-š “they did”.

In Achaemenid Elamite, the loss of the /h/ reduces the transparency of the Conjugation I endings and leads to the merger of the singular and plural except in the first person; in addition, the first-person plural changes from -hu to -ut.

The participles can be exemplified as follows: perfective participle hutta-k “done”, kulla-k “something prayed”, i.e. “a prayer”; imperfective participle hutta-n “doing” or “who will do”, also serving as a non-past infinitive. The corresponding conjugation is, for the perfective, first person singular hutta-k-k, second person singular hutta-k-t, third person singular hutta-k-r, third person plural hutta-k-p; and for the imperfective, 1st person singular hutta-n-k, 2nd person singular hutta-n-t, 3rd person singular hutta-n-r, 3rd person plural hutta-n-p.

In Achaemenid Elamite, the Conjugation 2 endings are somewhat changed: 1st person singular hutta-k-ut, 2nd person singular hutta-k-t, 3rd person singular hutta-k (hardly ever attested in predicative use), 3rd person plural hutta-p.

There is also a periphrastic construction with an auxiliary verb ma- following either Conjugation II and III stems (i.e. the perfective and imperfective participles), or nomina agentis in -r, or a verb base directly. In Achaemenid Elamite, only the third option exists. There is no consensus on the exact meaning of the periphrastic forms with ma-, but durative, intensive or volitional interpretations have been suggested.[8]

The optative is expressed by the addition of the suffix -ni to Conjugations I and II. The imperative is identical to the second person of Conjugation I in Middle Elamite. In Achaemenid Elamite, it is the third person that coincides with the imperative. The prohibitative is formed by the particle ani/ani preceding Conjugation III.

Verbal forms can be converted into the heads of subordinate clauses through the addition of the suffix -a, much as in Sumerian: siyan in-me kuši-hš(i)-me-a “the temple which they did not build”. -ti/-ta can be suffixed to verbs, chiefly of conjugation I, expressing possibly a meaning of anteriority (perfect and pluperfect tense).

The negative particle is in-; it takes nominal class suffixes that agree with the subject of attention (which may or may not coincide with the grammatical subject): first-person singular in-ki, third-person singular animate in-ri, third-person singular inanimate in-ni/in-me. In Achaemenid Elamite, the inanimate form in-ni has been generalized to all persons, and concord has been lost.


Nominal heads are normally followed by their modifiers, but there are occasional inversions. Word order is subject–object–verb (SOV), with indirect objects preceding direct objects, but it becomes more flexible in Achaemenid Elamite. There are often resumptive pronouns before the verb – often long sequences, especially in Middle Elamite (ap u in duni-h "to-them I it gave").

The language uses postpositions such as -ma "in" and -na "of", but spatial and temporal relationships are generally expressed in Middle Elamite by means of "directional words" originating as nouns or verbs. They can precede or follow the governed nouns and tend to exhibit noun class agreement with whatever noun is described by the prepositional phrase: i-r pat-r u-r ta-t-ni "may you place him under me", lit. "him inferior of-me place-you-may". In Achaemenid Elamite, postpositions become more common and partly displace that type of construction.

A common conjunction is ak "and, or". Achaemenid Elamite also uses a number of subordinating conjunctions such as anka "if, when" and sap "as, when". Subordinate clauses usually precede the verb of the main clause. In Middle Elamite, the most common way to construct a relative clause is to attach a nominal class suffix to the clause-final verb, optionally followed by the relativizing suffix -a: thus, lika-me i-r hani-š-r(i) "whose reign he loves", or optionally lika-me i-r hani-š-r-a. The alternative construction by means of the relative pronouns akka "who" and appa "which" is uncommon in Middle Elamite, but gradually becomes dominant at the expense of the nominal class suffix construction in Achaemenid Elamite.

Language samples

Middle Elamite (Šutruk-Nahhunte I, 1200–1160 BC; EKI 18, IRS 33):


(1) ú DIŠšu-ut-ru-uk-d.nah-hu-un-te ša-ak DIŠhal-lu-du-uš-din-šu-ši-

(2) -na-ak-gi-ik su-un-ki-ik an-za-an šu-šu-un-ka4 e-ri-en-

(3) -tu4-um ti-pu-uh a-ak hi-ya-an din-šu-ši-na-ak na-pír

(4) ú-ri-me a-ha-an ha-li-ih-ma hu-ut-tak ha-li-ku-me

(5) din-šu-ši-na-ak na-pír ú-ri in li-na te-la-ak-ni


U Šutruk-Nahhunte, šak Halluduš-Inšušinak-ik, sunki-k Anzan Šušun-ka. Erientum tipu-h ak hiya-n Inšušinak nap-ir u-ri-me ahan hali-h-ma. hutta-k hali-k u-me Inšušinak nap-ir u-ri in lina tela-k-ni.


I, Šutruk-Nahhunte, son of Halluduš-Inšušinak, king of Anshan and Susa. I moulded bricks and made the throne hall of my god Inšušinak with them. May my work come as an offering to my god Inšušinak.

Achaemenid Elamite (Xerxes I, 486–465 BC; XPa):


(01) [sect 01] dna-ap ir-šá-ir-ra du-ra-mas-da ak-ka4 mu-ru-un
(02) hi pè-iš-tá ak-ka4 dki-ik hu-ip-pè pè-iš-tá ak-ka4 DIŠ
(03) LÚ.MEŠ-ir-ra ir pè-iš-tá ak-ka4 ši-ia-ti-iš pè-iš-tá DIŠ
(04) LÚ.MEŠ-ra-na ak-ka4 DIŠik-še-ir-iš-šá DIŠEŠŠANA ir hu-ut-taš-
(05) tá ki-ir ir-še-ki-ip-in-na DIŠEŠŠANA ki-ir ir-še-ki-ip-
(06) in-na pír-ra-ma-ut-tá-ra-na-um


Nap irša-rra Uramasda, akka muru-n hi pe-š-ta, akka kik hupe pe-š-ta, akka ruh(?)-irra ir pe-š-ta, akka šiatiš pe-š-ta ruh(?)-ra-na, akka Ikšerša sunki(?) ir hutta-š-ta kir iršeki-pi-na sunki(?), kir iršeki-pi-na piramataram.


A great god is Ahura Mazda, who created this earth, who created that sky, who created man, who created happiness of man, who made Xerxes king, one king of many, one lord of many.

Relations to other language families

Elamite is regarded by the vast majority of linguists as a language isolate,[9][10][11] as it has no demonstrable relationship to the neighbouring Semitic languages, Indo-European languages, or to Sumerian, despite having adopted the Sumerian-Akkadian cuneiform script. An Elamo-Dravidian family connecting Elamite with the Dravidian languages of India was suggested by Igor M. Diakonoff and later defended by David McAlpin.[12] Václav Blažek proposed a relation with the Semitic languages,[13] and George Starostin published a lexicostatistic analysis finding Elamite to be approximately equidistant from Nostratic and Semitic,[14] but these ideas have not been accepted by mainstream historical linguists.


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Elamite". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Stolper, Matthew W. 2008. Elamite. In The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Aksum. p. 47-50.
  3. ^ Elamite (2005). Keith Brown, ed. Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (2 ed.). Elsevier. ISBN 0-08-044299-4.
  4. ^ Stolper, Matthew W. 2008. Elamite. In The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Aksum. p. 60.
  5. ^ Brown, Keith and Sarah Ogilvie. Concise encyclopedia of languages of the world. P.316
  6. ^ The Darius Seal.
  7. ^ Darius' seal: photo - Livius.
  8. ^ Stolper, Matthew W. 2008. Elamite. In The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Aksum. P. 67
  9. ^ Roger Blench, Matthew Spriggs (eds.)(2003), "Archaeology and Language I: Theoretical and Methodological Orientations", Routledge, p.125
  10. ^ Roger D. Woodard (ed.)(2008), "The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Aksum", Cambridge University Press, p.3
  11. ^ Amalia E. Gnanadesikan (2011), "The Writing Revolution: Cuneiform to the Internet", John Wiley & Sons
  12. ^ David McAlpin, "Toward Proto-Elamo-Dravidian", Language vol. 50 no. 1 (1974); David McAlpin: "Elamite and Dravidian, Further Evidence of Relationships", Current Anthropology vol. 16 no. 1 (1975); David McAlpin: "Linguistic prehistory: the Dravidian situation", in Madhav M. Deshpande and Peter Edwin Hook: Aryan and Non-Aryan in India, Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1979); David McAlpin, "Proto-Elamo-Dravidian: The Evidence and its Implications", Transactions of the American Philosophical Society vol. 71 pt. 3, (1981)
  13. ^ Blench 2006, p. 96
  14. ^ Starostin 2002


  • Stolper, Matthew W. 2008. Elamite. In Woodard, Roger D. (ed.) The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Aksum. P.60–95.
  • Khačikjan, Margaret: The Elamite Language, Documenta Asiana IV, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche Istituto per gli Studi Micenei ed Egeo-Anatolici, 1998 ISBN 88-87345-01-5
  • Paper H. (1955). The phonology and morphology of Royal Achaemenid Elamite. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
  • Potts, Daniel T.: The archaeology of Elam: formation and transformation of an ancient Iranian state, Cambridge U., 1999 ISBN 0-521-56496-4 and ISBN 0-521-56358-5
  • Starostin, George: On the genetic affiliation of the Elamite language in Mother Tongue (ISSN 1087-0326), vol. VII, 2002, pp. 147–17
  • Blench, Roger (2006). Archaeology, Language, and the African Past. Rowman Altamira. ISBN 978-0-7591-0466-2. Retrieved 30 June 2013.

External links


Achaemenes () was the apical ancestor of the Achaemenid dynasty of rulers of Persia.

Other than his role as apical ancestor, nothing is known of his life or actions. It is quite possible that Achaemenes was only the mythical ancestor of the Persian royal house, but if Achaemenes was an historical person, he would have lived around the end of the 8th century and the beginning of the 7th century BC.


Babylon was a key kingdom in ancient Mesopotamia from the 18th to 6th centuries BC. The city was built on the Euphrates river and divided in equal parts along its left and right banks, with steep embankments to contain the river's seasonal floods. Babylon was originally a small Akkadian town dating from the period of the Akkadian Empire c. 2300 BC.

The town became part of a small independent city-state with the rise of the First Babylonian dynasty in the 19th century BC. After the Amorite king Hammurabi created a short-lived empire in the 18th century BC, he built Babylon up into a major city and declared himself its king, and southern Mesopotamia became known as Babylonia and Babylon eclipsed Nippur as its holy city. The empire waned under Hammurabi's son Samsu-iluna and Babylon spent long periods under Assyrian, Kassite and Elamite domination. After being destroyed and then rebuilt by the Assyrians, Babylon became the capital of the short lived Neo-Babylonian Empire from 609 to 539 BC. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, although a number of scholars believe these were actually in the Assyrian capital of Nineveh. After the fall of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, the city came under the rule of the Achaemenid, Seleucid, Parthian, Roman, and Sassanid empires.

It has been estimated that Babylon was the largest city in the world c. 1770 – c. 1670 BC, and again c. 612 – c. 320 BC. It was perhaps the first city to reach a population above 200,000. Estimates for the maximum extent of its area range from 890 to 900 hectares (2,200 acres).The remains of the city are in present-day Hillah, Babil Governorate, Iraq, about 85 kilometres (53 mi) south of Baghdad, comprising a large tell of broken mud-brick buildings and debris.

The main sources of information about Babylon—excavation of the site itself, references in cuneiform texts found elsewhere in Mesopotamia, references in the Bible, descriptions in classical writing (especially by Herodotus), and second-hand descriptions (citing the work of Ctesias and Berossus)—present an incomplete and sometimes contradictory picture of the ancient city even at its peak in the sixth century BC.


Cuneiform or Sumerian cuneiform, one of the earliest systems of writing, was invented by the Sumerians. It is distinguished by its wedge-shaped marks on clay tablets, made by means of a blunt reed for a stylus. The name cuneiform itself simply means "wedge shaped".Emerging in Sumer in the late fourth millennium BC (the Uruk IV period) to convey the Sumerian language, which was a language isolate, cuneiform writing began as a system of pictograms, stemming from an earlier system of shaped tokens used for accounting. In the third millennium, the pictorial representations became simplified and more abstract as the number of characters in use grew smaller (Hittite cuneiform). The system consists of a combination of logophonetic, consonantal alphabetic and syllabic signs.

The original Sumerian script was adapted for the writing of the Semitic Akkadian (Assyrian/Babylonian), Eblaite and Amorite languages, the language isolates Elamite, Hattic, Hurrian and Urartian, as well as Indo-European languages Hittite and Luwian; it inspired the later Semitic Ugaritic alphabet as well as Old Persian cuneiform. Cuneiform writing was gradually replaced by the Phoenician alphabet during the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911–612 BC). By the second century AD, the script had become extinct, its last traces being found in Assyria and Babylonia, and all knowledge of how to read it was lost until it began to be deciphered in the 19th century.

Between half a million and two million cuneiform tablets are estimated to have been excavated in modern times, of which only approximately 30,000–100,000 have been read or published. The British Museum holds the largest collection (c. 130,000), followed by the Vorderasiatisches Museum Berlin, the Louvre, the Istanbul Archaeology Museums, the National Museum of Iraq, the Yale Babylonian Collection (c. 40,000) and Penn Museum. Most of these have "lain in these collections for a century without being translated, studied or published", as there are only a few hundred qualified cuneiformists in the world.

Darius (given name)

Darius (Persian: داریوش) is a male given name. Etymologically it is the English transliteration of the Persian name Dariush, meaning "he possesses" or "rich and kingly". The name also has another meaning: "He who holds firm to good."

Darius the Great's Suez Inscriptions

Darius the Great's Suez Inscriptions were texts written in Old Persian, Elamite, Babylonian and Egyptian on five monuments erected in Wadi Tumilat, commemorating the opening of a canal between the Nile and the Bitter Lakes.The best preserved of these monuments was a stele of pink granite, which was discovered by Charles de Lesseps, Ferdinand de Lesseps's son, in 1866, 30 kilometers from Suez near Kabret in Egypt. It was erected by Darius the Great, king of the Achaemenid Empire (or Persia), whose reign lasted from 522 BCE to 486 BCE. The monument, also known as the Chalouf stele (alt. Shaluf Stele), records the construction of a forerunner of the modern Suez Canal by the Persians, a canal through Wadi Tumilat, connecting the easternmost, Bubastite, branch of the Nile with Lake Timsah which was connected to the Red Sea by natural waterways. The stated purpose of the canal was the creation of a shipping connection between the Nile and the Red Sea, between Egypt and Persia.


Dariush (Persian: داریوش; also spelled Darioush) is a common Persian male given name in Iran, and was the throne name of Darius the Great and two other kings of the Achaemenid dynasty, which thus enjoyed considerable popularity among noblemen in later periods. Historically it has translated into English and Latin as "Darius".


Elam (; Elamite: 𒁹𒄬𒆷𒁶𒋾 haltamti; Sumerian: 𒉏𒈠𒆠 NIM.MAki; Hebrew: עֵילָם‎ ʿÊlām) was an ancient Pre-Iranian civilization centered in the far west and southwest of what is now modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of what is now Khuzestan and Ilam Province as well as a small part of southern Iraq. The modern name Elam stems from the Sumerian transliteration elam(a), along with the later Akkadian elamtu, and the Elamite haltamti. Elamite states were among the leading political forces of the Ancient Near East. In classical literature Elam was also known as Susiana (US: UK: ; Ancient Greek: Σουσιανή Sousiānḗ), a name derived from its capital Susa.Elam was part of the early urbanization during the Chalcolithic period (Copper Age). The emergence of written records from around 3000 BC also parallels Sumerian history, where slightly earlier records have been found. In the Old Elamite period (Middle Bronze Age), Elam consisted of kingdoms on the Iranian plateau, centered in Anshan, and from the mid-2nd millennium BC, it was centered in Susa in the Khuzestan lowlands. Its culture played a crucial role during the Persian Achaemenid dynasty that succeeded Elam, when the Elamite language remained among those in official use. Elamite is generally considered a language isolate unrelated to the much later arriving Persian and Iranic languages. In accordance with geographical and archaeological matches, some historians argue that the Elamites comprise a large portion of the ancestors of the modern day Lurs, whose language, Luri, split from Middle Persian.

Elamite cuneiform

Elamite cuneiform was a logo-syllabic script used to write the Elamite language. The complete corpus of Elamite cuneiform consists of c. 20,000 tablets and fragments. The majority belong to the Achaemenid era, and contain primarily economic records.

Elamo-Dravidian languages

The Elamo-Dravidian language family is a hypothesised language family that links the Dravidian languages of India to the extinct Elamite language of ancient Elam (present-day southwestern Iran). Linguist David McAlpin has been a chief proponent of the Elamo-Dravidian hypothesis. According to McAlpin, the long-extinct Harappan language (the language or languages of the Indus Valley Civilization) might also have been part of this family. The hypothesis has gained attention in academic circles, but has been subject to serious criticism by linguists, and remains only one of several scenarios for the origins of the Dravidian languages. Elamite is accepted by scholars to be a language isolate, unrelated to any other known language.

Eshkaft-e Salman

Eshkaft-e Salman, or Shikaft-i Salman, is a cave with four reliefs, dated to circa the 12th century BCE, inside and outside the cave on the south of the Izeh, near the city in Khuzestan, southwest Iran.

Jar of Xerxes I

The Jar of Xerxes I is a jar in calcite or alabaster, an alabastra, with the quadrilingual signature of Achaemenid ruler Xerxes I (ruled 486–465 BC), which was discovered in the ruins of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, in Caria, modern Turkey, at the foot of the western staircase.


Kiririsha, the 'Lady of Liyan,' was worshiped principally in the south of Elam. Along with Khumban and In-shushinak, she formed the supreme triad of the Elamite pantheon. Pinikir, another goddess, was held in the same regard in the north of Elam, but "as the centre of the kingdom gradually shifted southward, she became less important, and gave place to the 'lady of Liyan', Kiririsha."Kiririsha, strictly translated, means "the great goddess," in the Elamite language. This reflects a feature of the Elamite pantheon, and, likely, other ancient pagan religions of Western Asia—that of the "ill-defined character of the individual gods and goddesses. ...Most of them were not only ineffable beings whose real name was either not uttered or was unknown, but also sublime ideas, not to be exactly defined by the human race."The king, Khumban-Numena, had "a chapel built at Liyan (an Elamite port on the Persian Gulf)...dedicated exclusively to Kiririsha."Kiririsha was sometimes merely called "'the Great' or 'the divine mother'."

Kul-e Farah

Kul-e Farah (or "Kul-e Fara") is the site of six Elamite rock reliefs that are located in a gorge on the plain's east side. Kul-e Farah is located near the city of Izeh in Khuzestan, southwest Iran. The reliefs were first visited in European research by Austen Henry Layard in 1841. Layard copied the 24-line cuneiform inscription on relief I, and five of the short epigraphs on some of the figures.It has been suggested that this is a kind of open sanctuary for religious ceremonies involving the sacrifice of animals. Three are on rock faces, while the other three are on large boulders. They depict scenes of sacrifice, processions and a banquet, and three show groups of musicians. The inscription on relief I mentions Hanni, the son of Tahhi, and is therefore dated to Hanni's time (7th century BCE?). But the reliefs may belong to several periods, with reliefs III, IV, and VI dated to the end of the 2nd or the beginning of the 1st millennium BCE.


Kutik-Inshushinak (also known as Puzur-Inshushinak) was king of Elam around 2100 BC, and the last from the Awan dynasty according to the Susa kinglist.His father was Shinpi-khish-khuk, the crown prince, and most likely a brother of king Khita. Kutik-Inshushinak's first position was as governor of Susa, which he may have held from a young age. About 2110 BC, his father died, and he became crown prince in his stead.

Elam had been under the domination of Akkad since the time of Sargon, and Kutik-Inshushinak accordingly campaigned in the Zagros mountains on their behalf. He was greatly successful as his conquests seem to have gone beyond the initial mission.

In 2090 BC, he asserted his independence from Akkad, which had been weakening ever since the death of Naram-Sin, thus making himself king of Elam. He conquered Anshan and managed to unite most of Elam into one kingdom. He built extensively on the citadel at Susa, and encouraged the use of the Linear Elamite script to write the Elamite language. This may be seen as a reaction against Sargon's attempt to force the use of Akkadian. Most inscriptions in Linear Elamite date from the reign of Kutik-Inshushinak.

His achievements were not long-lasting, for after his death the linear script fell into disuse, and Susa was overrun by the Third dynasty of Ur, while Elam fell under control of Simashki dynasty (also Elamite origin).It is now known that his reign in Elam overlapped with that of Ur-Nammu of Ur-III, although the previous lengthy estimates of the duration of the intervening Gutian dynasty and rule of Utu-hengal of Uruk had not allowed for that synchronism.

Linear Elamite

Linear Elamite is an undeciphered Bronze Age writing system used in Elam, known from a few monumental inscriptions only. It was used contemporaneously with Elamite Cuneiform and possibly records the Elamite language.


Paropamisadae or Parapamisadae was a satrapy of the Alexandrian Empire in modern Afghanistan and Pakistan, which largely coincided with the Achaemenid province of Parupraesanna. It consisted of the districts of Sattagydia, Gandhara, Buner and Udyana. Paruparaesanna is mentioned in the Akkadian language and Elamite language versions of the Behistun Inscription of Darius the Great, whereas in the Old Persian version it is called Gandāra. The entire satrapy was subsequently ceded by Seleucus I Nicator to Chandragupta Maurya following a treaty.


The Proto-Elamite period is the time from ca. 3400 BC to 2500 BC. In archaeological terms this corresponds to the late Banesh period, and it is recognized as the oldest civilization in Iran.

The Proto-Elamite script is an Early Bronze Age writing system briefly in use before the introduction of Elamite cuneiform.


A treasury is either

A government department related to finance and taxation.

A place or Schatzkammer where currency or precious items like gold, diamonds etc. are kept.The head of a treasury is typically known as a treasurer. This position may not necessarily have the final control over the actions of the treasury, particularly if they are not an elected representative.

The adjective for a treasury is normally treasurial. The adjective "tresorial" can also be used, but this normally means pertaining to a treasurer.

Xerxes I's inscription at Van

Xerxes I's inscription at Van, also known as the XV inscription, is a trilingual cuneiform inscription of the Achaemenid King Xerxes I (r. 486–465 BC). It is located on the southern slope of a mountain adjacent to the Van Fortress, near Lake Van in present-day Turkey. When inscribed it was located in the Achaemenid province of Armenia. The inscription is inscribed on a smoothed section of the rock face near the fortress, approximately 20 metres (70 feet) above the ground. The niche was originally carved out by Xerxes' father, King Darius (r. 522–486 BC), but he left the surface blank.

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