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Middle Persian (Pahlavi)



The Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations (Language)
St. George

An introduction to the grammar and syntax of Middle Persian, or Pahlavi, language; the special script it was written in; and the connections of Pahlavi to Old Persian and New Persian languages. Knowledge of Pahlavi provides access to the most important Zoroastrian religious texts, and the epic and wisdom literature composed during the period of the Sasanian empire (3rd–7th centuries CE) and early Islamic Iran (8th–10th centuries CE). Students will read excerpts, in the original Pahlavi, from such works as Arda Wiraz Namag (Book of the Righteous Wiraz, describing his journey to heaven and hell), Karnamag i Ardakhshir i Pabagan (Chronicle of Ardakhshir, Son of Pabag, narrating the deeds of the first Sasanian king), and Bundahishn (Primordial Creation, on Zoroastrian cosmology).