Darius I Persepolis

Darius I Persepolis Tablets

In 1938, archaeologists from the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute uncovered, at the ancient Persian capital of Persepolis, a foundation deposit consisting of  two gold and two silver tablets in a stone box in the northeast corner of the Apadana palace. The inscription on each of the plates was the same and reads, “Darius the great king, king of kings, king of countries, son of Hystaspes, an Achaemenid. King Darius says: This is the kingdom which I hold, from the Sacae who are beyond Sogdia to Nubia, and from Sind to Lydia – [this is] what Ahuramazda, the greatest of gods, bestowed upon me. May Ahuramazda protect me and my royal house!” It is inscribed in cuneiform script in three different languages, Old Persian (10 lines), Akkadian (the language of ancient Assyria and Babylon, 7 lines), and Elamite (the language of Elam in southern Persia, 8 lines). Darius I was king of Persia 550-486 BC.

The stone box included a lid and was covered by a large flat round stone, as shown in the photo taken at the time of discovery. The plates, along with the box in which they were found, are on display at the national museum in Tehran, Iran.

A photograph of the plates was published in the Improvement Era for March, 1942, p. 151 and a photo of one of the gold plates graced the cover of the April 1962 issue of the same magazine (see photo).