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Important archaeological site in western Iran (also Behistun; Bagestana; Bisutun).

On a limestone cliff in Lorestan province, Iran, is a ruined town and a monument to Darius the Great (550486 b.c.e.), consisting of sculpture and cuneiform inscriptions that are considered the "Rosetta Stone of Asia" (its deciphering by Henry Rawlinson in 1846 led to our knowledge of Assyrian and Babylonian). Carved in 520 b.c.e., it shows Darius and two companions facing nine defeated rebels, accompanied by an inscription in Elamite, Old Persian, and Babylonian describing Darius's restoration of the Persian monarchy.

The site also contains remains of various epochs, notably Hellenistic and Parthian rock reliefs and a rock-cut terrace (called Teras-e Farhad) of Kosrow I and three capitals from his palace. A modern village of the same names exists at the base of the cliff.

see also iran.


Schmitt, Rüdiger. The Bisitun Inscriptions of Darius the Great (Old Persian text). London: School of Oriental and African Studies for Corpus Inscriptionum Iranicarum, 1991.

Voigtlander, Elizabeth N. von. The Bisitun Inscription of Darius the Great (Babylonian). London: Lund Humphries for Corpus Inscriptionum Iranicarum, 1978.

A. Shapur Shahbazi

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