Enhancing the Persian element – Abu Kalijar’s inscription, Persepolis 438/1046

Finding a Buyid inscription carved on the stones of the ancient palace of Darius, in Persepolis, does not seem to be anything new. And indeed it is not.

Anyway, the fourth Buyid inscription of Persepolis, carved to commemorate Abu Kalijar, grandson of Baha’a al-Dawla, is quite interesting for some peculiar features.

The inscription

The commemorative inscription by Abu Kalijar, just like the ones carved by his predecessors, is on the stones of Darius’s palace. It reads:

حضر شاهانشاه المعظم ملك الملوك محى دين الله
وغياث عباد الله وقيم خليفة الله ابو كاليجار
بن سلطان الدولة ومعز امبر المؤمنين اطال الله بقاه هذا
المكان روز بهمن من ماه ابان سنة ثمان وثلثين واربع مائة
متوجها بالطالع الاسعد الى كرمان حضره فى سنة ثمان
عشرين واربع مائة وهى الفتح بفاروث

Was present the august Shahanshah, king of kings, vivifier of God’s religion,
soccorrer of God’s servants, associate of God’s caliph, Abu Kalijar
bin Sultan al-Dawla, glorifier of the Commander of the Faithful, may God prolong his life, in this
place on the second day of the month of Aban in the year 438 [24 Oct 1046]
setting out toward Kirman at the most auspicious ascendant. He had been present in the year
428 [25 Oct 1036 – 13 Oct 1037], which was the year of the victory at Faruth.

Darius's palace, Persepolis courtesy of WikiCommons
Darius’s palace, Persepolis courtesy of WikiCommons

The titles

The first feature that is worth noticing in the inscription by Abu Kalijar, is the great amount of honorific titles it provides. Whereas his predecessors named themselves ‘simply’ amirgreat amir, or king of kings/shahanshah, here Abu Kalijar detains a plenty of titles: king of kings, vivifier of God’s religion, soccorrer of God’s servants, associate of God’s caliph and glorifier of the Commander of the Faithful.

Leaving aside the names and titles provided in the text, anyway, what it seems to me more interesting, from my point f view, is the Iranian shift, that appear in the words chosen to be included in the text.

The Iranian shift – the date

Whereas his predecessors used, in their inscriptions, the Arabic, hijri calendar, Abu Kalijar decided to use, apparently, the Persian one.

The date is given citing the day and the month in Persian, whereas the year is given in hijri calendar.

The Persian words are:

bahman (بهمن): ‘the second day’

– mah (ماه): ‘month’

– aban (ابان)

The Zoroastrian calendar was of course used in the period together with the hijri one, but it is interesting that a Buyid ruler decided to use this calendar, or at least some names deriving frm that calendar, to be carved in an inscription in Persepolis.

Also, this is one of the very first inscriptions from Iran not being carried out in strict angular kufic, but in a ‘primitive’ form of naskh.

Sorrowfully I am not able to provide any image of the inscription, but I am confident that I will find one soon.


S. S. Blair, The Monumental Inscriptions from early Islamic Iran and Transoxiana, Brill, Leiden 1992, pp. 118-120.
[partially accessible via GoogleBooks]


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