Iranian Programme

The Iranian Programme will consist of the following courses: Arsacid Parthian; Inscriptional Middle Persian; Avestan; Pashto

Slot 1: Arsacid Parthian (9.30-11.00)

Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst (Berlin)

Of the two main sources of Parthian, Manichaean Parthian and epigraphical Parthian, the latter is harder to grasp but it is a rewarding subject because it concerns Parthian as used by the Arsacid dynasty while they were in power from the middle of the 3rd c. BCE up to 224 CE and even beyond in a kind of intermediary period during which the Sasanian kings included Parthian (and also some times Greek) versions of their Middle Persian inscriptions. In this course we will look at representative items from the royal archive in Nisa from the 2nd and 1st c. BCE, consider the large number of Parthian loanwords in Armenian and in Middle Persian, study some of the Parthian versions of the inscriptions of the early Sasanians and look at the role of Parthian Manichaean texts in the Berlin Turfan Collection in clarifying the language. Finally, we will consider Middle Persian texts with clear Parthian elements.

Literature
- M. Back: Die sassanidischen Staatsinschriften. Studien zur Orthographie und Phonologie des Mittelpersischen der Inschriften zusammen mit einem etymologischen Index des mittelpersischen Wortgutes und einem Textcorpus der behandelten Inschriften, Téhéran-Liège 1978 (Acta Iranica 18).
- Ch.J. Brunner, The Fable of the Babylonian Tree, Pt.I: Introduction. Pt.II: Translation, Journal of Near Eastern Studies 39, 1980, 191-202; 291-302.
- A. Ghilain, Essai sur la langue parthe, son système verbal d'après les textes manichéens du Turkestan Oriental, Louvain 1939. Bibliotheque du Muséon 9.
- H. Hübschmann: Armenische Grammatik, Erster Teil. Armenische Etymologie. Leipzig 1897.
- H. Humbach/P.O. Skjaervoe: The Sassanian Inscription of Paikuli. Part 1: Supplement to Herzfeld's Paikuli by Helmut Humbach, Wiesbaden 1979; Part 2. Synoptic tables, 1980; Part 3.1: Restored text and translation by P.O.Skjaervoe, 1983; Part 3.2: Commentary by P.O.Skjaervoe, 1983.
- P. Tedesco: 'Dialektologie der westiranischen Turfantexte', in: le Monde Oriental 15 [1921], 184-258.

Materials will be supplied, no previous knowledge of Parthian will be assumed.

Slot 2: Inscriptional Middle Persian (11.30-13.00)

Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst (Berlin)

Epigraphical Middle Persian provides a unique insight into the language of the Sasanian kings, of the chief priest Kerdir and of a high-ranking official all of the third c. CE. While the material is limited it is written in a graphically very clear variant of Middle Persian heterographical script that can be interpreted with great certainly. The oldest Manichean Middle Persian texts date from the same period as do at least parts of some Middle Persian texts later transmitted within the Zoroastrian tradition - this allows both these groups of texts to be referred to for help in gaining insights into the political inscriptions of the Sasanian kings but also to Kerdir's inscription(s) which include details of a journey he claims to have made to the afterlife.

Literature

- M. Back: Die sassanidischen Staatsinschriften. Studien zur Orthographie und Phonologie des Mittelpersischen der Inschriften zusammen mit einem etymologischen Index des mittelpersischen Wortgutes und einem Textcorpus der behandelten Inschriften, Téhéran-Liège 1978 (Acta Iranica 18).
- H. Humbach/P.O. Skjaervoe: The Sassanian Inscription of Paikuli. Part 1: Supplement to Herzfeld's Paikuli by Helmut Humbach, Wiesbaden 1979; Part 2. Synoptic tables, 1980; Part 3.1: Restored text and translation by P.O.Skjaervoe, 1983; Part 3.2: Commentary by P.O.Skjaervoe, 1983.
- Ph. Gignoux, Les quatre inscriptions du mage Kirdīr. Textes et concordances, Paris 1991 (Studia Iranica - Cahier 9).
- D.N. MacKenzie: 'Kerdir's inscription', in: Iranische Denkmäler, Lfg.13. Reihe II: Iranische Felsreliefs. I The Sasanian Rock Reliefs at Naqsh-i Rustam ... description and commentary by Georgina Hermann. Kerdir's inscription ... by D.N.MacKenzie, Drawings by Rosalind Howell Caldecott, Berlin 1989, 35-72.

Materials will be supplied, no previous knowledge of Middle Persian will be assumed.

Slot 3: Avestan (14.00-15.30)

Karl Praust (Vienna)

Avestan is the oldest Iranian language known to us. It falls into two different dialects, Old Avestan and Younger Avestan. Originally spoken in Eastern Iran (Old Avestan by the prophet Zarathushtra himself), the language later took a journey to the western parts of Iran – as the carrier-language of Zoroastrianism, the religion that was adopted as the official state religion under  the Achaemenid kings of the Persian Empire. The texts themselves have come down to us through various intermediary stages.  First, they went through several stages of oral transmission, until they were finally written down in Sasanian times (viz. at least a millennium after their composition and at an enormous distance from their places of origin!). Yet, this is still not the Avestan that we have today; the oldest extant manuscript was only written in the late 13th century AD (and many other important manuscripts even considerably later than that). In the end, all our sources rest on one single manuscript, the so-called Sasanian Archetype, which had already been compiled by people who did not fully master the original language(s) anymore. The access to “Avestan proper” can, accordingly, be a bit complicated from time to time. Anyone who works with an Avestan text is constantly faced with several layers of language, and there is probably no other ancient Indo-European text tradition in which the critical evaluation of the manuscripts is that much part of the everyday philological business.  When reading the Avesta, you are constantly faced with a number of different readings, which you must try to make sense of – and from which, of course, the grammar of Avestan must be derived.  During the course, you will get the skills to do exactly this. First, an overview of the extant texts will be given, you will learn to read the original script (as used in the standard edition by K.F. Geldner), and you will hear about its historical makeup. Next, the grammar of Younger Avestan will be presented in greater detail (Old Avestan  grammar will only be treated when necessary). We will read a short text written in (good) Younger Avestan.  Another focus will be put on the comparison with Vedic Sanskrit, as this language is very closely related with Avestan, but much more easily accessible. Due to its extraordinarily good transmission, Vedic can serve as a most valuable guide through the surface intricacies of Avestan. Taken together, the two languages make up the pillars for the reconstruction of Indo-Iranian, which, in turn, is one of the corner stones of Indo-European reconstruction.

Requirements
A basic knowledge of Sanskrit is very helpful, but not strictly necessary (learning Avestan before –  or simultaneously with – Sanskrit is definitely the hard way and only recommended to the strongest among you ; but feel to try!).

Recommended reading
Karl Hoffmann: Avestan Language I-III. In: Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. III, Fasc. 1, pp. 47-62 (also available online).

Slot 4: Pashto (16.00-17.30)

Lutz Rzehak (Berlin)

The course offers an introduction to modern Pashto as spoken in Afghanistan and NW-Pakistan. Pashto is the most important Eastern-Iranian language today and the only one with an elaborated writing tradition. In Afghanistan Pashto has the status of an official language together with Dari-Persian. The course is aimed at absolute beginners who want to gain a good grounding in the basics of Pashto phonology and grammar, practice in reading and writing comprehension. In addition to practical language training the course will supply you with an overview of some special features of Pashto grammar, lexicon and of dialect division.

No previous knowledge will be assumed but some familiarity with Arabic-based writing systems is most warmly recommended.

The course material will be supplied.

The following literature is recommended for reference:
- Manfred LORENZ, 1982, Lehrbuch des Pashto (Afghanisch). Leipzig: Verlag Enzyklopädie
- Rakhmon INOMKHOJAEV, 2009, Pashto: An Elementary Textbook. Georgetown University Press