Due to the Corona virus it is unclear how the programmes will take place. For the latest news please check the course page in Blackboard/Brightspace.


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Old Persian


Admission requirements

Familiarity with historical linguistics, with Sanskrit, Greek or an Iranian language would be an advantage, but is not required.


Old Persian is primarily known as the language of the inscriptions of the great Achaemenid kings. The extant Old Persian texts all date from the 6th to the 4th century B.C.E. They are written in a cuneiform script, probably designed at the behest of king Darius for the purpose of recording his deeds.
The Old Persian grammar is fairly simple. In the first few weeks the students will get acquainted with its main features (from a synchronic and a diachronic prospective) and with the Old Persian script. Already after a few lessons we shall start reading the Behistun inscription of king Darius. During the course we’ll be reading extensive portions of this inscription as well as some other inscriptions of the Persian kings.
The course also offers an introduction to the study of Iranian languages.

Course objectives

1) Students have basic knowledge of the Old Persian grammar and script.
2) Students are able to independently read and understand Old Persian inscriptions.
3) Students have knowledge of the main tenets of the historical grammar of Old Persian and of the Iranian languages in general.


Linguistics bachelor

Mode of instruction

Lecture / Seminar

Course Load

  • Total course load for the course is 140 hours: hours spent on attending lectures and seminars (28 hours), preparation for the seminars (70 hours), preparation for the exam (42 hours)

Assessment method

written examination with essay questions




  • Written examination with essay questions, similar to the first examination.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard](https://blackboard.leidenuniv.nl/) will be used for:

  • course materials

  • Old Persian texts and translations

Reading list

M. de Vaan & A. Lubotsky, Old Persian. In: Gzella H. (Ed.) Languages from the World of the Bible. Boston/Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2011, pp. 194-208 (to be downloaded from the address http://hdl.handle.net/1887/18649)


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on this website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs



Coordinator of Studies: E.A. van Dijk, MSc

Education Administration Office: van Wijkplaats