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Iran, Bisitun (Behistun), Kermanshah Province
On the road from Hamadan (ancient Ekbatana) to the city of Kermanshah halfway up Mount Bisitun a number of unique bas reliefs from about 520 BC catch the eye. The Achaemenid king Dareios I (522 - 486 BC) had the largest one chiseled into the face of the mountain to tell the world of his triumph over his rival Gaumata and nine other rebels. The sensational part of the relief are the extensive cuneiform inscriptions above, below, and to the sides of the figures. They are in Elamite, Babylonian, and Old Persian, the latter a language which was created on the kings order since up to then there was no written Persian language. The creation is a mixture of Elamite, Babylonian, and Aramaic. It was not deciphered until the middle of the 18th cent. AD by a British officer, adventurer, and amateur archeologist Sir Henry Rawlinson.
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