The Matter of Medium in the Achaemenid Inscriptions: The Connection between Materiality and the Scribes

Soheil Delshad, Berliner Antike Kollege

The aim of this paper is to study the role of media and material support in the royal Achaemenid inscriptions and their connections with the scribes, the process of composing the inscriptions, their contents and the audience (or readers).

In the first part, I will classify the royal inscriptions -according to the function of their material support- into two main groups: “primary” and “secondary” or “accidental.” Such a classification will help us to make a distinction between the function of inscriptions and their potential audience later.

Then, I will talk about how the media can influence the preparation process of the inscriptions. Depending on factors such as material, content, and location, we can discuss different preparation methods. The media can also define the cases in which we expect the work of a scribe, and those where we can observe the minimum presence of literate artists. Analyzing the writing conventions and errors at the same time will provide us with more information to discuss different methods of preparing the texts properly.

The medium or material support also plays a vital role in defining certain groups of audience. In the last part of the paper, I will examine how the materials, contents, and locations would help us to shed light on the different groups of audiences of the Achaemenid inscriptions.