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Darius the Great Stele Discovered in Phanagoria, Southern Russia
Dr. Kaveh Farrokh
manuvera@aol.com
August 18, 2016


Darius the Great Stele discovered at Phanagoria, Russia
Darius the Great Stele is written in different ancient writings including the Ancient Persian Cuneiform

The news, originally reported by TASS News Agency of Russia.

TASS Russian

TASS English

In a great archeological discovery, archaeologists under the leadership of the Oleg Deripaska Volnoe Delo Foundation and the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Archaeology have discovered a marble stele carrying an inscription of the ancient Persian Emperor Darius I. Discovered amongst the remains of the ancient city of Phanagoria, an ancient Greek city near the Crimean Peninsula and the Black Sea in the Krasnodar region of the Southern Russia, the stele is dated to the first half of the 5th century B.C. 


Darius the Great Stele Excavation at Phanagoria, Russia

The inscriptions in the ancient Persian language, state they were made in the name of the Persian Emperor Darius I, who lived during 550 - 486 B.C. The text contains a previously unregistered word and, roughly interpreted, identifies the ancient city of Miletus, one of the biggest cities in Ionia, a region later known as Asia Minor. Miletus was the head of the Ionian uprising of Greek city states against the Darius I. The Uprising was suppressed in 494 B.C.


A section of the Ancient Persian Cuneiform writing of the Darius Stele


Ancient Persian Cuneiform Spike Writing Sample

Archaeologists suggest the Emperor erected a marble stele in the city after his victory over the Greeks. The monument featured an inscribed text proclaiming the Emperor’s triumph. Later on, suggest the archaeologists, a fragment of the overturned and broken stele reached Phanagoria, quite possibly as ballast on a ship that called into the Phanagoria port, as there is no natural stone of the kind on the Taman peninsula.  “The inscription on the stele made in the name of Emperor Darius I is evidently devoted to the crushing of the Ionian revolt," said Vladimir Kuznetsov, director of the Phanagorian expedition. "The discovery places Phanagoria in the context of one of the most important events of the ancient history, which had far-reaching consequences for the Greeks and the Persians, and makes it possible to trace the connections of this colony with other parts of the Greek world and analyze its significance in advancing Hellenistic civilization on the Black Sea coast.”


Darius the Great Excavation Map
Phanagoria, Taman Peninsula, Russia spreads over two plateaus along the eastern shore of the Cimmerian Bosporus.

Archeologists doing excavations in the area of the antique town of Phanagoria in the Temryuk district of Russia’s southern Krasnodar Territory have discovered fragments of a marble stele carrying an inscription of the ancient Persian Emperor Darius I, the press service of the Volnoye Delo foundation said in a press release on Aug. 5.


The stele of Darius I and other finds being excavated by the Russian archeologists
Darius the Great Excavation of Archeologists at Phanagoria, Southern Russia

The find has good chances of becoming a world sensation, said the foundation, which is run by businessman Oleg Deripaska. According to the press release:

The decoded inscriptions state someone made them in the name of the Persian King Darius I … The stele has an inscription in the ancient Persian language. The approximate assessment dates the find to the first half of the 5th century B.C.


Archeologists excavating Darius the Great Stele and other finds at Phanagoria, Russia

Apart from the stele, the archeologists have found in the acropolis the remainders of ancient fortress walls, which in itself is an important event in classical archeology, the foundation said.


The relief of Darius the Great (reigned 522 - 486 BC) at Persepolis

The stele was found in the seams that can be attributed to the 5th century B.C. The text contains a word unregistered before and roughly interpreted as the place name Miletus, one of the biggest cities in Ionia, a region known as Asia Minor now. As noted in the press release:

Miletus stood at the head of the so-called Ionian uprising of Greek city states against Darius I … It was suppressed in 494 B.C. Researchers believe the king put up a marble stele in the city after his victory over the Greeks. The monument had a text on it – for instance, reporting on the king’s triumph.”


Darius the Great

Later on, a fragment of the overturned and broken stele got to Phanagoria – quite possibly, as ballast on a ship that called into the Phanagoria port, since there is no natural stone of the kind on the Taman peninsula.

At present, the stele is undergoing scrutiny at the restoration laboratory of the Phanagoria Research and Cultural Center.


“Russia’s first statue of Persian poet and mathematician Omar Khayyam unveiled in Astrakhan“.
Modern Russia (and much of Eastern Europe) often acknowledge the cultural legacy of ancient  Iran – above is the first monument in Russia dedicated to the Persian poet Omar Khayyam (1048-1131), unveiled in Astrakhan.

Darius I (b. 550, d. 486 B.C.), a Persian ruler from the Achaemenian dynasty considerably expanded the territory of his country with the aid of wars against the Getae, Thrace, Lemnos, Imbros, and Macedonia. He was buried in the mausoleum built on the cliffs at Naqsh-e Rostam near Persepolis on his order and decorated with sculptures.


Darius the Great’s tomb at Naqsh-e Rostam in southwest Iran

Related articles:

Darius Inscription

Cyrus Cylinder

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