New Tricks for Old Persian
For those who study Persian history and Persian languages, the Behistun Inscription has a unique, irreplaceable importance. As the longest attestation of both Old Persian and the ideology of the Achaemenid Empire, this monument to Darius I provides glimpses into everything from the fine details of the grammar and syntax of an obscure language to the grandiose rhetoric of a burgeoning empire. Nonetheless, the accessibility of this inscription has remained out of step with its paramount importance for studying the Achaemenid Empire and the world in which it existed. This presentation, “New Tricks for Old Persian,” will demonstrate the “new tricks” from Digital Humanities which can render the Behistun Inscription easier to access and read for new students of Old Persian. In the process of presenting the bells and whistles of my website, I also hope to demonstrate how this model of digitization could be generalizable to other marginal languages for the sake of curious undergraduates and researchers in adjacent fields. Finally, I will take time to acknowledge the deficiency of this website in reproducing an artificial division of monument and inscription and then imagine how a more robust digitization project could integrate both the Behistun monument and the Behistun inscriptions.