This situation was not different in the ancient world, where people speaking different languages also came into contact with each other and had to find ways to communicate with each other. In this contribution, multilingualism in Elam
Taking into account another point of view, one can formulate another bipolarity regarding multilingualism. One could argue that multilingualism should be defined as the co-existence of various languages in one community (or political entity, such as a kingdom), whereas others may believe that multilingualism is always situated on the individual level.
The character of the available historical sources divides the current contribution in two chapters: For the Old through Neo-Elamite
Nevertheless, the oldest Elamite text dates back to the Old Akkadian period, namely, the so-called Naram-Sîn
After the fall of the Akkadian Empire, Awan and Susiana were united in the kingdom of Puzur-Inšušinak
Conspicuously, Elamite appears only in inscriptions on statues of deities, whereas the monolingual Akkadian inscriptions appear on foundation cones or may have had a non-religious subject (e.g. his report on the submission of Šimaški). This implies that Elamite was used for religious inscriptions.15 In this sense, Elamite was a kind of lingua sacra
With the annexation of Susa by the Ur III-rulers, the Semitic as well as the Sumerian component of Susiana again became predominant. Both royal inscriptions and documentary texts
This superiority of Sumerian and Akkadian continues well into the following sukkalmaḫ-period (c. 1950–1500 BCE). Only a few royal inscriptions appear in Elamite17 (now written in Mesopotamian cuneiform) and no documentary texts are recorded in this language. Nonetheless, the presence of both Akkadian and Elamite names shows that both ethnic groups had some interaction
The context of the four Elamite inscriptions is different. The inscription of Siruktuh
A common feature of both Sumero-Akkadian and Elamite texts is the expression “for the life of” (Sumerian nam.ti.la.ni.šè [IRS 4,6,11,14–15,17–18], Akkadian ana balaṭašu [IRS 7], Elamite takkime ...intikka [EKI 3, 67]). Nevertheless, in the Elamite inscriptions the king acts for his life as well as for the life of others (a tradition continued in the Middle Elamite inscriptions), whereas in the Sumero-Akkadian texts he only acts on behalf of himself.
Despite the preponderance of Akkadian in the written tradition, the Elamite component still enjoyed an important status in the sukkalmaḫ-kingdom, as is clearly indicated by the Elamite character of the royal names and the four Elamite inscriptions. It seems, however, that this component was also expressed through images:
1In the highlands southeast of Susa royal ideology was transmitted
In the beginning of the Middle Elamite period too, Akkadian remained the main lingua scriptura in Elam. The contents, however, became more Elamite, as can be seen in an inscription of Tepti-ahar (IRS 20). This development ends in the renewed production of Elamite royal inscriptions by the king Humpan-umena (fourteenth century BCE), next to the continued production of Akkadian inscriptions. The literary production, however, is purely Akkadian.24 Remarkably, the re-introduction of Elamite inscriptions was instigated by a person not originating from Susa, but rather from Liyan (near modern Bushehr), an area where Elamite was the most important language.
After the Middle Elamite period, Elam’s history was shrouded in darkness for three centuries until 743 BCE when historical sources again shed light on Elam’s history. Mesopotamian sources report that in that year Humpan-nikaš I, of whom nothing further is known, became king of Elam. His successor, Šutruk-Nahhunte II
After the reign of Šutruk-Nahhunte II the heavy political instability in Elam may be one of the causes for the complete decline of the production of royal inscriptions. For more than half a century neither Elamite nor Elamite texts were written in Elam, which makes it impossible to study the multilingual situation of the region in this period.
1Royal inscriptions are now without exception recorded in Elamite. Kings such as Hallutaš-Inšušinak (IRS 58; MDP 53 25), Šilhak-Inšušinak II (IRS 78), Tepti-Humpan-Inšušinak (EKI 85; IRS 59–62), Atta-hamiti-Inšušinak (EKI 86) stopped producing Akkadian royal inscriptions. The early Neo-Elamite phenomenon of officials who create their own inscriptions is continued by Hanni (EKI 75–76) and the Persepolis Bronze Tablet
2Elamite is no longer exclusively used for royal inscriptions. Furthermore, various documentary texts
This does not mean that Akkadian simply disappeared from Elam. There are a small number of documentary Akkadian texts,28 drafted in a completely Babylonian
Highly important is the appearance of a third ethnic element in the Elamite texts. In the so-called Acropole Texts
When in 331 Darius III
This story is an extremely beautiful example of one of the principal characteristics of the Achaemenid Empire
The linguistic problems faced by the Achaemenid kings were indeed not few; they had to keep together and organize a vast empire
In contrast to the older periods the Achaemenid source material is more informative concerning this issue. Various administrative formulas at the end of, for example, letter-orders give us some information on the multilingualism of the Achaemenid Empire
|P||(1) PN1 knows this command
(2) PN1 is the master of the command
|PN1 knows this command||(1) PN1 knew about this
(2) PN1 delivered the command
|D||PN2 is the sēpiru (scribe)||PN2 is he who wrote this letter||PN3 received the draft from PN2|
|T||PNx wrote (only once)||PN3 wrote||PN3 wrote|
The formulas can be found in five archives. The first one, the Fortification Archive
The third one is the so-called Arsames Correspondence
The fourth archive is an Aramaic archive from Bactria
Finally the fifth one is also the smallest one: three letters dealing with the appointment of a new priest in the Chnum-Temple. On the one hand, the correspondents are the priests of this temple and on the other, Pherendates, satrap of Egypt. The archive
It is interesting to note that the formulas are only attested in letters written by the satrapal administration
In the Elamite texts some variant formulas, clearly equivalents of formula P, are attested: in five Treasury texts
1In the Aramaic texts only two persons are involved,48 whereas in the Demotic
2A research of the ethnic affiliation of the names of the officials who are the actors in these formulas has led to interesting results:49 the people who are in charge of the command nearly all have Old Iranian names. Exceptions are Anani (West-Semitic
The Aramaic texts do not seem to make a distinction between the sēpiru and the actual scribe. A formula PN sprʾ may as well mean “PN is the sēpiru” as “PN is the scribe” and it is possible that one person incorporated both functions, as the final product was written in Aramaic and not, for example, in Elamite. Only in TAD A 6.2 three roles are involved, with Nabû-ʿaqab’s role being the equivalent of Elamite PN talliš.
In the Aramaic texts the names of formula P are predominantly Iranian (*Bagasravā [two times], *Ṛtavahyā [three times], *Ṛtaxaya-). One person with a West-Semitic name (Anani) is also attested in this function. The sēpiru have Old Iranian, West-Semitic
As formula D is the level where many Semitic
One can immediately connect this with the Elamite expression teppir, an appellative the bearers of which are described as “(writing) on parchment”
The other class of scribes, called ṭupšarru in Akkadian and probably *tallir
In the Bactrian Aramaic texts the actions behind formulas P and D are mostly carried out by one person, which is an evolution compared to the earlier Aramaic texts. The formulas themselves, however, are comparable to the earlier ones and this indicates that the administrative linguistic system was really imperially imposed by the Achaemenids on all areas of their realm. They are:
The names of the persons concerned (three scribes, named *Daizaka-, *Hašavaxšu- and *Nurafratara-, and one person, *Āθviya- in charge of the command) are all Iranian,51 so the ethnicity of the people or the origins of the names does not play a role here. As Vaxšu is the name of a Bactrian deity, the person named *Hašavaxšu is in all likelihood of Bactrian
The administrative pattern corresponds completely with the one discussed above. As there are only two languages involved, one could expect two officials, but in most letters only one name is mentioned. Probably the person in charge of the command was also the sēpiru. Only once (in the letter A2) two persons are mentioned: the sēpiru and the one who is in charge of the command.
Generally, an evolution can be seen from the pre-Achaemenid period, where multilingualism exists but is somehow uncontrolled and not systematically dealt with, to the Achaemenid period, where an imperial administration
In the Suso-Elamite state, a dichotomy between Akkadian-speaking people and Elamite-speaking people is clearly visible. This dichotomy was present in the Old, Middle and Neo-Elamite periods, though the position of Akkadian
Elamite as a written language
The arrival of Persian-speaking
In order to tackle this multilingualism and to convert it into an administrative advantage, the Achaemenids put Aramaic
One should be conscious of the fact that the study conducted here covers only a small part of multilingualism within the Achaemenid Empire
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Hughes, G. R. (1984). “The so-Called Pherendates Correspondence.” In Grammata Demotika: Festschrift Für Erich Lüddeckens Zum 15. Juni 1983, edited by H.-J. Thissen and K.-Th. Zauzich, 75–86. Würzburg: Zauzich.
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——— (1979). “Le Prince de Suse Ilishmani et L’Elam, de Naramsin à Ibisîn.” Journal Asiatique 267: 11–40.
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Romaine (1989, 8).
E.g. Bloomfield (1933, 56).
E.g. Haugen (1969, 7); Diebold (1964); Weinreich (1968, 1).
Mackey (1970, 555).
E.g. Hoffmann (1991, 15–16).
Mackey (1967, 11); Grosjean (1982, vii).
The Sumerian King List has three attestations of Elam: (1) ii 35–37: “Enmebaragesi of Kish attacked Elam” (c. 2675 BCE); (2) iv 5–6: “Ur was attacked and its kingship carried to Awan” and (3) iv 17–19: “Awan was attacked and its kingship carried to Kish,” cf. Potts (1999, 87).
Awan is a region to the north of Susiana and underwent less Mesopotamian influence than its southern neighbor.
Lambert (1979, 29).
Not taking into account the problematic so-called Proto-Elamite texts, of which it is not certain that they denote the Elamite language. See, however, Irving Finkel’s contribution in this volume.
Cf. Lambert (1974, 3–14).
Malbran-Labat (1996, 36–37).
Malbran-Labat (1996, 35).
Vallat (1986, 339–345); Salvini (1998, 331); Stolper (2004, 65).
Malbran-Labat (1996, 35).
Castellino (1972, 257 (C122)). E
me nim níg eme-ge-ra-gimx ḫe-en-ga-zu-àm. In another text the king boasts about speaking five languages.
One of Siruktuh (c. 1800 BCE; ZA 64, 74–86), one of Siwe-palar-huhpak (second quarter of the eighteenth century BCE; EKI 3) and two of Temti-Agun (c. 1726–1710 BCE; EKI 67 and 70C; cf. Vallat (1990)).
Shepherds, for example, mostly have Elamite names, Amiet (1992, 75–94).
Farber (1975, 85).
This does not work the other way round: building inscriptions could also be engraved on other materials, such as the edge of a basin (MDP 6 16–19), a lentil-shaped tablet (MDP 28 5) or a clay cylinder (MDP 28 4).
Cf. Van den Berghe (1963, 37) and Seidl (1986).
Lambert (1971, 218–220); Malbran-Labat (1996, 40).
Dossin (1962, 156–157).
Tavernier (2010b, 208–215).
One may wonder why curses appeared in Akkadian. Was this because it was a Mesopotamian issue? Or rather because the enemy to whom the curse was directed was most likely a Mesopotamian? Malbran-Labat (1996, 47–48).
The only monolingual Akkadian texts to deal with the construction of a canal and of a wall. In addition, many architectural expressions have an Akkadian origin, Malbran-Labat (1996, 48–49). Furthermore, the fact that Akkadian is also used for inscriptions on precious objects may be mentioned in this regard. Note also the Akkadian city gate names at Tchogha Zanbil, whereas the gate as temple entrance is indicated by its Elamite name sip.
Tavernier (2010b, 213–215).
Cf. Stolper (1986).
Malbran-Labat (1996, 55).
Tavernier (2004, 30–32).
Hinz (1987, 128); Henkelman 2003, 212); Tavernier (2010a, 241).
Diodorus Siculus 17.53.4; translation by Bradford Welles (1963, 273).
Vispa- “all” (Av. vispa-), followed by zana- “kind; man” (OInd. jána-, Av. zana-). Cf. Kent (1953, 208) and Brandenstein and Mayrhofer (1964, 153).
A good introduction to this archive can be found in Henkelman (2008, 65–179).
Partly published, inter alia in Hallock (1969, 1978). See also Jones and Stolper (2008, 29–33).
Cf. Azzoni (2008).
Cf. Tavernier (2008, 63).
Recently studied by Brixhe (2004, 118–126), who in addition to the already known month name anamaka, recognizes some numbers, two forms of the noun kna- “woman, wife” and a nom. pl. makeres, which he does not translate, but which is considered a proper name by Orel (1997, 442) and which is translated to “workers” (El. kurtaš) by D’jakonov and Neroznak (Phrygian (Anatolian and Caucasian Studies) 1985, 121). In any case, the administrative character of this text is clear.
Cf. Stolper and Tavernier (2007).
The archive also contains a Babylonian text, but the contents of this one are completely different to the contents of the archive, which concern the functioning of a single administrative organization in the region of Persepolis.
Tavernier (2008, 65).
Driver (1965, 9); Porten and Yardeni (1985, 93).
Kahle (949AD, 207).
Shaked (2004, 13–14); Naveh and Shaked (2012).
Cf. Cameron (1948, 91).
Lewis (1977, 10–11, n. 38).
In one text (TAD A 6.2) three persons are involved (Anani in formulas P and D, Nabû-ʿaqab in formula T; Sasobek in a Demotic formula T), but the third person is an Egyptian scribe, who apparently drafted a lost Demotic version of this document, Tavernier (2008, 71).
Tavernier (2008, 67–69).
Tavernier (2008, 64).
Shaked (2004, 23–24).
Shaked (2004, 24).
See the contribution by Salverda to this volume.
Table of Contents
Markham J. Geller, Jens Braarvig
Markham J. Geller, Jens Braarvig
Part I: General Reflections
2 Dependent Languages
Part II: Europe
4 Konrad of Megenberg: German Terminologies and Expressions as Created on Latin Models
5 What Language Does God Speak?
Florentina Badalanova Geller
6 Islamic Mystical Poetry and Alevi Rhapsodes From the Village of Sevar, Bulgaria
Florentina Badalanova Geller
Part III: Ancient Near East
8 Sumerian in the Middle Assyrian Period
9 The Concept of the Semitic Root in Akkadian Lexicography
Markham J. Geller
10 Multilingualism in the Elamite Kingdoms and the Achaemenid Empire
12 Some Observations on Multilingualism in Graeco-Roman Egypt
Alexandra von Lieven
Part IV: India and Central Asia
14 Aspects of Multilingualism in Turfan as Seen in Manichaean Texts
Part V: China
15 Multilingualism and Lingua Franca in the Ancient Chinese World
William G. Boltz
Part VI: The Americas
18 Multilingualism and Lingua Francae of Indigenous Civilizations of America
Lars Kirkhusmo Pharo
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