Full Text

Grotefend, Georg Friedrich

Subject Linguistics

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631214816.1999.x


(1775–1853) In his treatise Praevia de cuneatis quas vocant inscriptionibus Persepolitanis legendis et explicandis relatio (Preliminary Report on Reading and Explaining the Cuneiform Inscriptions of Persepolis ), published in 1802, Grotefend, a German philologist, explained the names of the Persian kings Darius and Xerxes in Old Persian inscriptions. His idea was that the introductory lines of a Persepolis inscription probably contained the name, title and genealogy of the ruler who had caused the inscription to be carved. He assumed that a certain group of cuneiform characters repeated several times represented ‘king’ and set up a hypothetical formula: ‘so-and-so, great king, king of kings, son of so-and-so, the king’. On this assumption the first of the two inscriptions he worked on read ‘king Y, son of X’, while the second was ‘king Z, son of king Y’. This fitted perfectly with the genealogy of King Xerxes known from Herodotus: Xerxes, son King Darius, son of Hystaspes (who was not a king). On the basis of this discovery Grotefend was able to read several proper names and thus opened the path for the decipherment of cuneiform writing. See also cuneiform writing . ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top