Inscriptional Parthian
Shapur Kabe Zartosht.png
Parthian version of Shapur I's inscription at Ka'ba-ye Zartosht
Script type
Time period
250 BC
Directionright-to-left script Edit this on Wikidata
LanguagesParthian language
Related scripts
Parent systems
Aramaic alphabet
ISO 15924
ISO 15924Prti (130), ​Inscriptional Parthian
Unicode
Unicode alias
Inscriptional Parthian
U+10B40–U+10B5F

Inscriptional Parthian is a script used to write Parthian language on coins of Parthia from the time of Arsaces I of Parthia (250 BC). It was also used for inscriptions of Parthian (mostly on clay fragments) and later Sassanian periods (mostly on official inscriptions).

Inscriptional Parthian script is written from right to left and the letters are not joined.

Parthian (above), along with Greek (below) and Middle Persian was being used in inscriptions of early Sassanian kings. Shapur inscription in Naqsh-e Rajab
Parthian (above), along with Greek (below) and Middle Persian was being used in inscriptions of early Sassanian kings. Shapur inscription in Naqsh-e Rajab

Letters

Inscriptional Parthian uses 22 letters:[1]

Name[A] Image Text IPA[2]
Aleph
Inscriptional Parthian Letter Aleph.svg
𐭀 /a/, /aː/
Beth
Inscriptional Parthian Letter Beth.svg
𐭁 /b/, /v/
Gimel
Inscriptional Parthian Letter Gimel.svg
𐭂 /g/, /j/
Daleth
Inscriptional Parthian Letter Daleth.svg
𐭃 /d/, /j/
He
Inscriptional Parthian Letter He.svg
𐭄 /h/
Waw
Inscriptional Parthian Letter Waw.svg
𐭅 /v/, /r/
Zayin
Inscriptional Parthian Letter Zayin.svg
𐭆 /z/
Heth
Inscriptional Parthian Letter Heth.svg
𐭇 /h/, /x/
Teth
Inscriptional Parthian Letter Teth.svg
𐭈 /t/
Yodh
Inscriptional Parthian Letter Yodh.svg
𐭉 /j/, /ĕː/, /ĭː/
Kaph
Inscriptional Parthian Letter Kaph.svg
𐭊 /k/
Lamedh
Inscriptional Parthian Letter Lamedh.svg
𐭋 /l/
Mem
Inscriptional Parthian Letter Mem.svg
𐭌 /m/
Nun
Inscriptional Parthian Letter Nun.svg
𐭍 /n/
Samekh
Inscriptional Parthian Letter Samekh.svg
𐭎 /s/
Ayin
Inscriptional Parthian Letter Ayin.svg
𐭏 /ʔ/
Pe
Inscriptional Parthian Letter Pe.svg
𐭐 /p/, /b/
Sadhe
Inscriptional Parthian Letter Sadhe.svg
𐭑 /s/
Qoph
Inscriptional Parthian Letter Qoph.svg
𐭒 /q/
Resh
Inscriptional Parthian Letter Resh.svg
𐭓 /r/
Shin
Inscriptional Parthian Letter Shin.svg
𐭔 /ʃ/, /ʒ/
Taw
Inscriptional Parthian Letter Taw.svg
𐭕 /t/, /d/
  1. ^
    Letter names are based on the corresponding Imperial Aramaic characters[1]

Ligatures

Inscriptional Parthian uses seven standard ligatures:[1]

Ligature Sequence
Image Text
Inscriptional Parthian Ligature Gimel Waw.svg
𐭂𐭅 𐭂 (gimel) + 𐭅 (waw)
Inscriptional Parthian Ligature Heth Waw.svg
𐭇𐭅 𐭇 (heth) + 𐭅 (waw)
Inscriptional Parthian Ligature Yodh Waw.svg
𐭉𐭅 𐭉 (yodh) + 𐭅 (waw)
Inscriptional Parthian Ligature Nun Waw.svg
𐭍𐭅 𐭍 (nun) + 𐭅 (waw)
Inscriptional Parthian Ligature Ayin Lamedh.svg
𐭏𐭋 𐭏 (ayin) + 𐭋 (lamedh)
Inscriptional Parthian Ligature Resh Waw.svg
𐭓𐭅 𐭓 (resh) + 𐭅 (waw)
Inscriptional Parthian Ligature Taw Waw.svg
𐭕𐭅 𐭕 (taw) + 𐭅 (waw)

The letters sadhe (𐭑) and nun (𐭍) have swash tails which typically trail under the following letter.[1] For example:

Ligature Sequence
Image Text
Inscriptional Parthian Ligature Nun Nun.svg
𐭍𐭍 𐭍 (nun) + 𐭍 (nun)
Inscriptional Parthian Ligature Nun Daleth.svg
𐭍𐭃 𐭍 (nun) + 𐭃 (daleth)

Numbers

Inscriptional Parthian had its own numerals:

Value 1 2 3 4 10 20 100 1000
Sign Image
Inscriptional Parthian Number One.svg
Inscriptional Parthian Number Two.svg
Inscriptional Parthian Number Three.svg
Inscriptional Parthian Number Four.svg
Inscriptional Parthian Number Ten.svg
Inscriptional Parthian Number Twenty.svg
Inscriptional Parthian Number One Hundred.svg
Inscriptional Parthian Number One Thousand.svg
Text 𐭘 𐭙 𐭚 𐭛 𐭜 𐭝 𐭞 𐭟

Numbers are written right-to-left. Numbers without corresponding numerals are additive. For example, 158 is written as 𐭞𐭝𐭝𐭜𐭛𐭛‎ (100 + 20 + 20 + 10 + 4 + 4).[1]

Unicode

Main article: Inscriptional Parthian (Unicode block)

Inscriptional Parthian script was added to the Unicode Standard in October, 2009 with the release of version 5.2.

The Unicode block for Inscriptional Parthian is U+10B40–U+10B5F:

Inscriptional Parthian[1][2]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+10B4x 𐭀 𐭁 𐭂 𐭃 𐭄 𐭅 𐭆 𐭇 𐭈 𐭉 𐭊 𐭋 𐭌 𐭍 𐭎 𐭏
U+10B5x 𐭐 𐭑 𐭒 𐭓 𐭔 𐭕 𐭘 𐭙 𐭚 𐭛 𐭜 𐭝 𐭞 𐭟
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 14.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Everson, Michael; Pournader, Roozbeh (2007-08-24). "L2/07-207R: Proposal for encoding the Inscriptional Parthian, Inscriptional Pahlavi, and Psalter Pahlavi scripts in the SMP of the UCS" (PDF).
  2. ^ Daniels, Peter T.; Bright, William, eds. (1996). The World's Writing Systems. Oxford University Press, Inc. pp. 518. ISBN 978-0195079937.