It is to one section of this inscription that this study is devoted. I mean the section .which deals with events closely connected with the last years of the existence of Dura. The choice is arbitrary and purely personal. But a comprehensive study of the whole inscription requires knowledge of Iranian and Semitic languages which I do not command, and even with these limitations it would fill a whole volume. However before dealing with the section of my choice I may say a few words on the general character of the inscription of Shapuhr and outline the contents of its political and military first part.

It is a monument unique in its kind. It may be called the Res Gestae divi Saporis since it is, like the Res Gestae divi Augusti, a short summary of the political, military, and religious activity of Shapuhr, and, again like the Res Gestae divi Augusti, though written in the lifetime of Shapuhr, and probably if not by himself at least under his supervision, was perhaps inscribed after his death.5 Here however the similarities between the "queen of Latin inscriptions" and the queen of Sassanian inscriptions end. The two documents may have had the same or similar aims, but they achieve them by quite different means. While the Res Gestae divi Augusti is Latin and Roman in spirit and composition, Shapuhr's inscription is purely Oriental in these respects. It shows striking similarities with the inscription of Darius at Behistun and it follows closely in its construction and style the annual reports, the so-called Annals of the Assyrian kings.6

It is hard to suppose that Shapuhr's Res Gestae was merely a conscious imitation of Darius' Behistun inscription. It is more probable that similar inscriptions were published, in continuation of the Assyrian tradition, by the Achaemenian kings before and after Darius and later perhaps by some Parthian kings also. I suspect that Shapuhr was not the first Sassanian king to record his most important deeds. Ardashihr, the founder of the Sassanian dynasty, may have done so before him, stressing in his inscription, like Darius at Behistun, the facts concerning his struggle with Artabanus and his subsequent acts, which led to the establishment of his rule over the "Aryans." Shapuhr and his successors commemorated their reigns not only by written records but also by rock cut reliefs in which their investiture as king by Ahuramazda or their most spectacular military successes were shown by monumental compositions in Iranian style. Ardashihr too has his triumphal reliefs, which illustrate the foundation of the Sassanian Empire resulting from his victory over Ardavan (Artabanus), the last Parthian king. The existence of Ardashihr's reliefs and their character suggest, in my opinion, the probability

the character and the date of the Kaabah of Zoroaster. No full report on the recent complete excavation of this building has been published. This prevents me from expressing my own opinion about the character of the building (grave monument or fire temple).
5. In this sense, if I understand him rightly, Sprengling, loc. cit. p. 343.
6. See the "annals" and reports on "campaigns"
    of the Assyrian kings collected and translated into English by D. D. Luckenbill, Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia, I-II, Historical Records of Assyria, 1926-27. The construction and formulas of these reports show striking similarity with the construction and formulas of Shapuhr's Res Gestae. I will point them out later in this paper; cf. for some parallels A. T. Olmstead, op. cit.


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