Seal (c)

A lion is crouching over the fallen body of a humped bull; it threatens open-mouthed and with lifted paw a man who approaches it with a spear ready. The man is bareheaded and clad in the folded garment of the period. Above the lion a winged solar disk.


Seal (d)

Two griffins, their heads turned back and their wings held horizontal, sit opposite each other on either side of an oval. The oval, its longer axis vertical, is crowned with two volutes. that curve toward the outside; it contains a four-letter inscription in Aramaic along its longer axis. Symmetrically above the griffins a winged solar disk.

The inscription was treated by the same authors as that of seal (a) (in the Répertoire it appears as No. 246). The readings they propose cannot satisfy however. From the eight impressions at my disposal I gain the following text:

i.e. hrmy

There is not the slightest reason for reading the inscription from left to right as has so far been done.14 All letters with the possible exception of the r are absolutely certain. The r seems to me very likely, although the upper part with the characteristic loop is nowhere completely preserved. The forms of the signs agree well with those on the other inscription.

This inscription is hardly Semitic. Any attempt at an interpretation must take into due consideration the oval into which the letters are inscribed. There is no doubt whatever that it is developed out of the cartouche of the Egyptians. The fragmentary seal Newell 45315 exhibits a more elaborate and more original form of the cartouche. Instead of the two volutes it shows two falcons' heads, each wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. The inscription there16 is in Old Persian: upä Artaxsa[ram] "belonging to17 Artaxerxes." On our seal one would, therefore, expect the name of a king or a royal title.

The alternative can be substantiated. If read hurämiya, the inscription would be properly translated by "he who brings about good peace,"18 a fitting epithet for an Achaemenian king. It is well-known that the Achaemenids stress in their inscriptions the establishment of syätis "peaceful quiet" by Ahuramazda.

14. Lidzbarski considers the possibility of reading the inscription from right to left, as a normal Semitic inscription would run. He rejects it, apparently on the ground that reading in the inverse direction seemed to yield a Semitic name.
15. H. H. von der Osten, Ancient Oriental Seals in the Collection of Mr. Edward T. Newell (The University of Chicago, Oriental Institute Publications, Vol. XXII).
16. G. G. Cameron, l.c., p. 166.
    17. Cf. E. Herzfeld, Altpersische Inschriften, 353. 18. The fact that such a word is not otherwise attested does in no way discredit it. The number of Old Persian inscriptions at our disposal is regrettably small. The formation hu-rämiya is quite regular and represents an Indo-Iranian type inherited from Indo-European. See J. Wackernagel, Altindische Grammatik, II, 1, 106ff.; J. Duchesne-Guillemin, Les composées de I'Avesta, 33.


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