scholars are unacceptable; they operate with sign forms that did not yet exist in the Achaemenian period. The two original impressions at my disposal allow readings only for the first three letters out of the five of which the inscription consists. I read8

i.e. ssh.

There is agreement on the first letter. The second letter is well preserved on Crozer 200 and recognizable on YBC 9901. The fact should be stressed that the s is placed much higher than the h and that the assumption of an s between the two letters yields a pleasing transition from s to h. The third letter can be neither m (Scheil, C1.-G.) nor q (Lidzbarski) ; it can only be h. For the two final letters which Scheil read I and k but Lidzbarski I or n and a I can offer no decisive improvement; but I do not think that Scheil's drawing is very reliable. The traces I can see on the new impressions let m, n or r appear possible for the fourth letter; of the fifth I can make out only traces of a vertical shaft.

Paleographically there exists a close resemblance with the so-called Carpentras stela (from Egypt, V- IV cent.),9 the Aramaic inscription from Sardes ( 10th year of a king Artaxerxes),10 and particularly with the Pärsïk coins (280- 15o B.C.).11

The inscription seems not explicable from Aramaic; it may very well be Persian. The initial combination is recalls certain spellings of the name Artaxerxes: 'rthsss Sardes 1.1 ; Artaxsassa (cf. Eilers, ZDMG, 91, 413, note 2), (inscription from Tralles).12 Thus, it may well be that ss represents Old Persian *sassa (initial form for xsassa?) with the phonological changes that are characteristic for the dialect of Persia proper.

The possibility may be envisaged that the whole inscription reads sshmr, i.e. the equivalent of Arsacide xsatrahmär, and of Sassanian sähr hamär "imperial chamber of accounts."13 But, as long as the reading of the inscription is not established beyond doubt, this remains a conjecture.


Seal (b)

A man spears a charging boar chased by a dog (the man behind the dog, shown on the impression Scheil No. 3, is not visible on the new impressions). The man is bareheaded, clad in the folded garment of the period, and holds the spear with both hands. Above the boar a winged solar disk with Ahuramazda.

8. I had the benefit of Professor Torrey's judgment who examined the originals with me. He agreed with me on 1 and h of this, and on h, m, and y of the second inscription.
9. CIS, 11, 141 ; M. Lidzbarski, Handbuch der nordsemitischen Epigraphik, pl. XXVIII, 3. and p. 448; G. A. Cooke, North-Semitic Inscriptions, No. 75.
10. Sardis, Publ. of the American Society for the Excavation of Sardis, Vol. VI, 1, 2 3 ff.; VI, 2, plate 1,
    p. 1 ff. This inscription uses however a more archaic yod.
11. E. Herzfeld, Paikuli, 68 ff.
12. 1 have not been able to trace this inscription which G. Hoffmann says (ZA, 2, 52) is quoted by T. Nöldeke in his article "Persia" in the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
13. E. Herzfeld, Paikuli, 195; see also J. Markwart, Ungarische Jahrbücher, 7, 99 ("Reichsfinanzkammer").


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