The Avesta texts fall into several different categories, arranged either by dialect , or by usage. The principal text in the liturgical group is the Yasna , which takes its name from the Yasna ceremony, Zoroastrianism's primary act of worship, and at which the Yasna text is recited. The most important portion of the Yasna texts are the five Gathas , consisting of seventeen hymns attributed to Zoroaster himself. These hymns, together with five other short Old Avestan texts that are also part of the Yasna , are in the Old or 'Gathic' Avestan language. The remainder of the Yasna 's texts are in Younger Avestan, which is not only from a later stage of the language, but also from a different geographic region. Extensions to the Yasna ceremony include the texts of the Vendidad and the Visperad.

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By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy , Privacy Policy , and our Terms of Service. Linguistics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional linguists and others with an interest in linguistic research and theory. It only takes a minute to sign up. I am looking at dictionaries of the avesta and old persian of which there isn't much, and would like to collect words in the old persian cuneiform and avestan script.

Second part is, would it be acceptable to take a Farsi word and render it using Old Persian Cuneiform? Or render it in Avestan script? I ask because I would like to write in these languages and there isn't much in terms of dictionary, so wondering if I could use Farsi words to write in it.

Or is it like Old-English to Modern English? Both are very close to the reconstructed Old Iranian, and thus to one another. Your second question: The Zoroastrians in Iran and India do sometimes write New Persian texts in Avestan script, though not very often.

It seems that no one has tried to write New Persian in Old Persian cuneiform script, but in principle you could do so if you really want to. Sign up to join this community. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top. Home Questions Tags Users Unanswered. Ask Question. Asked 8 months ago. Active 8 months ago. Viewed times. Lance Pollard Lance Pollard 2, 8 8 silver badges 27 27 bronze badges. Any language can be written in any script if you'd like to.

Russian can be written in Chinese characters, English can be written in Sumerian cuneiform, French can be written in the Arabic or Hebrew or Runic letters, etc.

It is really possible , but conventionally it's almost never done, the one exception being transliteration. Active Oldest Votes. Sign up or log in Sign up using Google. Sign up using Facebook. Sign up using Email and Password.

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Encyclopædia Iranica

These doctrines were to become familiar articles of faith to much of mankind, through borrowings by Judaism, Christianity and Islam; yet it is in Zoroastrianism itself that they have their fullest logical coherence We provide the complete text of the extant Avesta , the most ancient scriptures of Zoroastrianism, as well as many Pahlavi scriptures. It also includes information about the Avestan language, and other useful information for students of Zoroastrian religion. Most of the texts in these archives are extremely rare. NOTE: Spelling of Zoroastrian technical terms has been normalized in these archives to facilitate searches.


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The manuscripts transmitting the preserved Avestan texts often also include their translation into Pahlavi [PT], the Zoroastrian Middle Persian language. The ritual texts of the minor ritual are transmitted in a more complicated way, with manuscripts containing different series of texts with or without Pahlavi translation. On the other hand, the collection of the ritual Avestan texts originally did not include the Pahlavi translation, since the translation plays no role in the Zoroastrian ritual. Nevertheless, part of the extant manuscripts of the ritual Avesta also include the PT. So at a certain time a PT was also added to the ritual manuscripts. In most of the cases the PT of the great Avesta was adapted to that of the ritual texts with only minor changes. In the case of the Yasna collection the translation process was more difficult.


The languages are known only from their use as the language of Zoroastrian scripture the Avesta , from which they derive their name. Both are early Iranian languages , a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages within the Indo-European family. Its immediate ancestor was the Proto-Iranian language , a sister language to the Proto-Indo-Aryan language , with both having developed from the earlier Proto-Indo-Iranian. As such, Old Avestan is quite close in grammar and lexicon to Vedic Sanskrit , the oldest preserved Indo-Aryan language. The Avestan text corpus was composed in ancient Arachosia , Aria , Bactria , and Margiana , [3] corresponding to the entirety of present-day Afghanistan , and parts of Tajikistan , Turkmenistan , and Uzbekistan.

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