Middle Persian

PahlaviPersianMiddle-PersianMiddlePahlavi languageMiddle Persian (Pahlavi)MPClassical PersianEarly Middle PersianMiddle Iranian
Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym as Pārsīk (or Pārsīg in its later form), is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the literary language of the Sasanian Empire.wikipedia
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Sasanian Empire

SassanidSasanianSassanid Empire
Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym as Pārsīk (or Pārsīg in its later form), is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the literary language of the Sasanian Empire.
The Sasanian Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (Middle Persian: 𐭠𐭩𐭥𐭠𐭭𐭱𐭲𐭥𐭩 Ērānshahr), also called the Neo-Persian Empire by historians, was the last kingdom of the Persian Empire before the rise of Islam.

Iranian languages

IranianOld IranianIranian language
Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym as Pārsīk (or Pārsīg in its later form), is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the literary language of the Sasanian Empire.
Of the Middle Iranian languages, the better understood and recorded ones are Middle Persian (from the Sasanian Empire), Parthian (from the Parthian Empire), and Bactrian (from the Kushan and Hephthalite empires).

Persian language

PersianNew PersianFarsi
It descended from Old Persian, the language of Achaemenid Empire, and is the linguistic ancestor of Modern Persian.
The Persian language is a continuation of Middle Persian, the official religious and literary language of the Sasanian Empire (224–651 CE), itself a continuation of Old Persian, which was used in the Achaemenid Empire (550–330 BC).

Parthian Empire

ParthianParthiansArsacid
When the Arsacids (who were Parthians) came to power in the 3rd-century BCE, they inherited the use of written Greek (from the successors of Alexander the Great) as the language of government.
After conquering the region, the Parni adopted Parthian as the official court language, speaking it alongside Middle Persian, Aramaic, Greek, Babylonian, Sogdian and other languages in the multilingual territories they would conquer.

Middle Persian literature

Pahlavi literaturePahlaviMiddle Persian
Since almost all surviving Middle Persian literature is in this particular late form of exclusively written Zoroastrian Middle Persian, in popular imagination the term 'Pahlavi' became synonymous with Middle Persian itself.
Middle Persian literature is the corpus of written works composed in Middle Persian, that is, the Middle Iranian dialect of Persia proper, the region in the south-western corner of the Iranian plateau.

Aneran

AniranUn-Iraniannon-Iranians
Those former elites vigorously rejected what they perceived as 'Un-Iranian', and continued to use the "old" language (i.e. Middle Persian) and Aramaic-derived writing system.
Anīrân (Modern Persian, انیران) or Anērān (Middle Persian, 𐭠𐭭𐭩𐭥𐭠𐭭) is an ethno-linguistic term that signifies "non-Iranian" or "non-Iran" (non-Aryan).

Parthian language

ParthianPahlaviIranic
Another Middle Iranian language was Parthian, i.e. the language of the northwestern Iranian peoples of Parthia proper, which lies along the southern/south-eastern edge of the Caspian sea and is adjacent to the boundary between western and eastern Iranian languages.
Taxonomically, Parthian, an Indo-European language, belongs to the Northwestern Iranian language group while Middle Persian belongs to the Southwestern Iranian language group.

Old Persian

PersianOld Persian languageancient Persian
It descended from Old Persian, the language of Achaemenid Empire, and is the linguistic ancestor of Modern Persian.
Old Persian subsequently evolved into Middle Persian, which is in turn the ancestor of New Persian.

Pahlavi scripts

PahlaviPahlavi scriptBook Pahlavi
Traces of Middle Persian are found in remnants of Sasanian inscriptions and Egyptian papyri, coins and seals, fragments of Manichaean writings, and treatises and Zoroastrian books from the Sasanian era, as well as in the post-Sasanian Zoroastrian variant of the language sometimes known as Pahlavi, which originally referred to the Pahlavi scripts, and that was also the preferred writing system for several other Middle Iranian languages.
Thus, when used for the name of a literary genre, i.e. Pahlavi literature, the term refers to Middle Iranian (mostly Middle Persian) texts dated near or after the fall of the Sassanid empire and (with exceptions) extending to about AD 900, after which Iranian languages enter the "modern" stage.

Bactrian language

BactrianBactrian scriptGreco-Bactrian
Under the cultural influence of the Greeks (Hellenization), some Middle Iranian languages, such as Bactrian, also had begun to be written in Greek script.
In the 3rd century, the Kushan territories west of the Indus river fell to the Sasanians, and Bactrian began to be influenced by Middle Persian.

Pazend

PazandPazand script
Aside from the Aramaic alphabet-derived Pahlavi script, Zoroastrian Middle Persian was occasionally also written in Pazend, a system derived from the Avestan alphabet that, unlike Pahlavi, indicated vowels and did not employ logograms.
Pazend or Pazand is one of the writing systems used for the Middle Persian language.

Manichaeism

ManichaeanManichaeansManichean
Other, less abundantly attested varieties are Manichaean Middle Persian, used for a sizable amount of Manichaean religious writings, including many theological texts, homilies and hymns (3rd–9th, possibly 13th century), and the Middle Persian of the Church of the East, evidenced in the Pahlavi Psalter (7th century); these were used until the beginning of the second millennium in many places in Central Asia, including Turpan and even localities in South India.
in Modern Persian آیین مانی Ãyīnⁱ Mānī; ) was a major religion founded by the Iranian prophet Mani (in Middle Persian Mānī, New Persian: مانی Mānī, Syriac Mānī, Greek Μάνης, Latin Manes; also Μανιχαῖος, Latin Manichaeus, from Syriac ܡܐܢܝ ܚܝܐ Mānī Ḥayyā "Living Mani", c.

Pahlavi Psalter

Other, less abundantly attested varieties are Manichaean Middle Persian, used for a sizable amount of Manichaean religious writings, including many theological texts, homilies and hymns (3rd–9th, possibly 13th century), and the Middle Persian of the Church of the East, evidenced in the Pahlavi Psalter (7th century); these were used until the beginning of the second millennium in many places in Central Asia, including Turpan and even localities in South India.
The Pahlavi Psalter is the name given to a 12-page non-contiguous section of a Middle Persian translation of a Syriac version of the Book of Psalms.

Avestan alphabet

AvestanAvestan scriptAvestan letters
Aside from the Aramaic alphabet-derived Pahlavi script, Zoroastrian Middle Persian was occasionally also written in Pazend, a system derived from the Avestan alphabet that, unlike Pahlavi, indicated vowels and did not employ logograms.
As a side effect of its development, the script was also used for Pazend, a method of writing Middle Persian that was used primarily for the Zend commentaries on the texts of the Avesta.

Book of Arda Viraf

Book of Arda WirazArda VirafArda Viraf Namag
Below is transcription and translation of the first page of the facsimile known as Book of Arda Viraf, originally written in a Pahlavi script.
The Book of Ardā Wīrāz (Middle Persian Ardā Wīrāz nāmag, sometimes called the "Arda Wiraf") is a Zoroastrian religious text of the Sasanian era written in Middle Persian.

Logogram

logographiclogographlogograms
Aside from the Aramaic alphabet-derived Pahlavi script, Zoroastrian Middle Persian was occasionally also written in Pazend, a system derived from the Avestan alphabet that, unlike Pahlavi, indicated vowels and did not employ logograms.
A peculiar system of logograms developed within the Pahlavi scripts (developed from the Aramaic abjad) used to write Middle Persian during much of the Sassanid period; the logograms were composed of letters that spelled out the word in Aramaic but were pronounced as in Persian (for instance, the combination m-l-k would be pronounced "shah").

Manichaean alphabet

ManichaeanManichaean scriptManichean alphabet
Manichaean Middle Persian texts were written in the Manichaean alphabet, which also derives from Aramaic but in an Eastern Iranian form via the Sogdian alphabet.
Middle Persian is written with this alphabet.

Parthia

Parthian EmpireParthian PersiaParthians
Another Middle Iranian language was Parthian, i.e. the language of the northwestern Iranian peoples of Parthia proper, which lies along the southern/south-eastern edge of the Caspian sea and is adjacent to the boundary between western and eastern Iranian languages.
These Parthian heroic poems, "mainly known through Persian of the lost Middle Persian Xwaday-namag, and notably through Firdausi's Shahnameh, [were] doubtless not yet wholly lost in the Khurasan of [Firdausi's] day."

Epenthesis

epentheticepenthetic vowelsvarabhakti
Other examples exist in Modern Persian in which former word-initial consonant clusters, which were still extant in Middle Persian, are regularly broken up: Middle Persian brādar > Modern Persian "brother" (short a is pronounced ), Middle Persian stūn > Early New Persian > Modern Iranian Persian "column"; modern borrowings are also affected.

Alexander the Great

AlexanderAlexander III of MacedonAlexander of Macedon
When the Arsacids (who were Parthians) came to power in the 3rd-century BCE, they inherited the use of written Greek (from the successors of Alexander the Great) as the language of government.
In pre-Islamic Middle Persian (Zoroastrian) literature, Alexander is referred to by the epithet gujastak, meaning "accursed", and is accused of destroying temples and burning the sacred texts of Zoroastrianism.

Tabaristan

TapuriaTabarestanTapuri
Tabaristan (Modern Persian طبرستان Ṭabarestān, ultimately from Middle Persian:, Tapurstān), also known as Tapuria (land of Tapurs), was the name applied to Mazandaran, a province in northern Iran.

Luri language

LuriLurishLurish language
The Luri dialects are descended from Middle Persian (Pahlavi).

Sistan

SakastanSijistanSeistan
In the Bundahishn, a Zoroastrian scripture written in Pahlavi, the province is called "Seyansih".

Zoroastrianism

ZoroastrianZoroastriansZoroastrian religion
Pahlavi Middle Persian is the language of quite a large body of literature which details the traditions and prescriptions of Zoroastrianism, which was the state religion of Sasanian Iran (224 to c. 650) before the Muslim conquest of Persia.
All of these works are in the Middle Persian dialect of that period (free of Arabic words), and written in the difficult Pahlavi script (hence the adoption of the term "Pahlavi" as the name of the variant of the language, and of the genre, of those Zoroastrian books).

Anahita

Aredvi Sura AnahitaAnahidAnaitis
Aredvi Sura Anahita is Ardwisur Anahid or Nahid in Middle and Modern Persian, and Anahit in Armenian.