A new Bactrian inscription from Jaghori, Afghanistan

Jo Salisbury News 2 Comments

Bactrian, the main administrative language of pre-Islamic Afghanistan, is unique amongst the languages of the Iranian family in being written in a script derived from Greek, a legacy of the conquest of the region by Alexander the Great in the 4th century BCE. Until recently, the Bactrian language was almost unknown. Over the last 25 or 30 years, however, nearly 200 Bactrian documents written in cursive Greek script on parchment, cloth or wood have gradually come to light. Most of these documents have been edited and translated by our Chair …

Nicholas Sims-Williams lectures at General Assembly of the Union Académique Internationale

Munizha Ahmad-Cooke News Leave a Comment

The General Assembly of the Union Académique Internationale (International Union of Academies), which took place in Paris on 25-29 November, was attended by no less than three of our trustees: Professor Almut Hintze and Professor Nicholas Sims-Williams, as the two representatives of the British Academy, and Professor Sam Lieu, the current President of the UAI. The UAI was founded in 1919 at the conclusion of World War I, with the aim of bringing together the academies of the world to collaborate on long-term projects. This centenary General Assembly concluded on …

Studies in the Chronology of the Bactrian Documents from Northern Afghanistan

Ursula Sims-Williams Book Notes Leave a Comment

On Friday 25 May we celebrated the publication of Studies in the Chronology of the Bactrian Documents from Northern Afghanistan by our Chairman Nicholas Sims-Williams and François de Blois. Following the presentation of the book, Joe Cribb, AIIT trustee and former Keeper of Coins and Medals at the British Museum, gave an exciting lecture ‘Constructing Kushan chronology: Bactria and Gandhara 1st-4th century AD’. More than 150 documents in Bactrian, the chief administrative language of pre-Islamic Afghanistan, have come to light during the last twenty-five years. These documents include letters, legal …

Bactrian personal names

Ursula Sims-Williams Book Notes Leave a Comment

Sims-Williams, Nicholas. Bactrian Personal Names. Wien: Verl. d. Österr. Akad. d. Wiss, 2010 (Iranisches Personennamenbuch 2: Mitteliranische Personennamen fasc. 7) isbn: 978-3-7001-6841-6 Bactrian was the principal language of administration in what is now Afghanistan from the time of the Kushan empire (1st to 3rd centuries C.E.) until the early Islamic period. The surviving Bactrian inscriptions and documents, coins and countermarks, seals and sealings attest a large number of personal names, whose various linguistic origins—Persian, Sogdian, Indian, Hunnic, Turkish, and of course native Bactrian—mirror the variety of peoples and religions which …