Aramaic lessons and reading classes

24 one-hour classes will provide a grounding in the grammar of Achaemenid- period Aramaic and the opportunity for close reading of the most important of the Arshama documents. The classes will be run by David Taylor (Oriental Institute, Oxford) and will take place at 1 p.m. on Thursdays during Oxford terms in the Lecture Theatre of the Ioannou Centre for the Study of Greek and Roman Antiquity.

No previous knowledge of Semitic languages required! All the same, it will be very helpful if people who want to want to attend these classes familiarize themselves with the Hebrew alphabet beforehand.

(Please note that no food is allowed in the venue: in spite of the lunchtime hour, this is not a lunch or "brown bag" class).

Documents from the class will be posted here. They are freely downloadable but David Taylor (Oriental Institute, Oxford University), should be asked before reproducing and diffusing them.


Aramaic skeleton grammar 01 (overview, alphabet).

Aramaic skeleton grammar 02 (pronouns).

Aramaic skeleton grammar 03 (nouns).

Aramaic Skeleton Grammar 04 (Strong Verb).

Aramaic Skeleton Grammar 04a (Strong Verb revision sheet).

Aramaic Skeleton Grammar 04b (Strong Verb by numbers).

Aramaic Skeleton Grammar 05 (Weak verbs).

Aramaic Skeleton Grammar 06 (Numerals).


Aramaic Exercise 00a (transliteration silliness).

Aramaic Exercise 00b (transliteration, Ezra 4.11-16).

Aramaic Exercise 01 (Pronouns).

Aramaic Exercise 02 (Nouns).

Aramaic Exercise 03 (Verbs).

Aramaic Exercise 04 (Weak verbs).


TAD texts reproduced by kind permission of B. Porten.

Aramaic Texts 00 (Ezra).

Aramaic Texts 01 (TAD A6.12, Driver 9).

Aramaic texts 02 (TAD A.6.7, Driver 5).

Aramaic Texts 03 (TAD A6.10, Driver 7).

Aramaic Texts 04 (TAD A6.11, Driver 8).

Aramaic Texts 05 (TAD A4.5, Cowley 27).

Aramaic Texts 06 (TAD A4.7, Cowley 30).

Aramaic Texts 06a (collation of TAD A4.7 and A4.8).

Aramaic Texts 06b (TAD A4.7 in Aramaic script).

Aramaic Texts 07 (TAD A4.9).

Aramaic Texts 08 (TAD A4.10, Cowley 33).

AAramaic Texts 09 (TAD A6.9, Driver 6).

Aramaic Texts 10 (TAD A6.13, Driver 10).

Aramaic Texts 11 (TAD A6.15, Driver 12).

Aramaic Texts 12 (TAD A6.2).

Aramaic Texts 13 (TAD A4.1).

Aramaic Texts 14 (TAD A4.2).

Aramaic Texts 15 (TAD A6.1).

Aramaic Texts 16 (TAD A6.3, Driver 3).

Aramaic Texts 17 (TAD A6.4, Driver 2).

Aramaic Texts 18 (TAD A6.8, Driver 4).

Vocabulary and Glossaries

Imperial Aramaic Glossary (1.0).

Frequency List of Egyptian Aramaic (1.0).

Aramaic Vocabulary (common verbs).

Aramaic Lexicon (Biblical Aramaic only, 1906).

Proposed reading timetable

Proposed timetable for reading Aramaic texts from the Arshama dossier

Download timetable here.

Arshama’s artist A6.12 20 January

Revolt documents A6.7, A6.10-11, A4.5 27 January, 3 February, 10 February

Temple documents A4.7, A4.9-10 17 February, 24 February, 3 March

Long-distance travel documents A6.9, A6.13, A6.15 10 March, 5 May

Boat-repair document A6.2 12 May, 17 May

Other documents A4.1-2, A6.1, A6.3-4, A6.8 24 May, 2 June, 9 June, 16 June, 23 June


A4.1 Passover regulations

A4.2 Report of conflict (of uncertain nature) and request for assistance.

A4.5 Petition to unknown addressee about temple-reconstruction.

A4.7 Petition to Bagohi about temple-reconstruction.

A4.9 Memorandum of authorization of temple-reconstruction

A4.10 Offer of payment in connection with temple-reconstruction.

A6.3 Arshama orders punishment of slaves belonging to the father of his pqyd Psamshek

A6.4 Arshama orders the transfer of a land-grant to Psamshek

A6.7 Arshama orders the release of thirteen Cilician slaves

A6.8 Arshama orders Armapiya to obey the bailiff Psamshek

A6.9 Arshama authorizes daily travel rations for Nakhtor and thirteen others

A6.10 Arshama orders Nakhtor to preserve and enhance his estate in a time of disturbance

A6.11 Arshama authorizes assignment of a domain to Petosiri

A6.12 Arshama authorizes rations for the sculptor Hinzani and his household personnel

A6.13 Arshama tells Nakhtor et al. to ensure Varuvahya’s rent-income reaches Babylon

A6.15 Virafsha orders Nakhtor to hand over 5 Cilicians and return misappropriated goods


A reminder of some other relevant dates

Workshop 2: Achaemenid Art Texts and Images 29 January

Workshop 3: Achaemenid Egypt 5 March

Workshop 4: Travel and Empire 14 May

Workshop 5: Language and Empire 4 July

Conference: Conclusions and Prospects 5-7 July


8.12.2010 Exercise 3 is a emended version, replacing the earlier sheet (given out during classes)