It was their King Darius the Great who ok'd the finishing of the temple in Jerusalem, who was said by another Greek historian Thucydides to have led his "Median" Navy in the Battle of Marathon with Greece. Darius also oversaw the creation of a semi-alphabetic cuneiform script called Old Persian, having 36 letters and 8 logograms (picture words) to be used for inscriptions e.g. the Behistun Inscription. He calls it an "Aryan" script, using a Sanskrit word meaning "noble", "from a good family". Script direction is left to right. Darius worshiped God as Ahura Mazda. Ahura (similar to Asora) means "Lord" and probably derives from Asshur, son of Shem, grandson of Noah, founder of the Assyrian tribe. Mazda meaning "Wisdom", derives from Magi, and according to Herodotus one of the tribes of the Medes. According to Josephus, the Medes were descended from Madai, son of Japheth, grandson of Noah. Darius named his son Artaxerxes. Arta, or Asha is a Persian word meaning "Truth" (as opposed to Deceit). Worship beings are called Yazata, as opposed to Daevas (Demons). Today, Old Persian does not exist outside inscriptions written by Darius and his son Artaxerxes. Everywhere else, Aramaic with its 22 letter alphabet appears to have been used. Script direction of Aramaic is right to left. In India about now, Panini is said to have established the Grammar rules (sutras) for classical Sanskrit calling them Astadhyayi. He is rumoured to have lived in Gandhara, located in present-day north-west Pakistan and parts of north-east Afghanistan. No records of his time have been found. His books have apparently been copied every 50-100 years, now hundreds of times. Panini said the ancient Vedas, spoken in Sanskrit, were first composed about 2000BC. Due to their perishable nature, also an insistence on pronouncing (and explaining) the words correctly, it is unclear as to when the Vedas were first written down. The oldest surviving manuscripts in Nepal date to c. 1040. A copy in the British Library dates to 1495 - 1735. In 334BC, the Macedonian general Alexander the Great crossed the Hellespont (Greek Sea) fording the river near the Sea of Marmara. Destroys the Persian Empire, including most of their literary records. Establishes the Seleucid Empire via his generals. He died young. Greek is the language of administration in Persia for the next 100 years. Circa 240BC, the Parni tribe conquers Persia, forming the Parthian empire. Aramaic is their script. In India, Buddhist King Ashoka issued over 30 copies of Prakrit ("common speech") edicts on pillars and cave walls in the Brahmi script, except in north-west India where Kharosthi, Aramaic and Greek alphabets were used. Script direction for Brahmi and Greek, is left to right. Script direction for Kharosthi is mostly right to left. Note, by now Sanskrit had become an extinct language in India, used only in their holy teachings and hymns. In 224AD, the Sasanian tribe conquered Persia. Their language is called Middle Persian or Pahlavi, but it still uses the Aramaic script. They also write the Avesta at this time using the 53 letter Avestan alphabet, these are the holy books of Zoroastrianism used by the priests. It is a language very similar to Sanskrit, in fact it is considered to be a dialect of Sanskrit. In 650AD, the Arabs conquer Persia. The Arabic script (28 letters) becomes the norm, plus 4 additional letters, forming the Perso-Arabic script. Today this language is referred to as New Persian, or Farsi.
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