The Behistun Rock has been likened to the Rosetta Stone
only instead of hieroglyphics
, the rock is done in the ancient writings of cuneiform
. In contrast to the Rosetta Stone, the Behistun Rock was carved into an area 300 feet up in an area 50 feet high by 60 feet wide into the side of the Zargos mountains in what was then considered Persia
and is now present day Iran
. It's estimated that these carvings date from 516 BC.
The carvings, done in bas-relief, represent a memorial to the conquests of a Persian king that went by the name of Darius. In all, there are 20 panels that contain 76 paragraphs of writing. In the center of the relief is a depiction of King Darius with his foot over one captive chief and nine other captives all bound togethor. Each of the captives is dressed differently, some wearing short tunics, some with long robes and some wearing caps that were characteristic of what the Hebrews wore. It has been speculated that these captives might represent the Lost Tribes of Israel. The inscriptions in the rock were done in three different ancient languages, Babylonian, Elamite, and Persian.
The rock was discovered in 1835 by Sir Henry Rawlinson the translation was completed in 1852. In short, each of the panels start off with the inscription "I am Darius, king of kings, the king of Persia" or "King Darius says" and goes on to describe his ancestors and conquests of the time.
Unfortunately, the relief was badly damaged during WWII when soldiers used the carving as target practice.
For a full translation of the rock try http://www.livius.org/be-bm/behistun/behistun03.html