(wedge -shaped) or ARROW-HEADED INSCRIPTIONS, is the name now generally applied to those angular letters first found engraved on Persepolitan relics (see Ker Porter's Travels; Rich's Memoir), and lately in great abundance stamped on Babylonian bricks, SEE BRICK, and carved on the Assyrian monuments. SEE ASSYRIA. The most copious collections of these legends are contained in the great works on the Ninevite antiquities by Botta and Flandin (Monuments de Nineve, Par. 1847, sq.), and by Layard (Assyrian Inscriptions, Lond. 1851), and more lately those of Loftus (Inscriptions from the Ruins of Susa, Lond. 1852); a considerable collection is also given by Rich (Memoir on Bab. Lond. 1839). The character is the simplest and earliest known, and was in common use by the Medes, Persians, Assyrians, and Chaldaeans in the most ancient times. Like the Egyptian hieroglyphics, or rather hieratic, it seems to have been chiefly employed in monumental inscriptions, there being doubtless another form (like the demotic) better adapted to common use. It appears to have fallen into disuse when, on the fall of Babylon under Alexander, these mighty empires ceased to have any great national annals to record. Within the past eighty years the first specimens found their way into Europe from the fragments of Persepolis, and at length engaged the attention of several German philologists, especially Tyschen; but Dr. Grotefend, of Hanover, was the first who obtained any clew to their decipherment (see Vaux's Nineveh and Persepolis, p. 391 sq.). According to him, this mode of writing is formed of two radical signs, the wedge and the angle, susceptible, however, of about thirty different combinations; and consists of three varieties, the Persian, the Median, and the Assyrian, distinguished from each other by a greater or less complication of the characters, the last being the most elaborate: others make still further subdivisions, e.g. the Achaemanian, Babylonian, Medo-Assyrian, Elymaean, Scythian, Arian, etc. The whole of each alphabet, however, is obviously reducible to a single element, the wedge, which is found either singly or in groups of two, three, or more, and placed vertically, horizontally, or obliquely, in the several characters. It is evidently of Asiatic origin, is written from right to left, and is alphabetic, (See an elucidation of the process of deciphering these letters by Layard, Nineveh. 2:134 sq.) The other great laborer in this field of discovery is Colossians Rawlinson, of England, who has so completely succeeded in confirming and extending the results arrived at by others, that the meaning of these inscriptions, with the exception of the exact rendering of some of the proper names, may now be said to be established beyond dispute. (See his Commentary on the Cuneiform Inscriptions, read before the Roy. As. Soc., and published in a separate form, Lond. 1850.) Dr. Hincks has also successfully prosecuted these inquiries. (See his papers in the Transactions of the Roy. Irish Acad. vol. 22.) The inscriptions are usually trilingual as well as triliteral, the alphabets and entire structure differing in each version. SEE BEHISTUN. The language is Shemitic, but corresponds with neither the Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, nor Arabic, as they have come down to us. The inscriptions of various periods and at different places differ considerably in their form and diction.
The following specimens of identification of names mentioned in the Old Test. with those occurring in the Assyrian inscriptions are given by Layard (Nin. and Bab. p. 534-6). Other instances will be noted under the several kings and deities in their proper places, e.g. Artaxerxes, Asshur, Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes. See Paravey, Ninive et Babylon expliques (Paris, 1845 6); Stern, Die dritte Gattung d. Achiimenidischen Keilschr. (Gott. 1850); Anon. Lecture lit. des hieroglyphes et des cuneiformes (Par. 1853); Grotefend, in the Fundgruden des Orients, 1814; and in Heeren's Ideen, I, i (1t15); Neue Beitrage zur Erliuterung der Persepolit. Keilschr'. (Hann. 1837); N. Erlaut. der Babylon. K. (ib. 1840); Bemerkungen ub. d. Inschr. e. Thongesstses m. Babylon. Keilschr. (Gott. 1848); Erlaut. d. k. — en bab. Backsteine (Hann. 1850); Der Trib. der Obelisken aus Nimrud (Gott. 1852); Burnouf, Mem. surc deux inscriptions cuneiformes (Paris, 1836); Holzmann, Beitrdge zur Erkl. der Pers. Keilinschr. (1845); Hincks, On the three Kinds of Persepolitan Writing, etc. (Lond. 1846); On the third Persepol. Writing (1847); Report to the Trustees of the Brit. Mus., etc. (1854); Polyphony of the Cun. Writing (Lond. 1863); Suzatto, Sulla inscrizione cunifornme de Behistun (Mail. 1848) ; Le Sanscritisme de la langue Assyrienne (Pad. 1844); Etudes sur les inscriptions de Persepolis, etc. (ib. 1850); Botta, emm. sur l'ecriture cuneiforme (Par. 1848); De Saulcy, Recherches sur l'ecri- utre cun. (ib. 1848); Rech. analytiques, etc. (ib. 1849 sq.); Traduction de l'inscrip. de Behistun (ib. 1854); Layard, inscript. in the Cun. Character (Lond. 1851); Norris, Memoir on the Scythic Version 'of the Beh. Inscr. (ib. 1853); Lassen, Altpersische Keil- Inschriftcn vonz Persepolis (Bonn, 1836); Lichtenstein, Palceographia Assyro-persica (Helmst. 1803); Col. Rawlinson, Cunei. Insc. at Behistun (Assyrian and English, with a vocabulary, 3 pts. 8vo, Lond. 1846, and later being vol. 10, sq. of the Jour. of the Roy. As. Soc.); Commentary on the Cuneiform Inscriptions (London, 1850); Memoir on the Babyl. and Assyr. Inscriptions (ib. 1851); Menant, Inscriptions Assyriennes (Par. 1859); Notice sur les Inscriptions cuneiformes (Paris, 1859); also, Les ecritures Cuneiformes (Paris, 1860, 1864); Oppert, Das Lautsystem des A ltpersischen (Berl. 1847); Miem. sur les inscr. des Achemenides (Paris, 1851); Nnnemm mmresusus Roi de Babylone (Par. 1859); Elements de la grammaire Assyrienne (Paris, 1860); and Grande inscription de Khorsabad (Par. 1866); Brandis, Assyr. Inscr. (tr. in the Bibliotheca Sacra, April, 1857); G. H. Rawlinson, Four Monarchies, i; De Gobineau, Lecture des texts Cuneiformes (Par. 1858); also, Traite des ecritures Cuneiformes (Par. 1864); Olshausen, Privfung der Assyrischen Keilschrift (Herm. 1864); Presb. Quart. Review, April, 1861; Br. and For. Evang. Review, July, 1861; Jour. Sac. Lit. April, 1861, Ocit. 1864; Morris, Assyrian Dictionary (Lond. 1868 sq. 8vo).