Inscriptional Parthian

Inscriptional Parthian is a script used to write Parthian language on coins of Parthia from the time of Arsaces I of Parthia (250 BC). It was also used for inscriptions of Parthian (mostly on clay fragments) and later Sassanian periods (mostly on official inscriptions).

Inscriptional Parthian
Shapur Kabe Zartosht.png
Parthian version of Shapur I's inscription at Ka'ba-ye Zartosht
LanguagesParthian language
Time period
250 BC
Parent systems
Aramaic alphabet
ISO 15924Prti, 130
Unicode alias
Inscriptional Parthian

Inscriptional Parthian script is written from right to left and the letters are not joined.

Parthian (above), along with Greek (below) and Middle Persian was being used in inscriptions of early Sassanian kings. Shapur inscription in Naqsh-e Rajab


Inscriptional Parthian uses 22 letters:[1]

Name[A] Image Text IPA[2] Name Image Text IPA Name Image Text IPA
Aleph   𐭀 /a/, /aː/ Teth   𐭈 /t/ Pe   𐭐 /p/, /b/
Beth   𐭁 /b/, /v/ Yodh   𐭉 /j/, /ē̆/, /ī̆/ Sadhe   𐭑 /s/
Gimel   𐭂 /g/, /j/ Kaph   𐭊 /k/ Qoph   𐭒 /q/
Daleth   𐭃 /d/, /j/ Lamedh   𐭋 /l/ Resh   𐭓 /r/
He   𐭄 /h/ Mem   𐭌 /m/ Shin   𐭔 /ʃ/, /ʒ/
Waw   𐭅 /v/, /r/ Nun   𐭍 /n/ Taw   𐭕 /t/, /d/
Zayin   𐭆 /z/ Samekh   𐭎 /s/
Heth   𐭇 /h/, /x/ Ayin   𐭏 /ʔ/
  1. ^ Letter names are based on the corresponding Imperial Aramaic characters[1]


Inscriptional Parthian uses seven standard ligatures:[1]

Ligature Sequence
Image Text
  𐭂𐭅 𐭂 (gimel) + 𐭅 (waw)
  𐭇𐭅 𐭇 (heth) + 𐭅 (waw)
  𐭉𐭅 𐭉 (yodh) + 𐭅 (waw)
  𐭍𐭅 𐭍 (nun) + 𐭅 (waw)
  𐭏𐭋 𐭏 (ayin) + 𐭋 (lamedh)
  𐭓𐭅 𐭓 (resh) + 𐭅 (waw)
  𐭕𐭅 𐭕 (taw) + 𐭅 (waw)

The letters sadhe (𐭑) and nun (𐭍) have swash tails which typically trail under the following letter.[1] For example:

Ligature Sequence
Image Text
  𐭍𐭍 𐭍 (nun) + 𐭍 (nun)
  𐭍𐭃 𐭍 (nun) + 𐭃 (daleth)


Inscriptional Parthian had its own numerals:

Value 1 2 3 4 10 20 100 1000
Sign Image                
Text 𐭘 𐭙 𐭚 𐭛 𐭜 𐭝 𐭞 𐭟

Numbers are written right-to-left. Numbers without corresponding numerals are additive. For example, 158 is written as 𐭞𐭝𐭝𐭜𐭛𐭛‎ (100 + 20 + 20 + 10 + 4 + 4).[1]


Inscriptional Parthian script was added to the Unicode Standard in October, 2009 with the release of version 5.2.

The Unicode block for Inscriptional Parthian is U+10B40–U+10B5F:

Inscriptional Parthian[1][2]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+10B4x 𐭀 𐭁 𐭂 𐭃 𐭄 𐭅 𐭆 𐭇 𐭈 𐭉 𐭊 𐭋 𐭌 𐭍 𐭎 𐭏
U+10B5x 𐭐 𐭑 𐭒 𐭓 𐭔 𐭕 𐭘 𐭙 𐭚 𐭛 𐭜 𐭝 𐭞 𐭟
1.^ As of Unicode version 12.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points


  1. ^ a b c d e Everson, Michael; Pournader, Roozbeh (2007-08-24). "L2/07-207R: Proposal for encoding the Inscriptional Parthian, Inscriptional Pahlavi, and Psalter Pahlavi scripts in the SMP of the UCS" (PDF).
  2. ^ Daniels, Peter T.; Bright, William, eds. (1996). The World's Writing Systems. Oxford University Press, Inc. pp. 518. ISBN 978-0195079937.