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Psalter Pahlavi is a cursive abjad which was used for writing Middle Persian on paper, it is thus described as one of the Pahlavi scripts.[1] It was written right to left, usually with spaces between words.[1]

Psalter Pahlavi
Cross of Herat - Psalter Pahlavi Inscription.png
Sample of text taken from the Cross of Herat
LanguagesMiddle Persian
Time period
Mid-6th to 7th century CE
Parent systems
ISO 15924Phlp, 132
Unicode alias
Psalter Pahlavi

It takes its name from the Pahlavi Psalter, part of the Psalms translated from Syriac to Middle Persian and found in what is now western China.[2]



Letters (Isolated Form)
Name[a] Image Text IPA[3] Name Image Text IPA Name Image Text IPA
Aleph   𐮀 /a/, /aː/ Zayin   𐮆 /z/ Nun   𐮌 /n/
Beth   𐮁 /b/, /w/ Heth   𐮇 /h/, /x/ Samekh   𐮍 /s/, /h/
Gimel   𐮂 /g/, /j/ Yodh   𐮈 /j/, /ē̆/, /ī̆/, /d͡ʒ/ Pe   𐮎 /p/, /b/, /f/
Daleth   𐮃 /d/, /j/ Kaph   𐮉 /k/, /g/ Sadhe   𐮏 /t͡ʃ/, /d͡ʒ/, /z/
He   𐮄 /h/ Lamedh   𐮊 /l/, /r/ Shin   𐮐 /ʃ/
Waw-ayin-resh   𐮅 /w/, /ʔ/, /r/ Mem-qoph   𐮋 /m/, /q/ Taw   𐮑 /t/, /d/


Four different large section-ending punctuation marks were used:

Mark Description
Image Text
  𐮙 Section mark
  𐮚 Turned section mark
  𐮛 Four dots with cross
  𐮜 Four dots with dot


Psalter Pahlavi had its own numerals:

Value 1 2 3 4 10 20 100
Sign Image              
Text 𐮩 𐮪 𐮫 𐮬 𐮭 𐮮 𐮯

Some numerals have joining behavior (with both numerals and letters).[1] Numbers are written right-to-left. Numbers without corresponding numerals are additive. For example, 96 is written as 𐮮𐮮𐮮𐮮𐮭𐮫𐮫‎ (20 + 20 + 20 + 20 + 10 + 3 + 3).[1]

Unicode blockEdit

Psalter Pahlavi script was added to the Unicode Standard in June, 2014 with the release of version 7.0.

The Unicode block is U+10B80–U+10BAF:

Psalter Pahlavi[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+10B8x 𐮀 𐮁 𐮂 𐮃 𐮄 𐮅 𐮆 𐮇 𐮈 𐮉 𐮊 𐮋 𐮌 𐮍 𐮎 𐮏
U+10B9x 𐮐 𐮑 𐮙 𐮚 𐮛 𐮜
U+10BAx 𐮩 𐮪 𐮫 𐮬 𐮭 𐮮 𐮯
1.^ As of Unicode version 12.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points


  1. ^ The names are based on the corresponding Imperial Aramaic characters


  1. ^ a b c d Everson, Michael; Pournader, Roozbeh (2011-05-06). "N4040: Proposal for encoding the Psalter Pahlavi script in the SMP of the UCS" (PDF). Working Group Document, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2.
  2. ^ Encyclopædia Iranica: Pahlavi Psalter
  3. ^ Daniels, Peter T.; Bright, William, eds. (1996). The World's Writing Systems. Oxford University Press, Inc. p. 518. ISBN 978-0195079937.