The Lost Greek Epitaph from Hārūnābād (aka Shāhābād, mod. Eslāmābād-e Gharb), Iran, and its Elusive Discoverer, ‘Mr. H.’


  • Daniel T. Potts


Hārūnābād, Greek inscription, Great Khorasan Road


There are many reasons to revisit old discoveries, particularly when they have sunk into relative oblivion. In the case of a Greek inscription from a town on the Great Khorasan Road, in the heart of Media, that has not been seen since 1844, no particular justification seems required of an attempt to extract as much meaning as possible from such a precious find and to properly recognise, for the first time, its discoverer.


Anonymous. 1835. Expedition to the Euphrates. The Athenaeum (Jan-Dec) 375: 129.

Anonymous. 1841. Our Portrait Gallery.— No. XXIV. Lieutenant-Colonel F.R. Chesney, Royal Artillery, F.R.S. and F.G.S. The Dublin University Magazine 18: 574-580.

Anonymous. 1857. Communication with India. The London Quarterly Review 102: 195-218.

Anonymous. 1864. The Maritime Credit Company (Limited). The Spectator 37: 602.

Anonymous. 1865. The Commercial Company of Africa (Limited). The Examiner (Dec. 9): 785.

Anonymous. 1869. The China clipper Caliph. Illustrated London News 55 (Nov. 6): 461.

Anonymous. 1871. Hamilton v. Hector. The Law Journal Reports for the year 1871 40: 692-697.

Anonymous. 1875. Alexander Hector, Deceased. The London Gazette (Aug. 17): 4166.

Anonymous. 1884. Bradshaw’s through Route overland Guide to India, and Colonial Handbook. London: W.J. Adams & Sons.

Anonymous. 1903. Hector, Mrs. Annie (French). Appletons’ Annual Cyclopædia (3rd ser.) 7: 500.

Anonymous. 1928. The last of the windjammers. The Spectator (29 December): 20.

Abdi, K. and Beckman, G. 2007. An Early Second-Millennium Cuneiform Archive from Chogha Gavaneh, Western Iran. Journal of Cuneiform Studies 59: 39–91.

Ainsworth, W.F. 1847. The Expedition in Difficulties. Ainsworth’s Magazine 12: 46-57.

Ainsworth, W.F. 1888. A Personal Narrative of the Euphrates Expedition, 2 vols. London: Kegan, Paul, Trench, & Co.

Bernard, P. 1995. Remarques additionelles. Comptes rendus des séances de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres 139: 73–95.

Bishop, Mrs. 1891. Journeys in Persia and Kurdistan, including a Summer in the Upper Karun Region and a Visit to the Nestorian Rayahs, vol. 1. London: John Murray.

Black, H.C. 1906. Notable Women Authors of the Day. London: Maclaren and Company.

Bonomi, J. 1852. Nineveh and its Palaces. The Discoveries of Botta and Layard, applied to the Elucidation of Holy Writ. London: Office of the Illustrated London Library.

Booth, A.J. 1902. The Discovery and Decipherment of the Trilingual Cuneiform Inscriptions. London: Longmans, Green, and Co.

Bruce, W.N. 1903. Sir A. Henry Layard G.C.B., D.C.L. Autobiography and Letters from his Childhood until his Appointment as H.M. Ambassador at Madrid, 2 vols. London: John Murray.

Buckingham, J.S. 1830. Travels in Assyria, Media, and Persia, including a Journey from Bagdad by Mount Zagros, to Hamadan, the Ancient Ecbatana, Researches in Ispahan and the Ruins of Persepolis…, vol. 1. London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley.

Canali De Rossi, F. 2004. Iscrizioni dello Estremo Oriente Greco. Bonn: Inschriften griechischer Städte aus Kleinasien 65.

Chesney, F.R. 1850. The Expedition for the Survey of the Rivers Euphrates and Tigris, carried on by Order of the British Government, in the Years 1835, 1836, and 1837…, vol. 1. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans.

Chesney, F.R. 1868. Narrative of the Euphrates Expedition carried on by Order of the British Government during the Years 1835, 1836, and 1837. London: Longmans, Green, and Co.

Chesney, F.R. and Ainsworth, W. 1837. A General Statement of the Labours and Proceedings of the Expedition to the Euphrates, under the Command of Colonel Chesney, Royal Artillery, F.R.S. Journal of the Royal Geographical Society 7: 411-439.

Collins, P. 2012. From Mesopotamia to the Met: Two Assyrian Reliefs from the Palace of Sargon II. Metropolitan Museum Journal 47: 73-84.

Cresson, W.P. 1908. Persia: The Awakening East. Philadelphia and London: J.B. Lippincott Company.

Cumont, F. 1928. Inscriptions grecques de Suse publiées d’après les notes de Bernard Haussoullier. In Mecquenem, R. de (ed), Mémoires de la Mission Archéologique de Perse 20: 77-98. Paris: Geuthner.

Donohoe, Major M.H. 1919. With the Persian Expedition. London: Edward Arnold.

Dupré, A. 1819. Voyage en Perse, fait dans les années 1807, 1808 et 1809, en traversant la Natolie et la Mésopotamie…, vol. 1. Paris. J.G. Dentu.

Ferrier, J.P. 1856. Caravan Journeys and Wanderings in Persia, Afghanistan, Turkistan, and Beloochistan; with Historical Notices of the Countries lying between Russia and India, second ed. London: John Murray.

Floyer, E.A. 1882. Unexplored Balūchistan. A Survey, with Observations Astronomical, Geographical, Botanical, etc., of a Route through Mekran, Bashkurd, Persia, Kurdistan, and Turkey. London: Griffith & Farran.

Fraser, J.B. 1840. Travels in Koordistan, Mesopotamia, &c. including an account of parts of those countries hitherto unvisited by Europeans with sketches of the character and manners of the Koordish and Arab tribes, vol. 2. London: Richard Bentley.

Fraser, P.M. 1967. Current problems concerning the early cult of Sarapis. Opuscula Atheniensia 7: 23-44.

Gadd, C.J. 1936. The stones of Assyria. London: Chatto and Windus.

Goodman, J. 2014. Walk round Worcester Park and St Mary’s, Cuddington. Bulletin of the Merton Historical Society 191: 4-5.

Guha, S. 2015. ‘Nineveh’ in Bombay, circa 1840s: When the Splendours of ncient Assyria Enraptured the City.

Hamilton, A. 1870. The River Niger and the Progress of Discovery and Commerce in Central Africa; a Lecture delivered…at the Bromley Literary Institute, on Tuesday, 25th March, 1862. London: Dalton & Morgan.

Hamilton, A. 1868. On the Trade with the Coloured Races of Africa. Journal of the Statistical Society of London 31: 25-48.

Harris, W.B. 1896. From Batum to Baghdad viâ Tiflis, Tabriz, and Persian Kurdistan. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood.

Hector, A. 1839. Unjust Exaction and Stoppage of Trade at Bagdad. The Oriental Herald and Colonial Intelligencer 3 (Jan-June): 382.

Herzfeld, E. 1920. Am Tor von Asien. Felsdenkmale aus Irans Heldenzeit. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer/Ernst Vohsen.

Herzfeld, E. 1930. Zarathustra, Teil V. Awestische Topographie. Archäologische Mitteilungen aus Iran 2: 49-98.

Herzfeld, E. 1948. Geschichte der Stadt Samarra. Hamburg: Forschungen zur islamischen Kunst 2.

Hoskins, H.L. 1928. British Routes to India. New York: Longmans, Green and Co.

Jones, J.F. 1849. Narrative of a Journey through Parts of Persia and Kurdistan, undertaken by Commander J.F. Jones, I. N., of the Hon’ble Company’s Steam Vessel ‘Nitocris,’ in company with Major Rawlinson, Political Agent in Turkish Arabia. Transactions of the Bombay Geographical Society 8: 249–334.

Ker Porter, R. 1822. Travels in Georgia, Persia, Armenia, Ancient Babylonia, &c. &c. during the years 1817, 1818, 1819, and 1820, vol. 2. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown.

King, L.W. and Campbell Thompson, R. 1907. The Sculptures and Inscription of Darius the Great on the Rock of Behistûn in Persia. London: The British Museum.

Laird, M. and Oldfield, R.A.K. 1837. Narrative of an Expedition into the Interior of Africa, by the River Niger, in the Steam-Vessels Quorra and Alburkah, in 1832, 1833, and 1834, vol. 1. London: Richard Bentley.

Layard, A.H. 1869. Rassam’s Abyssinia. The London Quarterly Review 126 (no. 252): 157-172.

Layard, A.H. 1887. Early Adventures in Persia, Susiana, and Babylonia including a Residence among the Bakhtiyari and other wild Tribes before the Discovery of Nineveh, vol. 2. London: John Murray.

Lee, E. (rev. C.G. Lewin). 2004. Hector, Annie (1825-1902). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography., accessed 4 May 2017.

Le Strange, G. 1905. The Lands of the Eastern Caliphate. Mesopotamia, Persia, and Central Asia from the Moslem Conquest to the Time of Timur. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Loftus, W.K. 1856. Notes of a Journey from Baghdad to Busrah, with Descriptions of several Chaldæan rRmains. Journal of the Royal Geographical Society 26: 131-153.

Lubbock, A.B. 1914. The China Clippers. Glasgow: James Brown & Son.

MacGregor, Lieut.-Col. C.M. 1871. Central Asia. Part IV. A contribution towards the better Knowledge of the Topography, Ethnology, Resources, & History of Persia. Calcutta: Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing.

Mannert, K. 1797. Geographie der Griechen und Römer. Fünfter Theil. Zweytes Heft. Die persische Monarchie bis zum Euphrat. Nürnberg: Ernst Christoph Grattenauer.

Masson, C. 1850. Illustration of the Route from Seleucia to Apobotana, as given by Isidorus of Charax. JRAS 12: 97–124.

Miller, K. 1916. Itineraria Romana: Römische Reisewege an der Hand der Tabula Peutingeriana. Stuttgart: Strecker and Schröder.

Minorsky, V. 1955. Abū-Dulaf Mis‘ar Ibn Muhalhil’s Travels in Iran. Cairo: Cairo University Press.

Niebuhr, M. v. 1857. Geschichte Assur’s und Babel’s seit Phul aus der Concordanz des Alten Testaments, des Berossos, des Kanons der Könige und der griechischen Schriftsteller. Berlin: Verlag von Wilhelm Hertz.

Olivier, G-A. 1801. Voyage dans l’Empire Othoman, l’Égypte et la Perse, fait par ordre du Gouvernement, pendant les six premières années de la République, vol. 6. Paris: Henri Agasse.

Parry, J.P. 2013. Steam Power and British Influence in Baghdad, 1820-1860. The Historical Journal 56/1: 145-173.

Petermann, H. 1865. Reisen im Orient, 2nd ed., vol. 1. Leipzig: Verlag von Veit & Comp.

Peters, J.P. 1893. A brief Statement concerning the Babylonian Expedition sent out under the Auspices of the University of Pennsylvania. Journal of the American Oriental Society 15: cxivi-cliii.

Rabino, H.L. 1903. Report on the trade and general condition of the city and province of Kermanshah. London: Diplomatic and Consular Reports No. 590 Miscellaneous Series.

Rawlinson, G. 1898. A memoir of Major-General Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson Bart. K.C.B., F.R.S., D.C.L., F.R.G.S., &c. London, New York and Bombay: Longmans, Green, and Co.

Rawlinson, H.C. 1839. Notes on a March from Zoháb, at the foot of Zagros, along the Mountains to Khúzistán (Susiana), and from thence through the Province of Luristan to Kirmánsháh, in the year 1836. Journal of the Royal Geographical Society 9: 29-116.

Rawlinson, H.C. and Layard, A.H. 1884. The Discoveries at Behistun and Nineveh. The Athenaeum 2976: 593-594.

Rennell, J. 1831. Treatise on the Comparative Geography of Western Asia, accompanied with an Atlas of Maps, vol. 1. London: C.J.G. & F. Rivington.

Robert, L. 1967. Encore une inscription grecque de l’Iran. Comptes rendus des séances de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres 111/2: 281-297.

Rougemont, G. 2012. Inscriptions grecques d’Iran et d’Asie centrale. London: Corpus Inscriptionum Iranicarum II/I.

Sarre, F. and Herzfeld, E. 1910. Iranische Felsreliefs: Aufnahmen und Untersuchungen von Denkmälern aus alt- und mittelpersischer Zeit. Berlin: Ernst Wasmuth.

Sarre, F. and Herzfeld, E. 1920. Archäologische Reise im Euphrat- und Tigris-Gebiet, vol. 2. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer/Ernst Vohsen/A.-G.

Schmitt, R. 2006. Griechische Inschriften aus dem ‘Fernen Osten.’ Indo-Iranian Journal 49: 347–59.

Schoff, W.H. 1914. Parthian Stations by Isidore of Charax. Philadelphia: The Commercial Museum.

Simpson, St.J. 2005. Making their Mark: Foreign Travellers at Persepolis. ARTA 2005.001.

Speiser, E.A. 1928. Southern Kurdistan in the Annals of Ashurnasirpal and Today. Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research 8: 1-41.

Stein, A. 1940. Old Routes of Western Īrān. London: Macmillan and Co.

Tarn, W.W. 1938. The Greeks in Bactria and India. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.

Thomas, E. 1868. Sassanian Inscriptions. JRAS NS 3: 241-358.

Tomaschek, W. 1883. Zur historischen Topographie von Persien. Sitzungsberichte der kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, phil.-hist. Kl. 102/1: 145-231.

Vaux, W.S.W. 1876. Persia from the Earliest Period to the Arab Conquest. New York: Scribner, Armstrong & Co.

Walker, F.M. 2010. Ships & Shipbuilders: Pioneers of Design and Construction. Barnsley: Seaforth Publishing.

Wilson, Maj.-Gen. Sir C. 1895. Handbook for Travellers in Asia Minor, Transcaucasia, Persia, etc. London: John Murray.

Wright, D. 2001. The English amongst the Persians: Imperial Lives in Nineteenth-Century Iran. London and New York: I.B. Tauris.



How to Cite

Potts, D. T. (2017). The Lost Greek Epitaph from Hārūnābād (aka Shāhābād, mod. Eslāmābād-e Gharb), Iran, and its Elusive Discoverer, ‘Mr. H.’. Ash-Sharq: Bulletin of the Ancient Near East – Archaeological, Historical and Societal Studies, 1(2), 304-. Retrieved from




Similar Articles

1 2 > >> 

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.