What is the history behind Farsi writing?


Quick Answer

Farsi writing first appeared in Persia circa 500 to 600 BCE as a cuneiform style of inscribing monuments attributed to Achaemenid kings. Ancient Farsi letters are predominantly nail-shaped, and the Farsi word Farsi writing translates as "script of nails."

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Full Answer

Farsi writing has four distinct historical periods that denote changes in styles of inscription, cultural influences, usage and semantic shifts of words. The periods are Ancient, Middle, Classical and Modern. Persian has always been predominantly syllabic, which means that single written characters indicate a syllable. However, Ancient Person script contains some logograms, which are characters and signs that represent words or entire phrases.

Avestaaee and Pahlavi are the two most common Ancient Persian scripts. Although modern spoken Farsi differs from Classical Farsi, Classical Farsi writing constitutes the Persian calligraphy that occurs in printed Farsi texts and modern Iranian literature. Nas'taliq is a type of Classical Farsi calligraphy that dates to the 10th century. Its modern equivalent, cursive Nas'taliq, dates to the 17th century

The Achaemenid Empire, the Sasanian Empire and the Mughal Empire each impacted the manner and appearance of Farsi writing. The Arab influence occurred in the seventh century, when Persians adapted the Arabic language to the Farsi alphabet. The influence persists to this day, and it accounts for the silhouette of Farsi script, which closely resembles Arabic script.

The word Farsi is itself an Arabic rendering of Parsa, the name of the Achaemenid tribe whose cuneiform inscriptions comprise some of the earliest examples of Farsi writing.

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