AVROMAN DOCUMENTS, three parchments found in a cave in the Kūh-e Sālān, near Šār-e Owrāmān (see Avroman), and brought in 1913 by Dr. Saʿīd Khan Kordestānī to London, where they were acquired by the British Museum. Two of the documents, dated 225 and 291 of the Seleucid era ( = 88-87 and 22-21 B.C.), are written in Greek, one with a barely legible Parthian endorsement. The third, dated in (H)arwatāt of the year 300, presumably of the Arsacid era ( = January-February, A.D. 33), is in Parthian. The Greek documents are deeds of sale of half a vineyard (bāḡ, rāz) called Dādbakān (GK. Dadbakabag, Dadbakanras) belonging to the village Kop(h)anis, which may have been the modern Kōpi in Qara Dāḡ, the range west of the Šahrezūr plain. In the Parthian document, however, another name occurs: it appears to refer to “a half part of the vineyard Asmak, which (is) by the ploughland” (KRMʾ ʾsmk MH ʾbykækn PLG yʾt) being sold by Pātaspak, son of Tīrēn, from Bōd (ptspk BRY tyryn ZY MN bwdy) to Awīl, son of Baænīn, and his brother (ʾwyl BRY bænyn nzd ʾḤY) for 65 drachmae. Several witnesses are named.

The discovery of these documents may also have given rise to the modern legend that a Kurdish parchment dating from the time of the Muslim invasion has been discovered in the area. The published “early Kurdish” text of this fictional document is completely spurious.



E. H. Minns, “Parchments of the Parthian Period from Avroman in Kurdistan,” Journal of Hellenic Studies 35, 1915, pp. 22-65.

C. J. Edmonds, “The Place-names of the Avroman Parchments,” BSOAS 14, 1952, pp. 478-82.

W. B. Henning, “Mitteliranisch,” pp. 28-30.

D. N. Mackenzie, “Pseudoprotokurdica,” BSOAS 26, 1963, pp. 170-73.

See also Ph. Gignoux, Glossaire des inscriptions pehlevies et parthes, Corp. Inscr. Iran., suppl. ser. I, London, 1972, pp. 43-44.

Search terms:

 اورامان oraman  ouraman oraamaan


(D. N. MacKenzie)

Originally Published: December 15, 1987

Last Updated: August 18, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. III, Fasc. 1, p. 111