Psalter Pahlavi

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

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]

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 U+10B80.png 𐮀 /a/, /ā/ Zayin U+10B86.png 𐮆 /z/ Nun U+10B8C.png 𐮌 /n/
Beth U+10B81.png 𐮁 /b/, /w/ Heth U+10B87.png 𐮇 /h/, /x/ Samekh U+10B8D.png 𐮍 /s/, /h/
Gimel U+10B82.png 𐮂 /g/, /y/ Yodh U+10B88.png 𐮈 /y/, /ē̆/, /ī̆/, /ǰ/ Pe U+10B8E.png 𐮎 /p/, /b/, /f/
Daleth U+10B83.png 𐮃 /d/, /y/ Kaph U+10B89.png 𐮉 /k/, /g/ Sadhe U+10B8F.png 𐮏 /č/, /ǰ/, /z/
He U+10B84.png 𐮄 /h/ Lamedh U+10B8A.png 𐮊 /l/, /r/ Shin U+10B90.png 𐮐 /š/
Waw-ayin-resh U+10B85.png 𐮅 /w/, /ʿ/, /r/ Mem-qoph U+10B8B.png 𐮋 /m/, /q/ Taw U+10B91.png 𐮑 /t/, /d/


Four different large section-ending punctuation marks were used:

Mark Description
Image Text
U+10B99 color.png 𐮙 Section mark
U+10B9A color.png 𐮚 Turned section mark
U+10B9B color.png 𐮛 Four dots with cross
U+10B9C color.png 𐮜 Four dots with dot


Psalter Pahlavi had its own numerals:

Value 1 2 3 4 10 20 100
Sign Image U+10BA9.png U+10BAA.png U+10BAB.png U+10BAC.png U+10BAD.png U+10BAE.png U+10BAF.png
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 block[edit]

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 10.0
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.