The Middle Persian script developed from the Aramaic
script and became the official script of the Sassanian empire (224-651
AD). It changed little during the time it was in use, but around the
5th century AD, it spawned a number of new scripts, including the Psalter
and Avestan scripts.
Type of writing system: abjad / consonant alphabet
Direction of writing: right to left in horizontal lines.
Only some vowels are indicated and the letters used to represent
them have multiple pronunciations.
There were a number of different versions of the Middle Persian script:
The inscriptional version of the script appears in inscriptions in clay
fragments dating from the reign of Mithridates I (171-38 BC), and only
in coin and rock inscriptions. In this version the script has 19 letters
which are not joined together
The name Psalter Pahlavi refers to the "Pahlavi Psalter", a translation
of a Syriac book of psalms from the 6th or 7th century AD. There are also
inscriptions in Psalter Pahalvi in a bronze cross found in what is now
Afganistan. This version of the script has 18 letters which are joined together.
Book Pahlavi is a version of the script with 12 or 13 letters, which are
joined in writing, and some form complex ligatures. This is the version of
the script for which there is most written material, and it was in common
use until about 900 AD, after which its use was confined to Zoroastrian priests.
The Parthian script developed from the Aramaic
script around the 2nd century BC and was used during the Parthian and
early Sassanian periods of the Persian empire. The latest known inscription
dates from 292 AD.