Psalter Pahlavi

Psalter Pahlavi
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[lower-alpha 1]ImageTextIPA[3]NameImageTextIPANameImageTextIPA
Aleph𐮀/a/, /ā/Zayin𐮆/z/Nun𐮌/n/
Beth𐮁/b/, /w/Heth𐮇/h/, /x/Samekh𐮍/s/, /h/
Gimel𐮂/g/, /y/Yodh𐮈/y/, /ē̆/, /ī̆/, /ǰ/Pe𐮎/p/, /b/, /f/
Daleth𐮃/d/, /y/Kaph𐮉/k/, /g/Sadhe𐮏/č/, /ǰ/, /z/
He𐮄/h/Lamedh𐮊/l/, /r/Shin𐮐/š/
Waw-ayin-resh𐮅/w/, /ʿ/, /r/Mem-qoph𐮋/m/, /q/Taw𐮑/t/, /d/


Four different large section-ending punctuation marks were used:

𐮙Section mark
𐮚Turned section mark
𐮛Four dots with cross
𐮜Four dots with dot


Psalter Pahlavi had its own numerals:

Text 𐮩𐮪𐮫𐮬𐮭𐮮𐮯

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

Psalter Pahlavi script was added to the Unicode Standard in June, 2014 with the release of version 7.0.

The Unicode block is U+10B80U+10BAF:

Psalter Pahlavi[1][2]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
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 11.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points


  1. The names are based on the corresponding Imperial Aramaic characters


  1. 1 2 3 4 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.
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