This is a comprehensive list of reforms put forward by Xerxes I. 


Xerxes as imagined by Leonardo da Vinci

Calendar reforms

Xerxes wrote a logical calendar to work with the seasons. 12 months of 30 days were produced, followed by five days of celebration (six in leap years) to make a complete 365 day year. Originally it was planned to have 13 months of 28 days and one day of celebration, but Xerxes wished to have a longer holiday.

Here are the months in the order they appear in the Persian Calendar, with their Gregorian equivalent next to them. The calender begins in Gregorian March to coincide with the older Zoroastrian tradition.

  1. Afrandaha - (month) of Afrand, March
  2. Eranaha - (month) of Eran, April
  3. Shahbazaha - (month) of the Royal Falcon, May
  4. Freniyaha - (month) of Freniy (daughter of Zarathustra), June
  5. Aspahaya - (month) of the Horse, July
  6. Kurushahaya - (month) of Cyrus, August
  7. Ataraha - (month) of Fire, September
  8. Yazadahaya - (month) of Yazada, October
  9. Haxamanishahaya - (month) of Achaemenes, November
  10. Darayavahushahaya - (month) of Darius, December
  11. Ouraniaha - (month) of Ourania, January
  12. Eragapaha - (month) of Love, February (see below)

'Eragapa' is a portmanteau of the Greek words 'Eros' and 'Agape', meaning sexual and romantic love respectively. The Achaemenids adopted both words separately to express each emotion, dropping the now lost Persian word for love which encompassed all kinds of love. The portmanteau is often used in poetry, but beyond that and the month name it is not used. Xerxes created it to encourage citizens, one month before the new year, to spend as much time with their partners, both romantically and sexually. It can be thought of as a 'St Valentine's Month'. Indeed to this day conception rates boom during this month.

Xerxes also instituted a formal week system of six days of 24 hours. He calculated this by measuring how long it took him to read 80 pages (which he called an hour, which actually corresponds with a modern hour within about two minutes). Then that time was measured on a candle. The candle was then burnt for the time it took for the sun to return to the highest point in the sky from the highest point. Xerxes also made sure that the candles were made of beeswax (the first recorded time, they were formerly made of whale fat from China), so the common person could make or buy the candles cheaply. The candle burnt through 24 markings of hours, so the day was marked as 24 hours. Six of these were chosen to make up a week to create an easily understandable day-week-month system. Exactly five weeks made up a month, and exactly 12 months made up a year (ignoring the five days of celebration that were in no month). Therefore (excluding the five days of celebration) there were exactly 60 weeks in a year, and 360 days.

The names of the days are as follows:

  1. Anaroz (for Anahita)
  2. Mithroz (for Mithra)
  3. Sakroz (for the dog)
  4. Mahroz (for the Moon)
  5. Aphtaroz (for the Sun)
  6. Paxroz (for peace)

Xerxes gave the year '0' as the traditional date when Zarathustra experienced his revelation of Good words, good thoughts, good deeds. This date corresponds to 1500 B.C. The year suffix (e.g. A.D.) is given as 'A.A.' (Anno Artae), Latin for 'Year of Truth' (Arta is a proper noun meaning the Zoroastrian term for 'truthful path', not the actual Latin term for 'truth'). This term came into use in about 40 A.D., previously there was no suffix (i.e. 500 A.A. was just written as 500). Now all years are written with the A.A. suffix, unlike the western convention which rarely uses A.D. after 1000. The years previous to year 0 have the suffix P.A. (Prius Artam, before truth). As Latin was not a major language at the time of Xerxes, we do not know what suffix was used.

The date format is dd/mm/yyyy. So the date 'Thursday, 1st January 2015' is written in Persian as 'Mαϙρѻζ, ۱αρ ϒuραϗιαϙα ۳۵۱۴ A.A.' (Mahroz, 1ar Yuraniaha 3514) with 'ar' meaning 'first, second, third, fourth' etc..

Language reforms


Until Athens fell and Greece was fully conquered, the Persians had written in a unique Cuneiform script and a liturgical writing system for the Avesta. Xerxes created an alphabet based on the Greek and Phoenician, and he also invented letters for some unique sounds. He invented it with the help of Pericles, and they frequently argued about the form of the letter. For example, lowercase 'Mu' in Greek was thought illogical by Xerxes, so he changed the lowercase to a smaller version of the capital letter (M ϻ), but Pericles adamantly defended the Greek form and fought for it to be used. Xerxes agreed to keep the Greek form of 'Etra' but refused to change 'Mu' as a compromise. The alphabet can be found on this page.

Number system

The Persian numeric system was also invented by Xerxes, crafting a unique system of logical numbers. Borrowing inspiration from arithmeticians in Delhi, he incorporated a numerical '0' and made the number system infinite (as with ours), making advanced mathematics possible. The numbers can also be found on this page.


Xerxes implemented a formal system of punctuation, with full stops, colons, commas and exclamation marks. Other marks were added later.

Grammatical reforms - Nouns

Xerxes greatly simplified the Persian language, removing gender, putting everything into one declension and reforming the case system. The only remainders of gender/varying declensions are in names and places previous to 480 B.C. and the names of the months.

The current system has the nominative, accusative and genitive cases, no gender and one declension. The case endings correspond with the old feminine endings. The word order was also reformed into a subject-object-verb order, and this is strict (despite the natural fluidity of an inflected language) outside poetry, where the word order can be moved around freely.

Here is a table showing the case formation. All words are identical, the word for 'Falcon' is used here.

Case Declension
Nominative singular Baz(Bαζα)

Accusative singular

Bazam (Bαζαϻ)

Genitive singular Bazaha (Bαζαϙα)

Nominative plural Bazara (Bαζαρα)

Accusative plural

Bαzana (Bαζαϗα)

Genitive plural Bazanam (Bαζαϗαϻ)

As the dative (to/for) and ablative (by/with/from, etc.) were abolished, Xerxes also created several prepositions to replace the cases. These words were largely made up, but a few were loaned from other languages (for example the word for 'to' is 'es' (ηε), which was taken from the Greek 'eis' (εἰς).

Grammatical reforms - Verbs

Persian was not a standardized language, it was very much different depending on where in the Empire you were from, so many variant verb forms were springing up, for example in the far east there was a perfect, imperfect and pluperfect tense, but in Parthia they were all one tense. Xerxes reformed it so there were eight tenses: present simple, present advanced, imperfect, perfect, pluperfect, present perfect, future, future perfect, conditional. Moreover the subjunctive mood was incorporated into the active mood form, and the imperative mood was simplified. 

In Xerxes' time there were four verb conjugations. However, two have died out and in modern Persian only two remain. They are the 'Sun' conjugation (Coniugatia Aphtaha), which ends in an 'a' in the infinitive (akuna - to do/make) and 'Moon' conjugation (Coniugatia Mahaha) which ends in a 'y' (amiy - to be).

Present Simple

Person Con. Aphtaha Con. Mahaha
I Akuni Amiya
You Akunis


He/She/It  Akunia Amiyata
We (formal you) Akunimis Amiyamas
You (plural) Akunisti Amiyastis
They Akunint Amiyatan

Present Advanced

Simply use the verb 'to be' with the appropriate person in conjunction with the present participle (formed in Persian by adding (a)zhe on the end). 'I am doing' therefore is 'Amiya akunazhe'. The word order is always as shown.


Person con. Aphtaha con. Mahaha
I akunari amiyari
You akunaris amiyaris
He/She/It akunarit amiyarit
We (you formal) akunaritamas amiyaritamas
You (plural) akunaritatas amiyaritatas
They  akunarisant amiyarisant


Person Con. Aphtaha Con. Mahaha


Akunam Amiyam
You Akunap Amiyap
He/She/It Akunai Amiyai
We (you formal) Akunamma Amiyamma
You (plural) Akunappa Amiyappa
They Akunanai Amiyanai


Person Con. Aphtaha Con. Mahaha



You Akunaze Amiyeze
He/She/It Akunazet Amiyezet
We (you formal) Akunazem Amiyezem
You (plural) Akunazes Amiyezes
They  Akunazerd Amiyezerd

Present Perfect

The present perfect is simply formed by adding a verb form (which would translate to 'he, has, ha' etc. in Spanish or I have been) to the end of the past participle (add (a)ksem to the stem). The verb from is a shortened form of 'dara' (to have) (da, das, dat, dam, daist, dant). So to say 'I have been' would appear as 'Amiyaksemda' and 'We have done' is 'Akunaksemdam)


Person con. Aphtaha con. Mahaha
I Akuntha Amiyatha
You Akunthas Amiyathas
He/She/It Akunthat Amiyathat
We (you formal) Akunthapa Amiyathapa
You (plural) Akunthasa Amiyathasa
They Akunthant Amiyathant

Future Perfect

Identical to the future with the 'dara' verb added. So 'I will have been' is Amiyathada


Person con. Aphtaha con. Mahaha
I Akundoi Amiyaoi
You Akundos Amiyaos
He/She/It Akundoia Amiyaoia
We (you formal) Akundoa Amiyaoa
You (plural) Akundoias Amiyaoias
They Akundoishe Amiyaoishe

Conditional Perfect

Same system as with others, add form of 'dara'.


There are two voices, active and passive. The passive voice is formed by adding 'tur' to the verb form. So 'Akundoi' means 'I would do,' and 'Akundoitur' means 'I would be done.'


There are three moods: infinitive (i.e. to be), imperative for direct orders and indicative for everything else. Imperatives are formed by adding 'atsa' to the end of the verb (atsaer for plurals).

Sample sentences

'Cyrus conquers the Babylonian Empire' = Kurusha Sargonam Babelaha absorbia. (Kuρuͽα Σαρгѻϗαϻ Bαβηλαϙα αβεѻρβια). 

  • Kurusha - Cyrus in the nominative
  • Sargonam - accusative form of 'Sargona', Persian for empire.
  • Babelaha - genitive of Babela, Persian for Babylon/Babylonia.
  • absorbia - 3rd person singular simple present of 'absorba' which means 'to conquer or to absorb into an empire'.

'I am Darius, the king of kings, king of Persia, king of all countries, son of Hystapes, grandson of Arsames the Achaemenid' = Daryavhush amiya, Shahanshah, Shah Parsaha, Shah visaha dahayuaha, yasa Vishtaspaha, yasaposta Arshamaha, Haxamanishiya. 

'When Xerxes had marched into Athens, he ordered all Greek slaves to be freed.' = 'otan Xshayrsha sa Athenapatam poreiazet, visana aibissana Yaunaha liberatatur databararit.'

'If the Crusaders had not massacred the Byzantine Christians in 1099, the Holy Roman Empire would not have fallen.' = an Krushadara er 1099 Karabarana Baizantiyana ney palekoshtazerd, Sargona Papaliya ney kalliyaoiadat (αϗ Kρuͽαδαρα ηρ ١٠‎ ٩٩ A.Ϫ. Kαραβαραϗα Bαιζαϗτιyαϗα ϗηy παληκѻͽταζηρδ, Σαρгѻϗα Παπαλιyα ϗηy καλλιyαѻιαδατ).

  • an - if
  • Krushadara - Crusaders.
  • er - in (when talking of time, e.g. in three hours, in 2014, etc).
  • ١٠‎ ٩٩ A.Ϫ. - Persian rendering of '1099 A.D.'
  • Karabarana - accusative plural of 'Karabara', Persian for Christian (lit. Crossbearer).
  • Baizantiyana - accusative plural of 'Baizantiya', Persian for Byzantine (adjective).
  • ney - not or no.
  • palekoshtazerd - 3rd person plural pluperfect of 'palekoshta', Persian for 'to massacre'.
  • Sargona Papaliya - Holy Roman Empire (lit. Papal Empire).
  • kalliyaoiadat - 3rd person singular conditional perfect of 'kalliy', Persian for 'to fall' or 'to be destroyed'.

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