DĀTABARA, title of a high official in the Achaemenid legal and juridical system. It is not attested in Old Persian but only in collateral traditions (El. da-ud-da-bar-ra; Late Babylonian da-(a-)ta-ba-ra/ri, -bar-ri; biblical Aram. dtbr, dəṯāḇar; talmudic Aram. dwʾr, dwwr) and in younger Iranian languages (Pahl. dʾtwbl, dādwar; Inscr. Pahl. dʾtbry, dʾtwbr; Man. Mid. Pers. dʾywr, dāywar; Inscr. Parth. dʾtbr; Man. Mid. Parth. dʾdbʾr, dādβār; Pāzand, NPers. dā(d)war “judge”; cf. the loan translation Arm. datawor). In the sources available Old Iranian *dāta-bara-, lit., “bearer of the law (DĀTA),” designates a high judicial officer, that is, a lawyer but not necessarily a judge. The only Aramaic instance occurs in the Book of Daniel (3:2-3), in an enumeration of higher officials; in the Babylonian documents of the Murašû archives it refers to the same person throughout, a man who had some relation to the satrap of Babylonia but in this context was acting only as witness to the transactions in question (Dandamayev, pp. 41-42).

The title also became a personal name *Dātabara-, which seems to be attested in Aramaic Dtbr on a mortar from Persepolis (Bowman, p. 117, giving the incorrect reading Rtbr).




R. A. Bowman, Aramaic Ritual Texts from Persepolis, Chicago, 1970.

M. A. Dandamayev, Iranians in Achaemenid Babylonia, Costa Mesa, Calif., 1992.

W. Hinz, Altiranisches Sprachgut der Nebenüberlieferungen, Wiesbaden, 1975, p. 85.

(Rüdiger Schmitt)

Originally Published: December 15, 1994

Last Updated: November 18, 2011

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Vol. VII, Fasc. 2, p. 115