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Ecbatana (; peo, 𐏃𐎥𐎶𐎫𐎠𐎴 ''Hagmatāna'' or ''Haŋmatāna'', literally "the place of gathering";
Elamite Elamite, also known as Hatamtite, is an extinct language that was spoken by the ancient Elamites. It was used in present-day southwestern Iran from 2600 BC to 330 BC. Elamite works disappear from the archeological record after Alexander the Great ...
: 𒀝𒈠𒁕𒈾 ''Ag-ma-da-na'';
Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the literary language of the Sasanian Empire. For some time after the Sasan ...
: 𐭠𐭧𐭬𐭲𐭠𐭭; Parthian: 𐭀𐭇𐭌𐭕𐭍 ''Ahmadān''; arc, אַחְמְתָא ''Aḥmeta''; grc, Ἀγβάτανα in
Aeschylus Aeschylus (, ; grc-gre, Αἰσχύλος ''Aiskhylos'', ; c. 525/524 – c. 456/455 BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kin ...
and
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an Classical Greece, ancient Greek writer, geographer, and historian born in the Greek city of Halicarnassus, part of the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Empire (now Bodrum, Turkey). He ...
or ;
AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages' ...
: ''kura-gam-ta-nu'' in the
Nabonidus Chronicle The Nabonidus Chronicle is an ancient Babylonia Babylonia () was an ancient Akkadian-speaking state and cultural area based in central-southern Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن '; grc, Μεσοπ ...
) was an ancient city in
Media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media (communication) In mass communication, media are the communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, It ...
in western
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
. It is believed that Ecbatana is in Hagmatana Hill (Tappe-ye Hagmatāna), an archaeological mound in
Hamedan Hamadan () or Hamedan ( fa, همدان, ''Hamedān'') (Old Persian: Haŋgmetana, Ecbatana) is the capital city of Hamadan Province of Iran. At the 2019 census, its population was 783,300 in 230,775 families.The majority of people living in Hamadan ...

Hamedan
. According to
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an Classical Greece, ancient Greek writer, geographer, and historian born in the Greek city of Halicarnassus, part of the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Empire (now Bodrum, Turkey). He ...
, Ecbatana was chosen as the
Medes The Medes ( peo, 𐎶𐎠𐎭 ; akk, , ; grc, Μῆδοι ) were an Iranian peoples, ancient Iranian people who spoke the Median language and who inhabited an area known as Media (region), Media between western Iran, western and nor ...
' capital in the late 8th century BC by
Deioces Deioces ( grc, Δηιόκης), from the Old Iranian ''Dahyu-ka-'', meaning "the lands" (above, on and beneath the earth), was the founder and the first shah as well as priest of the Median Empire. His name has been mentioned in different forms in ...

Deioces
. Under the
Achaemenid Persian kings
Achaemenid Persian kings
, Ecbatana, situated at the foot of Mount Alvand, became a summer residence. Later, it became the capital of the
Parthian
Parthian
kings, at which time it became their main mint, producing
drachm The dram (alternative British spelling drachm; apothecary symbol ʒ or ℨ; abbreviated dr) Earlier version first published in ''New English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal historical dictionary A h ...
, tetradrachm, and assorted
bronze Bronze is an alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appear ...

bronze
denominations. The wealth and importance of the city in the Persian empire is attributed to its location on a crucial crossroads that made it a staging post on the main east–west highway. In 330 BC, Ecbatana was the site of the assassination of the
Macedon Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an Classical antiquity, ancient monarchy, kingdom on the periphery of Archaic Greece, Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. Th ...

Macedon
ian general
Parmenion Parmenion (also Parmenio; grc-gre, Παρμενίων; c. 400 – 330 BC), father of Philotas (father of Parmenion), Philotas, was a Ancient Macedonians, Macedonian general in the service of Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great. A n ...
by order of
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title ...

Alexander the Great
.


Archaeology

The Tell Hagmatana, also called Tepe Hegmataneh (thought to correspond to the ancient citadel of Ecbatana) has a circumference of 1.4 kilometres with an area of about 40 hectares, which corresponds to a report from
Polybius Polybius (; grc-gre, Πολύβιος, ; ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the ...

Polybius
, although the ancient Greek and Roman accounts likely exaggerate Ecbatana's wealth, splendor, and extravagance. Relatively few finds thus far can be firmly dated to the Median era. There is a "small, open-sided room with four corner columns supporting a domed ceiling," similar to a Median-era structure from Tepe Nush-i Jan, interpreted as a
Zoroastrian Zoroastrianism or Mazdayasna is an Iranian religion and one of the world's oldest continuously-practiced organized faiths, based on the teachings of the Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster Zoroaster (, ; el, Ζωροάστρης, ''Zōr ...
fire temple A fire temple, Agiary, Atashkadeh ( fa, آتشکده), Atashgah () or Dar-e Mehr () is the place of worship for the followers of Zoroastrianism Zoroastrianism or Mazdayasna is one of the world's oldest continuously practiced religion Reli ...

fire temple
. Excavations have revealed a massive defensive wall made of mud-bricks, and dated to the Median period based on a comparison to Tepe Nush-i Jan and
Godin Tepe Godin Tepe is an archaeological site in western Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran ( fa, جمهوری اسلامی ایران ), is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to ...
. There are also two column bases from the Achaemenid period, and some mud-brick structures thought to be from the Median or Achaemenid period. A badly-damaged stone lion sculpture is of disputed date: it may be Achaemenid or Parthian. Numerous Parthian-era constructions attest to Ecbatana's status as a summer capital for the Parthian rulers. In 2006, excavations in a limited area of Hagmatana hill failed to discover anything older than the Parthian period, but this does not rule out older archaeological layers existing elsewhere within the 35-hectare site. Ecbatana was first excavated in 1913 by Charles Fossey. Excavations have been limited due to the modern town covering most of the ancient site. In 1969 the Ministry of Culture and Art began buying property on the tell in support of archaeology, though excavation did not begin until 1983. By 2007, 12 seasons of excavation had occurred. The work on the tell is ongoing.


Historical descriptions

The Greeks thought Ecbatana to be the capital of the Medes empire and credited its foundation to
Deioces Deioces ( grc, Δηιόκης), from the Old Iranian ''Dahyu-ka-'', meaning "the lands" (above, on and beneath the earth), was the founder and the first shah as well as priest of the Median Empire. His name has been mentioned in different forms in ...

Deioces
(the ''Daiukku'' of the
cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the Common Era. It is nam ...

cuneiform
inscriptions). It is alleged that he surrounded his palace in Ecbatana with seven concentric walls of different colours. In the 5th century BC,
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an Classical Greece, ancient Greek writer, geographer, and historian born in the Greek city of Halicarnassus, part of the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Empire (now Bodrum, Turkey). He ...
wrote of Ecbatana:
"The Medes built the city now called Ecbatana, the walls of which are of great size and strength, rising in circles one within the other. The plan of the place is, that each of the walls should out-top the one beyond it by the battlements. The nature of the ground, which is a gentle hill, favors this arrangements in some degree but it is mainly effected by art. The number of the circles is seven, the royal palace and the treasuries standing within the last. The circuit of the outer wall is very nearly the same with that of Athens. On this wall the battlements are white, of the next black, of the third scarlet, of the fourth blue, the fifth orange; all these colors with paint. The last two have their battlements coated respectively with silver and gold. All these fortifications Deioces had caused to be raised for himself and his own palace."
Herodotus' description is corroborated in part by stone reliefs from the
Neo-Assyrian Empire The Neo-Assyrian Empire (Assyrian cuneiform Assyrian may refer to: * Assyria, a major Mesopotamian kingdom and empire * Assyrian people, an ethnic group indigenous to the Middle East * Assyrian Church (disambiguation) * Assyrian language (disam ...

Neo-Assyrian Empire
, depicting Median citadels ringed by concentric walls. Other sources attest to the historical importance of Ecbatana based on the terms used by ancient authors to describe it such as ''Caput Mediae'' (capital of Media), the Royal Seat, and great City. It is said that Alexander the Great deposited the treasures he took from
Persepolis Persepolis (; peo, 𐎱𐎠𐎼𐎿, ; ) was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, , translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient based in foun ...

Persepolis
and
Pasargadae Pasargadae (from grc, Πασαργάδαι, from Old Persian ''Pāθra-gadā'', "protective club" or "strong club"; Modern Persian: ''Pāsārgād'') was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, tr ...
and that one of the last acts of his life was to visit the city. The citadel of Ecbatana is also mentioned in the Bible in Ezra 6:2, in the time of
Darius I Darius I ( peo, 𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁 ; New Persian New Persian ( fa, فارسی نو), also known as Modern Persian () and Dari (), is the final stage of the Persian language Persian (), also known by its endonym An endonym ( ...
, as part of the national archives.


Ecbatana/Hagmatana

Historians and archaeologists now believe "the identification of Ecbatana with Hamadān is secure". Earlier a lack of significant archaeological remains from the Median and Achaemenid periods had prompted suggestions of other sites for Ecbatana.
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
n sources never mention Hagmatana/Ecbatana. Some scholars believed the problem can be resolved by identifying the Ecbatana/Hagmatana mentioned in later Greek and Achaemenid sources with the city Sagbita/Sagbat frequently mentioned in Assyrian texts, since the sound /s/ became /h/ in many
Iranian languages The Iranian languages or Iranic languages are a branch of the in the that are spoken natively by the . The Iranian languages are grouped in three stages: Old Iranian (until 400 BCE), Middle Iranian (400 BCE–900 CE) and New Iranian (since 9 ...
. The Sagbita mentioned by Assyrian sources was located in the proximity of the cities Kishesim (Kar-Nergal) and Harhar (Kar-Sharrukin). It is now proposed that the absence of any mention of Ecbatana in Assyrian sources can be explained by the possibility that Assyria never became involved as far east as the
Alvand Alvand is a subrange of the Zagros Mountains The Zagros Mountains ( fa, کوه‌های زاگرس, ''Kuh hā-ye Zāgros;'' Luri language, Luri: کویل زاگروس‎, ''Koyal Zagros;'' Turkish language, Turkish: ''Zagros Dağları;'' ku ...
mountains, but only in the western
Zagros The Zagros Mountains ( fa, کوه‌های زاگرس; ku, چیاکانی زاگرۆس, translit=Çiyayên Zagros;) are a long mountain range in Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and officially the Islamic Republic of I ...
. attempted to prove that there was a second and older Ecbatana in ''Media
Atropatene Atropatene ( peo, Ātṛpātakāna; grc, Aτροπατηνή), also known as Media Atropatene, was an ancient kingdom established in by the Persian satrap Atropates. The kingdom, centered in present-day northern Iran, was ruled by Atropates' ...
'' on the site of the modern Takht-i-Suleiman. However, the cuneiform texts imply that there was only one city of the name, and that ''Takht-i Suleiman'' is the Gazaca of classical geography. There is also the claim that Ecbatana used to be the city of
Tabriz Tabriz ( fa, تبریز ; ) is a city in northwestern Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the w ...

Tabriz
, which is one of the historical capitals of Iran and the present capital of
East Azerbaijan province East Azerbaijan Province ( fa, استان آذربایجان شرقی ''Āzarbāijān-e Sharqi''; az-Arab, شرقی آذربایجان اوستانی) is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is located in Azerbaijan (Iran), Iranian Azerbaijan, ...
. The city, which was previously called Tauris, was put forward by John-Thomas Minadoi, who cited that his identification of the city was based on data collected from modern and ancient geographers, recent travel accounts, and local informants. This theory was also promoted by other historians such as Sir William Jones and the chief French orientalists. Ecbatana is the supposed capital of
Astyages Astyages (Median language, Median: wiktionary:Reconstruction:Old Median/R̥štivaigah, ''R̥štivaigah''; Akkadian language, Babylonian: ''Ištumegu''; spelled by Herodotus as ''Astyages'', by Ctesias as ''Astyigas'', by Diodorus as ''Aspadas'') ...

Astyages
(''Istuvegü''), which was taken by the Persian emperor
Cyrus the Great Cyrus II of Persia (; peo, wikt:𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, 𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, translit=Kūruš), commonly known as Cyrus the Great and also called Cyrus the Elder by the Ancient Greece, Greeks, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, the Histo ...

Cyrus the Great
in the sixth year of Nabonidus (550/549 BC).


Gallery-Hagmatāna Museum

file:Hegmataneh3.jpg , A human skeleton in Hagmatāna Museum which is kept as it was found file:Hegmataneh2.jpg, Food and water jars kept in Hagmatāna Museum


See also

*
Cities of the Ancient Near East The earliest cities in history were in the ancient Near East, an area covering roughly that of the modern Middle East: its history began in the 4th millennium BC and ended, depending on the interpretation of the term, either with the conquest by ...
* Cartele Abad, village 80 miles to the north *
Kassites The Kassites () were people of the ancient Near East The ancient Near East was the home of early civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratificati ...


References


Sources

* *


External links


Official Ecbatana websiteArcheological explorations in Hegmataneh enter 20th season
{{Hamadan Province Tells (archaeology) Medes
Parthian cities{{Portal, Iran, Asia, History Parthian Empire, Cities Ancient Iranian cities Archaeological sites in Iran ...
Hebrew Bible cities Archaeological sites in Iran Former populated places in Iran Buildings and structures in Hamadan Province Geography of Hamadan Province
Babylonian captivity {{cat main Ancient Jewish Persian history Jewish Babylonian history Expulsions of Jews Neo-Babylonian Empire ...
Hamadan