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Susa (;
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 name ...

Cuneiform
: ''šušinki''; fa, شوش ''Šuš'' ; he, שׁוּשָׁן ''Šušān'';
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
: Σοῦσα ; syr, ܫܘܫ ''Šuš'';
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 ...
: 𐭮𐭥𐭱𐭩 ''Sūš'', 𐭱𐭥𐭮 ''Šūs'';
Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languagesIndo-Iranian may refer to: * Indo-Iranian languages * Indo-Iranians, the various peoples speaking ...
: 𐏂𐎢𐏁𐎠 ''Çūšā'') is an ancient city in the lower
Zagros Mountains 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 ...
about east of the
Tigris The Tigris () is the easternmost of the two great river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at ...

Tigris
, between the Karkheh and Dez Rivers in Iran. One of the most important cities 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 stratification, a form of government, and symbol A symbol is a mark ...
, Susa served as the capital of
Elam Elam (; Linear Elamite: ''hatamti''; 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 Bronz ...

Elam
and the
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and offi ...

Achaemenid Empire
, and remained a strategic centre during the
Parthian
Parthian
and
Sasanian The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians ( Middle Persian: 𐭠𐭩𐭥𐭠𐭭𐭱𐭲𐭥𐭩 '' Ērānshahr''), and called the Neo-Persian Empire by historians, was the last Persian imperial dynasty bef ...

Sasanian
periods. The site currently consists of three archaeological mounds, covering an area of around one square kilometre. The modern Iranian town of Shush is located on the site of ancient Susa. Shush is identified as Shushan, mentioned in the
Book of Esther The Book of Esther (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans a ...
and other Biblical books.


Name

In
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 ...
, the name of the city was written variously ''Ŝuŝan'', ''Ŝuŝun'', etc. The name ''Susa'' is reflected in the local city deity ''
Inshushinak Inshushinak (Linear Elamite Linear Elamite is a Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The B ...
'', possibly from Sumerian ''en šušinak'' “lord of Susa”.


Literary references

Susa was one of the most important cities 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 stratification, a form of government, and symbol A symbol is a mark ...
. In
historic literature
historic literature
, Susa appears in the very earliest Sumerian records: for example, it is described as one of the places obedient to
Inanna Inanna is an List of Mesopotamian deities, ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power. She was originally worshiped in Sumer under the name "Inanna", and was later worshipped by the Akkadia ...
, patron deity of
Uruk Uruk, also known as Warka, was an ancient city of (and later of ) situated east of the present bed of the River on the dried-up ancient channel of the Euphrates east of modern , , .Harmansah, 2007 Uruk is the for the . Uruk played a leading ...
, in ''
Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta ''Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta'' is a legendary Sumerian account, of preserved, early post-Sumerian copies, composed in the Neo-Sumerian period (ca. 21st century BC). It is one of a series of accounts describing the conflicts between Enmerkar ...
''.


Biblical texts

Susa is also mentioned in the
Ketuvim Ketuvim (; hbo, כְּתוּבִים Kethūvīm "writings") is the third and final section of the Tanakh The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afro ...
of the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah, the Nevi'im, and the Ketuvim. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, with a f ...

Hebrew Bible
by the name Shushan, mainly in the
Book of Esther The Book of Esther (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans a ...
, but also once each in the Books of
Nehemiah Nehemiah is the central figure of the Book of Nehemiah The Book of Nehemiah, in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including th ...
and
Daniel Daniel is a masculine Masculinity (also called manhood or manliness) is a set of attributes, behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or, see spelling ...
. According to these texts, Nehemiah also lived in Susa during the
Babylonian captivity The Babylonian captivity or Babylonian exile is the period in Jewish history during which a number of people from the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon, the capital of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. After the Battle of Carchemish in ...
of the 6th century BCE (Daniel mentions it in a prophetic vision), while
Esther Esther is described in all versions of the Book of Esther The Book of Esther (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historica ...

Esther
became queen there, married to
King Ahasuerus
King Ahasuerus
, and saved the Jews from genocide. A tomb presumed to be that of Daniel is located in the area, known as ''Shush-Daniel''. However, a large portion of the current structure is actually a much later construction dated to the late nineteenth century, ca. 1871.


Other religious texts

Susa is further mentioned in the ''
Book of Jubilees The Book of Jubilees, sometimes called Lesser Genesis (Leptogenesis), is an ancient Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an international standard are tec ...
'' (8:21 & 9:2) as one of the places within the inheritance of
Shem Shem (; he, שֵׁם ''Šēm''; ar, سام, Sām ''Sḗm''; : ሴም, ''Sēm'') was one of the in the and the . The children of Shem were , , , and , in addition to unnamed daughters. , the patriarch of the , the and the , was one of t ...
and his eldest son
Elam Elam (; Linear Elamite: ''hatamti''; 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 Bronz ...
; and in 8:1, "Susan" is also named as the son (or daughter, in some translations) of Elam.


Excavation history

The site was examined in 1836 by
Henry Rawlinson Henry may refer to: People *Henry (given name) *Henry (surname) * Henry Lau, a K-pop singer who performs under the mononym Henry Royalty * Portuguese royalty ** King-Cardinal Henry, King of Portugal ** Henry, Count of Portugal, Henry of Burgu ...
and then by
A. H. Layard
A. H. Layard
. In 1851, some modest excavation was done by
William Loftus William Kennett Loftus (13 November 1820, Linton, Kent – 27 November 1858, at sea) was a British geologist, naturalist, explorer and archaeological excavator. He discovered the ancient Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian '; Sumerian ...
, who identified it as Susa. In 1885 and 1886 Marcel-Auguste Dieulafoy and
Jane Dieulafoy Jane Dieulafoy (29 June 1851 – 25 May 1916) was a French archaeology, archaeologist, explorer, novelist, and journalist. She was the wife of Marcel-Auguste Dieulafoy. She and her husband are known for excavations at Susa. Career Jane Dieulafoy w ...
began the first French excavations, discovering glazed bricks, column bases, and capitals from the palace of the Achaemenid kings. However, they failed to identify mudbrick walls, which were then destroyed in the course of excavation. Almost all of the excavations at Susa, post-1885, were organized and authorized by the French government. In two treaties in 1894 and 1899, the French gained a monopoly on all archaeological excavations in Iran indefinitely.
Jacques de MorganImage:Jacques de Morgan 2.jpeg, Jacques Jean Marie de Morgan (1892) Jean-Jacques de Morgan (3 June 1857, Huisseau-sur-Cosson, Loir-et-Cher – 14 June 1924) was a French people, French mining engineer, geologist, and archaeologist. He was the di ...

Jacques de Morgan
conducted major excavations from 1897 until 1911. The excavations that were conducted in Susa brought many artistic and historical artifacts back to France. These artifacts filled multiple halls in the Museum of the Louvre throughout the late 1890s and early 1900s. De Morgan's most important work was the excavation of the Grande Tranchée in the Acropole mound, where he found the stele of Naram-Sin, a collection of Babylonian kudurrus (boundary stones), the stele bearing the
Code of Hammurabi The Code of Hammurabi is a Babylonian legal text composed 1755–1750 BC. It is the longest, best-organised, and best-preserved legal text from the ancient Near East. It is written in the Old Babylonian dialect of Akkadian, purportedly by Ham ...

Code of Hammurabi
, an ornamented bronze table of snakes, the bronze statue of Queen Napir-Asu, and thousands of inscribed bricks. His finds showed Susa to be the most important center of , which was effectively discovered by the French mission at Susa. Excavation efforts continued under Roland De Mecquenem until 1914, at the beginning of
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
. French work at Susa resumed after the war, led by De Mecquenem, continuing until
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
in 1940. To supplement the original publications of De Mecquenem the archives of his excavation have now been put online thanks to a grant from the Shelby White Levy Program.
Roman Ghirshman Image:Ghirshman team.jpg, Ghirshman's team in Sialk in 1934: Sitting from R to L: Roman Ghirshman, Tania Ghirshman, and Dr. Contenau. Roman Ghirshman (, ''Roman Mikhailovich Girshman''; October 3, 1895 – 5 September 1979) was a Ukrainian-born ...
took over direction of the French efforts in 1946, after the end of the war. Together with his wife Tania Ghirshman, he continued there until 1967. The Ghirshmans concentrated on excavating a single part of the site, the hectare sized Ville Royale, taking it all the way down to bare earth. The pottery found at the various levels enabled a stratigraphy to be developed for Susa. During the 1970s, excavations resumed under
Jean Perrot Jean Perrot (1920 – 24 December 2012) was a France, French Archaeology, archaeologist who specialised in the late prehistory of the Middle East and Near East. Biography Perrot was a graduate of the Ecole du Louvre where he studied under two exp ...
.


History


Early settlement

In
urban history Urban history is a field of history History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past. Events occurring before the invention of writing systems are considered prehistory. "Hist ...
, Susa is one of the oldest-known settlements of the region. Based on C14 dating, the foundation of a settlement there occurred as early as 4395 BC(a calibrated radio-carbon date). At this stage it was already very large for the time, about 15 hectares. The founding of Susa corresponded with the abandonment of nearby villages. Potts suggests that the settlement may have been founded to try to reestablish the previously destroyed settlement at
Chogha Mish Tappeh-ye Choghā Mīsh (; چغامیش ''čoġā mīš'') dating back to , is the site of a settlement in , located in the Province on the Susiana Plain. It was occupied at the beginning of 6800 BC and continuously from the up to the perio ...
.Potts: ''Elam''. Previously, Chogha Mish was also a very large settlement, and it featured a similar massive platform that was later built at Susa. Another important settlement in the area is
Chogha BonutChogha Bonut ( Persian ''Choghā bonut'') is an archaeological site in south-western Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran ( fa, جمهوری اسلامی ایران ), is a country ...
, that was discovered in 1976.


Susa I period (4200–3800 BC)

Shortly after Susa was first settled over 6000 years ago, its inhabitants erected a monumental platform that rose over the flat surrounding landscape. The exceptional nature of the site is still recognizable today in the artistry of the ceramic vessels that were placed as offerings in a thousand or more graves near the base of the temple platform. Susa's earliest settlement is known as the ''Susa I'' period (c. 4200–3900 BCE). Two settlements named by archaeologists the ''Acropolis'' (7 ha) and the ''Apadana'' (6.3 ha), would later merge to form Susa proper (18 ha). The ''Apadana'' was enclosed by 6 metre thick walls of
rammed earth Rammed earth is a technique for construction, constructing foundations, floors, and walls using natural raw materials such as soil, earth, chalk, Lime (material), lime, or gravel. It is an ancient method that has been revived recently as a sustainab ...

rammed earth
(this particular place is named
Apadana Apadana ( peo, 𐎠𐎱𐎭𐎠𐎴) is a large hypostyle In architecture File:Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted).jpg, upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du secon ...

Apadana
because it also contains a late
Achaemenid The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian empire An empire is a sovereign state consisting of several territories and peoples subj ...
structure of this type). Nearly two thousand pots of ''Susa I'' style were recovered from the cemetery, most of them now in the
Louvre The Louvre ( ), or the Louvre Museum ( ), is the world's most-visited museum, and a historic landmark in Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of Fr ...

Louvre
. The vessels found are eloquent testimony to the artistic and technical achievements of their makers, and they hold clues about the organization of the society that commissioned them. Painted ceramic vessels from Susa in the earliest first style are a late, regional version of the Mesopotamian Ubaid ceramic tradition that spread across the Near East during the fifth millennium BC. Susa I style was very much a product of the past and of influences from contemporary ceramic industries in the mountains of western Iran. The recurrence in close association of vessels of three types—a drinking goblet or beaker, a serving dish, and a small jar—implies the consumption of three types of food, apparently thought to be as necessary for life in the afterworld as it is in this one. Ceramics of these shapes, which were painted, constitute a large proportion of the vessels from the cemetery. Others are coarse cooking-type jars and bowls with simple bands painted on them and were probably the grave goods of the sites of humbler citizens as well as adolescents and, perhaps, children. The pottery is carefully made by hand. Although a slow wheel may have been employed, the asymmetry of the vessels and the irregularity of the drawing of encircling lines and bands indicate that most of the work was done freehand. Copper metallurgy is also attested during this period, which was contemporary with metalwork at some highland Iranian sites such as
Tepe Sialk Tepe Sialk ( fa, تپه سیلک) is a large ancient archeological site (a ''tepe'', "hill, tell") in a suburb of the city of Kashan (19th century). Persian architects used these structures to naturally decrease temperatures, regulate sunlight, ...

Tepe Sialk
. Louvre Suse I Boisseau décor géométrique 1 14012018.jpg Louvre Suse I Nécropole du tell de l'Acropole Coupe décor géométrique 1 14012018.jpg File:Master of animals, Susa I.jpg,
Master of animals The Master of Animals or Lord of Animals is a motif in ancient art showing a human between and grasping two confronted animals. It is very widespread in the art of the Ancient Near East and Egypt. The figure is normally male, but not always, th ...
, Susa I, Louvre Sb 2246. File:Sun and deities, Susa I.jpg, Sun and deities, Susa I, Louvre


Susa II and Uruk influence (3800–3100 BCE)

Susa came within the Uruk cultural sphere during the
Uruk period The Uruk period (ca. 4000 to 3100 BC; also known as Protoliterate period) existed from the protohistoric Protohistory is a period between prehistory and history during which a culture or civilization has not yet developed writing, but other cult ...
. An imitation of the entire state apparatus of Uruk,
proto-writing Proto-writing consists of visible marks Communication, communicating limited information. Such systems emerged from earlier traditions of symbol systems in the early Neolithic, as early as the 7th millennium BC in Ancient China, China. They used ...
,
cylinder seal . Linescan camera image (reversed to resemble an impression). A cylinder seal is a small round cylinder, typically about one inch (2 to 3 cm) in length, engraved with written characters or figurative scenes or both, used in ancient times to ...
s with Sumerian motifs, and monumental architecture is found at Susa. According to some scholars, Susa may have been a colony of Uruk. There is some dispute about the comparative
periodization Periodization is the process or study of categorizing the past into discrete, quantified named blocks of time.Adam Rabinowitz. It’s about time: historical periodization and Linked Ancient World Data'. Institute for the Study of the Ancient Wo ...
of Susa and Uruk at this time, as well as about the extent of Uruk influence in Susa. Recent research indicates that Early Uruk period corresponds to Susa II period. Daniel T. Potts, argues that the influence from the highland Iranian
Khuzestan Khuzestan Province (also spelled Xuzestan; fa, استان خوزستان ''Ostān-e Khūzestān'') is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is in the southwest of the country, bordering Iraq and the Persian Gulf. Its capital is Ahvaz and it cover ...
area in Susa was more significant at the early period, and also continued later on. Thus, Susa combined the influence of two cultures, from the highland area and from the alluvial plains. Potts also stresses the fact that the writing and numerical systems of Uruk were not simply borrowed in Susa wholesale. Rather, only partial and selective borrowing took place, that was adapted to Susa's needs. Despite the fact that Uruk was far larger than Susa at the time, Susa was not its colony, but still maintained some independence for a long time, according to Potts. An architectural link has also been suggested between Susa, Tal-i Malyan, 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 ...
at this time, in support of the idea of the parallel development of the proto-cuneiform and proto-elamite scripts. Some scholars believe that Susa was part of the greater Uruk culture. Holly Pittman, an art historian at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia says, "they Susanians are participating entirely in an Uruk way of life. They are not culturally distinct; the material culture of Susa is a regional variation of that on the Mesopotamian plain". Gilbert Stein, director of the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute, says that "An expansion once thought to have lasted less than 200 years now apparently went on for 700 years. It is hard to think of any colonial system lasting that long. The spread of Uruk material is not evidence of Uruk domination; it could be local choice". File:King-priest with bow fighting enemies, with horned temple (composite of two imprints of the same cylinder seal).jpg, King-priest with bow fighting enemies, with horned temple in the center. Susa II or Uruk period (3800–3100 BCE), found in excavations at Susa. Louvre Museum. File:Accountancy clay envelope Louvre Sb1932.jpg, Globular envelope with the accounting tokens. Clay, Uruk period (c. 3500 BCE). From the Tell of the Acropolis in Susa.
The Louvre The Louvre ( ), or the Louvre Museum ( ), is the world's most-visited museum, and a historic landmark in Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of Fr ...
File:Susa II, work in the granaries (composite).jpg, Work in the granaries, Susa II, Louvre. File:Susa II King-Priest with bow and arrow.jpg, Priest-King with bow and arrows, Susa II, Louvre. File:Susa II, prisoners.jpg, Prisoners, Susa II, Louvre. File:Orant statuette-Sb 69-P5280684-gradient.jpg, Orant statuette, Susa II, Louvre.


Susa III, or "Proto-Elamite", period (3100–2700 BC)

Susa III (3100–2700 BCE) is also known as the '
Proto-Elamite The Proto-Elamite period, also known as Susa III, is the time from ca. 3100 BC to 2700 BC in the area of Elam. In archaeological terms this corresponds to the late Banesh period, and it is recognized as the oldest civilization in Iran. The Prot ...
' period. At this time, Banesh period pottery is predominant. This is also when the Proto-Elamite tablets first appear in the record. Subsequently, Susa became the centre of
Elam Elam (; Linear Elamite: ''hatamti''; 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 Bronz ...

Elam
civilization. Ambiguous reference to Elam (
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 name ...

Cuneiform
; NIM) appear also in this period in
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", iĝir NATIVE (7x: Old Babylonian)from ''The ...

Sumer
ian records. Susa enters recorded history in the
Early Dynastic period of Sumer The Early Dynastic period (abbreviated ED period or ED) is an archaeological culture in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) that is generally dated to c. 2900–2350 BC and was preceded by the Uruk period, Uruk and Jemdet Nasr period, Jemdet Nasr periods ...
. A battle between Kish and Susa is recorded in 2700 BCE, when En-me-barage-si is said to have "made the land of Elam submit". File:Susa III or Proto-Elamite cylinder seal 3150-2800 BC Louvre Museum Sb 1484.jpg, Susa III/ Proto-Elamite cylinder seal, 3150–2800 BC.
Louvre Museum The Louvre ( ), or the Louvre Museum ( ), is the world's list of largest art museums, largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France, and is best known for being the home of the ''Mona Lisa''. A central landmark of the city, it is ...
, reference Sb 1484 File:Susa III or Proto-Elamite cylinder seal 3150-2800 BC Mythological being on a boat Louvre Museum Sb 6379.jpg, Susa III/ Proto-Elamite cylinder seal 3150–2800 BC Mythological being on a boat Louvre Museum Sb 6379 File:Susa III or Proto-Elamite cylinder seal 3150-2800 BC Louvre Museum Sb 6166.jpg, Susa III/ Proto-Elamite cylinder seal 3150–2800 BC Louvre Museum Sb 6166 File:P1180316 Louvre Suse III tablette économique Sb15200 rwk.jpg, Economical tablet in
Proto-Elamite script The Proto-Elamite period, also known as Susa III, is the time from ca. 3100 BC to 2700 BC in the area of Elam Elam (; Linear Elamite: ''hatamti''; Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that ...
, Suse III,
Louvre Museum The Louvre ( ), or the Louvre Museum ( ), is the world's list of largest art museums, largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France, and is best known for being the home of the ''Mona Lisa''. A central landmark of the city, it is ...
, reference Sb 15200, circa 3100–2850 BCE


Elamites

In the
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", iĝir NATIVE (7x: Old Babylonian)from ''The ...

Sumer
ian period, Susa was the capital of a state called Susiana (Šušan), which occupied approximately the same territory of modern Khūzestān Province centered on the
Karun River The Karun ( fa, کارون, ) is Iran's most effluent and only navigable river. It is long. It rises in the Zard Kuh mountains of the Bakhtiari people, Bakhtiari district in the Zagros Range, receiving many tributaries, such as the Dez River, D ...

Karun River
. Control of Susiana shifted between
Elam Elam (; Linear Elamite: ''hatamti''; 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 Bronz ...

Elam
, Sumer, and Akkad. Susiana is sometimes mistaken as synonymous with Elam but, according to F. Vallat, it was a distinct cultural and political entity.F. Vallat
The history of Elam
1999 iranicaonline.org
During the Elamite monarchy, many riches and materials were brought to Susa from the plundering of other cities. This was mainly due to the fact of Susa's location on Iran's South Eastern region, closer to the city of Babylon and cities in Mesopotamia. The use of the Elamite language as an administrative language was first attested in texts of ancient Ansan, Tall-e Mal-yan, dated 1000 BCE. Previous to the era of Elamites, the Akkadian language was responsible for most or all of the text used in ancient documents. Susiana was incorporated by
Sargon the Great Sargon of Akkad (; akk, 𒊬𒊒𒄀 ''Šar-ru-gi''), also known as Sargon the Great, was the first ruler of the Akkadian Empire The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia after the long-lived civilization of Sumer. ...
into his
Akkadian Empire The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of ...
in approximately 2330 BCE. The main goddess of the city was
Nanaya Nanaya (Sumerian language, Sumerian , Dingir, DNA.NA.A; also transcribed as "Nanāy", "Nanaja", "Nanāja", '"Nanāya", or "Nanai"; antiquated transcription: "Nanâ"; in Greek language, Greek: ''Ναναια'' or ''Νανα''; Aramaic: ''ננױנ ...
, who had a significant temple in Susa.


Old Elamite period (c. 2700–1500 BCE)

The Old Elamite period began around 2700 BCE. Historical records mention the conquest of Elam by
Enmebaragesi Enmebaragesi (Sumerian:𒂗𒈨𒁈𒄄𒋛) originally Mebarasi (Sumerian:𒈨𒁈𒋛) was the penultimate king of the first dynasty of Kish and is recorded as having reigned 900 years in the ''Sumerian King List''. Like his son and successor ...
, the
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", iĝir NATIVE (7x: Old Babylonian)from ''The ...

Sumer
ian king of Kish in
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in th ...

Mesopotamia
. Three dynasties ruled during this period. Twelve kings of each of the first two dynasties, those of Awan (or ''Avan''; c. 2400–2100 BCE) and Simashki (c. 2100–1970 BC), are known from a list from Susa dating to the
Old Babylonian period Old or OLD may refer to: Places *Old, Baranya Old () is a village in Baranya (county), Baranya county, Hungary. Populated places in Baranya County {{Baranya-geo-stub ..., Hungary *Old, Northamptonshire Old (previously Wold and befor ...
. Two Elamite dynasties said to have exercised brief control over parts of Sumer in very early times include Awan and
Hamazi Hamazi or Khamazi (Sumerian language, Sumerian: , ''ha-ma-zi''ki, or ''Ḫa-ma-zi2''ki) was an ancient kingdom or city-state of some importance that reached its peak c. 2500–2400 BC. Its exact location is unknown, but is thought to have be ...
; and likewise, several of the stronger
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", iĝir NATIVE (7x: Old Babylonian)from ''The ...

Sumer
ian rulers, such as
Eannatum Eannatum ( sux, ) was a Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian '; Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", iĝir NATIVE (7x: Old Babylonian)from ''The Penns ...
of
Lagash Lagash (cuneiform: LAGAŠKI; Sumerian language, Sumerian: ''Lagaš''), or Shirpurla, was an ancient city state located northwest of the junction of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and east of Uruk, about east of the modern town of Ash Shatrah, ...

Lagash
and
Lugal-anne-mundu #REDIRECT Lugal-Anne-Mundu Lugal-Anne-Mundu ( sux, , , ca. 24th century BC) was the most important king of the city-state of Adab in Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian '; Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of ...
of Adab, are recorded as temporarily dominating Elam.


Kutik-Inshushinak

Susa was the capital of an Akkadian province until ca. 2100 BCE, when its governor,
Kutik-Inshushinak Puzur-Inshushinak ( Linear Elamite: 90px ''Pu-zu-r Šu-ši-na-k'', Akkadian: , ''puzur3- dinšušinak'', also , ''puzur₄- dinšušinak'' "Calling Inshushinak Inshushinak ( Linear Elamite: ''i-n-shu-sh-na-k'', Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Lo ...
, rebelled and made it an independent state and a literary center. Also, he was the last from the
Awan dynasty The Awan Dynasty (Sumerian language, Sumerian: ''lugal-e-ne a-wa-anki'', "Kings of Awan (ancient city), Awan") was the first dynasty of Elam of which very little of anything is known today, appearing at the dawn of historical record. The Dynasty co ...
according to the Susa kinglist. He unified the neighbouring territories and became the king of
Elam Elam (; Linear Elamite: ''hatamti''; 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 Bronz ...

Elam
. He encouraged the use of the
Linear Elamite Linear Elamite is a Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second princip ...
script, that remains undeciphered. The city was subsequently conquered by the neo-Sumerian
Third Dynasty of Ur The Third Dynasty of Ur, also called the Neo-Sumerian Empire, refers to a 22nd to 21st century BC ( middle chronology) Sumerian ruling dynasty based in the city of Ur and a short-lived territorial-political state which some historians consider to h ...
and held until Ur finally collapsed at the hands of the Elamites under
Kindattu Kindattu (, ''ki-in-da-tu'', also Kindadu, reigned ca. 2000 BC, middle Chronology) 6th king of Shimashki Dynasty The Shimashki or Simashki dynasty (, ''lugal-ene si-mash-giki'' "Kings of the country of Simashgi"), was an early dynasty of the anc ...
in ca. 2004 BCE. At this time, Susa was ruled by Elam again and became its capital under the Shimashki dynasty.


Indus-Susa relations (2600–1700 BCE)

Numerous artifacts of
Indus Valley Civilization The Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC), also known as the Indus Civilisation, was a Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is ...

Indus Valley Civilization
origin have been found in Susa from this period, especially seals and
etched carnelian beads Etched carnelian beads, or sometimes Bleached carnelian beads, are a type of ancient decorative beads made from carnelian Carnelian (also spelled cornelian) is a brownish-red mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species ...
, pointing to Indus-Mesopotamia relations during this period. File:Susa seal with Indus signs.jpg, Impression of an Indus cylinder seal discovered in Susa, in strata dated to 2600–1700 BCE. Elongated buffalo with line of standard
Indus script The Indus script (also known as the Harappan script) is a corpus of symbols produced by the . Most inscriptions containing these symbols are extremely short, making it difficult to judge whether or not these symbols constituted a used to recor ...

Indus script
signs. Tell of the Susa acropolis.
Louvre Museum The Louvre ( ), or the Louvre Museum ( ), is the world's list of largest art museums, largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France, and is best known for being the home of the ''Mona Lisa''. A central landmark of the city, it is ...
, reference Sb 2425. Indus script numbering convention per
Asko Parpola Asko Parpola (born 12 July 1941 in Forssa) is a Finnish Indologist and Sindhology, Sindhologist, current professor emeritus of Indology and South Asian Studies at the University of Helsinki. He specializes in the Indus script. Biography Parpola ...

Asko Parpola
. File:Indus round seal with impression Elongated buffalo with Harappan scrpit imported to Susa in 2600-1700 BCE LOUVRE Sb5614.jpg, Indus round seal with impression. Elongated buffalo with Harappan script imported to Susa in 2600–1700 BCE. Found in the tell of the Susa acropolis.
Louvre Museum The Louvre ( ), or the Louvre Museum ( ), is the world's list of largest art museums, largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France, and is best known for being the home of the ''Mona Lisa''. A central landmark of the city, it is ...
, reference Sb 5614 File:Indus carnelian beads with white design imported to Susa in 2600-1700 BCE LOUVRE Sb 13099.jpg, Indian
carnelian Carnelian (also spelled cornelian) is a brownish-red mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal stru ...

carnelian
beads with white design, etched in white with an alkali through a heat process, imported to Susa in 2600–1700 BCE. Found in the tell of the Susa acropolis.
Louvre Museum The Louvre ( ), or the Louvre Museum ( ), is the world's list of largest art museums, largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France, and is best known for being the home of the ''Mona Lisa''. A central landmark of the city, it is ...
, reference Sb 17751. These beads are identical with beads found in the Indus Civilization site of
Dholavira Dholavira ( gu, ધોળાવીરા) is an archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric or recorded history, historic or contempora ...

Dholavira
. File:Indus bracelet made of Fasciolaria Trapezium or Xandus Pyrum imported front and back with inscribed chevron to Susa in 2600-1700 BCE LOUVRE Sb14473.jpg, Indus bracelet, front and back, made of '' Pleuroploca trapezium'' or ''
Turbinella pyrum ''Turbinella pyrum'', common names the chank shell, sacred chank or chank, also known as the divine conch, sometimes referred to simply as a conch, is a species of very large sea snail with a gill and an operculum (gastropod), operculum, a marine ...
'' imported to Susa in 2600–1700 BCE. Found in the tell of the Susa acropolis. Louvre Museum, reference Sb 14473. This type of bracelet was manufactured in
Mohenjo-daro Mohenjo-daro (; sd, موئن جو دڙو'', ''meaning 'Mound of the Dead Men';
,
Lothal Lothal () was one of the southernmost cities of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization , c. 2500 BCE. Terracotta Terracotta, terra cotta, or terra-cotta (; Italian language, Italian: "baked earth", from the Latin ''terra cocta''), ...

Lothal
and
Balakot Balakot ( ur, ) is a town in Mansehra District in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. The town was destroyed during the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, but was later rebuilt with the assistance of the Government of Pakistan and Saudi Public ...

Balakot
. The back is engraved with an oblong chevron design which is typical of shell bangles of the Indus Civilization. File:Indus Valley Civilization carnelian beads excavated in Susa.jpg, Indus Valley Civilization carnelian beads excavated in Susa. Jewelry with components from the Indus, Central Asia and Northern-eastern Iran found in Susa dated to 2600-1700 BCE.jpg, Jewelry with components from the Indus, Central Asia and Northern-eastern Iran found in Susa dated to 2600–1700 BCE.


Middle Elamite period (c. 1500–1100 BCE)

Around 1500 BCE, the Middle Elamite period began with the rise of the Anshanite dynasties. Their rule was characterized by an "Elamisation" of Susa, and the kings took the title "king of Anshan and Susa". While, previously, the Akkadian language was frequently used in inscriptions, the succeeding kings, such as the Igihalkid dynasty of c. 1400 BCE, tried to use Elamite. Thus, Elamite language and culture grew in importance in Susiana. This was also the period when the Elamite pantheon was being imposed in Susiana. This policy reached its height with the construction of the political and religious complex at
Chogha Zanbil Chogha Zanbil ( fa, چغازنبيل; : Dur Untash) is an ancient ite complex in the province of . It is one of the few existing s outside . It lies approximately southeast of and north of . History and etymology The Elamite language is a ...

Chogha Zanbil
, south-east of Susa. In ca. 1175 BCE, the Elamites under
Shutruk-Nahhunte Šutruk-Nakhunte was king of Elam from about 1184 to 1155 BC ( middle chronology), and the second king of the Shutrukid Dynasty. Elam amassed an empire that included most of Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَ ...
plundered the original
stele A stele ( ),Anglicized plural steles ( ); Greek plural stelai ( ), from Greek , ''stēlē''. The Greek plural is written , ''stēlai'', but this is only rarely encountered in English. or occasionally stela (plural ''stelas'' or ''stelæ''), ...

stele
bearing the ''
Code of Hammurabi The Code of Hammurabi is a Babylonian legal text composed 1755–1750 BC. It is the longest, best-organised, and best-preserved legal text from the ancient Near East. It is written in the Old Babylonian dialect of Akkadian, purportedly by Ham ...

Code of Hammurabi
'' and took it to Susa. Archeologists found it in 1901.
Nebuchadnezzar I Nebuchadnezzar I or Nebuchadrezzar I (), r. c. 1125–1104 BC, was the fourth king of the Second Dynasty of Isin and Fourth Dynasty of Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Babil'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Bab ...
of the
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
n empire plundered Susa around fifty years later. File:Goatfishes Louvre Sb19.jpg, An ornate design on this limestone ritual vat from the Middle Elamite period depicts creatures with the heads of goats and the tails of fish, Susa, 1500–1110 BCE. File:Tchogha_Zanbil.jpg, The Ziggurat at
Chogha Zanbil Chogha Zanbil ( fa, چغازنبيل; : Dur Untash) is an ancient ite complex in the province of . It is one of the few existing s outside . It lies approximately southeast of and north of . History and etymology The Elamite language is a ...

Chogha Zanbil
was built by Elamite king
Untash-Napirisha Untash-Napirisha was king of Elam (in present-day southwest Iran) during the Middle Elamite period, circa 1300 BCE. He was the son of the previous Elamite king, Humban-Numena. He was named after Napirisha, an Elamite deity. He founded and built ext ...
circa 1300 BCE. File:Susa, Middle-Elamite model of a sun ritual, circa 1150 BCE.jpg, Susa, Middle-Elamite model of a sun ritual, circa 1150 BCE


Neo-Elamite period (c. 1100–540 BCE)


=Neo-Assyrians

= In 647 BCE,
Neo-Assyrian The Neo-Assyrian Empire (Assyrian cuneiform: ''mat Aš-šur KI'', "Country of the Assur, city of Ashur (god), god Aššur"; also phonetically ''mat Aš-šur'') was an Iron Age Mesopotamian empire, in existence between 911 and 609 BC, and becam ...
king
Ashurbanipal Ashurbanipal, also spelled Assurbanipal, Asshurbanipal and Asurbanipal (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform Cuneiform is a logo up Chiswick_Press.html"_;"title="Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press">Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press_ A_logo_(abbrevi ...
leveled the city during a war in which the people of Susa participated on the other side. A tablet unearthed in 1854 by
Austen Henry Layard Sir Austen Henry Layard (; 5 March 18175 July 1894) was an English traveller, archaeologist, cuneiformist, art historian, draughtsman, collector, politician and diplomat. He is best known as the excavator of Nimrud Nimrud (; syr, ܢܢܡܪ ...

Austen Henry Layard
in
Nineveh Nineveh (; ar, نَيْنَوَىٰ '; syr, ܢܝܼܢܘܹܐ, Nīnwē; akk, ) was an ancient Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a n kingdom and of the that existed as a state from perhaps as early as the 25th ...
reveals Ashurbanipal as an "avenger", seeking retribution for the humiliations that the Elamites had inflicted on the Mesopotamians over the centuries:
"Susa, the great holy city, abode of their gods, seat of their mysteries, I conquered. I entered its palaces, I opened their treasuries where silver and gold, goods and wealth were amassed. . . .I destroyed the
ziggurat A ziggurat (; 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 ...

ziggurat
of Susa. I smashed its shining copper horns. I reduced the temples of Elam to naught; their gods and goddesses I scattered to the winds. The tombs of their ancient and recent kings I devastated, I exposed to the sun, and I carried away their bones toward the land of Ashur. I devastated the provinces of Elam and, on their lands, I sowed salt."
Assyrian rule of Susa began in 647 BCE and lasted till
Median In statistics Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. In applying statistics to a scientific, industrial, or social problem, it is conventional to begin wi ...
capture of Susa in 617 BCE.


Susa after Achaemenid Persian conquest

Susa underwent a major
political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of res ...

political
and
ethnocultural An ethnoreligious group (or ethno-religious group) is an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups such as a common ...
transition when it became part of the Persian
Achaemenid The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian empire An empire is a sovereign state consisting of several territories and peoples subj ...
empire between 540 and 539 BCE when it was captured by
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
during his conquest of
Elam Elam (; Linear Elamite: ''hatamti''; 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 Bronz ...

Elam
(Susiana), of which Susa was the capital. The Nabonidus Chronicle records that, prior to the battle(s), Nabonidus had ordered cult statues from outlying Babylonian cities to be brought into the capital, suggesting that the conflict over Susa had begun possibly in the winter of 540 BCE. It is probable that Cyrus negotiated with the Babylonian generals to obtain a compromise on their part and therefore avoid an armed confrontation. Nabonidus was staying in the city at the time and soon fled to the capital, Babylon, which he had not visited in years. Cyrus' conquest of Susa and the rest of Babylonia commenced a fundamental shift, bringing Susa under Persian control for the first time. Under Cyrus' son
Cambyses II Cambyses II ( peo, 𐎣𐎲𐎢𐎪𐎡𐎹 ''Kabūjiya'') was the second King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, wa ...

Cambyses II
, Susa became a center of political power as one of four capitals of the Achaemenid Persian empire, while reducing the significance of
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 ...
as the capital of Persis. Following Cambyses' brief rule,
Darius the Great 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 ( ...

Darius the Great
began a major building program in Susa and
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
,which included building a large
palace A palace is a grand residence, especially a royal residence, or the home of a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to eit ...
. During this time he describes his new capital in the DSf inscription: "This palace which I built at Susa, from afar its ornamentation was brought. Downward the earth was dug, until I reached rock in the earth. When the excavation had been made, then rubble was packed down, some 40 cubits in depth, another part 20 cubits in depth. On that rubble the palace was constructed." Susa continued as a winter capital and residence for Achaemenid kings succeeding
Darius the Great 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 ( ...

Darius the Great
,
Xerxes I Xerxes I ( peo, wiktionary:𐎧𐏁𐎹𐎠𐎼𐏁𐎠, 𐎧𐏁𐎹𐎠𐎼𐏁𐎠 ; grc-gre, Ξέρξης; – August 465 BC), commonly known as Xerxes the Great, was the fourth King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire, ruling from 486 to 465 ...

Xerxes I
, and their successors. The city forms the setting of ''
The Persians ''The Persians'' ( grc, Πέρσαι, ''Persai'', Latinised as ''Persae'') is an ancient Greek tragedy written during the Classical periodClassical period may refer to: *Classical Greece, specifically of the 5th and 4th centuries BC *Classical a ...
'' (472 BCE), an
Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens The Acropoli ...
tragedy Tragedy (from the grc-gre, τραγῳδία, ''tragōidia'', ''tragōidia'') is a genre of drama Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mimesis, represented in performance: a Play (theatre), play, opera, mime, ball ...

tragedy
by the
ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
playwright
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 ...
that is the oldest surviving play in the
history of theatre The history of theatre charts the development of over the past 2,500 years. While performative elements are present in every society, it is customary to acknowledge a distinction between theatre as an and entertainment and ''theatrical'' or '' ...
. Events mentioned in the
Old Testament The Old Testament (often abbreviated OT) is the first division of the Christian biblical canon A biblical canon or canon of scripture is a set of texts (or "books") which a particular Jewish or Christian religious community regards as aut ...
book of
Esther Esther is described in all versions of the Book of Esther The Book of Esther (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historica ...

Esther
are said to have occurred in Susa during the Achaemenid period.


Seleucid period

Susa lost much of its importance after the invasion of in 331 BCE. In 324 BCE he met
Nearchus Nearchus or Nearchos ( el, Νέαρχος; – 300 BC) was one of the officers, a navarch, in the army of Alexander the Great. He is known for his celebrated expeditionary voyage starting from the Indus river, Indus River, through the Persian Gulf ...
here, who explored the Persian Gulf as he returned from the Indus River by sea. In that same year Alexander celebrated in Susa with a
mass wedding Mass is both a physical property, property of a physical body and a measure (mathematics), measure of its Inertia, resistance to acceleration (rate of change of velocity with respect to time) when a net force is applied. An object's mass also ...
between the
Persians The Persians are an Iranian ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups such as a common set of traditions, ancestr ...
and
Macedonians Macedonian most often refers to someone or something from or related to Macedonia (disambiguation), Macedonia. Macedonian may specifically refer to: People Modern * Macedonians (ethnic group), the South Slavic ethnic group primarily associated w ...
. The city retained its importance under the
Seleucid The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hell ...

Seleucid
s for approximately one century after Alexander, however Susa lost its position of imperial capital to
Seleucia Seleucia (; grc-gre, Σελεύκεια), also known as or , was a major Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a his ...
to become the regional capital of the
satrapy Satraps () were the governors of the provinces of the ancient Medes, Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as in the Sasanian Empire and the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic empires. The satrap served as viceroy to ...
of Susiana. Nevertheless, Susa retained its economic importance to the empire with its vast assortment of merchants conducting trade in Susa, using Charax Spasinou as its port.
Seleucus I Nicator Seleucus I Nicator (; ; grc-gre, Σέλευκος Νικάτωρ, Séleukos Nikátōr, Seleucus the Victorious) was a Ancient Macedonians, Macedonian Greek general, a Diadochi of Alexander the Great and ultimately king who fought for control over ...
minted coins there in substantial quantities. Susa is rich in Greek inscriptions, perhaps indicating a significant number of Greeks living in the city. Especially in the royal city large, well-equipped peristyle houses have been excavated.


Parthian period

Around 147 BCE Susa and the adjacent
Elymais Elymais or Elamais (Ἐλυμαΐς, Hellenic form of the more ancient name, Elam Elam (; Linear Elamite: ''hatamti''; Cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several l ...
broke free from the
Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), off ...
. The city was at least temporarily ruled by the rulers of the Elymais with Kamnaskires II Nikephoros minting coins there. The city may again have briefly returned to Seleucid rule, but starting with Phraates II (about 138–127 BCE) to Gotarzes II of Parthia, Gotarzes II (about 40–51 CE) almost all rulers of the Parthian Empire coined coins in the city, indicating that it was firmly in the hands of the Parthians at least during this period. The city however retained a considerable amount of independence and retained its Greek city-state organization well into the ensuing Parthian period. From second half of the first century it was probably partly governed by rulers of Elymais again, but it became Parthian once again in 215. Susa was a frequent place of refuge for Parthian and later, the Persian Sassanid dynasty, Sassanid kings, as the Roman Empire, Romans sacked Ctesiphon five different times between 116 and 297 CE. Susa was briefly captured in 116 CE by the Roman emperor Trajan during the course of his Trajan's Parthian campaign, Parthian campaign. Never again would the Roman Empire advance so far to the east.


Sassanid period

Suzan was conquered and destroyed in 224 CE by the Sassanid Ardashir I, but rebuilt immediately thereafter, and perhaps even temporarily a royal residence. According to a later tradition, Shapur I is said to have spent his twilight years in the city, although this tradition is uncertain and perhaps refers more to Shapur II. Under the Sassanids, following the founding of Gundeshapur Susa slowly lost its importance. Archaeologically, the Sassanid city is less dense compared to the Parthian period, but there were still significant buildings, with the settlement extending over 400 hectares. Susa was also still very significant economically and a trading center, especially in gold trading. Coins also continued to be minted in the city. The city had a Christian community in a separate district with a Nestorian bishop, whose last representative is attested to in 1265. Archaeologically a stucco panel with the image of a Christian saint has been found. During the reign of Shapur II after Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire in 312, and the identification of Christians as possible collaborators with the enemy Christians living in the Sasanian Empire were persecuted from 339 onwards. Shapur II also imposed a double tax on the Christians during his war campaign against the Romans. Following a rebellion of Christians living in Susa, the king destroyed the city in 339 using 300 elephants. He later had the city rebuilt and resettled with prisoners of war and weavers, which is believed to have been after his victory over the Romans in Amida in 359. The weaver produced silk brocade. He renamed it ''Eran-Khwarrah-Shapur'' ("Iran's glory [built by] Shapur").


Islamic period

During the Muslim conquest of Persia an Arab army invaded Khuzistan under the command of Abu Musa al-Ash'ari. After taking most of the smaller fortified towns the army captured Shushtar, Tustar in 642 before proceeding to besiege Susa. A place of military importance, it also held the tomb of the Jewish prophet Daniel (biblical figure), Daniel. Two stories are given in the Muslim sources of how the city fell. In the first, a Persian priest proclaimed from the walls that only a ''dajjal'' was fated to capture the city. A ''dajjal'' is an Islamic term for an ''Al-Masih ad-Dajjal'', a false messiah, compatible to the Antichrist in Christianity. In everyday use, it also means "deceiver" or "imposter". Siyah, a Persian general who had defected to Muslim side, claimed that by converting to Islam he had turned his back on Zoroastrianism and was thus a ''dajjal''. Abu Musa agreed to Siyah's plan. Soon after as the sun came up one morning, the sentries on the walls saw a man in a Persian officer's uniform covered in blood lying on the ground before the main gate. Thinking it he had been left out overnight after a conflict the previous day, they opened the gate and some came out to collect him. As they approached, Siyah jumped up and killed them. Before the other sentries had time to react, Siyah and a small group of Muslim soldiers hidden nearby charged through the open gate. They held the gate open long enough for Muslim reinforcements to arrive and passing through the gate to take the city. In the other story, once again the Muslims were taunted from the city wall that only an ''Al-Masih ad-Dajjal'' could capture the city, and since there were none in the besieging army then they may as well give up and go home. One of the Muslim commanders was so angry and frustrated at this taunt that he went up to one of the city gates and kicked it. Instantly the chains snapped, the locks broke and it fell open. Following their entry into the city, the Muslims killed all of the Persian nobles. Once the city was taken, as Daniel ( ar, دانيال, Danyal) was not mentioned in the Qur'an, nor is he regarded as a prophet in Judaism, the initial reaction of the Muslim was to destroy the cult by confiscating the treasure that had stored at the tomb since the time of the Achaemenids. They then broke open the silver coffin and carried off the mummified corpse, removing from the corpse a signet ring, which carried an image of a man between two lions. However, upon hearing what had happened, the caliph Umar ordered the ring to be returned and the body reburied under the riverbed. In time, Daniel became a Muslim cult figure and they as well as Christians began making pilgrimages to the site, despite several other places claiming to be the site of Daniel's grave. Following the capture of Susa, the Muslims moved on to besiege Gundeshapur. Susa recovered following its capture and remained a regional center of more than 400 hectares in size. A mosque was built, but also Nestorian bishops are still testifie. In addition, there was a Jewish community with its own synagogue. The city continued to be a manufacturing center of luxury fabrics during this period. Archaeologically, the Islamic period is characterized mainly by its rich ceramics. Beth Huzaye (East Syrian Ecclesiastical Province) had a significant Christian population during the first millennium, and was a diocese of the Church of the East between the 5th and 13th centuries, in the metropolitan province of Beth Huzaye (Elam). In 1218, the city was razed by invading Mongols and was never able to regain its previous importance. The city further degraded in the 15th century when the majority of its population moved to Dezful.


Today

Today the ancient center of Susa is unoccupied, with the population living in the adjacent modern Iranian town of Shush to the west and north of the historic ruins. Shush is the administrative capital of Shush County in Iran's Khuzestan province. It had a population of 64,960 in 2005.


World Heritage listing

In July 2015, it was inscribed on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.


Gallery

File:ArtabanIIIGreekLetter.JPG, Letter in Greek of the Parthian king Artabanus II of Parthia, Artabanus II to the inhabitants of Susa in the 1st century CE (the city retained Greek institutions since the time of the Seleucid empire).
Louvre Museum The Louvre ( ), or the Louvre Museum ( ), is the world's list of largest art museums, largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France, and is best known for being the home of the ''Mona Lisa''. A central landmark of the city, it is ...
.Epigraphy of Later Parthia, «Voprosy Epigrafiki: Sbornik statei», 7, 2013, pp. 276-28

/ref> File:Rose cup Susa Louvre MAOS53.jpg, Glazed clay cup: Cup with rose petals, 8th–9th centuries File:Anthropoid sarcophagus Louvre Sb14393.jpg, Anthropoid sarcophagus File:Lion Darius Palace Louvre Sb3298.jpg, Lion on a decorative panel from Palace of Darius at Susa, Darius I the Great's palace File:Male head wearing a head-band resembling king of Syria Antiochus III (223–187 BC), late 1st century BC–early 1st century AD, Louvre Museum (7462828632).jpg, Marble head representing Seleucid Empire, Seleucid King Antiochus III who was born near Susa around 242 BC. File:Palmtree vase Susa Louvre MAOS383.jpg, Glazed clay vase: Vase with palmtrees, 8th–9th centuries File:Sphinx Darius Louvre.jpg, Winged sphinx from the palace of
Darius the Great 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 ( ...

Darius the Great
at Susa. File:Daniel Barry Kent.JPG, Tomb of Daniel File:Ninhursag1.jpg, Ninhursag with the spirit of the forests next to the seven-spiked cosmic tree of life. Relief from Susa. File:Tomb of Daniel.jpg, 19th-century engraving of Tomb of Daniel, Daniel's tomb in Susa, from ''Voyage en Perse Modern''e, by Flandin and Coste. File:Archers frieze Darius 1st Palace Suse Louvre AOD 488 a.jpg, Archers frieze from Darius' palace at Susa. Detail of the beginning of the frieze, left.
Louvre Museum The Louvre ( ), or the Louvre Museum ( ), is the world's list of largest art museums, largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France, and is best known for being the home of the ''Mona Lisa''. A central landmark of the city, it is ...
File:Torque Susa Louvre Sb2760.jpg, Ribbed torc with lion heads, Achaemenid artwork, excavated by
Jacques de MorganImage:Jacques de Morgan 2.jpeg, Jacques Jean Marie de Morgan (1892) Jean-Jacques de Morgan (3 June 1857, Huisseau-sur-Cosson, Loir-et-Cher – 14 June 1924) was a French people, French mining engineer, geologist, and archaeologist. He was the di ...

Jacques de Morgan
, 1901, found in the Acropole Tomb File:Shush Castle.JPG, Shush Castle, 2011 File:Children in Susa.JPG, Children in Susa File:Terracotta herm Louvre Sb785.jpg, Herma, Herm pillar with Hermes, from the well of the "Dungeon" in Susa.


See also

*Abulites *Achaemenid architecture *Choqa Zanbil *Cities of the Ancient Near East *Elamite Empire, Elam *History of Iran *List of oldest continuously inhabited cities *Monsieur Chouchani *Muslim conquest of Khuzestan *Short chronology timeline


Notes


References

* Jean Perrot, ''Le Palais de Darius à Suse. Une résidence royale sur la route de Persépolis à Babylone'', Paris
Paris-sorbonne.fr
2010 * * *


Further reading

* * * *


Excavation reports

Although numerous excavation reports have been published so far, many excavations are not or only partially published. Above all, the found architecture was often presented only in short preliminary reports and plans. * Pierre Amiet: Glyptique susienne des origines à l'époque des Perses achéménides: cachets, sceaux-cylindres et empreintes antiques découverts à Suse de 1913 à 1967, Mémoires de la Délégation archéologique en Iran, Paris 1972. * Elizabeth Carter, “Suse, Ville Royale.”, Paléorient, vol. 4, pp. 197–211, 1979 DOI: 10.3406/paleo.1978.4222 * Elizabeth Carter, “The Susa Sequence – 3000–2000 B. C. Susa, Ville Royale I.”, American Journal of Archaeology, vol. 83, no. 2, pp. 451–454, 1979 * Elizabeth Carter, “Excavations in Ville-Royale-I at Susa: The third Millennium B.C.”, Cahiers de la DAFI, vol. 11, pp. 11–139, 1980 * Roman Ghirshman: Cinq campagnes de fouilles a Suse (1946–1951). In: Revue d'Assyriologie et d'archéologie Orientale 46, 1952, pp 1–18. * Florence Malbran-Labat: Les inscriptions royales de Suse: briques de l'époque paléo-élamite à l 'empire néo-élamite, Paris 1995. * Laurianne Martinez-Sève: Les figurines de Suse. Réunion des Musées Nationaux, Paris 2002, . * Jacques de Morgan, G. Jéquier, G. Lampre: Fouilles à Suse, 1897–1898 et 1898–1899. Paris 1900. * Georges Le Rider : Suse sous les Séleucides et les Parthes: les trouvailles monétaires et l'histoire de la ville, Mémoires de la Délégation Archéologique en Iran, Paris 1965. * Vincent Scheil: Inscriptions of Achéménides à Suse. Actes juridiques susiens, Mémoires de la Mission Archéologique de Perse, Vol. 21–24, Paris 1929–1933. * Agnes Spycket: Les figurines de Suse, Paris 1992. * Marie-Joseph Steve, Hermann Gasche: L'Acropole de Suse. Nouvelles fouilles (rapport préliminaire), Mémoires de la Mission Archéologique de Perse vol. 46, Leiden 1971.


External links


ARAB II. Arab Conquest of Iran

"Early Works on the Acropolis at Susa" Expedition Magazine 10.4 1968

Royal City of Susa: Ancient Near Eastern Treasures in the Louvre - Metropolitan Museum - 1992

Aerial views of Susa at the Oriental Institute

Digital Images of Cuneiform Tablets from Susa – CDLI
*Hamid-Reza Hosseini
''Shush at the foot of Louvre''
(''Shush dar dāman-e
Louvre The Louvre ( ), or the Louvre Museum ( ), is the world's most-visited museum, and a historic landmark in Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of Fr ...

Louvre
''), in Persian, Jadid Online, 10 March 2009. *
Susa I. Excavations

Susa II. History During The Elamite Period

Susa III. The Achaemenid Period

Susa IV. The Hellenistic and Parthian Periods

Susa V. The Sasanian Period
{{Authority control Susa, Achaemenid cities Archaeological sites in Iran Book of Esther Elam Elamite cities Former populated places in Khuzestan Province Hebrew Bible cities Parthian cities Populated places along the Silk Road Sasanian cities Seleucid colonies Shush County World Heritage Sites in Iran Uruk period Book of Jubilees