Easton's Bible Dictionary
( Ezra 6:2 ), called Ecbatana by classical writers, the
capital of northern Media. Here was the palace which was the residence of the
old Median monarchs, and of Cyrus and Cambyses. In the time of Ezra, the Persian
kings resided usually at Susa of Babylon. But Cyrus held his court at Achmetha;
and Ezra, writing a century after, correctly mentions the place where the decree
of Cyrus was found.
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
brother of death
Smith's Bible Dictionary
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
ak'-me-tha (Ezra 6:2; 'achmetha'; Septuagint Amatha;
Peshitta achmathan; in Tiglath Pileser's inscription circa 1100 BC Amadana: in
Darius' Behistun Inscr., II, 76-78, Hangmatana = "Place of Assembly"; Agbatana,
in Herodotus; Ekbatana, Xenophon, etc.; so 1 Esdras 6:23 ; Tobit 3:7 ; 6:5 ; 7:1
; 14:12 , 14 ; Judith 1:1 , 2 , 14 ; 2 Macc 9:3 ; Talmud hamdan; now hamadan).
This, the ancient capital of Media, stood (latitude 34
degrees 50' North--longitude. 48 degrees 32' East) near the modern Hamadan, 160
miles West-Southwest of Tehran, almost 6,000 feet above the sea, circa 1 1/2 miles
from the foot of Mt. Orontes (Alvand).
It was founded or rebuilt by Deiokes (Dayaukku) about 700 BC on the site of Ellippi
an ancient city of the Manda, and captured by Cyrus 549 BC who brought Croesus
there as captive (Herodotus i.153). It was the capital of the 10th Nome under
Darius I. Cyrus and other Persian kings used to spend the two summer months there
yearly, owing to the comparative coolness of the climate. Herodotus describes
it as a magnificent city fortified with seven concentric walls (i.98). Its citadel
(biretha', Ezra 6:2, wrongly rendered "palace" in the Revised Version (British
and American)) is mentioned by Arrian, who says that, when Alexander took the
city in 324 BC, he there stored his enormous booty. In it the royal archives were
kept. It stood on a hill, where later was built a temple of Mithra. Polybius (x.27)
speaks of the great strength of the citadel. Though the city was unwalled in his
time, he can hardly find words to express his admiration for it, especially for
the magnificent royal palace, nearly 7 stadia in circumference, built of precious
kinds of wood sheathed in plates of grid and silver. In the city was the shrine
of Aine (Nanaea, Anahita?). Alexander is said to have destroyed a temple of AEsculapius
(Mithra?) there. Diodorus tells us the city was 250 stadia in circumference. On
Mt. Alvand (10,728 feet) there have been found inscriptions of Xerxes. Doubtless
Ecbatana was one of the "cities of the Medes" to which Israel was carried captive
(2 Kings 17:6). It should be noted that Greek writers mention several other Ecbatanas.
One of these, afterward called Gazaca (Takhti Sulaiman, a little South of Lake
Urmi, lat. 36 degrees 28' North, long. 47 degrees 9' East) was capital of Atropatene.
It was almost destroyed by the Mughuls in the 12th century. Sir H. Rawlinson identifies
the Ecbatana of Tobit and Herodotus with this northern city. The southern and
far more important Ecbatana which we have described is certainly that of 2 Macc
9:3. It was Cyrus' Median capital, and is doubtless that of Ezra 6:2. Classical
writers spoke erroneously of Ecbatana (for Ecbatana) as moderns too often do of
Hamadan for Hamadan.
Hamadan has perhaps never fully recovered from the fearful massacre made there
in 1220 AD by the Mongols, but its population is about 50,000, including a considerable
number of descendants of the Israelites of the Dispersion (tracing descent from
Asher, Naphtali, etc.). They point to the tombs of Esther and Mordecai in the
neighborhood. It is a center for the caravan trade between Baghdad and Tehran.
There is an American Presbyterian mission at work. Authorities (besides those
quoted above): Ctesias, Curtius, Amm. Marcellinus, Pausanias, Strabo, Diod. Siculus;
Ibnu'l Athir, Yaqut, Jahangusha, Jami'u't Tawarikh, and modern travelers.
W. St. Clair Tisdall
achmetha, bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, capital of media, ecbatana