Easton's Bible Dictionary
a lily, The Susa of Greek and Roman writers, once the
capital of Elam. It lay in the uplands of Susiana, on the east of the Tigris,
about 150 miles to the north of the head of the Persian Gulf. It is the modern
Shush, on the northwest of Shuster. Once a magnificent city, it is now an immense
mass of ruins. Here Daniel saw one of his visions ( Daniel
8 ); and here also Nehemiah (Nehemiah
1) began his public life. Most of the events recorded in the Book of Esther
took place here. Modern explorers have brought to light numerous relics, and the
ground-plan of the splendid palace of Shushan, one of the residences of the great
king, together with numerous specimens of ancient art, which illustrate the statements
of Scripture regarding it ( Daniel
8:2 ). The great hall of this palace (Esther
1) "consisted of several magnificent groups of columns, together with a frontage
of 343 feet 9 inches, and a depth of 244 feet. These groups were arranged into
a central phalanx of thirty-six columns (six rows of six each), flanked on the
west, north, and east by an equal number, disposed in double rows of six each,
and distant from them 64 feet 2 inches." The inscriptions on the ruins represent
that the palace was founded by Darius and completed by Artaxerxes.
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
lily; rose; joy
Smith's Bible Dictionary
(a lily) Is said to have received its name from the abundance
of the lily (shushan or shushanah) in its neighborhood. It was originally the
capital of the country called in Scripture Elam, and by the classical writers
Susis or Susiana. In the time of Daniel, Susa was in the possession of the Babylonians,
to whom Elam had probably passed at the division of the Assyrian empire made by
Cyaxares and Nabopolassar. ( Daniel
8:2 ) The conquest of Babylon by Cyrus transferred Susa to the Persian dominion;
and it was not long before the Achaemenian princes determined to make it the capital
of their whole empire and the chief place of their own residence. According to
some writers the change was made by Cyrus; according to others it had at any rate
taken place before the death of Cambyses; but, according to the evidence of the
place itself and of the other Achaemenian monuments, it would seem most probable
that the transfer was really the work of Darius Hystaspes. Nehemiah resided here.
Shushan was situated on the Ulai or Choaspes. It is identified with the modern
Sus or Shush, its ruins are about three miles in circumference. (Here have been
found the remains of the great palace build by Darius, the father of Xerxes, in
which and the surrounding buildings took place the scenes recorded in the life
of Esther. The great central hall was 343 feet long by 244 feet wide. The kings
gate, says Schaff, where Mordecai sat, "was probably a hall 100 feet square, 150
feet from the northern portico. Between these two was probably the inner court,
where Esther appeared before the king." --ED.)
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
shoo'-shan (shushan; Sousan, Sousa):
1. Position, Eytmology and Forms of Its Name:
This city, the Susu or Susan of the Babylonians, and the native (Elamite) Susun,
is the modern Shush (Sus) in Southwestern Persia, a series of ruin-mounds on the
banks of the river Kerkha. The ancient etymologies ("city of lilies" or "of horses")
are probably worthless, as an etymology in the language of the place would rather
be expected. Sayce therefore connects the name with sassa, meaning "former," and
pointing to some such meaning as "the old" city. It is frequently mentioned in
the Babylonian inscriptions of the 3rd millennium BC, and is expressed by the
characters for the goddess Ishtar and for "cedar," implying that it was regarded
as the place of the "divine grove" (see 5, below). In later days, the Assyrians
substituted for the second character, that having the value of ses, possibly indicating
its pronunciation. Radau (Early Babylonian History, 236) identifies Shushan (Susa)
with the Sasa of the Babylonian king Kuri-galzu (14th century BC, if the first
of the name), who dedicates to the Babylonian goddess Ninlil an inscription of
a certain Siatu, who had, at an earlier date, dedicated it to Ishtar for the life
of the Babylonian king Dungi (circa 2500 BC).
2. The Ruins:
The surface still covered with ruins is about 2,000 hectares (4,940 acres), though
this is but a fraction compared with the ancient extent of the city, which is
estimated to have been between 12,000 and 15,000 hectares (29,640-37,000 acres).
Though considerable, the extent of Susa was small compared with Nineveh and Babylon.
The ruins are divided by the French explorers into four tracts:
(1) The Citadel-mound (West),
of the Achemenian period (5th century BC), circa 1,476 by 820 ft., dominating
the plain (height circa 124 ft.).
(2) The Royal City on the East of the Citadel,
composed of two parts: the Apadana (Northeast), and a nearly triangular tract
extending to the East and the South. This contains the remains of the palace of
Darius and his successors, and occupies rather more than 123 acres. The palace
proper and the throne-room were separated from the rest of the official buildings.
(3) The City,
occupied by artisans, merchants, etc.
(4) The district on the right bank, similarly inhabited.
This in ancient times extended into all the lower plain, between the Shaour and
the Kerkha. Besides these, there were many isolated ruins, and the suburbs contained
a number of villages and separate constructions.
3. The "Royal City," "The Citadel," and the Ruins Therein:
Most of the constructions at Susa are of the Persian period. In the northern part
of the Royal City lie the remains of the Apadana, the only great monument of which
remains were found on the level. The principal portion consisted of a great hall
of columns, known as the throne-room of Artaxeres Mnemon. It replaced an earlier
structure by Darius, which was destroyed by fire in the time of Artaxerxes I.
The columns apparently had capitals of the style common in Persia--the foreparts
of two bulls kneeling back to back. In the Citadel a palace built by Xerxes seems
to have existed, the base of one of his columns having been found there. Bricks
bearing the inscriptions of early Elamite kings, and the foundations of older
walls, testify to the antiquity of the occupation of this part. According to the
explorers, this was the portion of the city reserved for the temples.
4. The Monuments Discovered:
The number of important antiquities found on the site is considerable. Among the
finds may be mentioned the triumphal stele of Naram-Sin, king of Agade (3rd-4th
millennium BC); the statuettes of the Babylonian king Dungi (circa 2360 BC); the
reliefs and inscriptions of the Elamite king Ba(?)-sa-Susinak (circa 2340 BC);
the obelisk inscribed with the laws of Hammurabi of Babylon; the bronze bas-relief
of the Elamite king Sutruk-Nahhunte (circa 1120 BC), who carried off from Babylonia
the stelae of Naram-Sin and Hammurabi above mentioned, together with numerous
other Babylonian monuments; the stele of Adda-hamiti-In-Susnak, of a much later
date, together with numerous other objects of art and inscriptions--a most precious
5. Assur-bani-apli's Description of the City:
Shushan passed through many serious crises, one of the severest being its capture
and destruction by the armies of the Assyrian king Assur-bani-apli about 640 BC.
According to his account, the ziqqurat or temple-tower of Susa was built of enameled
brick imitating lapis-lazuli, and was adorned with pinnacles of bright bronze.
The god of the city was Susinak, who dwelt in a secret place, and none ever saw
the form of his divinity. Lagamaru (Laomer) and five other of the city's deities
were adored only by kings, and their images, with those of 12 more (worshipped
by the people), were carried off as spoil to Assyria. Winged bulls and genii adorned
Susa's temples, and figures of wild bulls protected the entrances to their shrines.
Other noteworthy things were the sacred groves into which no stranger was allowed
to enter, and the burial-places of the Elamite kings. After recovering from the
blow inflicted by the Assyrians, Shushan ultimately regained its old importance,
and, as the summer residence of the Persian kings, became the home of Ahasuerus
and Queen Esther (Nehemiah 1:1; Esther 1:2 , 5 ; 2:3 ; 3:15 ; 9:11 ; Daniel 8:2
; Additions to Esther 11:3).
See Perrot et Chipiez, Histoire de l'art dans l'antiquite, volume V, Perse, 1890;
de Morgan, Delegation en Perse (Memoires), 1900, etc.; Histoire et travaux de
la delegation en Perse, 1905; article "Elamites" in Hastings ERE; article ELAM
in this work.
T. G. Pinches
bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, capital of elam, city, define, susa, shush, shushan, sus