Information about the place SELEFKIA EPI TOU EVLEOU (Ancient city) IRAN - GTP - Greek Travel Pages

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The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites

Seleucia on the Eulaeus

  The very ancient site of Susa on the Eulaeus river, renamed in Seleucid times. In that period a small Achaemenid palace was drastically restored, and excavations there have brought to light ten stone pedestals of bronze statues, some with Greek inscriptions, part of a female torso in Greek marble, and smaller fragments of statues.

D. N. Wilber, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Nov 2002 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


The Catholic Encyclopedia

Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities

Susa

(ta Sousa; Old Test. Shushan; ShusPers. ). The winter residence of the Persian kings. It stood in the district Cissia of the province Susiana, on the eastern bank of the river Choaspes. Its name in old Persian signifies "Lily," and that flower is said to abound in the plain in which the city stood. Susa was of a quadrangular form, 120 (or, according to others, 200) stadia in circuit, and without fortifications; but it had a strongly fortified citadel, containing the palace and treasury of the Persian kings. The Greek name of this citadel, Memnonice or Memnonium, is perhaps a corruption of the Aramaic Maaninon, "a fortress;" and this easy confusion of terms gave rise to the fable that the city was founded by Tithonus, the father of Memnon. An historical tradition ascribes its erection to Darius, the son of Hystaspes, but it existed already in the time of Daniel. There is, however, a difficulty as to the identification of the Shushan of Daniel with the Susa of the Greeks. The climate of Susa was very hot, and hence the choice of it for the winter palace. It was here that Alexander and his generals celebrated their marriage with the Persian princesses in B.C. 325, but the city declined after Babylon became the capital of Alexander and his successors. In B.C. 315 it was taken by Antiochus, who found in it a vast amount of treasure. The site of Susa is now marked by extensive mounds, on which are found fragments of bricks and broken pottery, with cuneiform inscriptions. The ruins of the ancient city cover a space of nearly three square miles, and they have been carefully explored by Loftus, Churchill, Dieulafoy, and others. The principal remains that still exist are four vast platforms like those at Persepolis, with traces of a gigantic colonnade with a frontage of over 340 feet and a depth of 240 feet. The palace of Darius Hystaspis has also been excavated, and from it many artistic treasures taken to the Louvre.

This text is cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)

Susa

  Susa (ta Sousa, Aeschyl. Pers. 535, 730; Herod. i. 188; Xen. Cyr. viii. 6. 8, &c.; in O. T. Shushan Esther, i. 2; Nehemiah, i. 1; Daniel, viii. 2), the chief city of the province of Susiana, on the eastern bank of the Choaspes (Kerkhah). There was considerable doubt among the ancient writers as to the exact position of this celebrated city. Thus Arrian (vii. 7), Pliny (vi. 27. s. 31), and Daniel (viii. 2) place it on the Eulaeus (Ulai in Daniel): while from other authors (Strab. xv. p. 728) it may be gathered that it was situated on the Choaspes. (For the probable cause of this confusion, see Choaspes) We may add, however, that, according to Curtius, Alexander on his way from Babylon had to cross the Choaspes before he could reach Susa (v. 2), and that the same inference may be drawn from the account of Aristagoras of the relative position of the places in Persia in his address to Cleomenes. (Herod. v. 52.) It appears to have been an early tradition of the country that Susa was founded by Dareius the son of Hystaspes (Plin. l. c.); and it is described by Aeschylus as meg' astu Sousidos (Pers. 119). By others it is termed Memnoneion astu (Herod. v. 54), and its origin is attributed to Memnon, the son of Tithonus. (Strab. l. c.; Steph. B. s. v.) The name is said to have been derived from a native Persian word Susan (meaning lily), from the great abundance of those plants in that neighbourhood. (Steph. B. s. v.; Athen. xii. p. 513, ed. Cassaub.) Athenaeus also confirms the account of the excellence of the climate of Susa (l. c.). It may be remarked that the word Sousinon was well known as applied to an unguent extracted from lilies. (Dioscor. iii. c. de lilio: Athen. xv. p. 609; Etymol. M. s. v. Sousinon). The city was said to have been 120 stadia in circumference (Strab. l. c.), and to have been surrounded by a wall, built like that of Babylon of burnt brick. (Strab. l. c.; Paus. iv. 31. § 5.) Diodorus (xix. 16, xvii. 65) and Cassiodorus (vii. 15) speak of the strength and splendour of its citadel; and the latter writer affirms that there was a splendid palace there, built for Cyrus by Memnon. Besides this structure, Pliny speaks of a celebrated temple of Diana (l. c.; see also Mart. Capella, vi. de India, p. 225, ed. Grotius), in all probability that of the Syrian goddess Anaitis: while St. Jerome adds, that Daniel erected a town there (Hieronym. in Dan.), a story which Josephus narrates, with less probability, of Ecbatana. (Ant. x. 11.) Susa was one of the capitals at which the kings of Persia were wont to spend a portion of the year. Thus Cyrus, according to Xenophon, lived there during the three months of the spring. (Cyrop. viii. 6. § 22.) Strabo offers the most probable reason for this custom, where he states that Susiana was peculiarly well suited for the royal residence from its central position with respect to the rest of the empire, and from the quiet and orderly character of its government (l. c.) From these and other reasons, Susa appears to have been the chief treasury of the Persian empire (Herod. v. 49); and how vast were the treasures laid up there by successive kings, may be gathered from the narrative in Arrian, of the sums paid by Alexander to his soldiers, and of the presents made by him to his leading generals, on the occasion of his marriage at Susa with Barsine and Parysatis (Curt. vii. 4, 5): even long after Alexander's death, Antigonus found a great amount of plunder still at Susa. (Diod. xix. 48.)
  With regard to the modern site to be identified as that of the ruins of Susa, there has been considerable difference of opinion in modern times. This has, however, chiefly arisen from the scarcity of travellers who have examined the localities with any sufficient accuracy. The first who did so, Mr. Kinneir, at once decided that the modern Sus, situated at the junction of Kerkhah and river of Diz, must represent the Shushan of Daniel, the Susa of profane authors. (Travels, p. 99; comp. Malcolm, Hist. Persia, i. p. 256.) Rennell had indeed suspected as much long before (Geogr. Herodot. i. p. 302); but Vincent and others had advanced the rival claim of Shuster. (Anc. Commerce, i. p. 439.) The question has been now completely set at rest, by the careful excavations which have been made during the last few years, first by Colonel (now Sir W. F.) Williams, and secondly by Mr. Loftus. The results of their researches are given by Mr. Loftus in a paper read to the Royal Society of Literature in November, 1855. (Transactions, vol. v. new series.) Mr. Loftus found three great mounds, measuring together more than 3 1/2 miles in circumference, and above 100 feet in height; and, on excavating, laid bare the remains of a gigantic colonnade, having a frontage of 343 feet, and a depth of 244, consisting of a central square of 36 columns, flanked to the N., E., and W. by a similar number-the whole arrangement being nearly the same as that of the Great Hall of Xerxes at Persepolis. A great number of other curious discoveries were made, the most important being numerous inscriptions in the cuneiform character. Enough of these has been already deciphered to show, that some of the works on the mound belong to the most remote antiquity. Among other important but later records is an inscription,-the only memorial yet discovered of Artaxerxes Mnemon, the conqueror of the Greeks at Cunaxa,-which describes the completion of a palace, commenced by Dareius the son of Hystaspes and dedicated to the goddesses Tanaitis and Mithra. A Greek inscription was also met with, carved on the base of a column, and stating that Arreneides was the governor of Susiana. The natives exhibit a monument in the neighbourhood, which they call and believe to be the tomb of Daniel. There is no question, however, that it is a modern structure of the Mohammedan times.

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited September 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


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