Bookmark and Share

Open the online Arabic language course

Around 4000-4th century BCEStill settled 4th century BCE-1218 CE

Ancient Iran / Elam /
Persian: shūsh
In Bible: Shushan
Greek: Seleukeia
Latin: Seleucia

Susa, Elam (now Iran)

Aerial photo taken in 1935.

Relief from Darius 1's palace at Susa. Now at Pergamon Museum, Berlin.
ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

Relief from Darius 1's palace at Susa. Now at Pergamon Museum, Berlin.

Susa, Elam (now Iran)

Musicians from Susa. Between 2000 and 1500 BCE.

Ancient capital of Elam; later administrative capital of the Achmeamenian kingdom, peaking from around the 12th until the 4th century BCE.
Susa is in southwestern Iran, 100 km east of Tigris River. It is situated at the foot of the Zagros Mountains on the bank of the Karkheh Kor River, which today corresponds to Khzestan Province in Iran.
The site of Susa consisted of 4 mounds, one with the citadel, another the palace of King Darius 1. The third mound was the site of the central quarters of the city of Susa, while the fourth mound contained houses. Among the most noteworthy discoveries at Susa is the Code of Hammurabi and the obelisk of Manishtusu, an Akkadian king.
Susa plays some importance to Judaism, being the home of Daniel and Nehemiah for a period. Daniel is assumed to be buried here, and his tomb is allegedly found.
Susa had a zigguart, which has been destroyed.

Around 7000 BCE: Oldest traces of settlements at Susa.
Around 4000: Susa emerges as an important regional centre.
Around 1160: Elam rises to become an empire, Susa being its capital.
Around 1120: Susa and Elam is sacked by the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar 1. This lead to the end of the Elamite empire.
640: Is burnt by Ashurbanipal, the Assyrian king.
538: Conquered by the Achaemenid Persians.
521: Darius 1 makes Susa his winter capital, fortifies the city and builds palaces and other great buildings.
331: Alexander the Great conquers Susa.
Late 4th century: Together with Ctesiphon, Susa becomes a capital of Parthia.
116: Conquered by the Romans, but the Romans were unable to hold it.
638 CE: Susa is destroyed by the advancing Muslim Arabs in their campaign to take control of Iran.
1218: Susa is virtually razed to the ground by invading Mongols.
1850: The archaeological site of Susa is discovered by W.K. Loftus.

By Tore Kjeilen