SHUSHAN (Susa; Ḥebrew, "Shushan," or "Shushan ha-Birah" [Shushan the Palace]; Assyrian, "Sushan"; Elamitie, "Shushin," "Shushun"; Greek, Σουάν, ΣοῡΣα);

Ancient capital of Susiana or Elam, and the winter residence of the kings of Persia; situated between the Choaspes (modern Ab-i Kerkhah) and the Eulæus (the "Ulai" of Dan. viii. 2; modern Shaur), fifteen miles southeast of Dizful. The city was a very ancient one, and is mentioned under the name of Sis or Sisa in Babylonian inscriptions as early as 2400 B.C. In 640, during the reign of Assurbanipal Shushan came under Babylonian control; but it was captured by the Persians under Cyrus the Great, who made it the seat of government. The rise of Babylon under Alexander the Great and his successors reduced the importance of Susa. It was razed after a revolt, but was rebuilt by Sapor II. (309-379 C.E.) under the name of Iranshahr Shapur; and it was still able to offer a stubborn resistance to the Arab invasion in 645.

The circumference of Shushan during its prime seems to have been about six or seven miles, and on the right bank of the Ulai stood a temple or observatory, whose remains are now called Tell-i Sulaiman ("Hill of Solomon"), and other structures. The ruins of the Persian palace, excavated by Williams and Loftus, and, more recently, by Dieulafoy and his wife, cover about 300 acres on three platforms. To the southwest are the remains of a semicircular citadel, and across a ravine to the north is a platform containing the ruins of the "Hall of Audience" or "Throne Room," while a long terrace to the east was the site of the palace and the harem.

In the Bible, Susa or Shushan is mentioned oncein Nehemiah (i. 1), and once in Daniel (viii. 2), while the scene of the Book of Esther is laid in the city (Esth. i. 2, 5; ii. 5, 8; iii. 15; iv. 8, 16; viii. 14; ix. 6, 11-15, 18; Apoer. Esth. i. 2, although all these references are too vague to determine whether the "palace" [R. V. alternative reading, "castle"] bore any resemblance to the royal structure as it actually existed). The association of Daniel with "Shushan the palace" has an added interest on account of the single occurrence of the word ("palace") in Dan. xi. 45, which, like its Syriac equivalent "afadana," is almost certainly a loan-word from the Old Persian "apadana." The tradition of Daniel's residence at Shushan has caused a structure of the Mohammedan period at the foot of the citadel to be called the tomb of Daniel (see Daniel, Tomb of).

The Book of Jubilees (viii. 1) reconstructs an eponymous ancestry for Shushan, which it terms "the daughter of Elam." According to the Pahlavi "Shatroiha-i Eran," Shushan was founded by Shoshan-dukht or Gasyan-dukht, the Jewish queen of Yezdegerd I., a statement which may mean that she established a Jewish colony there (see Jew. Encyc. ix. 465a, s.v. Pahlavi Literature).

E. G. H. L. H. G.

According to the Talmud, on the eastern gate of the Temple at Jerusalem was a representation of Shushan the palace (Mid. i. 3; comp. Kelim xvii. 9), variously explained by two Babylonian amoraim in the third century (Men. 98a) as an emblem of servitude to the Persian kings and as a token of gratitude. This gate is believed by Grätz ("Gesch." ii. 103) to be identical with the "king's gate" mentioned in I Chron. ix. 18. The Babylonian schools of the amoraic period cite the two cities of Shush and Shushtri among the places to which the ten tribes were exiled (Sanh. 94a). Curiously enough, both these names are given to Susa in modern Persian, although it is uncertain whether they were applied to the city as early as the third and fourth centuries, or whether the Talmud refers to two separate localities at or near the ancient Susa.

The province of which Susa was the capital is mentioned especially as "Be-Ḥuza" (Khuzistan); and some of the amoraim are surnamed "Ḥuza'ah" (Giṭ. 7a; Ta'an. 22a; Pes. 9a; comp. Shab. 51b; Ta'an. 21b; Ket. 85a). Saadia, following an Arabic chronicle of the geonic period (possibly written by the gaon himself; Neubauer, "M. J. C." ii. 92; comp. "R. E. J." xxxii. 143), identifies Elam (Gen. x. 22) with Khuzistan. Benjamin of Tudela in the twelfth century describes Khuzistan as a large province, although one not densely populated; and among its ruins were the remains of Shushan the palace. Pethahiah of Regensburg found only two Jews in Susa, and at present (1905) there are but 7,000 in the entire province; they have fourteen synagogues, one behind the tomb of Daniel.

  • Loftus, Travels and Researches in Chaldœa and Susiana, London, 1857;
  • Curzon, Persia and the Persian Question, ib. 1892;
  • De Morgan, Délégation en Perse, i., Paris, 1900;
  • Jane Dieulafoy, A Suse, ib. 1888;
  • Marcel Dieulafoy, L'Acropole de Suse, ib. 1890-92;
  • Billerbeck, Susa, Berlin, 1892.
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