Tradition has named two places as the site of Daniel's tomb. In the "Martyrologium Romanum," for instance, which consecrates July 21 to Saint Daniel, the place of his death is given as Babylon, and it was claimed that he was buried in the royal vault there. Benjamin of Tudela, who visited the Holy Land about 1160 C.E., gives much more accurate information in his account of Susa. In the façade of one of its many synagogues he was shown the tomb assigned by tradition to Daniel. Susa is the modern Shuster, and this synagogue is still standing. There are some good representations of it, as, for example, in Flandin and Coste, "Voyage en Perse Moderne" (plate 100), and in Loftus, "Chaldæa and Susiana" (pp. 317 et seq.).

Traditional Tomb of Daniel.(From Flandin and Coste, "Voyage en Perse Moderne.")

Benjamin declares, however, that the tomb does not hold Daniel's remains, which were said to have been discovered at Susa about (640 C.E. The remains were supposed to bring good fortune: and bitter quarrels arose because of them between the inhabitants of the two banks of the Choaspes. All those living on the side on which Daniel's grave was situated were rich and happy, while those on the opposite side were poor and in want; the latter, therefore, wished the bier of Daniel transferred to their side of the river. They finally agreed that the bier should rest alternately one year on each side. This agreement was carried out for many years, until the Persian shah Sanjar, on visiting the city, stoppedthe practise, holding that the continual removal of the bier was disrespectful to the prophet. He ordered the bier to be fastened with chains to the bridge, directly in the middle of the structure; and he erected a chapel on the spot for both Jews and non-Jews. The king also forbade fishing in the river within a mile of Daniel's bier ("Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela" [Hebr.], ed. Asher, i. 74-76, ii. 152-154; compare Pethahiah of Regensburg, p. 77, below, Jerusalem, 1872). The place is a dangerous one for navigation, since godless persons perish immediately on passing it; and the water under the bier is distinguished by the presence of goldfish.

Mohammedan traditions agree in stating that Daniel was buried at Susa, and a similar tradition was current among the Syriac writers (Budge, "Book of the Bee," p. 73). Al-Baladhori (ninth century) says that when the conqueror Abu Musa al-Ash'ari came to Susa in 638, he found the coffin of Daniel, which had been brought thither from Babylon in order to bring down rain during a period of drought (compare Al-Ṭabari, i. 2567). Abu Musa referred the matter to the calif Omar, who ordered the coffin to be buried, which was done by sinking it to the bottom of one of the streams near by ("Futuḥ al-Buldan," p. 378). A similar account is given by Ibn Ḥauṭal (ed. De Goeje, p. 174) and Al-Isṭaḥri (ed. De Goeje, p. 92), who add that the Jews were accustomed to make a circuit around Daniel's tomb and to draw water in its neighborhood (see also Yaḳut, "Mu'jam al-Buldan," iii. 189). Al-Muḳaddasi (ed. De Goeje, p. 417) refers to the contention between the people of Susa and those of Tustar. A slightly divergent tradition reported by Ibn Taimiyyah says that the body was found in Tustar; that at night thirteen graves were dug, and it was put in one of these—a sign that the early Moslems were opposed to the worship of the tombs of holy men ("Z. D. M. G." liii. 58).

The authenticity of the tomb at Susa is believed in by the mollahs of Arabistan, even though five days journey from Dizful, near Mal Amir, there is another tomb sacred to Daniel.

  • Jane Dieulafoy, At Susa, p. 131, New York, 1890;
  • Driver, The Book of Daniel, p. xxi.
G. E. K. G.
Images of pages