Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Susa

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(Gr. Sousan, Sousa)

The capital of the Kingdom of Elam, and from the time of Cyrus, or more probably of Darius I, the winter residence of the kings of Persia. It was situated on the River Ulai or Eulaeus (Dan., viii, 2, 16; Pliny, "Hist. Nat.", VI, 27), which was probably a branch of the Choaspes, now the Kerkha, formerly connected with the Pasitigris, now the Karun. After an existence of more than fifteen centuries the city was destroyed by Assurbanipal about 647 B.C., but it rose from its ruins, and under Persian rule enjoyed great prosperity. It began to decay under the Seleucids, and after the destruction of the Sassanid monarchy by the Arabs it was gradually abandoned. The "castle" (II Esd., i, 1; Dan., viii, 2), or acropolis, was distinct and separated from the city, though in the Book of Esther the Vulgate neglects the distinction (in i, 2, 5; ii, 3 ,5 ,8.; iii, 15; viii, 14; ix, 6, 11, 12, the "castle", and not the city, is meant). Here Darius I built a vast palace, in which under his successor occurred the events narrated in the Book of Esther. The ruins of the acropolis, covering about 300 acres, have been explored by Williams and Loftus, and more thoroughly by Dieulafoy and de Morgan. The excavations have yielded some important finds, among others the code of Hammurabi.

LOFTUS, Chaldoea and Susiana (London, 1857), 344 sqq.; DIEULAFOY, La Perse, la Chaldee, et al Susiane (Paris, 1887); IDEM, L'Acropole de Suse (Paris, 1893); JAME DIEULAFOY, A Suse: Journal des Fouilles (Paris, 1888); DE MORGAN, Delegation en Perse (Paris, 1899-); BILLERBECK, Susa (Leipzig, 1893).

F. BECHTEL