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What is Shushan?
        (a lily), a celebrated city, known to the Greeks as "Susa," in the province of Elam, a part of ancient Susiana. History. - "Shushan the palace," as it is named in the prophecy of Daniel and by Nehemiah, is mentioned over twenty times in the Bible, nineteen of the references being in the book of Esther. In Dan 8:2 it is placed in the province of Elam. Elam is mentioned as a son of Shem, and then in connection with Chedorlaomer's invasion of Canaan and in the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. The province was probably independent of Babylon, and perhaps superior to it, but in later times came under the power of Persia. Gen 10:22; Eze 14:1; Isa 21:2; Jer 49:34; Eze 32:24. See Elam. The city of Susa was a place of great antiquity. Its name appears in the Assyrian inscriptions of Assur-bani-pal, the Sardanapalus of the Greeks, b.c. 650, who took it, and the record gives a ground-plan of the city. From the tablets, as deciphered by George Smith, we take the following: "I overwhelmed Elam through its extent. . . . Their bodies like bows and arrows filled the vicinity of Shushan. . . . Shushan, his royal city, I captured." Susa was possessed by the Babylonians after the division of the Assyrian empire by Cyaxares and Nabopolassar. In Belshazzar's last year Daniel was at Shushan in the palace when he saw the vision. Dan 8:2. By the conquest of Babylon the Persians under Cyrus came into possession of Susa, and Darius Hystaspes and the Achaemenian princes made it the capital city. He founded the grand palace described in Esth 1:4, 1 Chr 24:6. It was cooler than Babylon, and having excellent water, Susa was a suitable metropolis of the Persian empire. The kings made it their residence the chief part of the year, leaving it only during the summer for Ecbatana, among the mountains. After the battle of Arbela, Alexander the Great found in the city, treasures worth over twelve millions sterling, and all the regalia of the great king. His preference for Babylon caused Susa to decline, and it was not again made the capital city. It was conquered by Antigonus, b.c. 315, who obtained treasures worth about three millions and a half sterling. It was again attacked by Molo, b.c. 221, who took the town, but did not capture the citadel. In the conquest of Persia by the Mohammedans, in a.d. 640, Susa was captured, fell into decay, and its site was for a long period unknown. The region was famed for its fertility, and the Kerkhah water was so excellent that it was carried about with the great king on his journeys. For an illustration of a palace see Assyria, p. 80. Present Appearance. - The site of Shushan has been identified with the modern Shush or Sus, between the river Choaspes (Kherkhah) and the Ulai (Eulaeus). These are really two branches of the same river, which divides about 20 miles above Susa. Hence, Daniel might be standing on the "banks of the Ulai" and also "between Ulai." Dan 8:2, Ex 17:16. The site is nearly due east of Babylon and north of the Persian Gulf. The ruins cover an area some 3 miles in circumference, being 6000 feet long from east to west and 4500 feet wide from north to south. There are four distinct and spacious platforms or mounds; the western one, of earth, gravel, and sun-dried bricks, is smallest, but loftiest, being 119 feet above the river, with steep sides, having a round space at the top, and is supposed to have been the site of the citadel of Susa. South-east of this is a great platform of 60 acres, the eastern face of it being 3000 feet long. A third platform, north of the other two, is a square of 1000 feet each way. These three mounds together form a space pointing almost due north, 4500 feet long by 3000 feet wide. Remains have been found belonging to the great palace built by Darius, the father of Xerxes, as appears from inscriptions on the pedestals, written in three languages. The central hall was 343 feet long and 244 feet wide, and this was probably used for the great state ceremonies. The bases of four of the immense columns and the position of all the seventy-two pillars of the original palace have been discovered. It was in the great palace and the surrounding buildings that the principal scenes of the book of Esther took place. The "King's Gate." where Mordecai sat, Esth 2:21, was probably a hall 100 feet square, supported by pillars in the centre, standing 150 feet from the northern portico. Between these two was probably the inner court, where Esther appeared before the king. The royal house and the house of the women were behind the great hall, toward the south, or between the great hall and the citadel, communicating with it by a bridge over the ravine. The "court of the garden of the king's palace" was in front of the eastern or western porch, and in it Ahasuerus made a feast "unto all the people seven days, , . . where were white, green, and blue hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble." Esth 1:5-6. The feast was evidently out of doors, in tents put up in one of the palace courts. The effect of such a group of buildings, including a stately central palace standing high above the plain upon an elevated plateau interspersed with trees and shrubs, must have been very magnificent. The tracing out of these ruins in detail has furnished the most interesting corroboration of the Scripture history. On the low ground near the river is a building believed by the natives to be the tomb of Daniel.

Bibliography Information
Schaff, Philip, Dr. "Biblical Definition for 'shushan' in Schaffs Bible Dictionary". - Schaff's

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