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(so͞o`zə, –sə), ancient city, capital of ElamElam
, ancient country of Asia, N of the Persian Gulf and E of the Tigris, now in W Iran. A civilization seems to have been established there very early, probably in the late 4th millennium B.C. The capital was Susa, and the country is sometimes called Susiana.
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. The site is 15 mi (23 km) SW of modern Dizful, Iran. It is the biblical Shushan, and its inhabitants were called Susanchites. From the 4th millennium B.C., Elam was under the cultural influence of Mesopotamia. Excavations at Susa uncovered the stele of Naram-sin and the code of Hammurabi, which were among the many art objects carried off by the Elamites from Babylonia. Destroyed in the 7th cent. B.C. by Assurbanipal, Susa was revived in the empire of the Achaemenid rulers of Persia. Darius I and Artaxerxes I built magnificent winter palaces in the city. Susa was later thoroughly Hellenized and continued prominent in the Roman Empire.



(in Elamite, Shushan; modern name, Shush), an ancient city; capital of the state of Elam. The ruins of Susa are located 20 km southwest of the city of Dezful, Iran. Since the late 19th century, excavations have been undertaken by the French archaeologists M. Dieulafoy, J. de Morgan, R. de Mecquenem, and R. Ghirshman.

The remains of the city consist of four mounds; the citadel mound, the apadana mound, the mound of the royal city, and the mound of the artisan quarter. The citadel mound, in the south, was the site of the royal Elamite city. The apadana mound, in the north, contains the ruins of an Achaemenid palace, built between 521 B.C. and the first half of the fourth century B.C., as well as remains of the apadana (great hall) and a temple of the fire cult. The mound of the royal city, in the east, was the residence of the Achaemenid and Sassanid aristocracy. The last mound contains the ruins of a Parthian and Seleucid necropolis.

The site of Susa has cultural layers dating from the first half of the fourth millennium B.C. to the first millennium A.D. The oldest Aeneolithic layer yielded remains of a farming settlement surrounded by a wall, painted ceramics, stone and primitive copper items, and seals. Research of subsequent layers indicates the continuous growth of the settlement, progress in metallurgy, and the development of proto-Elamite pictographs and monumental architecture.

In the first half of the third millennium B.C., Susa was an important political and economic center with an established early class society; finds include royal tombs, numerous tools and weapons, and gold articles. From the second half of the third millennium B.C. to the first third of the first millennium B.C., the city was the capital of Elam. Articles dating from this period include outstanding works of Elamite art, for example, a bronze statue of Napir-Asu and several monuments won by the Elamites during campaigns against Mesopotamia, including the stele of Naram-Sin and the stele with the code of Hammurabi. In 645 B.C., Susa was plundered by the Assyrians and its temples were destroyed. After the Persians conquered Elam in the mid-sixth century B.C., it became the winter residence of the Achaemenids. After its conquest by Alexander the Great in the fourth century B.C., it was administered as a Greek polis. The most recent articles discovered at Susa date from the ninth and tenth centuries A.D.

Of great scholarly importance are cuneiform documents found at Susa, for example, a treaty with the Akkadian king Naram-Sin, an inscription listing the Elamite kings, and various accounting records and legal documents.


Childe, V. G. Drevneishii Vostok v svete novykh raskopok. Moscow, 1956. (Translated from English.)
Iusifov, Iu. B. Elam: Sotsial’no-ekonomicheskaia istoriia. Moscow, 1968.
Ghirshman, R. Cinq campagnes defouilles à Suse (1946–1951). Paris, 1952.
Steve, M. J., and H. Gasche. L’Acropole de Suse: Nouvelles fouilles. Leyde, 1971.


an ancient city north of the Persian Gulf: capital of Elam and of the Persian Empire; flourished as a Greek polis under the Seleucids and Parthians
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