Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire. It is situated 60 km northeast of the city of Shiraz in Iran; the earliest remains of Persepolis date back to 515 BCE. It exemplifies the Achaemenid style of architecture. UNESCO declared the ruins of Persepolis a World Heritage Site in 1979; the English word Persepolis is derived from Greek Persépolis, a compound of Pérsēs and pólis, meaning "the Persian city" or "the city of the Persians". To the ancient Persians, the city was known as Pārsa, the word for the region of Persia. An inscription left by Sasanian prince Shapur Sakanshah, the son of Hormizd II, refers to the site as Sad-stūn, meaning "Hundred Pillars"; because medieval Persians attributed the site to Jamshid, an Iranian mythological king, it has been referred to as Takht-e-Jamshid meaning "Throne of Jamshid". Another name given to the site in the medieval period was Čehel Menār meaning "Forty Minarets". Persepolis is near the small river Pulvar; the site includes a 125,000 square meter terrace artificially constructed and cut out of a mountain, with its east side leaning on Rahmat Mountain.
The other three sides are formed by retaining walls, which vary in height with the slope of the ground. Rising from 5–13 metres on the west side was a double stair. From there, it slopes to the top. To create the level terrace, depressions were filled with soil and heavy rocks, which were joined together with metal clips. Archaeological evidence shows that the earliest remains of Persepolis date back to 515 BC. André Godard, the French archaeologist who excavated Persepolis in the early 1930s, believed that it was Cyrus the Great who chose the site of Persepolis, but that it was Darius I who built the terrace and the palaces. Inscriptions on these buildings support the belief. With Darius I, the scepter passed to a new branch of the royal house. Persepolis became the capital of Persia proper during his reign. However, the city's location in a remote and mountainous region made it an inconvenient residence for the rulers of the empire; the country's true capitals were Susa and Ecbatana. This may be why the Greeks were not acquainted with the city until Alexander the Great took and plundered it.
Darius I's construction of Persepolis were carried out parallel to those of the Palace of Susa. According to Gene R. Garthwaite, the Susa Palace served as Darius' model for Persepolis. Darius I ordered the construction of the Apadana and the Council Hall, as well as the main imperial Treasury and its surroundings; these were completed during the reign of his son, Xerxes I. Further construction of the buildings on the terrace continued until the downfall of the Achaemenid Empire. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, the Greek historian Ctesias mentioned that Darius I's grave was in a cliff face that could be reached with an apparatus of ropes. Around 519 BC, construction of a broad stairway was begun; the stairway was planned to be the main entrance to the terrace 20 metres above the ground. The dual stairway, known as the Persepolitan Stairway, was built symmetrically on the western side of the Great Wall; the 111 steps measured 6.9 metres wide, with treads of 31 centimetres and rises of 10 centimetres.
The steps were believed to have been constructed to allow for nobles and royalty to ascend by horseback. New theories, suggest that the shallow risers allowed visiting dignitaries to maintain a regal appearance while ascending; the top of the stairways led to a small yard in the north-eastern side of the terrace, opposite the Gate of All Nations. Grey limestone was the main building material used at Persepolis. After natural rock had been leveled and the depressions filled in, the terrace was prepared. Major tunnels for sewage were dug underground through the rock. A large elevated water storage tank was carved at the eastern foot of the mountain. Professor Olmstead suggested the cistern was constructed at the same time that construction of the towers began; the uneven plan of the terrace, including the foundation, acted like a castle, whose angled walls enabled its defenders to target any section of the external front. Diodorus Siculus writes that Persepolis had three walls with ramparts, which all had towers to provide a protected space for the defense personnel.
The first wall was 7 metres tall, the second, 14 metres and the third wall, which covered all four sides, was 27 metres in height, though no presence of the wall exists in modern times. The function of Persepolis remains rather unclear, it was not one of the largest cities in Persia, let alone the rest of the empire, but appears to have been a grand ceremonial complex, only occupied seasonally. Until recent challenges, most archaeologists held that it was used for celebrating Nowruz, the Persian New Year, held at the spring equinox, still an important annual festivity in modern Iran; the Iranian nobility and the tributary parts of the empire came to present gifts to the king, as represented in the stairway reliefs. After invading Achaemenid Persia in 330 BC, Alexander the Great sent the main force of his army to Persepolis by the Royal Road, he stormed a pass through modern-day Zagros Mountains. There Ariobarzanes of Persis ambushed Alexander the Great's army, inflicting heavy casualties. After being held off for 30 days, Alexander t
Iranian architecture or Persian architecture is the architecture of Iran and parts of the rest of West Asia, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Its history dates back to at least 5,000 BC with characteristic examples distributed over a vast area from Turkey and Iraq to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, from the Caucasus to Zanzibar. Persian buildings vary from peasant huts to tea houses and garden, pavilions to "some of the most majestic structures the world has seen". In addition to historic gates and mosques, the rapid growth of cities such as the capital, Tehran has brought about a wave of demolition and new construction. Iranian architecture displays great variety, both structural and aesthetic, from a variety of traditions and experience. Without sudden innovations, despite the repeated trauma of invasions and cultural shocks, it has achieved "an individuality distinct from that of other Muslim countries", its paramount virtues are: "a marked feeling for scale. Traditionally, the guiding formative motif of Iranian architecture has been its cosmic symbolism "by which man is brought into communication and participation with the powers of heaven".
This theme has not only given unity and continuity to the architecture of Persia, but has been a primary source of its emotional character as well. According to Persian historian and archaeologist Arthur Pope, the supreme Iranian art, in the proper meaning of the word, has always been its architecture; the supremacy of architecture applies to both pre- and post-Islamic periods. Traditional Persian architecture has maintained a continuity that, although temporarily distracted by internal political conflicts or foreign invasion, nonetheless has achieved an unmistakable style. In this architecture, "there are no trivial buildings. In expressiveness and communicativity, most Persian buildings are lucid - eloquent; the combination of intensity and simplicity of form provides immediacy, while ornament and subtle proportions reward sustained observation." Overall, the traditional architecture of the Iranian lands throughout the ages can be categorized into the six following classes or styles: Zoroastrian: The Parsian style including: Pre-Parsian style e.g. Chogha Zanbil, Median style, Achaemenid style manifesting in construction of spectacular cities used for governance and inhabitation, temples made for worship and social gatherings, mausoleums erected in honor of fallen kings, The Parthian style includes designs from the following eras: Seleucid era e.g. Anahita Temple, Parthian era e.g. Hatra, the royal compounds at Nysa, Sassanid era e.g. Ghal'eh Dokhtar, the Taq-i Kisra, Darband.
Islamic: The Khorasani style, e.g. Jameh Mosque of Nain and Jameh Mosque of Isfahan, The Razi style which includes the methods and devices of the following periods: Samanid period, e.g. Samanid Mausoleum, Ziyarid period, e.g. Gonbad-e Qabus, Seljukid period, e.g. Kharraqan towers, The Azari style, e.g. Soltaniyeh, Arg-i Alishah, Jameh Mosque of Varamin, Goharshad Mosque, Bibi Khanum mosque in Samarqand, tomb of Abdas-Samad, Gur-e Amir, Jameh mosque of Yazd The Isfahani style spanning through the Safavid, Afsharid and Qajarid dynasties starting from the 16th century onward, e.g. Chehelsotoon, Ali Qapu, Agha Bozorg Mosque, Shah Mosque, Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque in Naqsh-i Jahan Square. Available building materials dictate major forms in traditional Iranian architecture. Heavy clays available at various places throughout the plateau, have encouraged the development of the most primitive of all building techniques, molded mud, compressed as solidly as possible, allowed to dry; this technique, used in Iran from ancient times, has never been abandoned.
The abundance of heavy plastic earth, in conjunction with a tenacious lime mortar facilitated the development and use of brick. Iranian architecture makes use of abundant symbolic geometry, using pure forms such as circles and squares, plans are based on symmetrical layouts featuring rectangular courtyards and halls. Certain design elements of Persian architecture have persisted throughout the history of Iran; the most striking are a discerning use of simple and massive forms. The consistency of decorative preferences, the high-arched portal set within a recess, columns with bracket capitals, recurrent types of plan and elevation can be mentioned. Through the ages these elements have recurred in different types of buildings, constructed for various programs and under the patronage of a long succession of rulers; the columned porch, or talar, seen in the rock-cut tombs near Persepolis, reappear in Sassanid temples, in late Islamic times it was used as the portico of a palace or mosque, adapted to the architecture of roadside tea-houses.
The dome on four arches, so characteristic of Sassanid times, is a still to be found in many cemeteries and Imamzadehs across Iran today. The notion of earthly towers reaching up toward the sky to mingle with the divine towers of heaven las
Urartu, which corresponds to the biblical mountains of Ararat, is the name of a geographical region used as the exonym for the Iron Age kingdom known by the modern rendition of its endonym, the Kingdom of Van, centered around Lake Van in the historic Armenian Highlands. The written language that the kingdom's political elite used is referred to as Urartian, which appears in cuneiform inscriptions in Armenia and eastern Turkey, it is unknown what language was spoken by the peoples of Urartu at the time of the existence of the kingdom, but there is linguistic evidence of contact between the proto-Armenian language and the Urartian language at an early date, occurring prior to the formation of Urartu as a kingdom. The kingdom rose to power in the mid-9th century BC, but went into gradual decline and was conquered by the Iranian Medes in the early 6th century BC; the geopolitical region would re-emerge as Armenia shortly after. Being heirs to the Urartian realm, the earliest identifiable ancestors of the Armenians are the peoples of Urartu.
The name Urartu comes from Assyrian sources. Shalmaneser I recorded a campaign in which he subdued the entire territory of "Uruatri"; the Shalmaneser text uses the name Urartu to refer to a geographical region, not a kingdom, names eight "lands" contained within Urartu. "Urartu" is cognate with the Biblical "Ararat", Akkadian "Urashtu", Armenian "Ayrarat". In addition to referring to the famous Biblical highlands, Ararat appears as the name of a kingdom in Jeremiah 51:27, mentioned together with Minni and Ashkenaz. Mount Ararat is located 120 kilometres north of its former capital; the name Kingdom of Van, is derived from the Urartian toponym Biainili, adopted in Old Armenian as Van, because of betacism, hence the names "Kingdom of Van" or "Vannic Kingdom". Other Urartian toponyms and words went through the same sound change as the Armenian language spread throughout the region and absorbed them. In the 6th century BC, with the emergence of Armenia in the region, the name of the region was referred to as variations of Armenia and Urartu.
In the trilingual Behistun Inscription, carved in 521 or 520 BC by the order of Darius I, the country referred to as Urartu in Akkadian is called Arminiya in Old Persian and Harminuia in the Elamite language. The mentions of Urartu in the Books of Kings and Isaiah of the Bible were translated as "Armenia" in the Septuagint; some English language translations, including the King James Version follow the Septuagint translation of Urartu as Armenia. The identification of the biblical "mountains of Ararat" with the Mt. Ararat is a modern identification based on postbiblical tradition; the name Ayrarat, used to describe lands located in the central region of the Kingdom of Armenia seems to have been of local usage as no known classical works use this word to refer to Armenia. The Ararat Province of modern Armenia is named after Mount Ararat, which itself receives its name from the biblical Mountains of Ararat. Scholars such as Carl Ferdinand Friedrich Lehmann-Haupt believed that the people of Urartu called themselves Khaldini after the god Ḫaldi.
Boris Piotrovsky wrote that the Urartians first appear in history in the 13th century BC as a league of tribes or countries which did not yet constitute a unitary state. In the Assyrian annals the term Uruatri as a name for this league was superseded during a considerable period of years by the term "land of Nairi". Shupria, believed to have been a Hurrian or Mitanni state, subsequently annexed into the Urartian confederation. Shupria is mentioned in conjunction with a district in the area called Arme which some scholars have linked to the name of Armenia. Linguists John Greppin and Igor Diakonoff argued that the Urartians referred to themselves as Shurele, a name mentioned within the royal titles of the kings of Urartu; the word Šuri has been variously theorized as referring to chariots, the region of Shupria, or the entire world. Assyrian inscriptions of Shalmaneser I first mention Uruartri as one of the states of Nairi, a loose confederation of small kingdoms and tribal states in the Armenian Highland in the 13th to 11th centuries BC which he conquered.
Uruartri itself was in the region around Lake Van. The Nairi states were subjected to further attacks and invasions by the Assyrians under Tukulti-Ninurta I, Tiglath-Pileser I, Ashur-bel-kala, Adad-nirari II, Tukulti-Ninurta II, Ashurnasirpal II. Urartu re-emerged in Assyrian inscriptions in the 9th century BC as a powerful northern rival of Assyria, which lay to the south in northern Mesopotamia and northeast Syria; the Nairi states and tribes became a unified kingdom under king Aramu, whose capital at Arzashkun was captured by the Assyrians under Shalmaneser III. Contemporaries of the Uruartri, living just to the west along the southern shore of the Black Sea, were the Kaskas known from Hittite sources; the Middle Assyrian Empire fell into a period
Strabo was a Greek geographer and historian who lived in Asia Minor during the transitional period of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus in around 64 BC, his family had been involved in politics since at least the reign of Mithridates V. Strabo was related to Dorylaeus on his mother's side. Several other family members, including his paternal grandfather had served Mithridates VI during the Mithridatic Wars; as the war drew to a close, Strabo's grandfather had turned several Pontic fortresses over to the Romans. Strabo wrote that "great promises were made in exchange for these services", as Persian culture endured in Amasia after Mithridates and Tigranes were defeated, scholars have speculated about how the family's support for Rome might have affected their position in the local community, whether they might have been granted Roman citizenship as a reward. Strabo's life was characterized by extensive travels, he journeyed to Egypt and Kush, as far west as coastal Tuscany and as far south as Ethiopia in addition to his travels in Asia Minor and the time he spent in Rome.
Travel throughout the Mediterranean and Near East for scholarly purposes, was popular during this era and was facilitated by the relative peace enjoyed throughout the reign of Augustus. He moved to Rome in 44 BC, stayed there and writing, until at least 31 BC. In 29 BC, on his way to Corinth, he visited the island of Gyaros in the Aegean Sea. Around 25 BC, he sailed up the Nile until reaching Philae, after which point there is little record of his proceedings until AD 17, it is not known when Strabo's Geography was written, though comments within the work itself place the finished version within the reign of Emperor Tiberius. Some place its first drafts around 7 BC, others around AD 17 or 18; the latest passage to which a date can be assigned is his reference to the death in AD 23 of Juba II, king of Maurousia, said to have died "just recently". He worked on the Geography for many years and revised it not always consistently, it is an encyclopaedical chronicle and consists of political, social, geographic description of whole Europe: British Isles, Iberian Peninsula, Germania, The Alps, Greece.
The Geography is the only extant work providing information about both Greek and Roman peoples and countries during the reign of Augustus. On the presumption that "recently" means within a year, Strabo stopped writing that year or the next, when he died, he was influenced by Homer and Aristotle. The first of Strabo's major works, Historical Sketches, written while he was in Rome, is nearly lost. Meant to cover the history of the known world from the conquest of Greece by the Romans, Strabo quotes it himself and other classical authors mention that it existed, although the only surviving document is a fragment of papyrus now in possession of the University of Milan. Strabo studied under several prominent teachers of various specialties throughout his early life at different stops along his Mediterranean travels, his first chapter of education took place in Nysa under the master of rhetoric Aristodemus, who had taught the sons of the same Roman general who had taken over Pontus. Aristodemus was the head of two schools of rhetoric and grammar, one in Nysa and one in Rhodes, the former of the two cities possessing a distinct intellectual curiosity of Homeric literature and the interpretation of epics.
Strabo was an admirer of Homer's poetry a consequence of his time spent in Nysa with Aristodemus. At around the age of 21, Strabo moved to Rome, where he studied philosophy with the Peripatetic Xenarchus, a respected tutor in Augustus's court. Despite Xenarchus's Aristotelian leanings, Strabo gives evidence to have formed his own Stoic inclinations. In Rome, he learned grammar under the rich and famous scholar Tyrannion of Amisus. Although Tyrannion was a Peripatetic, he was more relevantly a respected authority on geography, a fact significant, considering Strabo's future contributions to the field; the final noteworthy mentor to Strabo was Athenodorus Cananites, a philosopher who had spent his life since 44 BC in Rome forging relationships with the Roman elite. Athenodorus endowed to Strabo three important items: his philosophy, his knowledge, his contacts. Unlike the Aristotelian Xenarchus and Tyrannion who preceded him in teaching Strabo, Athenodorus was Stoic in mindset certainly the source of Strabo's diversion from the philosophy of his former mentors.
Moreover, from his own first-hand experience, Athenodorus provided Strabo with information about regions of the empire which he would not otherwise have known. Strabo is most notable for his work Geographica, which presented a descriptive history of people and places from different regions of the world known to his era. Although the Geographica was utilized in its contemporary antiquity, a multitude of copies survived throughout the Byzantine Empire, it first appeared in Western Europe in Rome as a Latin translation issued around 1469. The first Greek edition was published in 1516 in Venice. Isaac Casaubon, classical scholar and editor of Greek texts, provided the first critical edition in 1587. Although Strabo cited the antique Greek astronomers Eratosthenes and Hipparchus, acknowledging their astronomical and mathematical efforts towards geography, he claimed that
Assyria called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamian kingdom and empire of the ancient Near East and the Levant. It existed as a state from as early as the 25th century BC until its collapse between 612 BC and 609 BC - spanning the periods of the Early to Middle Bronze Age through to the late Iron Age. From the end of the seventh century BC to the mid-seventh century AD, it survived as a geopolitical entity, for the most part ruled by foreign powers such as the Parthian and early Sasanian Empires between the mid-second century BC and late third century AD, the final part of which period saw Mesopotamia become a major centre of Syriac Christianity and the birthplace of the Church of the East. A Semitic-speaking realm, Assyria was centred on the Tigris in Upper Mesopotamia; the Assyrians came to rule powerful empires in several periods. Making up a substantial part of the greater Mesopotamian "cradle of civilization", which included Sumer, the Akkadian Empire, Babylonia, Assyria reached the height of technological and cultural achievements for its time.
At its peak, the Neo-Assyrian Empire of 911 to 609 BC stretched from Cyprus and the East Mediterranean to Iran, from present-day Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus to the Arabian Peninsula and eastern Libya. The name "Assyria" originates with the Assyrian state's original capital, the ancient city of Aššur, which dates to c. 2600 BC - one of a number of Akkadian-speaking city-states in Mesopotamia. In the 25th and 24th centuries BC, Assyrian kings were pastoral leaders. From the late 24th century BC, the Assyrians became subject to Sargon of Akkad, who united all the Akkadian- and Sumerian-speaking peoples of Mesopotamia under the Akkadian Empire, which lasted from c. 2334 BC to 2154 BC. After the Assyrian Empire fell from power, the greater remaining part of Assyria formed a geopolitical region and province of other empires, although between the mid-2nd century BC and late 3rd century AD a patchwork of small independent Assyrian kingdoms arose in the form of Assur, Osroene, Beth Nuhadra, Beth Garmai and Hatra.
The region of Assyria fell under the successive control of the Median Empire of 678 to 549 BC, the Achaemenid Empire of 550 to 330 BC, the Macedonian Empire, the Seleucid Empire of 312 to 63 BC, the Parthian Empire of 247 BC to 224 AD, the Roman Empire and the Sasanian Empire of 224 to 651 AD. The Arab Islamic conquest of the area in the mid-seventh century dissolved Assyria as a single entity, after which the remnants of the Assyrian people became an ethnic, linguistic and religious minority in the Assyrian homeland, surviving there to this day as an indigenous people of the region. Assyria was sometimes known as Subartu and Azuhinum prior to the rise of the city-state of Ashur, after which it was Aššūrāyu, after its fall, from 605 BC through to the late seventh century AD variously as Achaemenid Assyria, referenced as Atouria, Ator and sometimes as Syria which etymologically derives from Assyria according to Strabo, Assyria and Asōristān. "Assyria" can refer to the geographic region or heartland where Assyria, its empires and the Assyrian people were centered.
The indigenous modern Eastern Aramaic-speaking Assyrian Christian ethnic minority in northern Iraq, north east Syria, southeast Turkey and northwest Iran are the descendants of the ancient Assyrians. As Babylonia is called after the city of Babylon, Assyria means "land of Asshur"Etymologically, Assyria is connected to the name of Syria, with both being derived from the Akkadian Aššur. Theodor Nöldeke in 1881 was the first to give philological support to the assumption that Syria and Assyria have the same etymology, a suggestion going back to John Selden. A 21st-century discovery of the Çineköy inscription confirmed that Syria, being a Greek corruption of the name Assyria, is derived from the Assyrian term Aššūrāyu. In prehistoric times, the region, to become known as Assyria was home to a Neanderthal culture such as has been found at the Shanidar Cave; the earliest Neolithic sites in what will be Assyria were the Jarmo culture c. 7100 BC, the Halaf culture c. 6100 BC, the Hassuna culture c. 6000 BC.
The Akkadian-speaking people who would found Assyria appear to have entered Mesopotamia at some point during the latter 4th millennium BC intermingling with the earlier Sumerian-speaking population, who came from northern Mesopotamia, with Akkadian names appearing in written record from as early as the 29th century BC. During the 3rd millennium BC, a intimate cultural symbiosis developed between the Sumerians and the Akkadians throughout Mesopotamia, which included widespread bilingualism; the influence of Sumerian on Akkadian, vice versa, is evident in all areas, from lexical borrowing on a massive scale, to syntactic and phonological convergence. This has prompted scholars to refer to Sumerian and Akkadian in the third millennium BC as a sprachbund. Akkadian replaced Sumerian as the spoken language of Mesopotamia somewhere after the turn of the 3rd and the 2nd millennium BC, although Sumerian continued to be used as a sacred, ceremonial and scientific language in Mesopotamia until the 1st century AD, as did use of the Akkadian cuneiform.
The cities of A
Babylon was a key kingdom in ancient Mesopotamia from the 18th to 6th centuries BC. The city was built on the Euphrates river and divided in equal parts along its left and right banks, with steep embankments to contain the river's seasonal floods. Babylon was a small Akkadian town dating from the period of the Akkadian Empire c. 2300 BC. The town became part of a small independent city-state with the rise of the First Babylonian dynasty in the 19th century BC. After the Amorite king Hammurabi created a short-lived empire in the 18th century BC, he built Babylon up into a major city and declared himself its king, southern Mesopotamia became known as Babylonia and Babylon eclipsed Nippur as its holy city; the empire waned under Hammurabi's son Samsu-iluna and Babylon spent long periods under Assyrian and Elamite domination. After being destroyed and rebuilt by the Assyrians, Babylon became the capital of the short lived Neo-Babylonian Empire from 609 to 539 BC; the Hanging Gardens of Babylon was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, although a number of scholars believe these were in the Assyrian capital of Nineveh.
After the fall of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, the city came under the rule of the Achaemenid, Parthian and Sassanid empires. It has been estimated that Babylon was the largest city in the world c. 1770 – c. 1670 BC, again c. 612 – c. 320 BC. It was the first city to reach a population above 200,000. Estimates for the maximum extent of its area range from 890 to 900 hectares; the remains of the city are in present-day Hillah, Babil Governorate, about 85 kilometres south of Baghdad, comprising a large tell of broken mud-brick buildings and debris. The main sources of information about Babylon—excavation of the site itself, references in cuneiform texts found elsewhere in Mesopotamia, references in the Bible, descriptions in classical writing, second-hand descriptions —present an incomplete and sometimes contradictory picture of the ancient city at its peak in the sixth century BC; the English Babylon comes from a transliteration of the Akkadian Bābilim. Archibald Sayce, writing in the 1870s, considered Bab-ilu or Bab-ili to be the translation of an earlier Sumerian name Ca-dimirra, meaning "gate of god", based on the characters KAN4 DIĜIR.
RAKI or based on other characters. According to Professor Dietz-Otto Edzard, the city was called Babilla, but by the time of the Third Dynasty of Ur, through a process of etymological speculation, had become Bāb-ili meaning "gate of god" or "god's gate"; the "gate of god" translation is viewed as a folk etymology to explain an unknown original non-Semitic placename. Linguist I. J. Gelb suggested in 1955 that Babil/Babilla is the basis of the city name, of unknown meaning and origin, as there were other similarly-named places in Sumer, there are no other examples of Sumerian place-names being replaced with Akkadian translations, he deduced that it transformed into Akkadian Bāb-ili, that the Sumerian Ka-dig̃irra was a translation of that, rather than vice versa. In the Bible, the name appears as Babel, interpreted in the Book of Genesis to mean "confusion", from the verb bilbél; the modern English verb, to babble, is popularly thought to derive from this name, but there is no direct connection.
Ancient records in some situations use "Babylon" as a name for other cities, including cities like Borsippa within Babylon's sphere of influence, Nineveh for a short period after the Assyrian sack of Babylon. The remains of the city are in present-day Hillah, Babil Governorate, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad, comprising a large tell of broken mud-brick buildings and debris; the site at Babylon consists of a number of mounds covering an area of about 2 by 1 kilometer, oriented north to south, along the Euphrates to the west. The river bisected the city, but the course of the river has since shifted so that most of the remains of the former western part of the city are now inundated; some portions of the city wall to the west of the river remain. Only a small portion of the ancient city has been excavated. Known remains include: Kasr – called Palace or Castle, it is the location of the Neo-Babylonian ziggurat Etemenanki and lies in the center of the site. Amran Ibn Ali – the highest of the mounds at 25 meters, to the south.
It is the site of Esagila, a temple of Marduk which contained shrines to Ea and Nabu. Homera – a reddish-colored mound on the west side. Most of the Hellenistic remains are here. Babil – a mound about 22 meters high at the northern end of the site, its bricks have been subject to looting since ancient times. It held a palace built by Nebuchadnezzar. Archaeologists have recovered few artifacts predating the Neo-Babylonian period; the water table in the region has risen over the centuries, artifacts from the time before the Neo-Babylonian Empire are unavailable to current standard archaeological methods. Additionally, the Neo-Babylonians conducted significant rebuilding projects in the city, which destroyed or obscured much of the earlier record. Babylon was pillaged numerous times after revolting against foreign rule, most notably by t
Elam was an ancient Pre-Iranian civilization centered in the far west and southwest of what is now modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of what is now Khuzestan and Ilam Province as well as a small part of southern Iraq. The modern name Elam stems from the Sumerian transliteration elam, along with the Akkadian elamtu, the Elamite haltamti. Elamite states were among the leading political forces of the Ancient Near East. In classical literature Elam was known as Susiana, a name derived from its capital Susa. Elam was part of the early urbanization during the Chalcolithic period; the emergence of written records from around 3000 BC parallels Sumerian history, where earlier records have been found. In the Old Elamite period, Elam consisted of kingdoms on the Iranian plateau, centered in Anshan, from the mid-2nd millennium BC, it was centered in Susa in the Khuzestan lowlands, its culture played a crucial role during the Persian Achaemenid dynasty that succeeded Elam, when the Elamite language remained among those in official use.
Elamite is considered a language isolate unrelated to the much arriving Persian and Iranic languages. In accordance with geographical and archaeological matches, some historians argue that the Elamites comprise a large portion of the ancestors of the modern day Lurs, whose language, split from Middle Persian; the Elamite language endonym of Elam as a country appears to have been Haltamti. Exonyms included the Sumerian names NIM. MAki and ELAM, the Akkadian Elamû and Elamītu meant "resident of Susiana, Elamite". In prehistory, Elam was centered in modern Khuzestān and Ilam; the name Khuzestān is derived from the Old Persian Hūjiya meaning Susa/Elam. In Middle Persian this became Huź "Susiana", in modern Persian Xuz, compounded with the toponymic suffix -stån "place". In geographical terms, Susiana represents the Iranian province of Khuzestan around the river Karun. In ancient times, several names were used to describe this area; the great ancient geographer Ptolemy was the earliest to call the area Susiana, referring to the country around Susa.
Another ancient geographer, viewed Elam and Susiana as two different geographical regions. He referred to Elam as the highland area of Khuzestan. Disagreements over the location exist in the Jewish historical sources says Daniel T. Potts; some ancient sources draw a distinction between Elam as the highland area of Khuzestan, Susiana as the lowland area. Yet in other ancient sources'Elam' and'Susiana' seem equivalent; the uncertainty in this area extends to modern scholarship. Since the discovery of ancient Anshan, the realization of its great importance in Elamite history, the definitions were changed again; some modern scholars argued that the centre of Elam lay at Anshan and in the highlands around it, not at Susa in lowland Khuzistan. Potts disagrees suggesting that the term'Elam' was constructed by the Mesopotamians to describe the area in general terms, without referring either to the lowlanders or the highlanders, "Elam is not an Iranian term and has no relationship to the conception which the peoples of highland Iran had of themselves.
They were Anshanites, Shimashkians, Sherihumians, etc. That Anshan played a leading role in the political affairs of the various highland groups inhabiting southwestern Iran is clear, but to argue that Anshan is coterminous with Elam is to misunderstand the artificiality and indeed the alienness of Elam as a construct imposed from without on the peoples of the southwestern highlands of the Zagros mountain range, the coast of Fars and the alluvial plain drained by the Karun-Karkheh river system. Knowledge of Elamite history remains fragmentary, reconstruction being based on Mesopotamian sources; the history of Elam is conventionally divided into three periods. The period before the first Elamite period is known as the proto-Elamite period: Proto-Elamite: c. 3200 – c. 2700 BC Old Elamite period: c. 2700 – c. 1500 BC Middle Elamite period: c. 1500 – c. 1100 BC Neo-Elamite period: c. 1100 – 540 BC Proto-Elamite civilization grew up east of the Tigris and Euphrates alluvial plains. At least three proto-Elamite states merged to form Elam: Anshan and Shimashki.
References to Awan are older than those to Anshan, some scholars suggest that both states encompassed the same territory, in different eras. To this core Shushiana was broken off. In addition, some Proto-Elamite sites are found well outside this area, spread out on the Iranian plateau; the state of Elam was formed from these lesser states as a response to invasion from Sumer during the Old Elamite period. Elamite strength was based on an ability to hold these various areas together under a coordinated government that permitted the maximum interchange of the natural resources unique to each region. Traditionally, thi