Ecbatana

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Achaemenid empire at its greatest extent
Alexander The Great campaign Persia 331 BC
Ecbatana on map of Achaemenid empire
Ecbatana Map 500 BC

Ecbatana (Hindi: एकबाताना) is supposed to be the capital of Astyages (Istuvegü), which was taken by the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great in the sixth year of Nabonidos (549 BC). Literally it means the place of gathering. Ecbatana was the capital of Media. The present city of Hamadan is on the same site. [1]

Location

It is situated at the foot of Mount Orontes, and was used by the Persian and Parthian kings as their summer residence.

Variants of name

History

Arrian[3] writes... Ecbatana was the capital of Media, called in Chaldee Achmetha (Ezra vi. 2). The present city of Hamadan is on the same site. It is situated at the foot of Mount Orontes, and was used by the Persian and Parthian kings as their summer residence. It was surrounded by seven walls, each overtopping the one before it, from the outer to the inner, crowned with battlements of different colours. Its citadel was used as a royal treasury. Below it stood a splendid palace, with silver tiles, and adorned with wainscotings, capitals, and entablatures of gold and silver. These treasures, to the value of 4,000 talents, were coined into money by Antiochus the Great of Syria. See Herodotus, i. 98; Polybius, x. 27.


The Greeks supposed it to be the capital of Media, and ascribed its foundation to Deioces (the Daiukku of the Cuneiform language inscriptions), who is said to have surrounded his palace in it with seven concentric walls of different colours.

Golden Rhyton from Iran's Achaemenid period. excavated at Ecbatana. Kept at National Museum of Iran

So far no evidence of Median existence in Hagmatana hill has been attested. Only evidence observed in the area belong to the Parthian era afterwards. [4] There is no mention of Hagmatana/Ecbatana in Assyrian sources at all. Some scholars have suggested the Sagbita/Sagbat frequently mentioned in Assyrian texts in fact has been an earlier form of the Ecbatana/Hagmatana mentioned in later Greek and Achaemenid sources, as Indo-Iranian /s/ turned into /h/ in many Iranian languages. Sagbita mentioned by Assyrian sources was located in proximity of cities of Kishesim (Kar-Nergal) and Harhar (Kar-Sharrukin) [5][6].

Under the Persian kings, Ecbatana, situated at the foot of Mount Elvend, became a summer residence. Later, it became the capital of the Parthian kings.

Sir Henry Rawlinson attempted to prove that there was a second and older Ecbatana in Media Atropatene on the site of the modern Takht-i-Suleiman, but the cuneiform texts imply that there was only one city of the name, and Takht-i Suleiman is the Ganzak|Gazaca of classical geography. Ecbatana was the main mint of the Parthians, it produced drachm, tetradrachm, and assorted bronze denominations. It is also mentioned in the Bible (Ezra, vi. 2).

Ch. 19: Darius pursued into Media and Parthia

Arrian[7]After bringing these matters to a successful issue, he advanced towards Media; for he ascertained that Darius was there. Now Darius had formed the resolution, if Alexander remained at Susa or Babylon, to stay there among the Medes, in order to see if any change of policy were made by Alexander. But if the latter marched against him, he resolved to proceed into the interior towards Parthia and Hyrcania, as far as Bactria, laying waste all the land and making it impossible for Alexander to advance any further. He therefore sent the women and the rest of the property which he still retained, together with the covered carriages, to what were called the Caspian Gates[1]; but he himself stayed at Ecbatana,[2] with the forces which had been collected from those who were at hand. Hearing this, Alexander advanced towards Media, and invading the land of the Paraetacae,[3] he subdued it, and appointed Oxathres, son of Abulites, the former viceroy of Susa, to rule as viceroy. Being informed on the march that Darius had determined to meet him for battle, and to try the fortune of war again (for the Scythians and Cadusians had come to him as allies), he ordered that the beasts of burden, with their guards and the rest of the baggage, should follow; and taking the rest of his army, he led it in order of battle, and on the twelfth day arrived in Media. There he ascertained that the forces of Darius were not fit for battle, and that his allies, the Cadusians and Scythians, had not arrived; but that he had resolved to flee. He therefore marched on with still greater speed; and when he was only three days' journey from Ecbatana, he was met by Bistanes, son of Ochus, who reigned over the Persians before Darius. This man announced that Darius had fled five days before, taking with him 7,000 talents of money[4] from the Medes, and an army of 3,000 cavalry and 6,000 infantry.

When Alexander reached Ecbatana, he sent the Thessalian cavalry and the other Grecian allies back to the sea, paying them the full hire which had been stipulated, and making them an additional donation from himself of 2,000 talents. He issued an order that if any man of his own accord wished still to continue to serve for hire with him, he should enlist; and those who enlisted in his service were not a few. He then ordered Epocillus, son of Polyeides, to conduct the rest down to the sea, taking other cavalry as a guard for them, since the Thessalians sold their horses there. He also sent word to Menes to take upon himself the duty of seeing that they were conveyed in triremes to Euboea, when they arrived at the sea.[5] He instructed Parmenio to deposit the money which was being conveyed from Persis in the citadel at Ecbatana, and to hand it over to the charge of Harpalus;[6] for he had left this man over the money with a guard of 6,000 Macedonians and a few horsemen and light-armed infantry to take care of it. He told Parmenio himself to take the Grecian mercenaries, the Thracians, and all the other horsemen except the Companion cavalry, and march by the land of the Cadusians into Hyrcania. He also sent word to Clitus, the commander of the royal squadron of cavalry, who had been left behind at Susa ill, that when he arrived at Ecbatana from Susa he should take the Macedonians who had been left there in charge of the money, and go in the direction of Parthia, where also he himself intended soon to arrive.


1. This was the principal pass through the Elburz mountains from Media into Hyrcania and Parthia.

2. This was the capital of Media, called in Chaldee Achmetha (Ezra vi. 2). The present city of Hamadan is on the same site. It is situated at the foot of Mount Orontes, and was used by the Persian and Parthian kings as their summer residence. It was surrounded by seven walls, each overtopping the one before it, from the outer to the inner, crowned with battlements of different colours. Its citadel was used as a royal treasury. Below it stood a splendid palace, with silver tiles, and adorned with wainscotings, capitals, and entablatures of gold and silver. These treasures, to the value of 4,000 talents, were coined into money by Antiochus the Great of Syria. See Herodotus, i. 98; Polybius, x. 27.

3. This tribe lived in the mountains between Media and Persis.

4. £1,700,000.

5. Curtius (v. 23) says that 6,000 Grecian mercenaries under Plato the Athenian met Alexander in Media, having marched up from Cilicia.

6. Diodorus (xvii. 80) says that the amount of treasure deposited at Ecbatana was 180,000 talents or £41,400,000.

p.179-181

Ecbatana in Syria

Ecbatana/Hamadan (Iran) is not to be confused with Ecbatana/Hamath (Syria) where Cambyses II is supposed to have died according to Herodotus.

मांडा साम्राज्य

एकबाताना (Ecbatana) - यह मांडा साम्राज्य (मांडा वंशज जाटों) की राजधानी थी जो अब ईरान में हमादान नाम से है।[8]

References

  • See Perrot and Chipiez, History of Art in Persia (Eng. trans., 1892); M Dieulafoy, L'Art antique de Ia Perse, pt. i. (1884); J. de Morgan, Mission scientifique en Perse, ii. (1894).

External links

Se also

References