Elam

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For village of this name see Elam Shamli
Map showing the area of the Elamite Empire (in orange) and the neighboring areas. The approximate Bronze Age extension of the Persian Gulf is shown.
Map showing the Babylonian territory upon Hammurabi's ascension in 1792 BC and upon his death in 1750 BC

Elam (Hindi:एलम, Persian: تمدن ایلام) is one of the oldest recorded civilizations. Elam was centered in the far west and southwest of modern-day Iran (Ilam Province and the lowlands of Khuzestan). It lasted from around 2700 BC to 539 BC. It was preceded by what is known as the Proto-Elamite period, which began around 3200 BC when Susa (later capital of Elam) began to be influenced by the cultures of the Iranian plateau to the east. [1]

Variants of name

Location

Ancient Elam lay to the east of Sumer and Akkad (modern-day Iraq). In the Old Elamite period, it consisted of kingdoms on the Iranian plateau, centered in Anshan, and from the mid-2nd millennium BC, it was centered in Susa in the Khuzestan lowlands. Its culture played a crucial role in the Persian Empire, especially during the Achaemenid dynasty that succeeded it, when the Elamite language remained in official use. The Elamite period is considered a starting point for the history of Iran (although there were older civilizations in Iranian plateau, like the Mannaeans kingdom in Iranian Azarbaijan and Shahr-i Sokhta (Burned City) in Zabol, and the newly discovered Jiroft civilization to the east. The Elamite language was not related to any Iranian languages, but may be part of a larger group known as Elamo-Dravidian. [1]

Elam gives its name to one of the provinces of modern Iran (usually spelt Ilam). [1]

Etymology

The Elamites called their country Haltamti[2] (in later Elamite, Atamti), which the neighboring Akkadians rendered as Elam. Elam means "highland". Additionally, the Haltamti are known as Elam in the Hebrew Old Testament, where they are called the offspring of Elam, eldest son of Shem (see Elam in the Bible).

The high country of Elam was increasingly identified by its low-lying later capital, Susa. Geographers after Ptolemy called it Susiana. The Elamite civilization was primarily centered in the province of what is modern-day Khuzestan, however it did extend into the later province of Fars in prehistoric times. In fact, the modern provincial name Khuzestān is derived from the Old Persian root Hujiyā, meaning "Elam". [3]

History

Knowledge of Elamite history remains largely fragmentary, reconstruction being based on mainly Mesopotamian sources. The city of Susa was founded around 4000 BC, and during its early history, fluctuated between submission to Mesopotamian and Elamite power. [1]

The earliest levels (22-17 in the excavations conducted by Le Brun, 1978) exhibit pottery that has no equivalent in Mesopotamia, but for the succeeding period, the excavated material allows identification with the culture of Sumer of the Uruk period. Proto-Elamite influence from the Persian plateau in Susa becomes visible from about 3200 BC, and texts in the still undeciphered Proto-Elamite writing system continue to be present until about 2700 BC. The Proto-Elamite period ends with the establishment of the Awan dynasty. The earliest known historical figure connected with Elam is the king Enmebaragesi of Kish (c. 2650 BC?), who subdued it, according to the Sumerian king list. However, real Elamite history can only be traced from records dating to beginning of the Akkadian Empire in around 2300 BC onwards. [1]

The earliest levels (22-17 in the excavations conducted by Le Brun, 1978) exhibit pottery that has no equivalent in Mesopotamia, but for the succeeding period, the excavated material allows identification with the culture of Sumer of the Uruk period. Proto-Elamite influence from the Persian plateau in Susa becomes visible from about 3200 BC, and texts in the still undeciphered Proto-Elamite writing system continue to be present until about 2700 BC. The Proto-Elamite period ends with the establishment of the Awan dynasty. The earliest known historical figure connected with Elam is the king Enmebaragesi of Kish (c. 2650 BC?), who subdued it, according to the Sumerian king list. However, real Elamite history can only be traced from records dating to beginning of the Akkadian Empire in around 2300 BC onwards. [1]

The Old Elamite period began around 2700 BC. Historical records mention the conquest of Elam by Enmebaragesi of Kish. Three dynasties ruled during this period. We know of twelve kings of each of the first two dynasties, those of Awan (or Avan; c. 2400–2100 BC) and Simash (c. 2100–1970 BC), from a list from Susa dating to the Old Babylonian period. Two Elamite dynasties said to have exercised brief control over Sumer in very early times include Awan and Hamazi, and likewise, several of the stronger Sumerian rulers, such as Eannatum of Lagash and Lugal-anne-mundu of Adab, are recorded as temporarily dominating Elam. [1]

The Avan dynasty was partly contemporary with that of Sargon of Akkad, who not only defeated the Awan king Luhi-ishan and subjected Susa, but attempted to make Akkadian the official language there. From this time, Mesopotamian sources concerning Elam become more frequent, since the Mesopotamians had developed an interest in resources (such as wood, stone and metal) from the Iranian plateau, and military expeditions to the area became more common. [1]

However, with the collapse of Akkad under Sargon's great-grandson, Shar-kali-sharri, Elam declared independence under the last Avan king, Kutik-Inshushinak (c. 2240-2220 BC), and threw off the Akkadian language, promoting in its place the brief Linear Elamite script. [1]

Kutik-Inshushinnak conquered Susa and Anshan, and seems to have achieved some sort of political unity. Following his reign, the Awan dynasty collapsed as Elam was temporarily overrun by the Guti. [1]

About a century later, Shulgi of Ur retook the city of Susa and the surrounding region. During the first part of the rule of the Simashki dynasty, Elam was under intermittent attack from Mesopotamians and Gutians, alternating with periods of peace and diplomatic approaches. Shu-Sin of Ur, for example, gave one of his daughters in marriage to a prince of Anshan. But the power of the Sumerians was waning; Ibbi-Sin in the 21st century did not manage to penetrate far into Elam, and in 2004 BC, the Elamites, allied with the people of Susa and led by king Kindattu, the sixth king of Simashk, managed to sack Ur and lead Ibbi-Sin into captivity -- thus ending the third dynasty of Ur. However, the kings of Isin, successor state to Ur, did manage to drive the Elamites out of Ur, rebuild the city, and to return the statue of Nanna that the Elamites had plundered. [1]

Migration to India

Mangal Sen Jindal[4] has mentioned that disaster struck on about 2006 BC, when Elamites from the highlands to the last the destroyed the city. The Sumerians were never again a dominant element politically, but their culture persisted as the foundation for all subsequent civilizations in the Tigris Euphrates valley. [5]

He[6] writes that from above quotations, we must infer that after the fall of Elam kingdom, the Jats of that kingdom migrated into India and some of them during the course of time, migrated to the Elam village in district Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh.

External links

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elam
  2. Kent, Roland (1953). Old Persian: Grammar, Texts & Lexicon. American Oriental Series. 33). American Oriental Society. p. 53. ISBN 0-940490-33-1.
  3. Kent, Roland (1953). Old Persian: Grammar, Texts & Lexicon. American Oriental Series. 33). American Oriental Society. p. 53. ISBN 0-940490-33-1.
  4. Mangal Sen Jindal (1992): History of Origin of Some Clans in India (with special Reference to Jats), Page- 55, Sarup & Sons, 4378/4B, Ansari Road, Darya Ganj, New Delhi-110002 ISBN 81-85431-08-6
  5. Civilization past and present, Page 19, American Library, New Delhi
  6. Mangal Sen Jindal (1992): History of Origin of Some Clans in India (with special Reference to Jats), Page-56, Sarup & Sons, 4378/4B, Ansari Road, Darya Ganj, New Delhi-110002 ISBN 81-85431-08-6