Ecbatana

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Ecbatana (Old Persian: Haŋgmatana, Greek: Ἀγβάτανα Agbatana in Aeschylus and Herodotus, elsewhere Ἐκβάτανα Ekbatana, Agámtanu by Nabonidos, and Agamatanu at Behistun; modern Hamadan, Iran) (literally: the place of gathering; Hebrew: אַחְמְתָא, Modern Aẖmeta Tiberian ʼAḥməṯā; Latin: Ecbatana) is supposed to be the capital of Astyages (Istuvegü), which was taken by the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great in the sixth year of Nabonidus (549 BC).

Under the Persian kings, Ecbatana, situated at the foot of Mount Alvand, became a summer residence. Later, it became the capital of the Parthian kings, at which time it became their main mint, producing drachm, tetradrachm, and assorted bronze denominations. It is also mentioned in the Hebrew Bible (Ezra 6.2) under the name Achmetha (also spelled Ahmetha, e.g. JTS Bible).

Ecbatana/Hamedan (Iran) is not to be confused with Ecbatana/Hamath (Syria) where Herodotus claims that Cambyses II died.

In 330 BC, Ecbatana was also the site of the murder of the Macedonian Greek General Parmenio (or Parmenion) under the order of Alexander the Great.

Archaeology

Ecbatana was first excavated in 1913 by Charles Fossey. [1] Another excavation was made in 1971.

Controversies

The Greeks supposed it to be the capital of Media, and ascribed its foundation to Deioces (the Daiukku of the cuneiform inscriptions), who is said to have surrounded his palace in it with seven concentric walls of different colours. In the fifth century B.C., Herodotus wrote of Ecbatana:

"The Medes built the city now called Ecbatana, the walls of which are of great size and strength, rising in circles one within the other. The plan of the place is, that each of the walls should out-top the one beyond it by the battlements. The nature of the ground, which is a gentle hill, favors this arrangements in some degree but it is mainly effected by art. The number of the circles is seven, the royal palace and the treasuries standing within the last. The circuit of the outer wall is very nearly the same with that of Athens. On this wall the battlements are white, of the next black, of the third scarlet, of the fourth blue, the fifth orange; all these colors with paint. The last two have their battlements coated respectively with silver and gold. All these fortifications Deioces had caused to be raised for himself and his own palace."

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