From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [1]

a city of Media, which, according to Herodotus, was built by Dejoces, king of the Medes. It was situated on a gentle declivity, distant twelve stadia from Mount Orontes, and was in compass one hundred and fifty stadia, and, next to Nineveh and Babylon, was one of the strongest and most beautiful cities of the east. After the union of Media with Persia, it was the summer residence of the Persian kings. Sir R. K. Porter, in his Travels, says, "Having for a few moments gazed at the venerable mountain. (Orontes, at the foot of which Ecbatana was built,) and at the sad vacuum at its base; what had been Ecbatana, being now shrunk to comparative nothingness; I turned my eye on the still busy scene of life which occupied the adjacent country; the extensive plain of Hamadan, and its widely extending hills. On our right, the receding vale was varied, at short distances, with numberless castellated villages rising from amidst groves of the noblest trees; while the great plain itself stretched northward and eastward to such far remoteness, that its mountain boundaries appeared like clouds upon the horizon. This whole tract seemed one carpet of luxuriant verdure, studded with hamlets, and watered by beautiful rivulets. On the southwest, Orontes, or Elwund, (by whichever name we may designate this most towering division of the mountain,) presents, itself, in all the stupendous grandeur of its fame and form. Near to its base, appear the dark coloured dwellings of Hamadan, crowded thickly on each other; while the gardens of the inhabitants with their connecting orchards and woods, fringe the entire slope of that part of the mountain." "The site of the modern town, like that of the ancient, is on a gradual ascent, terminating near the foot of the eastern side of the mountain; but there all trace of its past appearance would cease, were it not for two or three considerable elevations, and overgrown irregularities on and near them, which may have been the walls of the royal fortress, with those of the palaces, temples, and theatres, seen no more. I passed one of these heights, standing to the south-west, as I entered the city, and observed that it bore many vestiges of having been strongly fortified. The sides and summit are covered with large remnants of ruined walls of a great thickness, and also of towers, the materials of which were sun dried bricks. It has the name of the Inner Fortress, and certainly holds the most commanding station near the plain." Of the interior of the city, the same author says, "The mud alleys, which now occupy the site of the ancient streets or squares, are narrow, interrupted by large holes or hollows in the way, and heaps of the fallen crumbled walls of deserted dwellings. A miserable bazaar or two are passed through in traversing the town; and large lonely spots are met with, marked by broken low mounds over older ruins; with here and there a few poplars, or willow trees, shadowing the border of a dirty stream, abandoned to the meanest uses; which, probably, flowed pellucid and admired, when these places were gardens, and the grass-grown heap some stately dwelling of Ecbatana. In one or two spots I observed square platforms, composed of large stones; the faces of many of which were chiselled all over into the finest arabesque fretwork, while others had, in addition, long inscriptions in the Arabic character. They had evidently been tomb-stones of the inhabitants, during the caliph rule in Persia. But when we compare relics of the seventh century, with the deep antiquity of the ruins on which they lie, these monumental remains seem but the register of yesterday." Here is shown the tomb of Mordecai and Esther; as well as that of Avicenna, the celebrated Arabian physician. The sepulchre of the former stands near the centre of the city of Hamadan: the tombs are covered by a dome, on which is the following inscription in Hebrew: "This day, 15th of the month Adar, in the year 4474 from the creation of the world, was finished the building of this temple over the graves of Mordecai and Esther, by the hands of the good-hearted brothers, Elias and Samuel, the sons of the deceased Ismael of Kashan." This inscription, the date of which proves the dome to have been built eleven hundred years, was sent by Sir Gore Ouseley to Sir John Malcolm, who has given it in his History of Persia; who also says that the tombs, which are of a black coloured wood, are evidently of very great antiquity, but in good preservation, as the wood has not perished, and the inscriptions are still very legible. Sir R. K. Porter has given a more particular description of this tomb. He says, "I accompanied the priest through the town, over much ruin and rubbish, to an enclosed piece of ground, rather more elevated than any in its immediate vicinity. In the centre was the Jewish tomb; a square building of brick, of a mosque- like form, with a rather elongated dome at the top. The whole seems in a very decaying state, falling fast to the mouldering condition of some wall fragments around, which, in former times, had been connected with, and extended the consequence of, the sacred enclosure. The door that admitted us into the tomb, is in the ancient sepulchral fashion of the country, very small; consisting of a small stone of great thickness, and turning on its own pivots from one side. Its key is always in possession of the head of the Jews resident at Hamadan." "On passing through the little portal, which we did in an almost doubled position, we entered a small arched chamber, in which are seen the graves of several rabbles: probably one may cover the remains of the pious Ismael; and, not unlikely, the others may contain the bodies of the first rebuilders after the sacrilegious destruction by Timour. Having ‘trod lightly by their graves,' a second door of such very confined dimensions presented itself at the end of this vestibule, we were constrained to enter it on our hands and knees, and then standing up, we found ourselves in a larger chamber, to which appertained the dome. Immediately under its concave, stand two sarcophagi, made of a very dark wood, carved with great intricacy of pattern, and richness of twisted ornament, with a line of inscription in Hebrew running round the upper ledge of each. Many other inscriptions, in the same language, are cut on the walls; while one of the oldest antiquity, engraved on a slab of white marble, is let into the wall itself." This inscription is as follows: "Mordecai, beloved and honoured by a king, was great and good. His garments were as those of a sovereign. Ahasuerus covered him with this rich dress, and also placed a golden chain around his neck. The city of Susa rejoiced at his honours, and his high fortune became the glory of the Jews." The inscription which encompasses the sarcophagus of Mordecai, is to this effect: "It is said by David, Preserve me, O God! I am now in thy presence. I have cried at the gate of heaven, that thou art my God; and what goodness I have received from thee, O Lord! Those whose bodies are now beneath in this earth, when animated by thy mercy were great; and whatever happiness was bestowed upon them in this world, came from thee, O God! Their grief and sufferings were many, at the first; but they became happy, because they always called upon thy holy name in their miseries. Thou liftedst me up, and I became powerful. Thine enemies sought to destroy me, in the early times of my life; but the shadow of thy hand was upon me, and covered me, as a tent, from their wicked purposes!—MORDECAI." The following is the corresponding inscription on the sarcophagus of Esther: "I praise thee, O God, that thou hast created me! I know that my sins merit punishment, yet I hope for mercy at thy hands; for whenever I call upon thee, thou art with me; thy holy presence secures me from all evil. My heart is at ease, and my fear of thee increases. My life became, through thy goodness, at the last, full of peace. O God, do not shut my soul out from thy divine presence! Those whom thou lovest, never feel the torments of hell. Lead me, O merciful Father, to the life of life: that I may be filled with the heavenly fruits of paradise!—ESTHER." The Jews at Hamadan have no tradition of the cause of Esther and Mordecai having been interred at that place; but however that might be, there are sufficient reasons for believing the validity of their interment in this spot. The strongest evidence we can have of the truth of any historical fact, is, its commemoration by an annual festival. It is well known, that several important events in Jewish history are thus celebrated; and among the rest, the feast of Purim is kept on the 13th and 14th of the month Adar, to commemorate the deliverance obtained by the Jews, at the intercession of Esther, from the general massacre ordered by Ahasuerus, and the slaughter they were permitted to make of their enemies. Now on this same festival, in the same day and month, Jewish pilgrims resort from all quarters to the sepulchre of Mordecai and Esther; and have done so for centuries,—a strong presumptive proof that the tradition of their burial in this place rests on some authentic foundation.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [2]

Margin of  Ezra 6:2 for Achmetha equating to Hagmatana, the native appellation; a Median town where was a palace. There were two of this name: the capital of N. Media," the seven walled town," with each wall of a different color, white, black, scarlet, blue, orange, silver, and gold (Herodotus, 1:98-99,153); the capital of Cyrus, therefore probably the town where the roll was found containing Cyrus' decree for rebuilding the Jerusalem temple, which induced Darius to issue a new decree sanctioning the recommencement of the suspended work; now the ruins of Takht-I-Suleiman . The other town was capital of the larger province, Media Magna; now Hamadan. Takht-i-Suleiman contains a lake of pure water in its center, 300 paces round.

The Zendavesta makes Demshid, but Herodotus Deioces, its founder. The seven walls were designed to put the city under the guardianship of the seven planets. The finding of Cyrus' decree at Ecbatana, whereas, when Ezra wrote, the Persian kings resided usually at Susa or Babylon, visiting only occasionally in summer time Ecbatana or Persepolis, is one of those little points of agreement between sacred and profane history which confirm the truth of Scripture, because their very minuteness proves the undesignedness of the harmony. Susa and Babylon were the ordinary depositories of the archives. But Cyrus held his court permanently at Ecbatana, and therefore kept his archives there. Ezra, living a century after, would not have been likely to have fixed on Ecbatana as the place of finding Cyrus' decree, had he been inventing, instead of recording facts.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [3]

Ecbat'ana.  Ezra 6:2 margin. In the apocryphal books, Ecbatana is frequently mentioned. Two cities named Ecbatana seem to have existed in ancient times, one the capital of northern Media - the Media Atropatene of Strabo - the other the metropolis of the larger and more important province known as Media Magna . The site of the former appears to be marked by the very curious ruins at Takht-I-Suleiman .

Easton's Bible Dictionary [4]

 Ezra 6:2Achmetha

Holman Bible Dictionary [5]


Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [6]

ECBATANA . See Achmetha.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [7]

Bibliography Information McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Ecbatana'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [8]

The ancient capital of Media, situated near Mount Orontes (now Elvend); was surrounded by seven walls of different colours that increased in elevation towards the central citadel; was a summer residence of the Persian and Parthian kings. The modern town of Hamadan now occupies the site of it.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [9]

ek - bat´a - na (  Ezra 6:2 margin). See Achmetha .

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [10]

Ecbat´ana [ACHMETHA]