From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

Named from its abundant lilies. Capital of Elam, Cissia, or Susiana. Asshur-bani-pal, Esarhaddon's successor, in inscriptions says he took Shur and gives its ground plan sculptured (Layard Nin. 452) , 600 B.C. In Belshazzar's last year Daniel was at Shushan in the palace (Not Actually, But Transported In Spirit) when he saw the vision ( Daniel 8:2). Cyrus' conquest transferred Shushan to Persia. Darius Hystaspes and the Achaemenian princes made it the capital. He founded the grand palace described in  Esther 1:5-6. Near Persia, cooler than Babylon, and having excellent water, Shushan was a suitable metropolis of the Persian empire. The kings left it for Ecbatana or Persepolis only in the height of summer, and for Babylon in the depth of winter; here Alexander found twelve million and the regalia of the great king. After this it declined. Shushan lay between the two streams of the Eulaeus and the Shapur. Canals joined the two and so surrounded the citadel of Shushan. The Coprates or "river of Dizful" and the right branch of the Choaspes ("Kerkhah") flowed a few miles E. and W. of the city. Hence arose its famed fertility.

The Kerkhah water was so excellent that it was carried about with the great king on his journeys. The ruins cover a space 6,000 ft. E. to W. by 4,500 from N. to S.; the circumference is about three miles. Spacious artificial mounds or platforms stand separated from one another. The western one, of earth, gravel, and sundried bricks, is smallest but loftiest, 119 ft. above the Shapur, an obtuse angled triangle, with corners rounded off and base facing E. The sides are so steep as to be unapproachable to horsemen except at three points; round the top is a space of 2,850 ft. This is probably the famous citadel (Herodot. 3:68; Polyb. 5:48, 14; Strabo 15:3, Section 2; Arrian Exp. Al. 3:16) . S.E. of this western platform is the great platform of 60 acres, the eastern face 3,000 ft. long. The third platform is N. of the other two, a square of 1,000 ft. each way. The three together form a lozenge pointing almost due N., 4,500 ft. long by 3,000 broad. E. of these is an irregular extensive but lower platform, as large as all the rest put together. Low mounds extend beyond to the Dizful river.

Sir F. Williams of Kars discovered the bases of three columns of the palace in the E. of the lozenge, 27 ft. 6 in. from center to center, similar to the "great hall" ( Chel Μinar ) at Persepolis. "Loftus" ( Chaldaea Susiana ) ascertained next the position of all the 72 pillars of the original palace. On the bases of four columns were found trilingual inscriptions in the three languages used by the Achaemenian kings at Behistun. E. Norris deciphered the first part: "says Artaxerxes, the great king, king of kings, king of the country, king of the earth, son of king Darius ... Darius was the son of king Artaxerxes ... Artaxerxes was son of Xerxes ... Xerxes was son of king Darius ... Darius was the son of Hystaspes the Achaemenian ... Darius my ancestor anciently built the temple; afterward it was repaired by Artaxerxes my grandfather. By Ormuzd's aid I placed the effigies of Tanaites and Mithra in this temple. May Ormuzd, Tanaites, and Mithra protect me, with the other gods, and all that I have done ..." The dimensions correspond almost to the hall at Persepolis, Susa's palace, 345 by 244 ft. N. and S.

As Darius Hystaspes commenced the Susa palace, so Xerxes built that at Persepolis. Both consisted of a central hall 200 ft. square, i.e. 40,000 square ft. in area, only inferior to the Karnak hall, 58,300 square ft.; with 36 columns more than 60 ft. high; the walls at Persepolis are 18 ft. thick; three great porches stood outside, 200 ft. wide by 65 deep, supported by 12 columns. These were the palace audience halls; the western porch for morning audience, the eastern for the afternoon. The principal porch, the throne room, was to the N. The central hall, called "temple" in the inscription as the king partook of the divine character, was used for such religious ceremonials as the king's coronation or enthroning, thanksgivings, and offerings to the gods for victories. It was unsuited for convivial festivities. "The king's gate" where Mordecai sat ( Esther 2:21) was a square hall, 100 ft. each way, resting on four central pillars, 150 or 200 ft. in front of the northern portico.

The inner court where Esther begged Ahasuerus' favor ( Esther 5:1) was the space between the northern portico and "the king's gate"; the outer court was the space between the king's gate and the northern terrace wall. "The royal house" ( Esther 1:9) and "the house of the women" ( Esther 2:9;  Esther 2:11) were behind the great hall toward the S. or between the great hall and the citadel, communicating with it by a bridge over the ravine. "In the court of the garden of the king's palace" in front of the eastern or western porch Ahasuerus "made a feast unto all the people ... seven days ... where were white, green, and blue hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble" ( Esther 1:5-6). The feast, was evidently out of doors, in tents put up in one of the palace courts. A tular or raised platform was above the palace roof, as at Persepolis, making the height above the artificial platform 120 ft., and above the plain, which was 60 ft. lower, 180 ft. The effect of such a stately central palace, elevated on a plateau, and rising above the outer subordinate buildings, interspersed with trees and shrubs, must have been magnificent.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [2]

1.  Psalm 60:1-12 , title; plural Shoshannim  Psalm 45:1-14   69:1-36 , titles; the name of a musical instrument. The word signifies a lily, or lilies; and if the instrument were so named from its similarity to this flower, we might understand the cymbal. Or it may denote a melody, so named for its pleasantness of the subject matter of the song, as in the title to  Psalm 45:1-14 .

2. The capital city of Elam, or Persia,  Genesis 14:1   Daniel 8:2 , on the river Ulai. It was the winter residence of the Persian kings, after Cyrus,  Esther 1:5; and is deeply interesting as the scene of the wonderful events narrated in the book of Esther. Here Daniel had the vision of the ram and he-goat, in the third year of Belshazzar,  Daniel 8:1-27 . Nehemiah was also at Shushan, when he obtained from Artaxerxes permission to return into Judea, and to repair the walls of Jerusalem,  Nehemiah 1:1 .

The present Shouster, the capital of Khusistan, in long. 49 East, lat. 32North, of the river Karun, a branch of the Shat-el-Arab, has been generally believed to be the ancient Shushan, the Susa of the Greeks; but Mr. Kinneir rather thinks the ruins about thirty-five miles west of Shouster are those of that ancient residence of royalty, "stretching not less, perhaps, then twelve miles from one extremity to the other. They occupy an immense space between the rivers Kerah and Abzal; and like the ruins of Ctesiphon, Babylon, and Kufa, consist of hillocks of earth and rubbish, covered with broken pieces of brick and colored tile. The largest is a mile in circumference, and nearly one hundred feet in height; another, not quite so high, is double the circuit. They are formed of clay and pieces of tile, with irregular layers of brick and mortar, five or six feet in thickness, to serve, as it should seem, as a kind of prop to the mass. Large blocks of marble, covered with hieroglyphics, are not unfrequently here discovered by the Arabs, when digging in search of hidden treasure; and at the foot of the most elevated of the pyramids (ruins) stands the tomb of Daniel, a small and apparently a modern building, erected on the spot where the relics of that prophet are believed to rest." Major Rennell coincides in the opinion that these ruins represent the ancient Susa. The desolation of the place, abandoned to beasts of prey, agrees with the prediction in  Ezekiel 32:24 .

The preceding statements are confirmed by Loftus, who with Col. Williams visited and in part explored these ruins in 1851-2. Shush, we say, abounds in lions, wolves, lynxes, jackals, boars, etc. During nine months of the year the country is burnt up by the most intense heat, though exceedingly rich and beautiful in the rainy season. His excavations in the great mound disclosed the ruins of a vast palace, commenced apparently by Darius, carried on by Xerxes, and finished by Artaxerxes Mnemon. It is altogether probable that this was the scene of the festival described in  Esther 1:1-22 . The "pillars of marble" may perhaps be even now traced in the ruined colonnade forming a great central court; the huge columns were fluted and highly ornamented, and one of the capitals measured was twenty-eight feet high.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [3]

or SUSA, the ancient capital of Persia, seated on the river Ulai, the modern Abzal. After the union of the kingdoms of Media and Persia by Cyrus, Susa was made the winter residence of the kings of Persia, from its southern position, and the shelter afforded by a range of mountains on the north and east, which rendered the heat insupportable in the summer season; while Ecbatana, in Media, from its greater elevation, and more northern situation, was preferred at this season, as being more cool and agreeable. Here the transactions occurred related in the book of Esther. Here also Daniel had the vision of the ram with two horns, and the goat with one horn, &c, in the third year of Belshazzar's reign. Susa was situated in the ancient province of Elam, or Elymais, called also Susiana, and now forming a part of Kuzestan. It has for several hundred years, like Babylon, been reduced to a heap of undistinguished ruins. Mr. Kinneir says, "About seven or eight miles to the west of Dezphoul, commence the ruins of Shus, stretching not less, perhaps, than twelve miles, from one extremity to the other. They extend as far as the eastern bank of the Kerah; occupying an immense space between that river and the Abzal; and, like the ruins of Ctesiphon, Babylon, and Kufa, consist of hillocks of earth and rubbish, covered with broken pieces of brick and coloured tile. The largest and most remarkable of these mounds stand at the distance of about two miles from the Kerah. The first is, at the lowest computation, a mile in circumference, and nearly a hundred feet in height; and the other, although not quite so high, is double the circuit of the former. These mounds bear some resemblance to the pyramids of Babylon; with this difference, that instead of being entirely made of brick, they are formed of clay and pieces of tile, with irregular layers of brick and mortar, five or six feet in thickness, to serve, it should seem, as a kind of prop to the mass. Large blocks of marble, covered with hieroglyphics, are not unfrequently here discovered by the Arabs when digging in search of hidden treasure; and at the foot of the most elevated of the pyramids stands the tomb of Daniel, a small and apparently a modern building, erected on the spot where the relics of that prophet are believed to rest. The site of the city of Shus is now a gloomy wilderness, infested by lions, hyaenas, and other beasts of prey. The dread of these furious animals compelled Mr. Monteith and myself to take shelter for the night within the walls that encompass Daniel's tomb." Of this tomb Sir John Malcom observes, that "it is a small building, but sufficient to shelter some dervishes who watch the remains of the prophet, and are supported by the alms of pious pilgrims who visit the holy sepulchre. These dervishes are now the only inhabitants of Susa; and every species of wild beast roams at large over that spot on which some of the proudest palaces ever raised by human art once stood." He also observes, respecting the authenticity of this tomb, that "although the building at the tomb of Daniel be comparatively modern, nothing could have led to its being built where it is, but a belief that this was the real site of the prophet's sepulchre."

Morrish Bible Dictionary [4]

Ancient city in the East, the capital of Elam, and which afterwards became the metropolis of Persia. Its first mention chronologically is in  Daniel 8:2 . Objections have been raised as to Daniel being at Shushan in the reign of Belshazzar; but the prophecy does not say definitely that he was there. It reads, "I saw in a vision; and it came to pass when I saw , that I was at Shushan." He may have been there in a vision, or he may have gone there on the business of the king.

Esther was queen of Ahasuerus (Xerxes), king of Persia, and resided at Shushan, and the various descriptions given in the book of Esther show that it was a place of wealth and luxury, and was of large extent. At a later date Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king at Shushan.  Nehemiah 1:1 .

Daniel speaks of the palace or fortress as being in the province of Elam, and he was by the river of Ulai. This agrees with the modern Susa , on the river Shapur , in Persia, where there are extensive ruins, embracing those of a magnificent palace, about 32 10' N, 48 26' E . Alexander the Great conquered the Persians, after which Shushan declined. The place is frequently mentioned in the Book of Esther, and is once called SUSA (this being the Greek form of the name) in  Esther 11:3 of its apocryphal additions.

The ruins extend to a circumference of about seven miles. An inscription states that the palace there was founded by Darius and completed by Artaxerxes. It may have been the one occupied in the days of Esther.

The great feast that was held by Ahasuerus with his nobles and princes for seven days was not apparently held in any of the halls inside the palace, but in the open air, "in the court of the garden of the king's palace," surrounded by "white, green and blue hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble."

Smith's Bible Dictionary [5]

Shu'shan. (A Lily). Shushan , or Susa , is said to have received its name from the abundance of the lily, ( shushan or shushanah ), in its neighborhood. It was originally the capital of the country called, in Scripture, Elam , and, by the classical writers, Susis or Susiana. In the time of Daniel, Susa was in the possession of the Babylonians, to whom Elam had probably passed at the division of the Assyrian empire, made by Cyaxares and Nabopolassar.  Daniel 8:2. The conquest of Babylon by Cyrus transferred Susa to the Persian dominion; and it was not long before the Achaemenian princes determined to make it the capital of their whole empire, and the chief place of their own residence.

According to some writers, the change was made by Cyrus; according to others, it had, at any rate, taken place before the death of Cambyses; but, according to the evidence of the place itself, and of the other Achaemenian monuments, it would seem, most probable, that the transfer was really the work of Darius Hystaspes. Nehemiah resided here.  Nehemiah 1:1. Shushan was situated on the Ulai or Choaspes. It is identified with the modern Sus or Shush , its ruins are about three miles in circumference.

(Here, have been found the remains of the great palace build by Darius, the father of Xerxes, in which, and the surrounding buildings, took place the scenes recorded in the life of Esther. The great central hall was 343 feet long by 244 feet wide. The king's gate, says Schaff, where Mordecai sat, "was probably a hall 100 feet square, 150 feet from the northern portico. Between these two was probably the inner court, where Esther appeared before the king." - Editor).

People's Dictionary of the Bible [6]

Shushan ( Shu'Shan ), A Lily. A celebrated city, called by the Greeks Susa, in the province of Elam. There are various accounts of its origin; it must have existed at an early period. The site of Shushan has been identified with the modern Shush or Sus, between the river Choaspes ( Kherkhah) and the Ulai ( Eulæus ). These are really two branches of the same river, which divides about 20 miles above Susa. Hence, Daniel might be standing on the "banks of the Ulai" and also "between Ulai."  Daniel 8:2;  Daniel 8:16. The site is nearly due east of Babylon and north of the Persian Gulf. The great central hall of the palace at Shushan was 343 feet long by 244 feet wide. The king's gate, where Mordecai sat, was probably a hall 100 feet square, 150 feet from the northern portico. Between these two was probably the inner court, where Esther appeared before the king.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [7]

The captial city or palace of Persia. ( Daniel 8:2) It is a word also used for Shushan, or Susanna, a lilly. Jesus calls his church by this name,  Song of Song of Solomon 2:2. Indeed he calls himself so. And what is the sense of both, bearing the same name, but a confirmation of all the precious truths contained in the charter and covenant of grace! They are the same in name, in likeness, in pursuits, desires, affections; but then let it never be forgotten it is wholly on Christ's account. What Jesus is, he is in himself, underived. What she is, she is from him. "Christ is the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valley."His church is the lily among thorns, because Jesus hath made her so. Thou art comely, he saith, "from the comeliness which I have put upon thee." ( Ezekiel 16:14)

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [8]

SHUSHAN (  Daniel 8:2 ,   Nehemiah 1:1 etc.). The Susa (Ad. Est 11:3) of the Greeks, now Sus or Shush in S. W. Persia, between the Shapur and the river of Dizful (the ancient Koprates). It was for many centuries the capital of Elam, and afterwards one of the three capitals of the Persian empire. Cf. also Elam.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [9]

 Daniel 8 Nehemiah 1 Daniel 8:2 Esther 1

Holman Bible Dictionary [10]

 Esther 1:2ElamPersia

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [11]

Copyright StatementThese files are public domain. Bibliography InformationMcClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Shushan'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [12]

shōō´shan ( שׁוּשׁן , shūshan  ; Σουσάν , Sousán , Σούσα , Soúsa ):

1. Position, Eytmology and Forms of Its Name:

This city, the Šušu or Šušan of the Babylonians, and the native (Elamite) Šušun , is the modern Shush (Sus) in Southwestern Persia, a series of ruin-mounds on the banks of the river Kerkha. The ancient etymologies ("city of lilies" or "of horses") are probably worthless, as an etymology in the language of the place would rather be expected. Sayce therefore connects the name with šašša , meaning "former," and pointing to some such meaning as "the old" city. It is frequently mentioned in the Babylonian inscriptions of the 3millennium BC, and is expressed by the characters for the goddess Ishtar and for "cedar," implying that it was regarded as the place of the "divine grove" (see 5, below). In later days, the Assyrians substituted for the second character, that having the value of šeš , possibly indicating its pronunciation. Radau ( Early Babylonian History , 236) identifies Shushan (Susa) with the Šaša of the Babylonian king Kuri-galzu (14th century BC, if the first of the name), who dedicates to the Babylonian goddess Ninlil an inscription of a certain Siatu, who had, at an earlier date, dedicated it to Ishtar for the life of the Babylonian king Dungi (circa 2500 BC).

2. The Ruins:

The surface still covered with ruins is about 2,000 hectares (4,940 acres), though this is but a fraction compared with the ancient extent of the city, which is estimated to have been between 12,000,15,000 hectares (29,640-37,000 acres). Though considerable, the extent of Susa was small compared with Nineveh and Babylon. The ruins are divided by the French explorers into four tracts: (1) The Citadel-mound (West), of the Achemenian period (5th century BC), circa 1,476 by 820 ft., dominating the plain (height circa 124 ft.). (2) The Royal City on the East of the Citadel, composed of two parts: the Apadana (Northeast), and a nearly triangular tract extending to the East and the South. This contains the remains of the palace of Darius and his successors, and occupies rather more than 123 acres. The palace proper and the throne-room were separated from the rest of the official buildings. (3) The City, occupied by artisans, merchants, etc. (4) The district on the right bank, similarly inhabited. This in ancient times extended into all the lower plain, between the Shaour and the Kerkha. Besides these, there were many isolated ruins, and the suburbs contained a number of villages and separate constructions.

3. The "Royal City," "The Citadel," and the Ruins Therein:

Most of the constructions at Susa are of the Persian period. In the northern part of the Royal City lie the remains of the Apadana, the only great monument of which remains were found on the level. The principal portion consisted of a great hall of columns, known as the throne-room of Artaxeres Mnemon. It replaced an earlier structure by Darius, which was destroyed by fire in the time of Artaxerxes I. The columns apparently had capitals of the style common in Persia - the foreparts of two bulls kneeling back to back. In the Citadel a palace built by Xerxes seems to have existed, the base of one of his columns having been found there. Bricks bearing the inscriptions of early Elamite kings, and the foundations of older walls, testify to the antiquity of the occupation of this part. According to the explorers, this was the portion of the city reserved for the temples.

4. The Monuments Discovered:

The number of important antiquities found on the site is considerable. Among the finds may be mentioned the triumphal stele of Narâm - Sin , king of Agadé (3rd-4th millennium BC); the statuettes of the Babylonian king Dungi (circa 2360 BC); the reliefs and inscriptions of the Elamite king Ba (?)- ša - Šušinak (circa 2340 BC); the obelisk inscribed with the laws of H̬ammurabi of Babylon; the bronze bas-relief of the Elamite king Sutruk - Nah̬h̬unte (circa 1120 BC), who carried off from Babylonia the stelae of Narâm - Sin and H̬ammurabi above mentioned, together with numerous other Babylonian monuments; the stele of Adda - h̬amiti - In - Šušnak , of a much later date, together with numerous other objects of art and inscriptions - a most precious archaeological find.

5. Assur-Bani-Apli's Description of the City:

Shushan passed through many serious crises, one of the severest being its capture and destruction by the armies of the Assyrian king Aššur - bani - âpli about 640 BC. According to his account, the ziqqurat or temple-tower of Susa was built of enameled brick imitating lapis-lazuli, and was adorned with pinnacles of bright bronze. The god of the city was Šušinak , who dwelt in a secret place, and none ever saw the form of his divinity. Lagamaru (Laomer) and five other of the city's deities were adored only by kings, and their images, with those of 12 more (worshipped by the people), were carried off as spoil to Assyria. Winged bulls and genii adorned Susa's temples, and figures of wild bulls protected the entrances to their shrines. Other noteworthy things were the sacred groves into which no stranger was allowed to enter, and the burial-places of the Elamite kings. After recovering from the blow inflicted by the Assyrians, Shushan ultimately regained its old importance, and, as the summer residence of the Persian kings, became the home of Ahasuerus and Queen Esther (  Nehemiah 1:1;  Esther 1:2 ,  Esther 1:5;  Esther 2:3;  Esther 3:15;  Esther 9:11 ff;   Daniel 8:2; Additions to Esther 11:3).


See Perrot et Chipiez, Histoire de l'art dans l'antiquite , volume V, Perse, 1890; de Morgan, Delegation en Perse (Memoires ), 1900, etc.; Histoire et travaux de la delegation en Perse , 1905; article "Elamites" in Hastings Ere  ; article Elam in this work.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [13]

Shu´shan, or Susa, the chief town of Susiana, and capital of Persia, in which the kings of Persia had their winter residence . It was situated upon the Eulaeus or Choaspes, probably on the spot now occupied by the village Shus. At that place there are extensive ruins, stretching perhaps twelve miles from one extremity to the other, and consisting, like the other ruins of this region, of hillocks of earth and rubbish covered with broken pieces of brick and colored tile. At the foot of these mounds is the so-called tomb of Daniel, a small building erected on the spot where the remains of that prophet are locally believed to rest. It is apparently modern; but nothing but the belief that this was the site of the prophet's sepulcher could have led to its being built in the place where it stands; and it may be added that such identifications are of far more value in these parts, where occasion for them is rare, than among the crowded 'holy places' of Palestine. The city of Shus is now a gloomy wilderness, infested by lions, hyenas, and other beasts of prey. It is in N. lat. 31° 56′ and E. long. 48° 26′.