Prev Home Quiz

Week 10 - The Ram and the Goat

Persian Empire
Licensed under
CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The Lost Kingdom of Arrata

Also known as the Jiroft civilization, Old Elam centered around the three cities of Susa, Awan, and Ashan and predates 3000 BC. Tablets from the region around Babylon are only slightly older.

Elam is one of the oldest matriarchal civilizations in the world, as matrilineal ascendancy was the norm. The kings were referred to as the "son of a sister". The Elamite pantheon included the Female god, Kiririsha, ruling the pantheon at the height of their power. The snake or the serpent, the fish, and the moon, considered feminine symbols, were depicted on ritual pottery and temple sculptures.

Middle Elam began around 1500 BC with the rise of the Ashanite dynasties. The first Kidinuids wrote their inscriptions in Akkadian (like the Babylonians). They called themselves servants of Kirwashir, an Elamite deity from the (as we know it) Iranian plateau or highlands. The Igehalkids dominated from 1400 to 1210 BC, and wrote their inscriptions in the Elamite language. The Kassites were conquering old Babylon then, but the Igehalkids married Kassite princesses, and were able to repel later Kassite invasions.

The Shutrukids dominated from 1210 to 1100 BC. They raided Babylon, and captured the idol of Marduk, the stele of Hammurabi and other treasures, carrying them back to Susa. They ruled Babylon briefly, before being defeated by, and paying tribute to, Assyria. This was a mistake that cost Elam its independence for over four centuries. Babylonian kings invaded many parts of Elam, and the cultural influences of the Babylonians and the Assyrians caused a steady decline in Elamite culture.

The penultimate Shutrukid was defeated by Nebuchadnezzar I (not our Nebuchadnezzar), who sacked Susa and carried back the idol of Marduk and other treasures, but Nebuchadnezzar I was defeated by the Assyrians, and Babylon would not rise again until Nabopolasser, with the Medo-Persians, sacked Ninevah. drunken party.

Asshurbanipal of Assyria boasted of destroying Elam in 640 BC:

Susa, the great holy city, abode of their Gods, seat of their mysteries, I conquered. I entered its palaces, I opened their treasuries where silver and gold, goods and wealth were amassed...I destroyed the ziggurat of Susa. I smashed its shining copper horns. I reduced the temples of Elam to naught; their gods and goddesses I scattered to the winds. The tombs of their ancient and recent kings I devastated, I exposed to the sun, and I carried away their bones toward the land of Ashur. I devastated the provinces of Elam and on their lands I sowed salt.
However, he was boasting, and Elam retained dominion of parts of Persia, and the Elamite culture significantly influenced Persian culture, with later Persian courts adopting the Elamite language. The Ilam province of Iran derives its name from the Elam. There was a steady immigration of Medes (Parthians, etc) and Parsu (Persians) into the highlands that would soon become the dominant people. Ezekiel describes the decline of Elam in Ezekiel 32:24. By 540 BC, Susa is ruled by Medo-Persians, as a province of the Babylonian empire and later becomes a capital of the empire of silver.

Daniel's Vision

This chapter switches back from Aramaic to Hebrew, as the focus leaves the gentile world to return to the Jewish people. There is a lot to tell of the history of Medo-Persia and Greece, but this chapter is focused on Israel and the little horn.