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Susa: Great Gate


The Great Gate of Susa. Photo Marco Prins. Susa (Elamitic, Babylonian: Šušim; Greek τὰ Σοῦσα): capital of Elam, favorite residence of the Persian king Darius I the Great.
 
 
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Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine
The Great Gate of Susa. Photo Marco Prins.
East of the Achaemenid palace at Susa was a large gate that must have resembled the Gate of All Nations at Persepolis, although there is no evidence for lamassu's flanking the entrance. Only the foundations were discovered. This gate is also mentioned in the biblical Book of Esther as the place where Mordecai discovered a plan to kill king Xerxes and where he sat down in mourning (2.21; cf. 3.2, 4.2, 5.9, 6.10). Herodotus of Halicarnassus also mentions people at the gate, waiting for an audience (e.g., in the story of Syloson's cloak).

The Great Gate of Susa. Photo Marco Prins.
In front of the great gate stood a statue of king Darius I the Great that was excavated in 1972. It is now in the Nationial Museum in Tehran, and is remarkable because it is made of Egyptian greywacke, shows the king in a characteristic Egyptian pose, and contains an inscription written in hieroglyphic script. It was probably originally erected in the ancient country along the Nile, and brought to Susa by Xerxes after a revolt.

XSd. Photo Marco Prins.
Inside the gate, two heavy columns carried the roof. The column bases contain an Achaemenid royal inscription that is known as XSd, which says:

King Xerxes says: By the grace of Ahuramazda, king Darius, my father, built this portico.


History Photos
Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2004
Revision: 30 March 2009
Livius.Org Anatolia Carthage Egypt Germ. Inf. Greece Judaea Mesopotamia Persia Rome Other