Susa, Great Gate

Susa (Elamitic, BabylonianŠušim; Greek τὰ Σοῦσα): capital of Elam, favorite residence of the Persian king Darius I the Great.

The great gate of Susa

East of the Achaemenid palace in Susa was a large gate that must have resembled the Gate of All Nations in Persepolis, although there is no archaeological evidence for lamassu's flanking the entrance. Only the foundations have been discovered. This gate appears to be 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.note Herodotus of Halicarnassus also mentions people at the gate, waiting for an audience (e.g., in the story of Syloson's cloak).

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.

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.

This insciption suggests that within a generation after its construction, the gate needed repairs.