ak'-me-tha (Ezra 6:2; 'achmetha'; Septuagint Amatha; Peshitta achmathan; in Tiglath Pileser's inscription circa 1100 BC Amadana: in Darius' Behistun Inscr., II, 76-78, Hangmatana = "Place of Assembly"; Agbatana, in Herodotus; Ekbatana, Xenophon, etc.; so 1 Esdras 6:23; Tobit 3:7; 6:5; 7:1; 14:12,14; Judith 1:1,2,14; 2 Macc 9:3; Talmud hamdan; now hamadan).
Though the city was unwalled in his time, he can hardly find words to express his admiration for it, especially for the magnificent royal palace, nearly 7 stadia in circumference, built of precious kinds of wood sheathed in plates of grid and silver. In the city was the shrine of Aine (Nanaea, Anahita?). Alexander is said to have destroyed a temple of AEsculapius (Mithra?) there. Diodorus tells us the city was 250 stadia in circumference. On Mt. Alvand (10,728 feet) there have been found inscriptions of Xerxes. Doubtless Ecbatana was one of the "cities of the Medes" to which Israel was carried captive (2 Kings 17:6). It should be noted that Greek writers mention several other Ecbatanas. One of these, afterward called Gazaca (Takhti Sulaiman, a little South of Lake Urmi, lat. 36 degrees 28' North, long. 47 degrees 9' East) was capital of Atropatene. It was almost destroyed by the Mughuls in the 12th century. Sir H. Rawlinson identifies the Ecbatana of Tobit and Herodotus with this northern city. The southern and far more important Ecbatana which we have described is certainly that of 2 Macc 9:3. It was Cyrus' Median capital, and is doubtless that of Ezra 6:2. Classical writers spoke erroneously of Ecbatana (for Ecbatana) as moderns too often do of Hamadan for Hamadan.
Ctesias, Curtius, Amm. Marcellinus, Pausanias, Strabo, Diod. Siculus; Ibnu'l Athir, Yaqut, Jahangusha, Jami`u't Tawarikh, and modern travelers.
W. St. Clair Tisdall
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