ACHMETHA. KJV, ASV (
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
This, the ancient capital of Media, stood (lat 34 degrees 50’ North--long. 48 degrees 32’ East) near the modern Hamadan, 160 miles West-Southwest of Tehran, almost 6,000 feet above the sea, circa 1 1/2 miles from the foot of Mt. Orontes (Alvand).
It was founded or rebuilt by Deiokes (Dayaukku) about 700 BC on the site of Ellippi an ancient city of the Manda, and captured by Cyrus 549 BC who brought Croesus there as captive (Herodotus i.153). It was the capital of the 10th Nome under Darius I. Cyrus and other Persian kings used to spend the two summer months there yearly, owing to the comparative coolness of the climate. Herodotus describes it as a magnificent city fortified with seven concentric walls (i.98). Its citadel (biretha’,
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 (
3. Present Condition:
Hamadan has perhaps never fully recovered from the fearful massacre made there in 1220 AD by the Mongols, but its population is about 50,000, including a considerable number of descendants of the Israelites of the Dispersion (tracing descent from Asher, Naphtali, etc.). They point to the tombs of Esther and Mordecai in the neighborhood. It is a center for the caravan trade between Baghdad and Tehran. There is an American Presbyterian mission at work. Authorities (besides those quoted above): Ctesias, Curtius, Amm. Marcellinus, Pausanias, Strabo, Diod. Siculus; Ibnu’l Athir, Yaqut, Jahangusha, Jami`u’t Tawarikh, and modern travelers.
W. St. Clair Tisdall