Name given in the Old Testament (Ezra, vi. 2) to the Persian city called by the Greeks Ecbatana or Agbatana. In Old Persian it is called Hagmatana; in Babylonian, Agamatanu; while in the works of Arabic historians it appears as Hamadan, the modern form of the name. When the Median kingdom arose, in the seventh century B.C., Ecbatana was the chief city. At a later period it was the summer residence of the Persian kings. According to Herodotus (i. 98), the city was surrounded by high and strong walls, the turrets of which had different colors. The inner wall surrounded the palace and treasury. The royal archive mentioned in Ezra, vi. 2, was probably found within the inner wall. A greatly exaggerated description of the walls occurs in Judith, i. 2, where Arphaxad (Gen. x. 22-24, xi. 13) is said to have been the builder of the city. It is also mentioned in the Talmud (Ḳid. 72a; Yeb. 17a; see Neubauer, "G. T." p. 376).

F. Bu.
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