Elymais coin found in southwestern Iran

August 25, 2020 - 19:30

TEHRAN – A historical copper coin minted by the ancient dynasty of Elymais, has recently been found in Shekal historical site, in the southwestern port city of Bandar Mahshahr, Khuzestan province, a provincial tourism chief has said.

The coin was discovered while the police forces in charge of protecting cultural heritage were chasing a number of illegal excavators in the southwest region, Ahmadreza Hosseini said on Tuesday.

Elymais was one of the powerful local governments in Khuzestan during the Parthian Empire (247 BC – 224 CE). The dynasty is believed to be established by Kamnaskires, known from coins dated 81 BC, and it and survived until its extinction by the Sassanid king Ardashir I (180-242 CE).

Though the capital city of Susa belonged to Elymais, it seems to have been administered by a Persian satrap. The heart of the kingdom centered near the mountains of Lorestan near modern Behbehan and Izeh, where the local dynasty left rock reliefs and inscriptions in a form of Aramaic.

The UNESCO-registered Susa, nowadays, is a top destination for history buffs. Part of Susa is still inhabited as Shush on a strip of land between the rivers Shaour (a tributary of the Karkheh) and Dez.

Archaeological evidence suggests that Susa has been continuously inhabited from 4,200 BC placing it among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. In addition, there are traces at Susa of a village inhabited around 7,000 BC and painted pottery dating from ca. 5,000 BC at the site.

The archaeological site includes the ruins of the Achaemenid palace complex of Darius I, the Great, and is located on a fifteen meter high artificially raised 100-hectare terrace. It has suffered greatly in the past seventy years.

Susa became part of the Persian Empire under Cyrus II, the Great in 538 or 539 BC. During the balance of the Achaemenian period (to 330 BC), Susa functioned as one of the rotating capitals (a winter capital) of the Achaemenian Kings.

It is said that Alexander of Macedonia captured Susa in 330 BC and plundered the city, seizing some 40,000 talents of gold and silver from the treasury.


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