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ELYMA´IS ( Ἐλυμαΐς.


Strab. xvi. p.744; J. AJ 12.13; Steph. B. sub voce in O. T. ELAM; Ἐλυμαία, Strab. xi. p.524: Eth. Ἐλυμαῖοι, Strab. xi. pp. 522, 524: xvi. p. 739; Ptol. 6.3.3; Ἐλαμῖται, Act Apost. 2.9; Ἔλυμοι, J. AJ 1.7), a province usually considered part of the larger district of Susiana; but it is difficult to define its limits, as the classical writers speak of it, for the most part, with great indistinctness. Thus from Strabo (xi. p.624) it might be inferred, that he considered it to extend considerably to the N. and quite up to the southern boundary of Media Magna; while, in another place, he would seem to consider it simply as one of several provinces which he enumerates to the eastward of Babylonia (xvi. p. 736). The most distinct statement which that geographer makes, is where he states that Elymais joins Susis (the province of Susiana), while the country round Mt. Zagros and Media join Elymais (xvi. p. 744). According to this view, Elymais would comprehend the rugged mountain tract formed by the southern spurs of Mt. Zagros, S. of Media and N, of Susiana. According to Stephanus, it was a part of Assyria in the direction and near the Persian province of Susis; and the sacred writers appear to indicate that it was sometimes subject to Assyria and sometimes to Babylonia (Isaiah, 22.6; Ezek. 32.24). Pliny, on the other hand, extends Elymais to the shores of the Persian gulf (6.27, s. 31),--in which view he is supported by the Epitomizer of Strabo (xi. p.148), and Ptolemy (6.3.3),--making its northern limit, towards Susiana, the river Eulaeus. According to this, Elymais would comprehend the country between the Eulaeus, the Oroatis (the boundary of Persis), and the Persian gulf. It is probable that the character of the people, who were for the most part a warlike mountain tribe, at different periods of their history possessing a widely diverse extent of territory, led ancient geographers to describe their locality with so little precision. In its widest extent, Elymais is said to have had three eparchies which were included in it, Gabiana, Massabatica, and Corbiana. (Strab. xvi. p.745.) In other places, the Cossaei, Paraetacae, and Uxii, and the district of Sittacene and Apolloniatis, are mentioned in connection with the people or land of Elymais. (Strab. xvi. pp. 732, 736, 739, 744.) In the Bible, Elam and Media are constantly in connection, and it is not improbable that at that remote period Elam and its inhabitants occupied much of the country which in the later and classical ages was assigned to Persia. (Isaiah, 21.2; Jer. 25.25.) It is not, however, possible to draw from the notices in Holy Scripture any certain geographical inferences. It would seem that it was generally held that Susis and Elymais, though adjoining, were separate territories, though the exact limits of the former, also, are not easily to be ascertained. Indeed, Strabo (xi. p.524, xvi. p. 744) speaks of wars between them, in which the people of Elymais were able to bring into the field as many as 13,000 cavalry. In the notice of Persian nations in Ezra the people of Susa and Elam are separately enumerated (4.9); though, in Daniel, the metropolis of Susiana, is placed in Elam (8.2). The government of the country was from very early times under independent kings, probably robber chieftains; of these, two are mentioned by name in the Bible; Chedorlaomer, the contemporary with Abraham, in Genesis (14.1), and Arioch, during the rule of Nebuchodonosor, in Judith (1.6). Strabo bears testimony to the fact that the Elymaei alone were never subdued by the Parthian kings, but were able even to exact a yearly tribute from them (xi. p. 722). With regard to the name of this province, there can be no doubt that it is derived from the Hebrew Elam, while its population are considered to be Semitic, Elam being one of the sons of Shem (Gen. 10.92). Yet, from the position of the district, there was probably a large intermixture of an Indo-Germanic element. (See comparison of Elam with the Pehlvi Airjama by Muüller, Jour. Asiat. vol. vii. p. 299.) The character of the people, as described in the Bible, is in accordance with the notices of the classical writers. Like the Persians of later times, and their neighbours the Cossaei, they seem principally to have used the bow and arrow. (Isaiah, 22.6; Jer. 49.35; Appian, App. Syr. 32; Strab. xvii. p.744; Liv. 35.48, 37.40.) There was, however, besides, a considerable settled population, who cultivated the plain-country. It has been usual to describe several towns, as Seleuceia, Soloce, Sosirate, Badaca, and Elymais, and the rivers Eulaeus, Hedyphon or Hedypnus, and Coprates, as belonging to Elymais. As, however, they belong with equal justice to the. larger and better known province of [p. 1.823]Susiana, they are so considered in the present work. [SUSIANA]


A district of Media Magna, situated, according to Ptolemy (6.2.6), to the N. of the region which he calls Choromithrene. Polybius places a tribe, whom he calls Elymaei, in the mountain region to the N. of Media (5.44). It is not clear where it was situated, and, as most of the authorities usually referred to (as Strab. xi. p.524, xv. p. 732) apply as well to the more important Elymais of Susiana, we think it may be doubted whether there was another Elymais in the position relative to Media which Ptolemy and Polybius seem to have imagined. It is, however, possible, that some of the people of the Susianian province may, at some period, have migrated to the north, or that that province may itself have been sometimes carelessly included within the varying boundaries of the greater country, Media. [V]

hide References (5 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (5):
    • Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 12.13
    • Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 1.7
    • Appian, Syrian Wars, 6.32
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 35, 48
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 37, 40
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