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Ecbatana (Agbatana in Aeschylus, Hañgmatuna in Old Persian, written Aga?mtanu by Nabonidos, and Agamatanu at Behistun) was the capital of Astyages (Istuvegü), which was taken by Cyrus the Great in the sixth year of Nabonidos (549 BC).

The city is now known as Hamadan and located 400 km southwest of Tehran, in modern day Iran.

The Greeks supposed it to be the capital of Media, confusing the Manda, of whom Astyages was king, with the Mada or Medes of Media Atropatene, and ascribed its foundation to Deioces (the Daiukku of the cuneiform inscriptions), who is said to have surrounded his palace in it with seven concentric walls of different colours.

Under the Persian kings, Ecbatana, situated at the foot of Mount Elvend, became a summer residence; and was afterwards the capital of the Parthian kings. Sir H Rawlinson attempted to prove that there was a second and older Ecbatana in Media Atropatene, on the site of the modern Takht-i-Suleiman, but the cuneiform texts imply that there was only one city of the name, and Takht-i-Suleiman is the Gazaca of classical geography. Ecbatana was the main mint of the Parthians, it produced drachm, tetradrachm, and assorted bronze denominations.

The Ecbatana at which Cambyses II is said by Herodotus (iii. 64) to have died is probably a blunder for Hamath.

See Perrot and Chipiez, History of Art in Persia (Eng. trans., 1892); M Dieulafoy, L?Art antique de Ia Perse, pt. i. (1884); J. de Morgan, Mission scientifique en Perse, ii. (1894).

Initial text from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica. Please update as needed.