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Page 394



ran so as to make reconcilable the variant accounts of its location. The ruins which mark the site are located in 490 48' east longitude and 320 10' north latitude.

Mention of the city possibly appears as early as c. 2400 B.c. under the name Sas, 3isa, or Susun (probably meaning " the old " city, which suggests that it was already a place of considerable antiquity). In 2275 (if the report of Asshurbanipal be accepted) its king Kudur-nanhundi invaded Babylon and carried away from Erech a statue of the goddess Nana (Ishtar; see BABYLONIA, VI., 1, 1 1). In the period of their era of conquests the Assyrians repeatedly invaded Elam, and about 640 Asshurbanipal captured the city, recovered the image which (as he says) was carried away 1,635 years earlier, removed an immense treasure, and transplanted some of the people to Samaria. Under the Persian rule it became the winter residence, perhaps the chief capital, of the Achmmenides (cf. Xenophon, Cyropadia, VIII., vi. 22; Herodotus, iii. 30, 65, 70). The plot of the book of Esther is laid there in this period, and the story implies the presence of large numbers of Jews. Alexander took the city in 330, and is said to have found gold and silver amounting in value to sixty million dollars, together with great treasures in art, including the Praxitelean bronze statues of Harmodius and Aristogiton, liberators of Athens. Under the SeleucidEe (q.v.) the city lost importance, which it regained to some extent during the later reigns of the Arsacidae down to 226 A.D. Then it declined, and was taken by the Mohammedans in 640. It practically disappeared from history after this and was heard of only at intervals.

The era of exploration was opened by W. K. Loftus in 1852, when trenches were dug, trilingual inscriptions of Artaxerxes Mnemon found at the base of certain columns bearing the names of three kings named Artaxerxes, and of Darius, as well as the divine names Ahuramazda, Anaitis, and Mithra. Marcel Dieulafoy in 1885 was enabled to reopen excavations there through the aid of a French physician at the Persian court and under the protection of the French government. This series of exploration resulted in the uncovering of part of the palace and other structures, and in settling the topographical details of the city. Other results were the recovery of features of art and architecture of great beauty and uniqueness, including the pillars with capitals of bulls' heads, three great porticoes and the hall of columns, the frieze of lions, and that of archers now in the Louvre. The still later exploration under J. de Morgan resulted (1901-02) in the discovery of the now famous Code of Hammurabi (see HAMMURABI AND HIS CODE).

BIBLTOGRAPHY: w. K. Loftus, Travels and Researches in Chaldea and Susiana, pp. 343 sqq., London and New .York, 1857; F. Delitzsch, Wo lag das ParadiesP Leipsic. 1881; Mme. Jane Dieulafoy, La Perae, la Chald_e, et is Suaiane, Paris, 1887; M. Dieulafoy, L'Art antique de la Perse. Paris, 1889; idem, L'Acropole de la Suse, ib. 1890; J. F. Me Curdy, History, Prophecy and the Monuments, i. 125-128, ii. 371-372. 385, New York, 1898; J. de Morgan, D,Iepation en Perse, vol. ii., Paris, 1901; B. T. Evetts, New Light on the Bible and the Holy Land, chap. ix., New York, n. d.; and Rawlinson's Herodotua (consult the Index).

SIAM AND LAOS: The kingdom of Siam includes an irregular stretch of territory in southeastern Asia, bounded by British Burma on the west, the French colonies of Cambodia, Anam, and Tonking on the northeast, and extending through more than half of the Malay peninsula to the south. The area is estimated at about 195,000 square miles, and the general physical features of the country include a rough upland in the north and two river valleys between high mountain ranges extending toward the south. The rainfall is abundant, and in their lower portions the rivers traverse immense alluvial plains which are to a considerable degree overflowed during a portion of the year, resulting in great fertility of the soil. The streams are only measurably navigable inasmuch as they are frequently broken by rapids. The climate is tropical, though less torrid than that of South India, and the year is divided into two seasons of about equal length, the rainy season extending from May to October, and the dry season covering the rest of the year.

The population is estimated at about 4,686,846, and belongs chiefly to the Shan race, about 1,000,000 being Chinese, Burmese, and others. The Shan population again is divided between the Siamese, occupying the southern portion of the kingdom, and the Laos, who are found in the north or hill country. The Siamese are the more polished and agreeable in manners, the Laos the more uncultured, but more sturdy and virile. The government is an absolute monarchy, although under the late king, Chulalongkorn, it became noted for its liberality and sympathy with aggressive modern improvements. Like other Asiatic countries, Siam has suffered from the aggression of European powers. The western coast was surrendered to the Burmese and subsequently to England. The French colonies on the east encroached gradually upon the territory of the Mekong river until it became a question whether the kingdom would continue intact. At present the entire kingdom is practically divided up between England and France, in so-called spheres of influence, England holding the general control of the northern Malay peninsula of the territory bordering on Burma, while France claims a corresponding influence along the whole valley of the Mekong.

There are few- cities of importance, Bankok, the capital, being practically the only one widely known. The dominant religion, especially in the southern section, is Buddhism, and it is claimed to be the purest form of that faith except perhaps that in Ceylon. In no other country is it so completely identified with the life of the people. There is scarcely a family but is represented by at least one member in the priesthood, and not only its ceremonies but the social life and pleasures are under the control or auspices of the temples, while monasteries and pagodas with their vast number of priests are in evidence on every hand. In a measurable degree throughout Siam proper, and especially in the hill country to the north, demon worship is prevalent, a form of the Shamanism which is found throughout Asia and Africa. While brutal, especially in its terrifying power and in its relation to disease, it is not as fatal to vigor of life and thought as the Buddhism of the southern portion, and a more easily overcome