Elam artwork
Ancient History Encyclopedia


  • 27:37
  • October 2nd 2020

Elam written by Joshua J. Mark and narrated by DW Draffin: https://ancient.eu/elam/

Find it on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVKwzrdnOjA

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Elam was a region in the Near East corresponding to the modern-day provinces of Ilam and Khuzestan in southern Iran (though it also included part of modern-day southern Iraq) whose civilization spanned thousands of years from c. 3200 - c. 539 BCE. The name comes from the Akkadian and Sumerian for “highlands” or “high country” while the Elamites referred to their land as Haltami (or Haltamti) which seems to have had the same meaning. The Bible (Genesis 10:22) claims the region is named for Elam, son of Shem, son of Noah but this has no support outside of the biblical narrative. Their language corresponds to no others and has yet to be deciphered so their early history comes from Mesopotamian sources. This applies only to Elamite linear script, however, as their language was preserved in cuneiform script after their contact with the Sumerians. 

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