Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Elamet, Elmaye

Elam was an ancient civilization and kingdom located in the southwestern part of present-day Iran.

According to the Alliterative Morte Arthure, it was subject to Rome, and warriors from the land joined Lucius’ war against Arthur.

In reality, during the height of Elam’s prominence in the ancient world (around the third millennium BC to the sixth century BC), the Roman Empire did not exist. The Roman Republic was established in 509 BC, and the Roman Empire began with the rise of Augustus in 27 BC. Thus, there was no historical overlap between the kingdom of Elam and the Roman Empire as political entities.

The Roman Empire’s main territorial focus was in the Mediterranean region and parts of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. It did not extend into the area of Elam, which was situated in the eastern part of the ancient Near East, beyond the Roman frontier.

Elam | History

Early Periods | c. 3200 – 2500 BC
The origins of Elam date back to the fourth millennium BC, and it gradually developed as a distinct civilization in the highlands of southwestern Iran. The early Elamite city-states engaged in trade with Mesopotamian regions.

Old Elamite Period | c. 2500 – 1600 BC
This period saw the emergence of early Elamite city-states, including Susa, Anshan, and Awan. The city of Susa became a major center during this time. Old Elam was marked by interactions with the Akkadian Empire, and Elamite rulers were sometimes under Akkadian influence.

Middle Elamite Period | c. 1500 – 1100 BC
The Middle Elamite period witnessed the rise of a centralized Elamite state. The city of Susa continued to be a major political and cultural center. The Elamites engaged in conflicts with the powerful Mesopotamian states, particularly with the Babylonians and the Kassites.

Kassite Influence and Rule | c. 1600 – 1150 BC
Elam came under Kassite rule for a significant period. The Kassites, orginially from Zagros Mountains, established the Kassite Dynasty in Babylonia and exterted influence over Elam as well.

Neo-Elamite Period | c. 1100 – 539 BC
The Neo-Elaimite period witnessed a resurgence of Elamite power. During this time, Elam regained its independence from Kassite and Babylonian rule. However, the Neo-Elamites faced challenges from the Assyrians, who conducted military campaigns against Elam.

Assyrian Conquests and Decline | c. 800 – 640 BC
The Assyrians, led by kings such as Ashurbanipal, conducted severals campaigns against Elam, leading to the sack of Susa. The Elamite capital was destroyed, and Elam suffered a significant decline during this period.

Persian Rule | c. 539 – 331 BC
After the fall of the Neo-Babyolonian Empire, Elam came under Persian rule. Cyrus the Great, the founder of Achaemenid Persian Empire, conquered Susa and integrated Elam into the Persian administrative system.

Hellenistic and Parthian Periods | c. 331 BC – 224 AD
Following the conquests of Alexander the Great, the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire held control over the region. Later, during the Parthian period, Elam remained a part of larger Iranian empires.

Sasanian Period | 224 – 651 AD
Elam continued to be a part of the Sasanian Persian Empire. During this period, the city of Susa maintained its importance as an administrative and cultural center.

Islamic Conquest and Later History
With the Islamic conquest of Persia in the seventh century, the historical region of Elam gradually merged into the Islamic Caliphate. The city of Susa continued to exist but lost its former prominence.

Alliterative Morte Arthure | c. 1400
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470