highland, the son of Shem (Gen. 10:22), and the name of the
country inhabited by his descendants (14:1, 9; Isa. 11:11; 21:2,
etc.) lying to the east of Babylonia, and extending to the shore
of the Mediterranean, a distance in a direct line of about 1,000
miles. The name Elam is an Assyrian word meaning "high."
"The inhabitants of Elam, or 'the Highlands,' to the east of
Babylon, were called Elamites. They were divided into several
branches, speaking different dialects of the same agglutinative
language. The race to which they belonged was brachycephalic, or
short-headed, like the pre-Semitic Sumerians of Babylonia.
"The earliest Elamite kingdom seems to have been that of
Anzan, the exact site of which is uncertain; but in the time of
Abraham, Shushan or Susa appears to have already become the
capital of the country. Babylonia was frequently invaded by the
Elamite kings, who at times asserted their supremacy over it (as
in the case of Chedorlaomer, the Kudur-Lagamar, or 'servant of
the goddess Lagamar,' of the cuneiform texts).
"The later Assyrian monarchs made several campaigns against
Elam, and finally Assur-bani-pal (about B.C. 650) succeeded in
conquering the country, which was ravaged with fire and sword.
On the fall of the Assyrian Empire, Elam passed into the hands
of the Persians" (A.H. Sayce).
This country was called by the Greeks Cissia or Susiana.