Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Shushan / Susan / Susa

>may i ask why your name is 'shushan' now?
It always was. Shushan is merely a variant spelling of my first name.

Susan/Shushan/Susa is an ancient name whose original meaning is unknown. The current definition given for it is 'lily of the valley.' However, this is a guess at which flower grew in the valley of the first city of Shushan. That flower was said to be a small, delicate, star-like flower which was either white or blue. It may have been an astor, edelweiss, a daisy (maybe they weren't everywhere back in the day!), or lily of the valley. The flower grew well in unlikely spots but didn't always respond well to cultivation. Merchants and travelers took it back with them all over the ancient world, and the name went with it. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the city precedes the flower as the source of the name "Susan.'

I read a very interesting account of this ancient history in a university library as a teen. Apparantly the most famous Susa/Susan/Shushan known now was a capital city under the Persions/Medes..but this may have been the third city of that name.

According to a falling apart tome I found in Wake Forest University's rare book section...Shushan was a legendary city built in a green valley at the crossroads of the world. The inhabitants, or at least their rulers, dedicated themselves to the principles of hospitality, simplicity, and learning. It was said that for long periods the founders limited the amount of wealth that could be held inside the city, in order to discourage pride...and robbers. They were said to have been great stone masons and teachers, but eventually the merchants took over. Once wealth began to accumulate within the city-state, the fame of the place insured invaders. The city was rebuilt with walls at least once on the same location before a change in climate caused the people to migrate away.

That's the legend.

What is known for certain is that Susa / Susan was a capital city of Persia for many centuries. Esther's beautiful story is supposed to have taken place in the great city of Susan.

I strongly identified with the virtues mentioned...hospitality, humility, and learning. The only reason I didnt use Shushan as a screenname to begin with is...well, its my name. It is just an unusual spelling of my name. I consider it a family reference, as every toddler I have ever known pronounced my name as "Shushan." It tickles me to think they may be right.


Blog Biscuit said...

Wow that is a fun word-study/name-study.


pb said...

Marvellous! Never knew the name had such a history about it. Too bad all the old, simple Bible names are slipping away. Perhaps they will revive when our children's children name their kids after their grandparents.

Fred said...

Thank you for your encouragement!

Anonymous said...

Well my name is Susana which is Susan in portuguese =) Thank you for explaining the meaning of my name xD

Shushan said...

You are very welcome :D