ACHAEMENID SATRAPIES, the administrative units of the Achaemenid empire. In modern research the use of the term satrapy follows that of the word satrapeia (satrapēiē) in Greek sources. In the extant Old Persian (OP) texts, there is no word that is an equivalent to satrapy with regard to both etymology and meaning. Only the title xsaça-pā-van-, which combines (protect) and xsaça- (empire, sovereignty) with the suffix -van- and thus describes an administrator as the “protector of empire” or “protector of sovereignty” (Schmitt, 1976, p. 373), is found in the OP inscriptions. From the title of this official an OP *xsaça-pā-vana- can be deduced (Hinz, 1975, p. 134). Notwithstanding this reconstructed Persian form, the Greek word satrapeia (satrapēiē) was derived from a Northwest Iranian (Median) dialect. In the OP inscriptions dahyu- (pl. dahyāva; see below the section on Terminology), and not *xsaça-pā-vana-, is employed for the administrative units that formed the empire, and this usage may indicate that *xsaça-pā-vana- had a more specific meaning, making dahyu- the apparently appropriate term.

The satrapies formed a system which made it possible to rule over the whole Achaemenid territory, to raise and forward taxes, to recruit military forces, and to control local bureaucracies. Dealing with crises and uprisings was also the responsibility of satraps, as was defense against external threats. In order to guarantee control over an empire which expanded rapidly between 550 and 522 BCE, Cyrus the Great (r. 559-530; see CYRUS ii) and his son Cambyses (r. 530-522; see CAMBYSES ii) adapted the existing structures of predecessor empires on a large scale. These structures in turn determined the hierarchical construction of the satrapal system which, remaining essentially unchanged, proved a successful instrument of administration throughout the entire Achaemenid period.


Three groups of sources play a specially prominent role in the reconstruction of satrapal administration: (1) The so-called nomoi list of Herodotus (Histories 3.90-94; 5th century BCE; cf. HERODOTUS, in EIr. XII, p. 266). (2) The lists of satrapies given by the Alexander historians in their accounts of the empire’s division at Babylon (Arrianus, Succ. 5-6 = Photius, Bibl. 92.69 a-b; Curtius, 10.10.1-4; Dexippos apud Phot., Bibl. 82.64 a-b; Diodorus, 18.3.1-3; Pompeius Trogus apud Justinus, 13.4.10-24; Orosius, Hist. 3.23.7-13), Triparadisus (Arr., Succ. 34-37 = Phot., Bibl. 92.71b; Diod., 18.39.5-7) and, later on, Persepolis (Diod., 19.48.1-6), together with the lists appearing in the so-called testament of Alexander the Great (Test. Alex. 117), the Alexander romance (Ps.-Callisthenes, 3.33.13-22; 52-61; Julius Valerius, 3.94; Leo Archipresbyteros, 3.58), and medieval sources (Georgios Synkellos, Chron. P 264 D-265 B; Georgios Kedrenos, P 155 D). (3) The inscriptions of the Achaemenids, and in particular their dahyāva lists (DB par. 6, DNa par. 3, DNe, DPe par. 2, DSaa par. 4, DSe par. 3, DSm par. 2, DSv par. 2, XPh par. 3; cf. Stève, 1974-75 and 1987; Schmitt, 1991; 2000; Lecoq, 1997) and, in addition, the enumerations on the base of the statue of Darius I (r. 522-486) from Susa and on the Suez Canal stelae (Yoyotte).

To these sources are to be added several hundred passages in Greek and Latin literature, as well as sporadic information in inscriptions (e.g., the Droaphernes inscription, see Briant, 1998; the Payawa sarcophagus inscription TL 40 d, see Laroche, p. 139), in archives (e.g., Hallock; Stolper, 1990; Koch), and on coins (e.g., Alram, pp. 101-20, pls. 10-12).

(1) Herodotus’s list of satrapies (Histories 3.90-94). This list continues to be claimed as the basic source for the reconstruction of satrapal administration (for summaries of previous research, see: Jacobs, 1994, pp. 9-29; 2003b). Even very recently this controversial passage provided the basic data for the expositions of Achaemenid provincial administration in large-scale historical works (Briant, 1996; Debord, 1999). But the chaotic arrangement of the nomoi list, which conflicts with geographic reality, its over-emphasis on the western regions, which shows that Herodotus had no authentic source at his disposal, and the fact that the data in the paragraphs in question are in conflict with all other sources, Greek and Latin texts included, force us to take a different methodological approach.

Similar reasons already led Franz Altheim (pp. 140-45) to provide a detailed proof that the list is of no use as historical testimony. From the viewpoint of literary history it is an insertion from another genre, the epic, and is to be evaluated accordingly (Armayor). In the light of recent research on Herodotus (for summaries, see Bichler and Rollinger, pp. 109-202; Rollinger in EIr. XII, pp. 255-57), this is no surprise, since that research throws ever more sharply into relief the way in which the fashioning of material is a decisive component in Herodotus’s historical work (Bichler and Rollinger, pp. 161-63). The catalogue of Herodotus is as incompatible with the lists of the Achaemenid inscriptions as with those of the Alexander historians or with the numerous attestations of the Greek and Latin authors.

(2) Satrapy lists of the Alexander historians. These vary in reliability, but, taken together, they do allow reconstructing the empire’s divisions at Babylon and Triparadisus (Jacobs, 1994, pp. 39-51). As a result, a very considerable degree of continuity is detectable from the time of Darius III (r. 336-mid. 330). This is due to the fact that, during the conquest of the Achaemenid empire, Alexander (356-323) preserved existing administrative structures everywhere, except in the extreme west. He either retained in their posts the officials he came upon or replaced them with people who enjoyed his trust. In the course of his campaign we can therefore detect a kind of staffing schedule of late-Achaemenid satrapal administration (Jacobs, 1994, pp. 52-88) that was still the standard point of reference at the time of the empire’s divisions. A direct continuity is thus established between late Achaemenid times and the era of the Diadochi, and, conversely, the staffing schedule of Alexander’s time is largely valid at least for late Achaemenid times.

(3) The dahyāva lists. Herodotus’s suggestion that peoples were the constituent elements of the satrapies has led to the idea that the Achaemenids understood their empire as the sum of its peoples and did not define it territorially. Correspondingly the dahyāva lists have been interpreted as lists of peoples (Junge, pp. 28-31; Cameron, 1973; Cook, pp. 244-45; Bernard, 1987, p. 185; Tuplin, p. 113; Balcer, 1988, p. 1; Young, p. 87), and even quite recently Pierre Lecoq (1990) has tried to provide this interpretation with a philological foundation. But this interpretation can now be regarded as definitively refuted, because OP dahyu- stands for territorial units (Schmitt, 1977, pp. 91-99; idem, 1999, pp. 443-52; Vogelsang, 1992, pp. 169-73). As satraps like Dādaršīš in Bactria and Vivāna in Arachosia ruled districts that appear as countries on the OP lists, Schmitt has convincingly argued that the term dahyu- (country) was an “altpersische Sprachregelung” for administrative units (Schmitt, 1976, p. 373).

An interpretative problem arises because the discrepancies between the Bisitun list (see BISOTUN in EIr. IV, pp. 299-305) with, at most, 23 items and the list in XPh with 32 are at odds with the observation that the empire’s territory remained substantially unchanged. Similarly in pictorial versions of these lists, where individual dahyāva are represented by a delegation or the figure of a throne-bearer, the number of those involved also varies considerably (Calmeyer, pp. 107-12, 139-59; Roaf, 73-91; Jacobs, 2002, pp. 357-62, 374-78). The conclusion was drawn that the lists were more or less incomplete, especially in view of the omission of names that were regarded as indispensible, such as Cilicia, Hellespontine Phrygia, and Syria (Krumbholz, p. 11; Calmeyer, p. 194; Vogelsang, 1985, p. 88; Lecoq, 1990, pp. 133-34; Briant, 1996, p. 189), and as a result they are often supposed to be ideologically determined declarations, not historically reliable sources (Frye, pp. 110-11; Cook, p. 246; Briant and Herrenschmidt, p. IX; Briant, 1996, pp. 185, 194, 399-400; Sancisi-Weerdenburg, 2001).

Assessment. Only the Achaemenid inscriptions are primary sources, yet the items they enumerate are not designated as satrapies but as dahyāva. Since the term satrap does after all figure twice in the Achaemenid inscriptions (DB 3.14, 58), the absence of a technical term satrapy was noted by many scholars, and it was believed that the OP lists did not offer what seemed to be present in the two other groups of sources, i.e., an enumeration of the provinces of the empire (e.g., Hdt., 3.89: “... in Persia he established 20 domains (archai) that they called satrapies (satrapēiai)”; Diod., 18.39.5: “Afterwards he distributed the satrapies (satrapeiai) anew ...”). Besides, as was already mentioned, the lists were thought of as incomplete.

Consequently, a clear majority of scholars accorded Herodotus’s list precedence over the dahyāva catalogues. Herodotus was also preferred over the Alexander historians, both because, as a contemporary, he was thought to have had more direct information and because of the traditional esteem he enjoyed among modern scholars. This was already so in the case of Paul Krumbholz (1861-1945), the first who—at least for Asia Minor—attempted a more comprehensive treatment of satrapal administration. But even then there were voices that questioned the usefulness of the list (Krumbholz, 1883, pp. 6-7), a position which since has been adopted by a growing number of scholars (Altheim, pp. 140-45; Gignoux; Armayor; Jacobs, 1994, pp. 93-96; Rollinger, 1998, p. 342).

As a way of allowing both the OP inscriptions and Herodotus’s list to count as reliable, the possibility was repeatedly considered of assigning administration and fiscal matters to two different bureaucratic systems (Balcer, 1989, pp. 4-5; Sekunda, 1989, p. 92; Petit, 1990, p. 175; 1991, p. 161; Briant, 1996, p. 404). But such a compromise is impossible, since assessment, collection, and transport of taxes were just as much part of the satraps’ duties (Corsaro) as the military protection of their districts against internal and external attacks (Jacobs, 2003a).

The putative incompleteness of the dahyāva lists and the increase in number of entries in later lists contributed substantially to the non-use of these lists for the reconstruction of imperial administration. Yet the oldest catalogue originates from the Bisitun inscription, a text whose aims included historical documentation. Moreover, the inscription on Darius I’s tomb at Naqš-e Rostam (DNa 38-42) suggests that the list it gives had a programmatic character: “But if you shall think: ‘How many (are) those countries which Darius the king held?’ look at the sculptured figures which bear the throne platform” (Schmitt, 2000, p. 30).

The assumption of incompleteness, however, proves to be invalid if one accepts that the administration was structured hierarchically, a proposition that is both obvious and demonstrable for local bureaucracies and in the imperial administration. To document the extent of the empire completely, it would be quite sufficient to enumerate all provinces of one specific level of the administrative hierarchy. Full use could be made of such a list for the reconstruction of the imperial administration, and it would match the claim of its authors to control all territory within the empire, including autonomous regions and inaccessible areas of refuge such as mountains (Jacobs, 1999). This is surely the sort of list we have in the Bisitun text. Any names missing among the enumerated countries belonged to a lower level of the hierarchy, and so their mention was unnecessary. If some names were nevertheless added in later inscriptions, it was to foster the illusion that, now as before, the rulers were augmenting their territorial property, although the process of extending the frontiers had been stagnating since the last decade of the 6th century BCE. Among the names added after Bisitun those which do represent a real gain of territory need to be isolated with care. But this is unproblematic, because the history of the empire, especially in the times of Darius I and Xerxes I (r. 485-465), is well documented (on the dating of inscriptions with dahyāva lists, see Sancisi-Weerdenburg, 2001, pp. 1-7; Jacobs, 2003b, pp. 327-31): After 515 the inscriptions register a newly acquired province in the shape of the lower Indus valley (Hinduš), and after 512 they add the three provinces Thrace (Skudra), Libya (Putāyā), and Nubia (Kūšiyā), yet there are no extant lists from the periods in which, for example, the Thracian possessions, parts of Ionia, or even Egypt had been lost.


Continuity or discontinuity. Those who give precedence to the Herodotean list are bound to take an entirely different historical approach from those who prefer the OP lists of countries. Attempts have been repeatedly made, and continue even today, to harmonize the sources (Bernard, 1987, pp. 177-91); most scholars consider the effort futile. The entirely isolated position of the Herodotean list in terms of content leads to the supposition that Darius I undertook a fundamental reform of the administration, and the phrase archas katestēsato eikosi in the opening passage (Hdt., 3.89) is interpreted correspondingly, although the formulation is far from being unambiguous. The OP lists, in contrast, record a basic set of countries that remains essentially identical from the times of Cambyses until the early years of Xerxes I. If these lists are taken as evidence for the imperial administration, they document continuity across the reign of Darius I, which in turn excludes that a reform of Darius I made deep inroads into administrative structures that had grown up (Jacobs, 1994, pp. 93-96).

Moreover, compared with Herodotus’s list, the OP lists, especially the one on the Bisitun rock, and the satrapy lists of the Alexander historians, which reflect conditions in the time of the Successors, are very similar (Jacobs, 1994, pp. 100-2). Some differences, such as the absence of Arabia (see ARABĀYA) and of the Saka regions, can be explained in terms of losses during Achaemenid times or of their not having been conquered by Alexander. A stronger emphasis on the western regions in the later lists reflects that, in the course of the ‘liberation’ of the Greeks of Asia Minor, the hierarchy of the administrative apparatus in this region was removed, and governors of lesser rank could in some circumstances play quite an important role, as happened for example in the case of Eumenes (ca. 362-316). In the rest of the empire, however, whether in Egypt, Babylonia, or Bactria, during the secession movements under the Seleucids—for example in Parthia and Media—and in still later times, it is in the geopolitical entities named in these groups of sources that political developments took place (e.g., Just., 41.6.3; Ammianus Marcellinus, 23.6.14-73). They must also have been the constituent units of the imperial Achaemenid administration.

The continuity from the beginnings of the Achaemenid empire in the second half of the 6th century BCE until its collapse demonstrates that this administrative system was a construct that not only regulated administrative processes in peacetime, but proved effective during crises as well (Jacobs, 2003a).

Terminology. Investigation of the use of satrap and satrapy in primary and secondary sources reveals that they are not precise terms at all (Schmitt, 1976). At least, the twenty or so satrapies of the divisions of the empire at Babylon and Triparadisus and the 127 (or 120) satrapies in the Bible (Esther 1:1, 8:9; Dan. 6:2) cannot have belonged to the same level of administrative hierarchy. The words correspond approximately to the general terms “governor” and “province.”

The word dahyu- shows similar characteristics: it can signify “district” or “state” in a general sense, as well as more specifically “province” (Schmitt, 1999, p. 446). In that regard, dahyu- is comparable with the words “country” (Eng.) and “Land” (Ger.). In Greek a considerable number of terms (archē, nomos, satrapeia, huparchia, eparchia or satrapēs, stratēgos, karanos, archōn, huparchos, dunastēs) signify areas or persons of authority (Tuplin, p. 114, n. 22). The terminological variety is in itself evidence for the existence of posts of different rank—in other words, for the existence of an administrative hierarchy. Moreover, the classical secondary sources testify repeatedly to the existence of higher- and lower-ranking positions.

Genesis of that administrative hierarchy. This is most plausibly to be explained by the process of expansion of the Achaemenid empire. The campaigns of the two most important conquerors, Cyrus the Great and his son Cambyses, aimed at acquisition of the entire territory of the empires they were attacking. Thus, the expedition against Croesus of Lydia (r. ca. 560-546) was preceded by the annexation of Cappadocia and followed by that of the coast of Asia Minor, and the attack on Egypt was followed by campaigns against Libya and Nubia. In other words, conquest of the ancient Oriental empires included their provinces: Lydia came with Cappadocia and the coastal provinces on the shore, Babylonia with Assyria, Media with Armenia, and so forth. As a rule, Achaemenid imperial administration involved no primary administrative (re-)organization of the conquered territories but simply adaptation of existing structures. The respective king—whether Croesus, Nabonidus (r. 556-539), Amasis (r. ca. 570-526), or Astyages (r. ca. 584-550)—was replaced by a governor, who controlled a large territory and received the corresponding extensive executive powers. The governors of the former provinces became his subordinates, while remaining superior to the administrators of still smaller units.

In the case of Media, of course, the existence of older state-organized orbits of power, as reconstructed for instance by Wolfram Nagel (1982, pp. 39-45, 48-51, 102-5) and Igor Diakonoff (1985, pp. 114-15, 126-27), has been doubted. Heleen Sancisi-Weerdenburg, for example, denied that there were any state structures in Media before Cyrus the Great (Sancisi, 1988; cf. Brown, 1986; 1988; and the discussion in Lanfranchi et al., 2003).

Still deeper are the doubts about the existence of comparable governmental structures in the regions east of the central Iranian salt deserts that the sources hardly ever mention (reconstruction by Christensen; for critique and commentary, see Lommel; Kellens; Nagel, 1982, par. 10; Jacobs, 1994, pp. 273-78). But the evidence gleaned from the archeological inspection of some extremely extensive pre-Achaemenid collective ventures, such as defense systems directed against the nomads of the Turanian steppe or water-supply installations, makes the case for pre-Achaemenid governmental organization quite compelling, and thus the postulate of a Kayanid empire centering on Bactria more reasonable (Yt. 13.132, 19.71-74; Bundahišn, tr. Anklesaria, p. 232, 1-10; cf. Lyonnet, 1990; Gardin, 1995; 1997; 1998). The Thamanaean empire in Arachosia with its supposed capital Arachoti in the region of modern Qandahar remains nebulous (Nagel, 1982, p. 54; Jacobs, 1994, pp. 34-5).

Sound evidence is nonetheless extant to prove that major administrative complexes in Achaemenid times originated from earlier structures: Persia herself, Babylonia, Egypt, and Lydia. Analogous conclusions about Media, Bactria, and Arachosia impose themselves. In the following, those major complexes are called Great Satrapies. They are in part still recognizable as blocks in the Bisitun inscription, although there the central areas of the older empires and their main provinces—Lydia as well as Cappadocia, Babylonia as well as Assyria, Media as well as Armenia, and so forth—already form standard units in the imperial administration, hereafter referred to as Main Satrapies. A third level of administrative hierarchy, the components of which are here called Minor Satrapies, is recognizable in large parts of the empire, though not everywhere. Because of the source material, the construction of the imperial administration can seldom be followed further down, but in the west it can be stated that Mysia belonged to Hellespontine Phrygia and Lycia to Caria as still minor entities, just as Phoenicia belonged to Ebir-nāri/Syria (see EBER-NĀRI). In the reconstruction of the administrative levels, it is clear that, the lower the level one chooses, the less comparable the individual areas become, because the administration was to a greater extent characterized by deeply rooted traditional structures.

This regional diversity explains the difficulty of determining within the general administrative hierarchy the precise rank of official titles gleaned from the study of local administrative archives (Briant, 2001, pp. 120-21).

The hierarchical structure meant that several Minor Satrapies formed a Main Satrapy, and two or more Main Satrapies a Great Satrapy. The central Minor Satrapy always gave its name to the Main Satrapy, and likewise the central Main Satrapy gave its name to the Great Satrapy. While offices in inferior units were hereditary within families and could even be held by local rulers—the latter arrangement being a feature of regulated autonomy (Jacobs, 1999)—the administrators of Great Satrapies were in each case newly appointed by the royal court; and such offices were probably without exception held by Achaemenid princes who did not reach the throne and by members of privileged families (Jacobs, 1994, pp. 103-4). The old capitals—Sardis, Babylon, Memphis, Ecbatana, Pasargadae, Bactra (see BACTRIA, in EIr. III, p. 340) and Arachoti—preserved their exceptional position throughout the Achaemenid epoch and in most cases beyond it as well.


The methodological assumption of the following survey is that the Bisitun Inscription presents an inventory of the standard units of the imperial administration of its time: the Main Satrapies. During the following decade their number was increased by conquests in the Indus valley (Hinduš) and Africa (Putāyā, Kūšiyā). In fact, the existence of each of these dahyāva as a satrapy is demonstrable through the classical tradition, and information about their position in the hierarchical framework can generally be found in Greek and Latin sources. Classical sources furthermore preserved numerous pieces of information about the provinces’ geographical setting. The provinces were defined territorially, as is proved not least by the fact that one of the satrap’s duties was to measure their land (Hdt., 6.42; cf. Diod., 10.25.4). Hence Greek and Latin sources frequently attest that provincial boundaries were marked by boundary stones as well as passes, rivers, mountain peaks, or other natural barriers.

The following overview provides information about the location and boundaries of each satrapy, its position within the hierarchical framework, and its officials and residences. It begins with the imperial center, even though, because of the decline in source material as one goes from west to east, reconstruction of the administrative organization in the east can only be achieved by analogy with better-documented situations in the western satrapies. Citation of sources and literature was restricted to the most important evidence (for details, see Jacobs, 1994, pp. 117-255). Since Herodotus’s list is not considered a useable source, specific information about tax revenues cannot be given.

1. Great Satrapy Pārsa/Persis. This major complex is elusive as an administrative unit, yet the classical authors provide the names of governors such as Sybares in the time of Cyrus the Great (Trogus apud Just., 1.7.1) and Ariobarzanes during the reign of Darius III (Arr., An. 3.18.2; cf. Berve, pp. 60-61, no. 115). Herodotus’s statement that Hystaspes, the father of Darius I, was governor of Persis, is, however, likely to be an error (Hdt., 3.70; cf. Jacobs, 1994, p. 197). The capital of the province was apparently Pasargadae, where the satrap seems to have held office (Arr., An. 3.18.10-11; Curt., 10.1.22; Strab., 15.3.3). Besides the name-giving Main Satrapy Pārsa/Persis, the Great Satrapy included the Main Satrapy Ūja/Susiana, because Diodorus (18.6.3) stated that Susiana was located in Persis, which must represent Pārsa (cf. Strab., 15.3.2). This can be deduced indirectly from Pliny the Elder (Nat. his. 2.237) who mentions earthfires burning in Sittacene at the confinium Persidis (boundary of Persis). Since neither the region nor the Main Satrapy Persis borders on Sittacene, Persis must signify the Great Satrapy Pārsa including Ūja/Susiana (for the geopolitical situation, see Jacobs, 1994, map V; cf. ELAM, in EIr VIII, p. 311).

1.1. Central Main Satrapy Pārsa/Persis. This presumably comprised the central Minor Satrapy Persis and the Minor Satrapy Karmana/Carmania. The latter must have been of inferior rank, since it is not mentioned in the dahyāva lists. This is confirmed for the time of Alexander the Great, when the post in Carmania represents a first step in the impressive career of Sibyrtius and is therefore of modest rank (Jacobs, 1994, pp. 81-84, 198).

1.1.1. Central Minor Satrapy Pārsa/Persis. Its territory coincides with the modern district of Fārs. In the east the range of the Shir mountains east of the Zāyanda-rud is likely to have formed the boundary (Strab., 15.3.6) in the northwest the border may well have been located at the Aorsis/Zohra and have run where the high range of the Baḵtiāri mountains rises (Arr., Ind. 39.9-40.1; Curt., 5.4.5; for the geography of Persis in general, see Arr., Ind. 38.1-40.1; Curt., 5.4.5-7; Strab., 15.3.1-6, 16.1.17).

1.1.2. Minor Satrapy Karmana/Carmania. In the Persepolis Fortification Tablet (PF) 681 (cf. PF 1377; Hallock, pp. 211, 388; Koch, pp. 16-20) a satrap named Karkiš is mentioned. The satrapy comprised roughly the area of the modern provinces of Kermān und Lorestān. The capital is likely to have been on the site of modern Kermān. In Alexander’s time, further governors, presumably of lesser rank, are mentioned for the province’s southern part, which may correspond to Yutiyā in the Bisitun inscription (Arr., Ind. 34.1, 36.1-2, 8; Hinz in RE, cols. 1028-29; cf. Jacobs, 1994, pp. 198-99), and for the island of Oaracta/Qešm (Arr., Ind. 37.3; Stein, cols. 1679-80). In the west the province borders on Persis (see above 1.1.1), in the north on Parthia, because it includes the greatest part of the Dašt-e Lut, and in the east on Zranka/Drangiana and Maka/Gedrosia (Strab., 15.2.14). The frontier must have been marked by the lake Hāmun and the marshy country of western Sistān, and must have run south-southwest from that point to meet the coast near modern Bandar-e Jāsk, because Arrian reports that west of this border the coastal line bent northwest (Arr., Ind. 32.2; cf. Schiwek, pp. 53-54; see also Arr., Ind. 32. 2-7; 33.1-2; 37.1-38.1).

1.2. Main Satrapy Ūja/Susiana (Elam). At the time of the decline of Assyrian power, a Persian tribe whose people are referred to in later sources as Cissians or Uxians (Diod., 17.67.5) migrated to the mountain region. The Achaemenids considered this tribe as representative and named the province after them (for the etymology, see Nagel, 1982, pp. 150, 152-53).

Susa must have been not only the imperial capital but also a provincial one (Arr., An. 3.16.6). Little is known about the Main Satraps residing there. About 500 a certain Bagapāna, who may have been satrap, is named in the Persepolis Fortification Tablets (e.g., PF 1238-40; 1297; 1546-47: cf. Hallock, pp. 354, 368, 432; Hinz, 1970, p. 430; Mayrhofer, no. 8.188; Koch, pp. 8-12). Under Darius III the father of Oxathres, commander of the Uxians and Susians at Gaugamela (Arr., An. 3.8.5), filled the post (Curt., 5.2.17).

The territory of the Main Satrapy Ūja is divided into two regions: the plain around Susa and the Zagros mountains (Nagel, 1982, p. 152). The mountain region has to be seen as part of this Main Satrapy. This is apparent from the fact that the defile where the satrap of Persis, Ariobarzanes, tried to stop Alexander’s advance is not only called the Persian Gates (Arr., An. 3.18.2) but also the Susian Gates (Curt., 5.3.17; Polyaenus, 4.3.27; cf. Diod., 17.68.1). Since the central Minor Satrapy Ūja, which in classical sources is called Susiana, is at some distance from this defile, the only possible inference is that Susiana in the relevant cases applies to the whole satrapy, i.e., the Main Satrapy. Consequently, the border of the mountain region of Elymais neighboring the Susian Gates was at the same time the border of the Main Satrapy Ūja. Elymais was therefore a Minor Satrapy within this Main Satrapy.

1.2.1. Central Minor Satrapy Ūja/Susiana (Elam) coincides essentially with the modern province of Khuzestan. In the west the border was marked by the Tigris (Strab., 15.3.4; Ptolemy, Geog. 5.18.1, 6.3.1), and in the north and the northeast it probably ran along the foot of the mountains. Southeast of the Pasitigris/Kārun lived the Uxians of the Plain, who were also subordinate to the satrap installed by the Persians (Arr., An. 3.17.1; Curt., 5.3.1). Their settlement area, and with it the territory of the satrapy, ended at the coast of the Persian Gulf and at the Aorsis/Zohra (Arr., Ind. 40.1).

1.2.2. Minor Satrapy Elymais. The territory of the Uxians of the Mountains was autonomous—or “free,” as the sources like to put it—and subordinate to an indigenous “prefect” (Curt., 5.3.4). Despite the acknowledgement of autonomy the inhabitants were obliged to do military service for the satrap of the superior Main Satrapy (cf. Arr., An. 3.8.5).

In the west the territory of the province bordered on Susiana (Strab., 16.1.17). In the east the foothills of the Baḵtiāri mountains may have marked the frontier (Curt., 15.3.7; cf. Jacobs, 1994, pp. 199-200). In the north the upper course of the Choaspes could have constituted the frontier (Curt., 5.2.9) so that early on the territory would have had a common border in the far north with Sittacene, as is attested for what was later called Apolloniatis (Strab., 15.3.12).

2. Great Satrapy Māda/Media. Media extended around its capital Ecbatana (e.g., Curt., 5.8.1; Strab., 11.13.1). Its special position as a Great Satrapy is apparent from the fact that Achaemenid princes were installed as satraps there. According to Xenophon (Cyr. 8.7.11, which is preferable to Ctesias apud Phot., par. 8; cf. Briant, 1985, p. 55), Cyrus the Great appointed his second son Tanyoxarces/Tanaoxares as satrap of Media to administer, inter alia, Media, Armenia, and the territory of the Cadusians. In the 4th century BCE, Bisthanes, son of Ochus, was presumably another Achaemenid incumbent (Arr., An. 3.19.4).

That Armenia belonged to the Great Satrapy Media, as suggested by Xenophon, is well documented elsewhere, in particular by the Bisitun inscription, where information about the revolt in Armenia and measures for its suppression (DB pars. 26-30) is embedded into the report on the rebellion of the Cyaxarid Fravartiš in Media (DB pars. 24-25, 31-32). The pacification of the whole region is recapitulated in the OP text with “This (is) what has been done by me in Media” (DB par. 34).

The same happened in Parthia, whose inhabitants, as Darius I reports, also joined Fravartiš (DB par. 35). The quashing of the insurrections from Armenia to Parthia was chronologically coordinated and occurred between May and June 521 (Zadok, p. 664; Jacobs, 1994, pp. 176-77).

Chorasmia can only be regarded with certainty as part of the Great Satrapy Media if one accepts a reconstruction of Median history that infers an affiliation of this region to the Median empire (Nagel, 1982, pp. 48-51, 57); but if this reconstruction is not correct, other arrangements are imaginable. But that the Persian imperial administration preserved this arrangement seems sensible from a geopolitical view and is not in contradiction with any source (for the geography, see Jacobs, 1994, map IV).

2.1. Central Main Satrapy Māda/Media. This unit comprised the central Minor Satrapy Media and the Minor Satrapies Media Minor and Paraetacene (Strab., 11.13.1). The territory of Media Minor is shown to have been a province because Alexander the Great appointed as its satrap Oxathres, son of Abulites, the former governor of Susiana (Arr., An. 3.19.2; cf. Strab., 11.13.1). Atropatene, which acquired a tangible identity as a clearly defined political unit under the well-known satrap Atropates, emerged from the Minor Satrapy Media Minor, though the name must already have been in use in Achaemenid times (Prášek, I, p. 119, n. 3; Nagel, 1982, p. 35, n. 10; cf. Streck, 1900, pp. 358-59).

It may be inferred that Paraetacene belonged to the Main Satrapy Media from the timing of Alexander’s appointments. He took the relevant measures only after setting out from Persepolis for Ecbatana (Arr., An. 3.19.2). Other instances show that he would certainly have made the necessary appointments earlier, if the region had belonged to Ūja/Susiana. His adding the region now to Susiana is due to the fact that the Median core area was still not conquered.

Other Minor Satrapies are not discernible in the source material.

2.1.1. Central Minor Satrapy Māda/Media. This area bordered in the east on Parthia (Strab., 11.13.6), where the Caspian Gates constituted the boundary (Arr., An. 3.20.2). Elsewhere the salt swamps of the Kavir desert must have functioned as the eastern border of the province. In the north the range of the Elburz mountains (see ALBORZ) marked the frontier, which in the east abutted on the territory of the Mardians, which in turn was part of Hyrcania (cf. Curt., 8.3.17; see GORGAN, in EIr. XI, pp. 151-53); in the west the province bordered on the territory of the Cadusians (see CADUSH), which belonged to Media Minor. Matiene, east of Lake Urmia, was likewise part of Media (Strab., 2.1.14, 11.7.2; cf. Hdt., 5.49). In its further course the modern Iranian-Iraqi frontier may roughly coincide with the ancient border between Media and Arbelitis. Toward the south the territory of the Cossaeans, who lived west and south of modern Kermānšāh (Reade, 1978), must have been included, since they served under the satrap of Media at Gaugamela (Curt., 4.12.10). Thence the border must have run east along the Zagros mountains, where the Minor Satrapy Elymais was situated. In the south it met the province of Paraetacene (Diod., 17.111.4; Strab., 11.12.4, 11.13.6).

2.1.2. Minor Satrapy Media Minor. This embraced the area southwest of the Caspian Sea (Strab., 11.13.2), including the territory of the Cadusians. The border must have been situated on the river Chālus (see below, 2.3.2). The southern border followed the Elburz mountain range and should be extended westwards—though leaving out Matiene—until it met the northern end of Lake Urmia. In the west the province bordered on Armenia (Strab., 11.13.6; see below 2.2.1), and in the north on the Caucasus.

2.1.3. Minor Satrapy Paraetacene. This was situated, acccording to Strabo (11.13.6), between Persia and the Median core region (Nepos, Eumenes [18.]8.1). Since the province is also said to adjoin Susiana in the (south)west (Strab., 16.1.8), the desert extending to Carmania in the southeast, and Parthia in the northeast (Strab., 15.2.14), its position is well defined. Arrian’s report (An. 3.19.2) that Alexander arrived in the territory of the Paraetaceneans soon after his departure from Persepolis for Ecbatana fixes the position of the province approximately in the area of the modern province of Isfahan.

2.2. Main Satrapy Armina/Armenia. Our best source for the administrative affiliation and structure of this province is the Bisitun text, in which two centers of gravity are clearly identified: Darius I dispatched a military contingent against West Armenia and another against East Armenia (DB pars. 26-30). The bipartition is also visible in the classical tradition (e.g., Xen., An. 4.3.4; cf. Jacobs, 1994, pp. 183-84, n. 57), as well as indicated by the two military contingents that were mobilized at Gaugamela (Arr., An. 3.8.5).

For a short period the region east of the Black Sea up to the river Sal and the estuary of the Don on the Sea of Azov also belonged to the Main Satrapy Armenia as a Minor Satrapy (Jacobs, 2000; see CAUCASUS AND IRAN iii. ACHAEMENID RULE). Yet this region (see COLCHIS), taken during the Scythian campaign in 513/12 BCE, remained under Persian control for at most a few decades and may already have recovered its independence after the failure of Xerxes’ expedition against Greece.

2.2.1. Central Minor Satrapy Armina/(East) Armenia. In the south the river Centrites/Botan Çayı defined the border (Xen., An. 4.3.1; cf. Meloni, p. 296), at which the Main Satrap Orontes (who, to judge from Xen., An. 3.5.17, had overall control of Armenia) tried to keep the Greeks who had been defeated at Cunaxa out of his province (Xen., An. 4.3.4). Beyond the junction of the Centrites and the Tigris, the border must have continued westward to eventually meet the Euphrates. The frontier was marked in the west by the Euphrates (Hdt., 5.52) and in the north first by the Murat-Su and then by the Teleboas/Kara-Su, since at the Teleboas or a little to the south the Greeks under Xenophon crossed into the sphere of influence of another satrap, the governor of West Armenia Tiribazus, (Xen., An. 4.3-4; inaccurate: Diod., 14.27.7; cf. Meloni, p. 296; Hewsen, pp. 138-39; Jacobs, 1990, p. 42; 1994, p. 185). From the northeastern corner of Lake Van the border must have essentially run north toward the Caucasus. The eastern confines are difficult to determine and have to be deduced from the area once covered by the Urartian kingdom (see URARTU). On that basis, the region around Lake Sevan must have been as much a part of (East) Armenia as the western shore of Lake Urmia. This deduction squares with Xenophon’s report that a traveler coming from Media needed one more day after crossing the border to reach the mountains (Xen., Cyr. 2.4.21).

Xenophon (An. 4.4.1) mentions a satrapal palace where a Persian familiy resided. Its most famous member was the above-mentioned Orontes, who held office around 400 BCE (Xen., An. 2.4.8; Plut., Artax. 27.7; for the ancestor stela on Nemrud Dağı, see Sanders, figs. 401-7; for Orontes, see Briant, 2001, p. 149, n. 318).

2.2.2. Minor Satrapy West Armenia. Its east and south sides fit into the angle left open by the Minor Satrapy (East) Armenia (see above 2.2.1). In the north the Caucasus presumably formed the border, and in the northwest the Black Sea. North of the confluence of the eastern (Murat-Su) and western Euphrates (Kara-Su) the western border of West Armenia must mainly have run north-northwest toward the Black Sea, reaching the coast immediately west of Cotyora (Ruge, “Kotyora”).

2.2.3. Minor Satrapy Colchis. This unit owed its short-lived existence to the successes that Darius I achieved east of the Black Sea during his Scythian campaign. Herodotus is witness that Darius I reached the Oarus and built castles there (Hdt., 4.124; see above 2.2). Since this river emptied into Lake Maeotis/Sea of Azov (Hdt., 4.123), it is to be identified with the Sal (Hdt., tr. Horneffer, p. 694, n. 120). From the Sal the border must have extended to the mouth of the Don, along the eastern coast of the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea down to the Caucasus. It is not known how far it stretched to the east or where the border ran.

2.3. Main Satrapy Parθava/Parthia covered a territory that was described in two ways: “Parthia and Hyrcania” (DB par. 35; Arr., An. 3.22.1, 3.23.4, 6.27.3) as well as just “Parthia” (DB par. 37; cf. Arr., An. 3.28.2, 4.7.1; Curt., 9.10.17). It also follows that Hyrcania was subsumed under Parthia, from the description of the Chorasmians as living east of the Parthians (Athenaios, 2.70b). Administratively Hyrcania belonged to Parthia, most probably as a Minor Satrapy. In Seleucid times the two provinces were still assessed together for taxation (Strab., 11.9.1).

Curtius Rufus (6.2.15) and Diodorus (17.75.1) seem to identify Hecatompylus as a pre-Alexandrian foundation, which in view of its subsequent importance (Strab., 11.9.1) may have been a provincial capital already in Achaemenid times. Admittedly there is no certainty about the location of Seleucid-Parthian Hecatompylus (Kiessling, s.v. in RE VII-2, cols. 2793-97; Hansman, 1968, pp. 119-20; 1981, pp. 3-9; Hansman and Stronach, 1970, pp. 41, 47; 1974, pp. 18-19; for general information, see Seibert, 1985, p. 115 with n. 58).

2.3.1. Central Minor Satrapy Parθava/Parthia. Its northwestern border followed the Elburz mountain range. The western boundary with Media was located at the Caspian Gates (Arr., An. 3.20.2). Otherwise the geographical extension of this Minor Satrapy is difficult to trace, though essentially it must have comprised the basin of the Kavir desert.

2.3.2. Minor Satrapy Hyrcania. Nicolaus Damascenus (F 66, 46 = Jacoby, Fragmente II A, 370, no. 90) reports that the Median king Astyages installed a satrap named Artasyras in Hyrcania. But after his defeat by Cyrus the Great, Astyages himself is said to have held this office (Trogus apud Just., 1.6.16). Other governors of this province were Astyages’ grandson Megabernes (Ctes. apud Phot., par. 8) and allegedly Ochus, son of Artaxerxes I (Ctes. apud Phot., par. 44).

The capital of the province was Zadracarta (Arr., An. 3.23.6, 3.25.1; Itinerarium Alexandri 52, 54). Igor Khlopin (pp. 142-43) has given a full description of the province’s geographical position: It enclosed the southeastern corner of the Caspian Sea on both sides of the Gorgān-rud. In the north it reached the Oxus (Ptol., Geog. 6.9.1Ú), which is to be identified with the present-day Uzboy (Létolle). From there the border may have run southeast alongside the northern slopes of the Kopet Dagh mountains and further eastward to meet the border with Margiana. Only the southwestern part of the Hyrcanian border with Parthia can be determined more exactly. Between the Elburz and the Caspian Sea the province stretched to the border of Media Minor. Here Tapurians and Mardians lived (Curt., 8.3.17). The segmentation of the southern coast of the Caspian Sea suggests that the border with Media Minor was approximately on the river Chālus (Kiessling, “Hyrkania,” col. 456; Jacobs, 1994, pp. 189-90).

2.4. Main Satrapy Uvārazmī/Chorasmia. This was one of those provinces where nomads were governed by indigenous rulers. Pharasmanes was the satrap who held sway at the time of Alexander. His territory largely coincided with the Karakum desert and covered a roughly rhombus-shaped area, which in the northeast was separated from the territory of the Massagetae by the Oxus/Amu Daryā (see below 7.6). In the northwest the old Oxus branch, the Uzboy, marked the boundary. From the eastern corner of the rhombus near modern Charjuy in Turkmenistan, the border must have run southwest toward the Hyrcanian border, which it followed west and northwest until it reached the Uzboy again.

3. Great Satrapy Sparda/Lydia. This is the best-documented Great Satrapy in the sources. That fortunate position makes the province a paradigm, from which conclusions can be drawn by analogy about other provinces. Its capital was the old Lydian metropolis Sardis (Strab., 13.4.5; Pausanius, 3.9.5; Diod., 13.70.3).

The assault of Cyrus the Great on Lydia is described by Herodotus (1.76-80, 1.84) as a response to Croesus’s offensive against Cappadocia. Cappadocia and Lydia were collectively incorporated into the empire and henceforth formed a Great Satrapy. Here resided Achaemenid princes or members of the families that were privileged since the suppression of the rebellion of Gaumāta (Nöldeke, p. 294; Jacobs, 1994, p. 103, n. 61; for the attempted reconstruction: Krumbholz, pp. 16-26, 30-32, 37-45, 54-71, 93; Petit, 1990, pp. 34-41, 178-80, 207-8, Annexe II; Balcer, 1984, figs. 3, 22). Among them were Artaphernes I (Hdt., 5.25.3; see ARTAPHRENĒS), his homonymous son (Hdt., 7.74; PF 1404; Hinz, 1970, p. 430) and Cyrus, the brother of Artaxerxes II (Just. 5.5.1; see CYRUS THE YOUNGER). On various occasions, especially during periods of crisis, one can observe that the satraps in Sardis—such as prince Cyrus (Xen., An. 1.9.7) and his successor Tissaphernes (Xen., Hell. 3.1.3; Diod., 14.35.2)—were responsible for the whole region, including Cappadocia (Jacobs, 1994, pp. 222-23; 2003a, pp. 252-53, 258-59).

3.1. Central Main Satrapy Sparda/Lydia. This included four, or sometimes five, Minor Satrapies: the central Minor Satrapy Lydia around its capital Sardis, Hellespontine Phrygia, Greater Phrygia, Karka/Caria, and Skudra/Thracia between 512 and 479. The Ionian and Aeolian regions did not strike the Persian conquerors as clearly defined geopolitical entities. Right from the outset the Achaemenid inscriptions therefore try to account for them with a series of slightly varying descriptions (cf. Klinkott, 2001), but there was no “Satrapy Ionia” (Jacobs, 1994, pp. 128-33).

Numerous and unequivocal testimonies prove that Hellespontine Phrygia was part of Lydia (e.g., Hdt., 5.30; Nepos, Datames [14.]2.5). Moreover, the satrap of Lydia was entitled to issue commands to the governor of Hellespontine Phrygia (Xen., Hell. 1.4.4-6, 3.2.14-18; Nepos, Agesilaus [17.]2.3; cf. Lenschau, col. 1843; Westlake, pp. 262-63; Jacobs, 1994, pp. 124-25; see also Tissaphernes’ coinage in Mysian Astyra, Cahn, 1985).

The authority of the satrap of Lydia in Caria is equally clear; the involvement of Tissaphernes (Polyaen., 2.1.9; Xen., Agesilsaus 1.15), for example, gives conclusive evidence in this regard. Autophradates is also reported to have been responsible for Caria, to which Lycia then belonged as well (see below 3.1.3). In the same manner as Tissaphernes on the inscription pillar in Xanthos (Schmitt, 1982, p. 28, no. 32), Autophradates appears as a higher authority on the Payawa sarcophagus (also from Xanthos; Schmitt, 1982, pp. 26-27, no. 26; cf. Demargne, pp. 78-82, pl. 43; Laroche, 139).

It is also unequivocably documented in several instances that Greater Phrygia belonged to the Main Satrapy Lydia (Nepos, Datames [14.]2.5; Xen., An. 1.9.7).

Thrace was won during the Scythian campaign of Darius I and consequently appears in the Achaemenid inscriptions soon after 512 BCE. It was subjoined as a Minor Satrapy to the Main Satrapy Lydia (cf. Stronach, pp. 442-43; Balcer, 1988, pp. 7-8). Skudra/Thrace was not incorporated into the administrative hierarchy as a Main Satrapy, although its appearance in the dahyāva lists at first suggests this rank. This interpretation follows from the observation that it is not mentioned in the contemporary inscriptions that describe the corner points of the empire (DH 4-6, DPh 5-8). The entities named as such—Kūša/Nubia in the southwest, Hinduš/India in the southeast, and Sakā/Sacae beyond Sogdia in the northeast—apparently had to be at least Main Satrapies, and the northwest is represented by Sparda/Lydia. The province of Skudra at first remained autonomous—the huparchos was king Amyntas (Hdt., 5.17- 20)—but was later more firmly tied to the empire (Balcer, 1988, pp. 4-6; Jacobs, 1999, p. 46).

3.1.1. Central Minor Satrapy Sparda/Lydia. This was in the west bounded by the sea and included the offshore islands, among them Lesbos. The river Caicus/Bakır Cay formed the border with Hellespontine Phrygia in the north (see below 3.1.2), while that with Caria in the south was formed by the Maeander and the Mesogis. In the east a column, erected by Croesus (Hdt., 1.30), marked the boundary with Greater Phrygia. Xenophon’s statement that the Maeander flowed on the border with Phrygia helps to reconstruct the frontier there (Xen., An. 1.2.6; cf. Sekunda, 1985, p. 30).

3.1.2. Minor Satrapy Hellespontine Phrygia. In the provincial capital Dascylium (Xen., Hell. 4.1.15) a Persian family in which the governorship was hereditary had its residence (for the attempted reconstruction, see Krumbholz, pp. 27-29, 33-36, 45-61, 71-77, 93; Nöldeke, pp. 295-96; Petit, 1990, pp. 41-42, 181-86, Annexe II; Balcer, 1984, fig. 23; Bakır, p. 170). The geographical area of the satrapy Hellespontine Phrygia can be defined fairly exactly by reference to the cities attested as falling under the authority of its satrap, especially Pharnabazus (Jacobs, 1994, pp. 134-35). In the south the territory reached Pergamum (Osborne, 1971, p. 316) and Gordium (Xen., Hell. 1.4.1; Arr., An. 1.29.5; Trogus apud Just., 11.7.3). The border was presumably on the Caicus.

In the east the province included Bithynia and bordered on Paphlagonia (Xen., Hell. 1.1.3; An. 7.8.25); confirmation is provided by the fact that, when the 10,000 Greeks led by Xenophon landed at Bithynian Heraclea, they were clearly in an area for which Pharnabazus was responsible (Jacobs, 1994, pp. 135, 144-45). The border with Paphlagonia is likely to have been situated on the Billaeus/Filyos. In the west and in the north Hellespontine Phrygia adjoined the coast.

This Minor Satrapy included Mysia, which was autonomous (Hell. Oxyrh. 21.651-52), as a subordinate administrative unit: around the turn of the 5th and 4th centuries BCE. Mysia was ruled by a local dynasty (Troxell, p. 28; Sekunda, 1998), but the succession of a new ruler required the assent of the satrap of Dascylium (Xen., Hell. 3.1.10-12; cf. Jacobs, 2003a, p. 251).

3.1.3. Minor Satrapy Karka/Caria. In the 4th century Caria was ruled by the Hecatomnid dynasty (see CARIA, in EIr. IV, pp. 808-11); its best-known representative was Mausolus (r. 377-353) who developed the residence-town of Halicarnassus in magnificent style. But already in the 5th century local dynasts such as Artemisia, who took part in the battle of Salamis, Pisindelis, and Lygdamis appear as tyrants of Halicarnassus (Hdt., 7.99; Paus., 3.11.3; Polyaen., 8.53.2; Suda lexicon, s.v. Herodotos; for the Carian dynasts, see Krumbholz, pp. 78-85; Judeich, pp. 226-27; Bockisch, pp. 121-29, 133-71). In Achaemenid inscriptions Caria is first mentioned as a province in DSe (after 512 BCE). Yet it is unknown as to why this happened just at that moment, and the date at which Caria became a province is therefore disputed (Bockisch, pp. 134-38; Stève, p. 25; Hornblower, pp. 36, 141). For several reasons (for a full account, see Jacobs, 2003b, pp. 316-22) the only sensible conclusion is that Caria had been a province since the conquest.

Throughout its existence Lycia and its principalities belonged to this Minor Satrapy. Since this is proved only for the end of Achaemenid rule (trilingual stela from Xanthos: Metzger, pp. 32-33, 53-54, 136-37; Kottsieper, 2001; for its dating, see Badian, 1977), there have been frequent attempts to reconstruct different situations for earlier periods, interpreting the so-called Great Satraps’ Revolt as a direct or indirect cause of the change (Treuber, p. 104; Judeich, pp. 241-42; Metzger, pp. 34-37; Bryce, pp. 112-14; Debord, pp. 148-52, 306-14, 352-57 et passim; Gygax, pp. 102-9; Kottsieper, 2002, pp. 233-40). Since Michael Weiskopf (1982, pp. 337-464; 1989) has adduced good arguments for the view that the Great Satraps’ Revolt never happened, it can no longer be accepted as cause of the alleged administrative disposition. Moreover, none of the arguments for different earlier situations is conclusive (for the Achaemenid administration of Lycia, see Jacobs, 1993; 1994, pp. 136-38; 2003a, pp. 247-51).

Caria included the southwest of Asia Minor and, at least sometimes, the islands of Chios, Rhodes, and Cos (Bockisch, pp. 121, 159-70). The eastern border was situated west of Phaselis (Jacobs, 1994, p. 137). In the north Caria bordered on Lydia (see above 3.1.1), in the east on Greater Phrygia (see below 3.1.4).

3.1.4. Minor Satrapy Greater Phrygia. A satrap’s residence was in its capital, Celaenae (Xen., An. 1.2.7), where Alexander settled the satrapal succession (Arr., An. 1.29.1). The Minor Satrapy Greater Phrygia in the south also included Lycaonia, Pisidia, and Pamphylia and reached the sea. This can be deduced from appointments made in Alexander’s time, in the context of which Pamphylia and Greater Phrygia were again managed together (Arr., Succ. 34; cf. Lemaire and Lozachmeur, pp. 143-44; Jacobs, 1994, pp. 55-56). The coastal area of Greater Phrygia extended from the region between Celenderis and Coracesium in the east (Strab., 14.4.2, 14.5.3; cf. Jacobs, 1994, p. 138, n. 139) to Phaselis in the west. The course of the border from the latter point into the interior is largely uncertain, though Colossae was definitely still in Greater Phrygia (Xen., An. 1.2.6; Polyaen., 7.16.1). Further north the province was adjacent to Lydia. Indications about the northern border of the province come from the facts that Gordium was already in Hellespontine Phrygia (Xen., Hell. 1.4.1; Arr., An. 1.29.5; Trogus apud Just., 11.7.3), whereas Ancyra was south of the Paphlagonian border (Curt., 3.1.22). In the east the Halys river marked the frontier that further south met the Taurus ranges (Arr., An. 3.28.5) and followed them westwards around the edge of Cilicia.

3.1.5. Minor Satrapy Skudra/Thrace for a time embraced the entire north Aegean coast and Macedonia. The northern border is largely unknown, but followed the Danube in its easternmost part.

3.2. Main Satrapy Katpatuka/Cappadocia. This was in the beginning presumably governed by a local dynasty (Diod., 31.19 = Phot., Bibl. 382; cf. Nagel, 1982, par. 17 and pp. 111-12), yet the existence of the satrap Artabates (Xen., Cyr. 8.6.7), mentioned at the time of Cyrus the Great, cannot be verified. For the time of Darius I a certain Ariaramnes (see ARIYĀRAMNA, in EIr. II, p. 411) is named as satrap of Cappadocia (Ctes. apud Phot., par. 16). In late Achaemenid times a satrap named Mithrobouzanes held office there (Arr., An. 1.16.3; Diod., 17.21.3).

There is no information about the structure of the administrative hierarchy until the time of Datames (for his career: Jacobs, 1994, pp. 141-42), who was initially governor of the Minor Satrapy Cappadocia-beside-the-Taurus, also called Cilicia (Nepos, Datames [14.]1.1-2; for the localization of this northern Cilicia, see Ruge, “Kilikia,” col. 385; Casabonne, 2001; cf. Hdt., 5.49; 5.52). Later Datames was promoted to be Main Satrap of Cappadocia (Diod., 15.91.2; Front., Strat. 2.7.9). From the central Minor Satrapy Cappadocia-beside-the-Pontus his responsibility extended to Cappadocia-beside-the-Taurus, as is demonstrated by his intervention against Aspis of Cataonia (Nepos, Datames [14.]4.1), and to Paphlagonia, as is shown by his operation against the Paphlagonian king Thuys (Nepos, Datames [14.]2. 2-5; cf. Nöldeke, p. 293) and his minting of coins at Sinope (Moysey, p. 25, pls. 5, 61; Alram, p.110, no. 344).

3.2.1. Central Minor Satrapy Katpatuka/Cappadocia-beside-the-Pontus. This satrapy had western and southern borders that were formed by the bend of the Halys (Hdt., 1.92), within which the Leucosyrians lived (Nepos, Datames [14.]1.1-2; cf. Hdt., 1.72, 1.76). The Halys separated Cappadocia-beside-the-Pontus from Cappadocia-beside-the-Taurus, Greater Phrygia, and Paphlagonia (Hdt., 1.76; Strab., 12.1.3, 12.3.2, 12.3.9, 12.3.12; cf. Ruge, “Paphlagonia,” cols. 2489-90). The eastern border touched the sea immediately west of Cotyora (Jacobs, 1994, p. 143). The course of the frontier with (West) Armenia cannot be determined precisely.

3.2.2. Minor Satrapy Cappadocia-beside-the-Taurus. This bordered in the north on Cappadocia-beside-the-Pontus (see above 3.2.1), while the eastern frontier was formed by the Euphrates (Hdt., 1.49). The western border with Greater Phrygia and the southern with Syria are only vaguely definable; only in the southwest do references to the Taurus, and especially the Cilician, Gates (see below par. 4.2.3) provide more precise indications about the border with Cilicia.

3.2.3. Minor Satrapy Paphlagonia. In the north, this satrapy reached the sea, and in the east the Cappadocian core province (see above 3.2.1). Regarding its south, Curtius Rufus (3.1.22) reports that Paphlagonia was entered near Ancyra, and so the southern frontier may have followed today’s Ankara Suyu, a tributary of ancient Sangarius (Sakarya). In the west Paphlagonia bordered on Hellespontine Phrygia (see above 3.1.2).

4. Great Satrapy Bābiruš/Babylonia. This emerged from the Babylonian empire conquered by Cyrus the Great in 539 BCE (Kuhrt, pp. 177-78). In the capital Babylon Alexander took a great amount of money as booty (Arr., An. 3.16.3). As in Sardis, so far as the family relations are known, only princes of the Achaemenid family and members of the families of the conspirators were installed as satraps in Babylon; as was the case in all Great Satrapies, the post was not hereditary (Jacobs, 1994, pp. 103-4 with n. 62; pp. 147-48, n. 3).

Arabia around the oasis of Taymāʾ, which had also belonged to the Babylonian empire, was only won during the Egyptian campaign of Cambyses and then added to the Great Satrapy Egypt (see below, 5).

The Main Satrapy Aθura/Assyria belonged to the Great Satrapy Babylonia. Because of its close association with Babylonia, the two names were used almost synonymously (e.g., Hdt., 1.192; Strab., 16.1.1; for the general terminological problems, see Kuyper, pp. 17-25). Babylon’s rank during the Achaemenid period (and beyond) and the status of the officers installed there suggest that Babylonia was the superior Great Satrapy. On the occasion of the rebellion of Megabyzus in Syria, the satrap of Babylonia was responsible for its suppression (Ctes. in Phot. pars. 37-38). This proves its higher hierarchical rank, as does the fact that Alexander the Great settled matters relating to Assyria in Babylon (Curt., 5.1.43; Diod., 17.64.5).

4.1. Central Main Satrapy Bābiruš/Babylonia. Available sources for the Minor Satrapies of the Main Satrapy Bābiruš are scanty, though Sittacene, which Curtius (5.2.1) and Diodorus (17.65.2; cf. 18.6.3) call satrapy or eparchy, may have been one.

There is better information for Arbelitis and its chief place Arbela, where Alexander took money as booty after the battle of Gaugamela (Arr., An. 3.15.5). Arbela was also capital of the district which revolted against Darius I under the leadership of Ciçantaxma of Asagarta /Sagartia (Herzfeld, 1968, pp. 301-2; Nagel, 1982, pp. 136-38). After the suppression of that rebellion Darius I subsumed his deeds against Ciçantaxma under Media, and the region must therefore have belonged to Media at the time (DB pars. 33-34). This was evidently changed not very long afterwards—at any rate no later than the mid-5th cent. BCE: Arbelitis seems to have been attributed to Babylonia, and this is perhaps what prompted inclusion of the province by name in DPe 15 (on the historical background cf. Kuyper, 1979, p. 20).

Other Minor Satrapies cannot be recognized. The district of Dubāla (DB III 79) must have been of subordinate rank (Jacobs, 1994, p. 149).

4.1.1. Central Minor Satrapy Bābiruš/Babylonia. This included Mesopotamia south of the so-called bottleneck (the region of present-day Baghdad) down to the Persian Gulf. In the east the border was formed by the Tigris opposite Sittacene (see below, 4.1.2) and Susiana (see above, 1.2.1), while in the west the Arabian desert functioned as a natural boundary (Strab., 15.3.12, 16.1.8).

4.1.2. Minor Satrapy Sittacene. This included the eastern Tigris area from around the Physcus/Nahr al-ʿUzaym southwards (Weissbach, cols. 401-3) down to the border of Susiana (Ptol., Geog. 6.1.1-2; Strab., 15.3.12, 16.1.17; Diod., 17.65.2, 17.110.4). Since the settlement area of the Cossaeans belonged to Media (see above 2.1), the provincial border must have been approximately on the Upper Diyala and the Karkheh.

4.1.3. Minor Satrapy Arbelitis (= Asagarta/Sagartia). This extended over the eastern Tigris area around its capital Arbela. While the northern and eastern boundaries remain vague, the northwestern border can be determined. Strabo reports that the decisive battle of Alexander against Darius III did not take place near Arbela in Arbelitis, but near Gaugamela in Aturia/Assyria (Strab., 16.1.3). Between these two places only the Lycus/Great Zab is suitable as a natural barrier and provincial boundary. In the south the province was adjacent to Sittacene (see above 4.1.2).

4.2. Main Satrapy Aθurā/Assyria. Strabo (16.1.1) may be correctly understood to mean that Assyria included Syria, Cilicia, and Phoenicia. A satrap who, like Alexander’s appointee Menes, had authority over Syria, Phoenicia, and Cilicia (Arr., An. 3.16.9) must therefore have been Main Satrap of Assyria (Jacobs, 1994, pp. 64-66). Indeed, the case of the satrap Belesys attests that Syria and Assyria formed an administrative unit (Xen., An. 7.8.25; cf. DSf 32, DSf Bab. 23; Stève, 1987, pp. 69, 75). The fact that the satrap Mazaeus at Gaugamela commanded forces from Mesopotamia and Syria (Xen., An. 3.8.6) points in the same direction. Phoenicia for its part belonged to Ebir-nāri/Syria (Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae 11.89).

Cilicia was not part of the Great Satrapy Sparda/Lydia, because the legitimate competence of the Lydian Great Satrap did not include Tarsus. There prince Cyrus had to reveal his plans of rebellion to the Greek mercenaries and raise their pay to be able to continue the campaign against Artaxerxes II (Xen., An. 1.3.1-21; cf. Jacobs, 2003a, pp. 256-57). By exclusion, Cilicia must have belonged directly to the Main Satrapy Assyria and indirectly to the Great Satrapy Babylonia, as is reflected by the extent of the erstwhile Neo-Babylonian empire (Jacobs, 1994, p. 153).

The reconstruction of the administrative hierarchy presented here makes the career moves of various officials at different times within the same Great Satrapy understandable: Bēlsunu started out at an elevated post in Babylonia to become the highest official of Ebir-nāri (Xen., An. 1.4.10, 7.8.25-26; Diod., 16.42.1; cf. Stolper, 1987, pp. 389-91; 1990; Jacobs, 1994, p. 155). Likewise Mazaeus, who was satrap of Cilicia around the middle of the 4th cent. BCE (Diod., 16.42.1), later on was Main Satrap of Assyria. In that capacity he tried to prevent Alexander’s crossing of the Euphrates and fought against him (Arr., An. 3.7.1, 3.8.6; Diod., 17.55.1; Curt., 4.9.7; cf. Berve, p. 244, no. 484; Lemaire and Lozachmeur, p. 148; for his coinage, see Bordreuil; Elayi and Elayi). Afterwards he was installed by Alexander as successor of the Great Satrap of Babylonia (Arr., An. 3.16.4; cf. 4.18.3).

4.2.1. Central Minor Satrapy Aθurā/Assyria. This province has fairly clear boundaries. It included Mesopotamia north of the bottleneck, while in the west it reached the Arabian desert. In the northwest the Euphrates separated Assyria from Cappadocia-beside-the-Taurus and Ebir-nāri/Syria. The border with Armenia was in its middle section formed by the Tigris and the Centrites/Botan Çayı (see above, 2.2.1). In the east, the Lycus/Great Zab and the Tigris constituted the border opposite Arbelitis and Sittacene (see above, 4.1.2 and 4.1.3).

4.2.2. Minor Satrapy Ebir-nāri/Syria. This included not only Phoenicia (Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae 11.89) but also Cyprus (Watkin; Jacobs, 1994, pp. 157-60) and Palestine, with plenty of entitites known from the Bible such as Megiddo, Samaria, and Gilead (e.g., Avi-Jonah, cols. 346-48; Ackroyd; Stern, p. 221; Hoglund; Mittmann). But these are not discussed in this context, since they were surely of inferior rank. The capital was Damascus (to be inferred from Curt., 3.8.12, 4.1.4; Strab., 16.2.20).

The northern boundary with Cappadocia is hypothetical, probably following the Taurus ranges to the bend of the Euphrates. In contrast, the common borders of Syria with Assyria and Cilicia are well attested (Diod., 18.6.3): The Cilician one was marked by the Amanus mountain range and the Syrian Gates (see below, 4.2.3), while most of the Assyrian one coincided with the course of the Euphrates. Further south it cannot be more precisely determined than that it was alongside the Arabian desert. The southern border with Arabia may have run immediatly south of Gaza (Hdt., 3.7.9). But in late Achaemenid times, when the province Arabia was lost and only a narrow coastal strip secured the connection with Egypt, the southern border may have been fixed at the Nile’s Pelusian branch (Arr., An. 2.25.1-3.1.1; Diod., 18.6.3; Jacobs, 1994, p. 160, map II).

4.2.3. Minor Satrapy Cilicia (beside the sea). Its provincial capital was Tarsus (Xen., An. 1.2.23; cf. Arr., An. 2.4.5-6; Curt., 3.4.14). Local dynasts with the title Syennesis held power until the 4th century, but then the royal court began to install officers (Lemaire and Lozachmeur, pp. 146-48; Asheri, pp. 44-48).

In the north and in the east, Taurus and Amanus separated the province from Greater Phrygia and Cappadocia-beside-the-Taurus as well as from Syria. Several well-known passes—the Cilician Gates (Arr., An. 2.4.3-4; Curt., 3.4.2, 3.4.4), the Amanus Gates (Xen., An. 1.4.4; Arr., An. 2.5.1; Strab., 14.5.18), and the Syrian Gates (Pliny, Nat. his. 5.80)—may have marked the frontier. In the west the province touched Pamphylia, which belonged to Greater Phrygia; the boundary must have been situated somewhere between Coracesium and Celenderis (see above 3.1.4).

5. Great Satrapy Mudrāya/Egypt. Like Lydia and Babylonia, Egypt, attacked by Cambyses in 525 BCE, must have been incorporated into the Persian Empire as a Great Satrapy. During Cambyses’ occupation of Egypt, as well as later, during Alexander’s invasion, the capture of Memphis was sufficient for claiming the conquest of the entire country. Evidently the city was the base for administration of the whole Great Satrapy (Hdt., 3.13; Arr., An. 3.2.7; cf. Strab., 17.1.31). Among the known satraps, we again find a prince of the Achaemenid dynasty in the person of Achaemenes, son of Darius I (Hdt., 7.1; for the Achaemenid officials, see Bresciani).

Besides Mudrāya itself, at first only Arabāya/Arabia (already named in the Bisotun inscription) belonged to the Great Satrapy as a Main Satrapy. Arabāya must refer to the region that Nabonidus had conquered around the oasis of Taymāʾ (Gadd, pp. 79-89; Tadmor; Lambert, pp. 54-57; Rashid). Although it had once been part of the Babylonian empire, it was probably added to Egypt because it was won in connection with the conquest of the latter (Cook, p. 262; Knauf, pp. 202, 206-7).

Cambyses’ further campaigns against Libya and Nubia (Hdt., 3.13, 3.25-26, 4.165) were unsuccessful; only in 513/12 was Darius I able to subdue them (Hdt., 4.145 in connection with DNa 29-30 and DSe 29-30 etc.; also Hdt., 4.167, 4.200-204). Geographical considerations alone mean that Libya can really only have been added as a Main Satrapy to the Great Satrapy Egypt, and it seems reasonable to suppose the same of Nubia. At the end of the Achaemenid era Nubia is no longer mentioned as a province. A purely formal claim may still have persisted, perhaps tangible in the fact that Alexander is said to have temporarily thought about conquest (Curt., 4.8.3). But that the Macedonian appointed in Memphis Apollonius as governor of Libya (Arr., An. 3.5.4) indicates that this province was still part of the empire.

5.1. Central Main Satrapy Mudrāya/Egypt. This comprised two Minor Satrapies: Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt. When Cambyses set about the conquest of Nubia, he proceeded to Thebes, where subsequently the administration of Upper Egypt had its seat (Hdt., 3.25). During Alexander’s reign a certain Ephippus was probably installed as satrap of Upper Egypt, but his predecessors are unknown to us (Arr., An. 3.5.3; Jacobs, 1994, p. 62).

5.1.1. Central Minor Satrapy Mudrāya/(Lower) Egypt. This included the delta region with the area of the opposite riverbanks (Hdt., 2.18; cf. Strab., 1.2.23-24, 17.1.4). In Herodotus’s time frontier fortresses with Persian garrisons were situated at Daphnae near Pelusium in the east and at Marca in the west (Hdt., 2.30). The border with Upper Egypt was located not far south of Memphis on the line between the 22nd Upper and the 1st Lower Egyptian district (Schlott-Schwab, pp. 90-92, 108-9).

5.1.2. Minor Satrapy Upper Egypt. This presumably coincided de facto with the strip of alluvial land between the border of Lower Egypt and the first Nile cataract (the border of Nubia), below which on the island of Elephantine a garrison was stationed to protect the country (Hdt., 2.29-30; Strab., 17.1.3). While in the west the province was bordered by the desert, in the east the whole territory as far as the Red Sea must have been considered part of the satrapy. The capital was Thebes (see above 5.1).

5.2. Main Satrapy Putāyā/Libya. This province is likely to have benefitted from the numerous Egyptian uprisings and the resulting rather long periods of independence from the Achaemenid Empire. Nevertheless it was still part of the empire under Darius III, for Alexander appointed successor officials (Arr., An. 3.5.4; Curt., 4.8.5).

The Cyrenaeans sent gifts to Alexander, when he was moving along the coast (Curt., 4.7.9), as they are said to have done already when Cambyses was approaching (Hdt., 3.13; Diod., 10.15), thereby acknowledging Alexander as the legitimate successor of the Achaemenid rulers and accepting his claims to their territory. Thus, Cyrenaica belonged to the Achaemenid empire until its end, and the territory of the Achaemenid province of Libya extended along the Mediterranean coast as far as the Great Syrtis and must have included the oasis of Siwah in the desert to the south.

5.3. Main Satrapy Kūšiyā/Nubia. While the date at which the province recovered its independence cannot be accurately determined, it was definitely no longer part of the Achaemenid empire by the time of Alexander’s arrival (cf. Morkot). The province cannot have stretched beyond the second Nile cataract, and must therefore have extended between the first and the second cataracts. Nubia’s capital, Meroë (Hdt., 2.29), was probably never under Persian control.

5.4. Main Satrapy Arabāya/Arabia. This fell to the Persians during Cambyses’ Egyptian campaign (see above, 5). The king entered into treaties with the Arabs (Hdt., 3.7), but the region preserved its autonomy as a monarchy (Hdt., 3.4-5) that was obliged to pay imposts and provide military forces (Hdt., 7.69; cf. Graf, pp. 138-41). The borders of this vast province stretching around the Taymāʾ oasis can be defined more precisely only in the direction of Egypt, where the Pelusian branch of the Nile formed the border (Hdt., 2.30; cf. Schlott-Schwab, pp. 108-9), and of Syria, where it may have run south of Gaza (see above 4.2.2).

6. Great Satrapy Harauvatiš/Arachosia. The decrease of information as we go from west to east makes a particularly strong impact on the reconstruction of this province. Accounts of pre-Achaemenid conditions are scanty, and even in Achaemenid times we learn little about the region (see INDIA, in EIr. XIII, pp. 8-13). Alexander’s arrangements are the only basis for applying analogies drawn from other, better known areas.

The assumption that Achaemenid administration in Sistān, Makrān, and Baluchestān could have been based upon older administrative structures has to rely on the tradition about the Old Iranian Sāma dynasty of which the best-known representatives are Kərəsāspa-/Karšāsp and his grandson Rostam (Christensen, pp. 129-46). The etymological relationship of the dynasty’s name with the ethnic term Thamanaioi (Hdt., 3.93; 3.117) was already noted by Josef Marquart (p. 176; cf. Herzfeld, 1933-34, pp. 6-7). From Herodotus (3.117) it can be deduced that Thamanaioi refers to the Arachosians (Nagel, 1982, p. 60). According to the medieval tradition, the dynasty ruled an area that included Sistān in the west and Zabulistān in the north. To this core region the Achaemenids added the Panjāb and Sindh as Main Satrapies (for a summary, see Jacobs, 1994, pp. 32-35). The reliability of such indications about the conditions that lay behind Achaemenid-era administration in the area is contested.

There are, however, also other pointers to a large, hierarchically structured administrative complex in the southeastern Achaemenid empire grouped around the core region Arachosia (Vogelsang, 1985, pp. 78-89; 1990, pp. 100, 107; cf. Eggermont, pp. 9, 17, 63). Most informative for the reconstruction of the satrapal administration are Alexander’s appointments. In northern Arachosia, when he first encountered that large administrative complex, Alexander made important decisions about Zranka/Drangiana, Maka/Gedrosia, and Hinduš/India (Arr., An. 3.28.1, 6.16.3; Curt., 7.3.3-5; Jacobs, 1994, p. 266). These regions were therefore subsumed in the Arachosian administrative complex. During the following years Alexander’s many adjustments in this province are not easy to interpret, among other reasons because some of the appointed officers lost their lives during disturbances and through illness.

That Gedrosia belonged to Arachosia (Jacobs, 1994, pp. 82-4) emerges most clearly from the fact that Sibyrtius was satrap of Arachosia and Gedrosia (Arr., An. 6.27.1).

Drangiana also belonged to Arachosia, as follows from Strabo’s notice (11.10.1) that Arachosia was situated south of the mountains that enclose Aria. This geographical reference is only comprehensible if Arachosia is understood as a unit which included Drangiana. Arrian accordingly calls Barsaentes, the last Achaemenid governor of the region “satrap of the Arachosians and Drangianians” (Arr., An. 3.21.1). In fact, Barsaentes turned tail when Alexander appeared at the border to Drangiana and did not wait for him to reach Arachosia (Arr., An. 3.25.8; Curt., 6.6.36). Barsaentes took refuge in the region of the Mountain Indians (Arr., An. 3.25.8; Curt., 6.6.36; cf. Seibert, p. 202 fig. 22), a contingent of whom he had commanded at Gaugamela (Arr., An. 3.8.4, 3.8.6). These facts indicate that Barsaentes was also responsible for the province Hinduš, from which the Mountain Indians came and which consequently must have been a Main Satrapy of Arachosia.

The subordination of Θataguš to Arachosia is the best documented of all administrative relationships. The Babylonian version of the Bisotun inscription summarizes the success of Vivāna, the satrap of Arachosia, in defeating the rebels confronting him in battles fought in Arachosia and Sattagydia thus: “This is what has been done by me in Sattagydia and Arachosia” (DBbab lines 48-49). But the OP and Elamite wording reads: “This (is) what has been done by me in Arachosia” (DB III par. 48; DBelam par. 38). This difference indicates that Sattagydia was subordinated to Arachosia (Jacobs, 1994, pp. 267-68). This subordination is also documented about 190 years later when Alexander ordered the Mallians and Oxydracians/Sudracians, who lived in the Sattagydian region (Arr., An. 6.4.3-5, 6.4,7, 6.6.1-6.7.4; Curt., 9.4.15), to send their tribute to Arachosia (Curt., 9.7.12-14).

6.1. Central Main Satrapy Harauvatiš/Arachosia. Probably because of the above-mentioned paucity of information, it is impossible to name a Minor Satrapy within Arachosia despite its considerable size. The capital was Arachoti, the later Alexandropolis and present-day Kandahar, as Paul Bernard has demonstrated with the help of ancient sources (Strab., 11.8.9; Pliny, Nat. his. 6.92; Steph. Byz. s.v. Arachōtoi; Isid., Char. F 2, 19 = Jacoby, Fragmente III C, 781; cf. Bernard, 1974).

In the northeast and the east, the Kabul and the Indus rivers marked the satrapy’s border with Gandāra (see GANDHARA) and Θataguš (Jacobs, 1994, pp. 266-67). A common border in the southeast with the district of the Mountain Indians in the Kirthar mountains, situated in Hinduš, is proved by the report about the flight of Barsaentes (see above, 6). It may have run south of the Sulaiman mountain range toward the Bolan pass. The course of the border with the district of the Oritans, which belonged to Gedrosia, as well as with the rest of Gedrosia is uncertain. Likewise in the west, the frontier with the settlement area of the Ariaspae, which also belonged to Gedrosia, cannot be clearly defined. In the northwest, however, the Etymandrus/Helmand river must have formed the border with Drangiana (cf. generally Strab., 15.2.9).

6.2. Main Satrapy Zranka/Drangiana. The information is again sparse, and Drangiana’s status as a Main Satrapy can most clearly be deduced from its appearance on the dahyāva lists. Its continued existence is confirmed by Alexander’s appointments (Curt., 7.3.1, 8.3.17; cf. Arr., An. 4.18.3). The capital was Zaris or Phrada (Ctes. apud Phot., par. 55; Steph. Byz. s.v. Phráda; Isid. Char. F 2, 16 = Jacoby, Fragmente III C, 781; cf. Gnoli, p. 46; Seibert, p. 121, n. 78), but its location is disputed.

There are no known Minor Satrapies. The province’s territory was largely identical with modern Sistān, and touched the Hāmun lake and the marshy area of Gowd-e Zereh in the south. It bypassed the territory of the Ariaspae (see below 6.3.3) on the lower course of the Etymandrus/Helmand river. Further north the Helmand river marked the border with Arachosia, just as the Harot river the border with Aria in the west (Strab., 11.10.1). Since Drangiana had a common border with Paropamisus (Amm. Marc., 23.6.71), it must have extended to the southwestern spur of the Hindu Kush separating Aria from Arachosia.

6.3. Main Satrapy Maka/Gedrosia. This was situated in modern Makrān (Jacobs, 1994, pp. 262-65). The provincial capital was Pura (Arr., An. 6.24.1). Satraps are known only sporadically. According to the Persepolis Fortification Tablets, a certain Artavazda was satrap around 505, and a predecessor or successor was named Jamāspa (PF 679-80: Hallock, p. 211; Hinz, 1970, p. 430; Mayrhofer, no. 8.617 and 8.1821; Koch, pp. 20-22). Diodorus (17.81.2) refers to a certain Tiridates.

In the classical sources, two administrative districts are discernible, so that, given the size of the territory, we probably have only fragmentary information. One district comprises the territory of the Oritans, who, on Alexander’s arrival, sought a coalition with the Gedrosians (Arr., An. 6.22.1; cf. Arr., Ind. 23.5). The other is the territory of the Ariaspae. Its status as a Minor Satrapy cannot be verified beyond all doubt, but an officer named Amedines is mentioned here (Curt., 7.3.4). Since, on the other hand, the responsibility of the above-mentioned Tiridates for the Ariaspae is attested (Diod., 17.81.2), their attribution to Gedrosia is assured.

6.3.1. Central Minor Satrapy Maka/Gedrosia. The extent of the province can be seen from the fact that the Gedrosians are described as neighbors both of the Oritans (Diod., 17.105.1-3; Arr., An. 6.22.1; Arr., Ind. 26, 1), whose territory was situated east of the Tomerus/Hingol (Arr., Ind. 24.1-25.1; cf. Seibert, p. 174), and of the Ariaspae (Diod., 17.81.2).

In the south the province reached the Arabian Sea, where the Ichthyophagi still followed a stone-age way of life (Arr., Ind. 26.2, 32.1; Strab., 15.2.2-3, 15.2.8). On the western border was the Dasht-e Lut, which was part of Carmania (Strab., 15.2.9). In the north the province bordered on the southwestern extremities of Drangiana, the Minor Satrapy of the Ariaspae, and the Main Satrapy Arachosia. But the border’s actual course is only vaguely definable. Whether parts of the coastal region of Oman also belonged to the province is diputed (Jaritz, p. 211; Eilers, pp. 116-17; Maxwell-Hyslop).

6.3.2. Minor Satrapy of the Oritans. The provincial capital was named Rhambacia (Arr., An. 6.21.5; cf. Curt., 10.10.7; Diod., 17.104,8; for its location, see Hamilton, pp. 606-8; Seibert, p. 175, n. 9). During the Achaemenid period the region was autonomous (Arr., An. 6.21.3).

The province must have been situated between the Hingol and the Hab (Ḥab). The Hab commends itself as the putative eastern boundary, because the Oritans, who had been following a wait-and-see policy, reacted only when Alexander moved from Patara in the Indus delta toward them (Arr., An. 6.22.1). Moreover, the mouth of the Hab lies about halfway between the western edge of the Indus delta and the Hingol, which fits with Curtius’s statement (9.10.5) that also the Arabitans lived in this Minor Satrapy (Arr., An. 6.21.4; Arr., Ind. 21.7-9, 22.10; Curt., 9.10.5-6; for the location, see Holdich, p. 394; Seibert, pp. 172-74 with n. 4).

6.3.3. Minor Satrapy of the Ariaspae. This was also autonomous (Arr., An. 3.27.4-5). Arrian’s notice (An. 4.6.6; cf. Gnoli, p. 46) that the Ariaspae lived on the Etymandrus /Helmand river is particularly helpful for locating the province. Moreover it is known that their territory bordered on Drangiana, Arachosia, and Gedrosia (Diod., 17.81.1-2; Curt., 7.3.4).

6.4. Main Satrapy Θatagus/Sattagydia. This largely coincided with the Panjāb (Nagel, 1982, pp. 61-62; Jacobs, 1994, pp. 267-72). The territory had already become part of the Persian empire in the time of Cyrus the Great, because Θataguš is mentioned in the Bisotun inscription as an entry in the list of dahyāva that Darius I had inherited from his predecessors. During Alexander’s campaign the satrapy consisted of three kingships, represented by the names of their rulers Taxiles, Porus, and Abisares. Evidently autonomy had been negotiated for their territories. The most important town of the region was Taxila (Arr., An. 5.3.6; Strab., 15.1.28). It was port of call for fugitives (Arr., An. 4.22.8); here Alexander installed the new satrap (Arr., An. 5.8.3).

In light of these circumstances, one can understand that Taxiles sought an alliance with the approaching Macedonian king in order to assert himself against his neighbors (Arr., An. 4.22.6; Curt., 8.12.4-10; Diod., 17.86.4). He wanted to regain an authority within the hierarchical framework of the administration of this province which was due to him, but which was not respected by the other two rulers. This situation had caused armed conflicts between them (Curt., 8.12.12-13; cf. Arr., An. 5.18.7). Alexander, however, appointing as satrap Philip, son of Machatas, thus re-established in Taxila an official who was responsible for the whole territory (Arr., An. 5.8.3, 6.14.3; Curt., 10.1.20; Plut., Alex. 60.8) and to whom, henceforth, the three mighty local dynasts were subordinate on equal terms (for a synopsis of conditions in late Achaemenid times, see Jacobs, 1994, p. 237, fig. 2).

6.4.1. Central Minor Satrapy Sattagydia 1. Its western boundary was marked by the Indus. In its northern course the river separated Sattagydia 1 from Gandāra (Arr., An. 5.3.5-6). This becomes evident from the fact that, in permitting Alexander to cross the river, Taxiles handed his power over to him. Since Porus, Taxiles’ enemy, fought the famous battle against Alexander on the Hydaspes/Jhelum (Arr., An. 5.8.4-5.18.7), this river must have formed the western boundary of his dominion and at the same time the eastern border of the Minor Satrapy Sattagydia 1. In the south this border ended where the Acesines/Chenab met the Indus (Arr., An. 6.15.2). The course of the northern border with the Minor Satrapy Sattagydia 2 is not precisely known.

6.4.2. Minor Satrapy Sattagydia 2. From the reports of Alexander’s march we know that, north of the provinces of Taxiles and Porus, there was another district in the region of modern Kashmir that Alexander, as heir of the Achaemenid empire, could claim as inheritance (e.g., Curt., 8.12.12-13, 8.13.1, 9.1,7; Arr., An. 5.8.3, 5.20.5-6, 5.29.4; Strab., 15.1.28).

6.4.3. Minor Satrapy Sattagydia 3. This was east of the Hydaspes/Jhelum and under Porus’s control toward the end of the Achaemenid era. Its eastern border coincided with the eastern frontier of the Achaemenid empire (Arr., An. 5.19.3, 5.20.4, 5.24.8, 5.29.2, 6.2.1; Plut., Alex. 60.8), and was located on the Hyphasis/Sutlej (Jacobs, 1994, pp. 270-72). This province bordered in the north on Sattagydia 2, in modern Kashmir. In the south it reached the junction of the Hyphasis/Sutlej and the Acesines/Chenab (for the identification of ancient and modern river names, see Nagel, 1982, pp. 60-61; Jacobs, 1994, pp. 238-39 and map VII).

6.5. Main Satrapy Hinduš/India. The only reliable evidence for this province is provided by the Alexander historians in their reports about the campaign and the appointments of the Macedonian king.

The grip of the central authority in Hinduš, as aready observed in Θataguš (see above 6.4), seems by the end of the Achaemenid period to have loosened to such an extent that the hierarchical structure had disintegrated. A stalemate, comparable to the one between Taxiles, Abisares, and Porus, seems to have soured relations between the sovereigns Sambus, Musicanus, and Porti-/Oxycanus (for the situation under Darius III, see Jacobs, 1994, p. 245, fig. 4): Hinduš was also governed by local potentates, and the analogy with Θataguš entitles us to suppose that one of them had the rank of a Main Satrap and was superior to the others. Presumably Sambus was the one who held the position of Main Satrap, since he had been installed by Alexander himself (Arr., An. 6.16.3), probably before the Bactrian campaign, when Alexander was in North Arachosia trying to settle the situation in the Great Satrapy and in this context also designated a new satrap for India (see above 6). Later Pithon, son of Agenor, received the post (Arr., An. 6.15.4; Curt., 9.8.16; cf. Berve, p. 293, n. 1).

The capital of this Main Satrapy must have been Sindimana (Arr., An. 6.16.4; Strab., 15.1.33; for its location, cf. Eggermont, pp. 16-17).

6.5.1. Central Minor Satrapy India 1. Sambus’s territory was situated west of the Indus. In the north his realm ended roughly in the latitude of the junction of the Indus and Chenab (see above, 6.4.1), and further west was the border with Arachosia, which Barsaentes crossed in his flight from Alexander (see above 6). In the west the Ḥab must have marked the frontier with the district of the Oritans and the Main Satrapy Maka (see above, 6.3.2). The Kirthar moutains were included within the territory of this Minor Satrapy a fact that can explain why Sambus was called ruler of the Mountain Indians (Arr., An. 6.16.3).

6.5.2. Minor Satrapy India 2 was defined by the Indus in the west and the Thar desert in the east. In the north the province bordered on Θataguš at the junction of Indus and Chenab. But in the south the border’s course is unknown.

6.5.3. Minor Satrapy India 3 lay to the south of India 2, as follows from the reports of Alexander’s voyage down the Indus. Its territory was also situated between this river and the Thar desert, and may have included the river’s delta too.

7. Great Satrapy Bāxtriš/Bactria. Its capital was Bactra/Zariaspa, on the site of modern Balkh (Arr., An. 3.29.1; Curt., 7.4.31; cf. Diod., 2.6.1-2; for Zariaspa, see Arr., An. 4.1.5; Strab., 11.11.1). As in Sardis or Babylon, its officials were usually Achaemenid princes or members of the highest social élite (Jacobs, 1994, p. 209, n. 3), the best-known example being the last satrap Bessus (q.v.).

Information about the administration of this major complex comes predominantly from the time of Alexander’s campaign. An enumeration of the regions from which Bessus expected support against Alexander is instructive: Choramnians/Chorasmians, Dahae, Sacae, Indians, and Scythians (Curt., 7.4.6). The Choramnians followed a wait-and-see policy until Alexander arrived at Bactra. Perhaps their support was indeed expected, but their ruler Phrataphernes finally acknowledged Alexander; and it is therefore preferable to connect Chorasmia with the Great Satrapy Media.

The other groups on this list were either nomads (Dahae, Sacae, and Scythians) or Indians. The Sogdians, however, are missing, although the resistance to Alexander was concentrated in their territory together with Bactria. After Bessus was forced to evacuate Bactria, he organized renewed resistance in Sogdia (Curt., 7.4.5-6); apparently his authority extended there. Sogdia’s affiliation with Bactria is also indicated by the fact that the Sogdians, together with the Indians, were under Bessus’s command at Gaugamela (Arr., An. 3.8.5), and it is definitely proven by the new documents coming probably from Afghanistan (Shaked, pp. 30-31). The Indians whom Bessus hoped would help him (Curt. 7.4.6) and who took part in the battle at Gaugamela under Bactrian command must actually be Gandarans, because their territory bordered on Bactria (Arr., An. 3.8.3, 6.2.3; cf. Vogelsang, 1990, pp. 99, 107).

The question whether Aria belonged to Bactria or to Media can hardly be decided on the basis of sources relating to the Achaemenid period. Aria’s traditional affiliation to the Kayanid empire (Yt. 10.13-14; Vd. 1; cf. Nagel, 1982, p. 54) may be in favor of a decision to join it with Bactria. A passage in Strabo (11.8.8), which is based on Eratosthenes, summarizes the composition of the Great Satrapy complex which is thus emerging. But some statements refer to Bactria as a Main Satrapy, others to the Great Satrapy. The former term applies when the Paropamisus and the Oxus are named as frontiers, the latter when a common border with Arachosia and the territory of the Massagetae and a short frontier with India (perhaps identical with Θataguš?) are mentioned, for the respective sources take for granted that Gandāra (cf. Strab., 15.2.9) and Sogdia were considered parts of Bactria. If Arachosia means the Great Satrapy including Drangiana, then Aria is indeed part of the Great Satrapy Bactria. The puzzling addition that Bactria in the far west bordered on Arachosia as well as on the territory of the Massagetae must have originated from Eratosthenes’ description of the Main Satrapy Bactria and have been wrongly inserted here by Strabo.

The close connection between Bactria and the Saka regions is undisputed. Pierre Briant has traced this connection back to its historical roots (1982, pp. 206-18), but he did not consider it as a result of a possible administrative relationship, although administrative authority would explain why Dahae and Massagetae were under Bessus’s command at Gaugamela (Arr., An. 3.11.3; Curt., 4.12.6). A man called Hystaspes had similarly commanded Bactrians and Sacae in the army that Xerxes led against Greece (Hdt., 7.64).

The competence of satraps of Bactria in the Saka regions is also revealed by the fact that Masistes relied on the Sacae in his plans for rebellion (Hdt. 9.107-13); they belonged to his area of authority. The Saka regions were autonomous or “free.” This is why ancient sources disagree on whether they are to be considered part of the Achaemenid empire or not (cf. DH 4-6; DPh 5-8 with Strab. 11.11, 4 and 11.8.8).

7.1. Central Main Satrapy Bāxtriš/Bactria. Margiana was a Minor Satrapy belonging to Bactria—a fact which emerges from the Bisitun inscription: Not only was Dādaršiš, the satrap of Bactria, entrusted with the suppression of the rebellion of Frāda in Margiana (DB par. 38), indicating his authority there, but the report about the successful undertaking is also summarized as: “That is what has been done by me in Bactria” (DB par. 39).

7.1.1. Central Minor Satrapy Bāxtriš/Bactria. The southern border with the province of Gandāra was formed by the Hindu Kush, which today still marks the frontier of numerous Afghan provinces (Strab., 11.8.8, 15.2.9). In the north the Oxus/Āmu Daryā marked the frontier with Sogdia (Strab., 11.8.8; cf. Fleming, p. 81), while the boundaries with Aria in the southwest (Strab., 11.10.1, 11.12.1, 15.2.9), Margiana in the west, and the Minor Satrapy of the Dyrbaeans in the east (see below, 7.2) can only be roughly determined.

7.1.2. Minor Satrapy Marguš/Margiana. Its core was the oasis at the Marguš/Murḡāb, the present-day Marv/Mary, Uzbekistan. But an exact determination of the province’s boundaries is only possible on the Oxus/Āmu Daryā in the north. The borders with the neighbouring provinces of Aria, Hyrcania, and Chorasmia (Ptol., Geog. 6.10.1-4; Strab., 11.10.1) cannot be determined more precisely.

7.2. Main Satrapy Suguda/Sogdia. The capital was Maracanda (Arr., An. 3.30.5; cf. Jacobs, 1994, p. 215, n. 36). From the very sparse tradition on Sogdia, it is difficult to glean information about a subordinate province: Ctesias (apud Phot., par. 8) reported that Cyrus the Great put Spitaces, son of Spitamenes, in charge of the Derbicans (Francfort), but he mistook the Derbicans for the Dyrbaeans who lived in Sogdia (Nagel, 1982, pp. 63-67). The actual territory of the Derbicans east of the Caspian Sea was certainly not conquered by Cyrus. The conclusion that there must be a mistake here emerges from the fact that Indians participated in the battle on Derbican territory during which Cyrus fell. Strabo (11.8.8), at any rate, knew that the Derbicans were neighbours of the Hyrcanians (cf. Ptol. 6.10.2-3; Steph. Byz., s.v. Delbikkai). The “Derbicans” named by Ctesias must actually be identical with the Sogdian tribe of Drybactae known to Ptolomy (Geog. 6.12.4 The territory of the Drybactae/Dyrbaeans according to Stephanus Byzantinus (s.v. Dyrbaioi) bordered on Bactria and India. Therefore the only suitable location for the “eastern Derbicans,” i.e., the Dyrbaeans, is the Afghan province of Badaḵšān. Here, in the Monjan valley, was the only source of lapis lazuli exploited at that date; and Darius’s foundation Inscription from Susa mentions the import of lapis lazuli from Sogdia (DSf 37-38).

7.2.1. Central Minor Satrapy Suguda/Sogdia. Its southern border was marked by the Oxus/Āmu Daryā (Strab., 11.8.8, 11.11.4). In the west the Polytimetus/Zeravshan river was presumably its frontier with the territory of the nomadic Massagetae: after an advance across it, Pharnuches, one of Alexander’s generals, failed to retreat in time to Sogdian territory when he faced a superior force of Sacae (Arr., An. 5.5.3-7; cf. 4.6.5-6). The remaining course of the western border can only be vaguely determined. In the northeast Sogdia bordered on the Amyrgians’ territory, and part of the frontier was marked by the Jaxartes/Syr Daryā (Strab., 11.8.8). In the east the Minor Satrapy was adjacent to Dyrbaean territory (see below 7.2.2).

7.2.2. Minor Satrapy of the Dyrbaeans. Its area must have roughly coincided with that of Badaḵšān (Fleming). In the north and northwest, most of the boundary must have been marked by the Pyandzh river. In the west and the south Bactria and Indian Gandāra were adjacent to the provinve (Steph. Byz. s.v. Dyrbaioi; see above 7).

7.3. Main Satrapy Gandāra/Gandhāra. There is no information about this region before the period of Alexander. At that time, two centers of gravity are discernible One is in the west, in Paropamisus, where Alexander on his arrival founded the city of Alexandria and installed a satrap (Arr., An. 3.28.4, 4.22.4-5; Curt., 7.3.23; Diod., 17.83.1). The other is in the east, where he appointed a second governor, who probably had his official seat in Peucelaotis (Arr., An. 4.28.6; cf., however, Strab., 15.1.27; for details about the conquest, the officials, and the reach of their authority, see Jacobs, 1994, pp. 76-79, 217-21).

Paropamisus, which can be reconstructed as OP *Paraupārisainā, is not attested in OP texts, where the province is called Gandāra (see however DBbab line 6; Lecoq, 1997, p. 56; cf. Jacobs, 1994, pp. 261-62). The western part of the satrapy became the more important one in the time of Alexander and gave its name to the whole province (in due course Alexander’s father-in-law Oxyartes would become satrap there [Arr., Anab. 6.15.3]). This development was dictated by the course of the conquest: after the capture of Paropamisus Alexander first turned against Bactria and, only two years later, continued the conquest south of the Hindu Kush. When the empire was divided at Babylon and Triparadisus, the name was retained: Paropamisadae.

7.3.1. Central Minor Satrapy Gandāra/Gandhāra. This was presumably governed by an indigenous family. Astis is the name of the last governor installed by the Persians, the only one known from the sources (Arr., An. 4.22.8; see however PF 1358: ba-qa-ba-du-is = Bagabādus). The various local dynasts mentioned in the sources were presumably of subordinate rank: Sisicottus, the satrap of the Assaceni (Arr., An. 5.20.7), Assacanus, and his brother who controlled the area around the towns of Massaga and Dyrta (Arr., An. 4.26.1-4.27.4; Curt., 8.10.22), as well as Cophaeus and Assagetes (Arr., An. 4.28.6).

In the east the province bordered on the Indus (see above 6.4.1), and in the north the Hindu Kush formed a natural barrier (Strab., 11.8.8, 15.2.9). The southern border may have coincided with the Cophen/Kabul river (Jacobs, 1994, p. 220). In the west the Choes/Kunar river must have marked the frontier, for after his return from Bactria Alexander split his army somewhere near this river (Arr., Anab. 4.22.7-4.23.1), thus initiating a new stage of conquest after having won Paropamisus two years earlier.

7.3.2. Minor Satrapy Paropamisus was situated west of Gandāra, and stretched from the Cophen/Kabul to the Hindu Kush. Its western extension follows from the reports that it had a common border with Aria (Strab., 15.2.9) and Drangiana (Amm. Marc., 23.6.71).

7.4. Main Satrapy Haraiva/Aria. The capital was Artacoana (Arr., An. 3.25.5; cf. Diod., 17.78.1; Badian in Camb. Hist. Iran, p. 451), but its borders cannot be defined with any precision. Arrian’s notice (An. 3.25.1) that the first important town on Aria’s territory was named Susia (according to Honigmann to be identified with Tus near modern Mashad) provides a point of reference for the west, where the province bordered on Parthia and Hyrcania (Ptol., Geog. 6.17.1). Otherwise, it had long common borders with Bactria and Margiana in the north (see above 7.1.1 and 7.1.2) and Drangiana in the southeast (Strab., 11.10.1).

7.5. Main Satrapy of the Dahā (= Sakā paradraya)/Dahae. The Sakā paradraya from the OP lists are occasionally identified with the Scythians of the Black Sea (Lehmann-Haupt, col. 95; Cameron, 1943, p. 309; Altheim, pp. 129-30; Calmeyer, pp. 115-6; Petit, 1984, p. 44; Cook, p. 254; Vogelsang, 1992, pp. 106 et passim; Klinkott, pp. 120-21). This is impossible for various reasons, but especially for the reason that the Persians never conquered their territory (Nagel, 1982, p. 63; 1983, pp. 170-71; Jacobs, 1994, pp. 257-60).

The Dahae settled east of the Caspian (Strab., 11.7.1, 11.8.2). The eastern boundary of their territory was the Aral, as can be concluded from the course of Darius’s campaign against the Sacae in 519 BCE (Nagel, 1983, pp. 171-72; Jacobs, 1994, p. 258), while the southern border with Chorasmia ran along the Uzboy (see above 2.2.4). The northern borders, however, are uncertain.

7.6. Main Satrapy of the Sakā tigraxaudā/Massagetae. The Massagetae lived as nomads in the Kizilkum desert. A common border with the Chorasmians and the Dahae is attested (Curt., 8.1.8). The Oxus must have formed it in the southwest (Strab., 11.8.8). In the north and the east the Jaxartes/Syr Daryā, which separated Sogdia from Amyrgian territory (Strab., 11.8.8), certainly also marked the frontier of the territory of the Massagetae. In the south the Polytimetus/Zeravshan river separated the satrapy from the territory of the Dyrbaeans (see above 7.2.1), while in the north the Aral Sea formed a natural barrier.

7.7. Main Satrapy of the Sakā haumavargā/Amyrgians. The inscriptions DH and DPh banish the “Sacae beyond Sogdia” to the northeast extremity of the empire. Only the southwestern boundary of their territory is definable, where the Jaxartes/Syr Darya separated it from the Massagetan territory and from Sogdia (see above 7.6).


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Idem, “Hyrkania,” in RE IX, cols. 454-526.

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Idem, Les inscriptions de la Perse achéménide, Paris, 1997.

Carl Ferdinand Lehmann-Haupt, “Satrap (und Satrapie),” in RE II A, cols. 82-188.

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Thomas Lenschau, “Pharnabazos 1) – 3),” in RE XIX, cols. 1842-48.

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Idem, “Paphlagonia,” in RE XVIII-4, cols. 2486-2550.

Heleen Sancisi-Weerdenburg, “Was there ever a Median Empire?” in Kuhrt and Sancisi-Weerdenburg, 1988, pp. 192-212.

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(Bruno Jacobs)

Originally Published: August 15, 2006

Last Updated: July 21, 2011

Cite this entry:

Bruno Jacobs, “ACHAEMENID SATRAPIES,” Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2011, available at (accessed on 20 September 2016).