ARYANDES, Achaemenid satrap of Egypt. The name is of uncertain etymology (R. Schmitt, “Medisches und persisches Sprachgut bei Herodot,” ZDMG 117, 1967, pp. 119-45 esp. p. 134 n.106). He was appointed by Cambyses in 522 B.C. (Herodotus 4.166). Soon after, a rebellion forced the imperial officials out (DB 2.5-8 with Polyaenus 7.11.7), but Darius traveled to Egypt in the summer of 518, pacified the people, and reinstated Aryandes (Polyaenus, loc. cit., with G. Posener, La première domination perse en Egypte, Cairo, 1936, pp. 36ff.; R. A. Parker, “Darius and his Egyptian Campaign,” AJSL 58, 1951, pp. 373ff.; G. G. Cameron, “Darius, Egypt and "the Land beyond the Sea",” JNES 2, 1943, pp. 307-13, esp. p. 310). Desiring to codify the Egyptian laws (Diodorus 1.95.4-5), Darius wrote “to his satrap” before December, 518: “Let them bring to me the wise men among the warriors, priests, and scribes of Egypt, who have assembled from the temples, and let them write down the former law of Egypt until year XLIV of Pharaoh Amasis. The law of Pharaoh, temple and people let them bring here” (W. Spiegelberg, Die sogennante demotische Chronik, Paris, 1914, pp. 30ff.; A. T. Olmstead, History of the Persian Empire, Chicago, 1948, p. 142).

When Darius was campaigning in Europe (ca. 515/13 B.C.), Aryandes sent an army under two Persians to support Pheretime, the mother of Arcesilaus, who had submitted to Cambyses and whom the Barcans had assassinated. The expedition lasted nearly a year and resulted in the subjugation of the Libyans; the Persians penetrated as far west as the Euseperides (Benghazi), and Libya was made into a Persian satrapy and named Putāya (Herodotus 4.146, 165, 167, 200ff.). Aryandes had been succeeded by Pherendates sometime before 492 (W. Spiegelberg, “Drei demotische Schreiben aus der Korrespondenz des Pherendates,” SPAW, 1928, pp. 604ff.). According to Herodotus (4.166) “Darius had refined gold to the last perfection of purity in order to have coins struck of it; Aryandes, in his Egyptian government, did the very same with silver, so that to this day there is no such pure silver anywhere as the Aryandic. Darius, when this came to his ears, brought another charge, a charge of rebellion, against Aryandes, and put him to death.” However, this seems to be a distorted tradition since no “Aryandic” silver is known (Parker, op. cit., p. 373 n. 5). J. G. Milne explained the tradition as follows (“The Silver of Aryandes,” Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 24, 1936, pp. 245-46): In the official coinage, the ratio of silver to gold was thirteen to one, but in Egypt gold bullion had a far higher value; by melting down gold coins (darics) and selling them as bullion, Aryandes made a huge profit. But in so doing, he committed the “treason” of destroying the royal figure borne on the coins, and was accordingly punished by death.

Bibliography: Given in the text.

(A. Sh. Shahbazi)

Originally Published: December 15, 1987

Last Updated: August 15, 2011

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Vol. II, Fasc. 7, pp. 683-684