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Gobryas (3)


A Persian nobleman. Terracotta figure from Persepolis. Archaeological museum, Tehran (Iran). Photo Marco Prins.
A Persian nobleman.
Terracotta figure from
Persepolis (Archaeological
museum
, Tehran)
Gobryas (Old Persian Gaubaruva): name of several Persian noblemen, e.g.:

the satrap of Babylonia and the countries 'across the river' (Euphrates). He was appointed in this important function by the Persian king Cyrus the Great in 535 BCE and is mentioned in several cuneiform texts from Babylonia, in which he is called Gubāru. For example, we can read how he intervened in a conflict between the temple known as Eanna and the town Uruk. One of his subordinates was the Achaemenid prince Pharnaces, who is mentioned in a tablet from 528 BCE, during the reign of Cyrus' successor Cambyses.

In Antiquity, he was best known for the canals he had dug or repaired. Several cuneiform tablets are related to this activity, and more than six centuries later, the Roman author Pliny the Elder knew of a 'prefect' Gobares who cut a canal to protect Babylonia from the Euphrates flooding (Natural history 6.120).

It is unclear whether Gobryas was still alive in the eventful year 522, when Gaumāta seized power in the Achaemenid empire, Cambyses died, Darius killed Gaumāta and became king, and the Babylonians revolted against their Persian overlords under their new king Nidintu-Bźl. Maybe Gobryas was killed during this rebellion.

Gobryas had a son Nabūgu.

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