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Satraps and satrapies


Map of the Persian empire. Design Jona Lendering.
Satraps (Old Persian khšaçapâvâ): the governors of the satrapies (provinces) of the ancient Achaemenid empire

The title satrap is older than the Persian empire: the word khšaçapâvâ is Median (it means 'protector of the realm') and was used to describe the vassal kings of the Median empire. The Median and Persian kings sent out inspectors with the title "eye of the king" to control and supervise their satraps.

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A satrap receiving a visitor. Relief from the Monument of the Nereids, British Museum, London (Britain). Photo Marco Prins.
A satrap receiving a visitor. Monument of the Nereids, Xanthus (British Museum)

There are several catalogues of the satrapies of the Achaemenid empire. The best known are
Finally, there are many satrapies mentioned in a book about Alexander the Great, the Anabasis by Arrian of Nicomedia. These texts allow us to see how the territorial units of the Persian empire slowly changed in the course of two centuries.
 
Darius, Behistun
(521 BCE)
Herodotus, Histories 3.90-94
(Tribute list)
Darius, Naqš-i Rustam
(492 BCE?)
Herodotus, Histories 7.61-96 (army list) (480/481 BCE)
Xerxes, XPh
(daiva inscription)
Arrian, Anabasis
(describes fourth century BCE)
 Persia
   
Persians
 
Persis
Elam
district VIII:
Susa and the Cissians
Elam
Cissians
Elam
 Susiana
Babylonia, Assyria
district IX:
Babylon and Assyria
Babylon, Assyria
Assyrians and Chaldaeans
Babylon, Assyria
Babylon, Assyria
Media
district X/a:
Ecbatana, Media, Paritacania
Media
Media
Media
Media
 
 district X/b: Orthocorybantians
Sacae with pointed caps
 
Sacae with pointed caps
Sacae
 
district I/a:
Pamphylia
 
Pamphylia
   
 Yaunâ
district I/b:
Lycians, Magnesians, Ionians, Aeolians, Milyans
Yaunâ
 Lycia, Doris, Ionia, Ionians from the islands, Aiolia, Milyans with Cabalians and Lasonians
Yaunâ by the sea
 Ionia
   
Ionians with sun hats
(Macedonians)
     
       
Yaunâ across the sea
 
 
 district I/c:
Carians
Caria
Caria
Caria
Caria
 Sardes
district II:
Lydians, Mysians, Lasonians, Cabalians,Hytennians
Sardes
Lydia and Mysians,
Cabalians and Lasonians
Sardes
 Lydia
 
district XVIII/a:
Saspires, Alarodians
 
Alarodians and Saspires
 
 
 
district XVIII/b: Matienians
 
Matienians
   
 
district III/a:
Paphlagonians
 
Paphlagonians
   
Countries by the sea
district III/b: Hellespontines, Asian Thracians, Mariandynians
 
Hellespontines,
Asian Thracians (or Bithynians), Ligyans,  Mariandynians
 
Greater Phrygia
 Cappadocia
district III/c: Syrians, Phrygians
Cappadocia
Syrians 
(= Cappadocians)
Cappadocia
 Cappadocia
Armenia
district XIII:
the Armenians and 'their neighbors as far as the Black Sea', Pactyica
Armenia
Phrygians and Armenians, Pactyans
Armenia
 Armenia
 
district IV:
Cilicians
 
Cilicia
 
 Cilicia
 Beyond the river
district V:
Phoenicia; Palestina; Cyprus
 
Phoenicia and Palestina, Cyprus
 
 Syria, Palestina
 Egypt
district VI/a:
Egypt
Egypt
Egypt
Egypt
 Egypt
 
 district VI/b: Libya, Cyrene, Barca
Libya
 Libyans
Libya
 
 
district XX:
Indians
India
Indians and Asiatic Ethiopians
India
Taxila
 Gandara
district VII/a:
Gandarians, Dadicae, Aparytae
Gandara
Gandarians and Dadicae
Gandara
 
Sattagydia
 district VII/b: Sattagydians
Sattagydia
 
Sattagydia
 
 
district XVII:
Paricanians, Asiatic Ethiopians
 
Paricanians
 
Oreitians, Ichthyophagi
         
Gedrosia, Carmania
 
district XI:
Caspians, Pausicae, Pantimathi, Daritae
 
Caspians,
and Hyrcanians (?)
men of Âkaufaciyâ?
 Mardians, Hyrcanians
 Maka
district XIV/a:  Myci
Maka
 Myci
 Maka
 
Drangiana
 district XIV/b:
Sarangians, Thamanaeans, Utians, those deported to the Persian Gulf, Sagartians
Drangiana
Sarangians, Utians and deported ones, Sagartians
Drangiana
Drangiana
Arachosia
 
Arachosia
 
Arachosia
Arachosia
 Bactria
district XII: Bactrians
 Bactria
Bactrians
Bactria
 Bactria
 Sacae
district XV:
Sacae and Caspians
 Amyrgian Sacae
Amyrgian Sacae
Amyrgian Sacae
 
 
 
 
 
The Dahae
The Dahae
 Parthia
district XVI/a: Parthians
Parthia
Parthians
Parthia
 Parthia
Aria
 district XVI/b: Arians
Aria
 Arians
Aria
Aria
Chorasmia
 district XVI/c: Chorasmians
Chorasmia
 Chorasmians
Chorasmia
Chorasmia
Sogdia
 district XVI/d: Sogdians
Sogdia
 Sogdians
Sogdia
Sogdia
 
district XIX:
Moschi, Tibareni, Macrones, Mosynoeci, Mares
 
Moschi, Tibareni, Macrones, Mossynoeci, Mares 
 
 
 
Colchians and the tribes of the Caucasus
 
Colchians
 
 
 
Ethiopians
Kush
Ethiopians
Kush
 
 Arabia
Arabs
Arabia
Arabs
Arabia
 Arabia
 
 
European Sacae
 
 
 
 
 
 Thrace
 
 Thrace