Satraps and satrapies

Satraps (Old Persian khšaçapâvâ): the governors of the satrapies (provinces) of the ancient Achaemenid Empire

A satrap receiving an embassy

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, who founded local dynasties and could act quite independently.

There are several catalogues of the satrapies of the Achaemenid empire. The best known are

These texts allow us to see how the territorial units of the Persian Empire slowly changed in the course of two centuries. The names, which are not always the same, are offered in the table below.

The Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire


Herodotus, Army List Persians
Arrian, Anabasis Persis


Darius, Behistun Elam
Herodotus, Tribute List District VIII: Susa and the Cissians
Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Elam
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Elam
Herodotus, Army List Cissians
Arrian, Anabasis Susiana

Babylonia and Assyria

Darius, Behistun Babylonia and Assyria
Herodotus, Tribute List District IX: Babylon and Assyria
Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Babylon, Assyria
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Babylon, Assyria
Herodotus, Army List Assyrians and Chaldaeans
Arrian, Anabasis Babylon, Assyria


Darius, Behistun Media
Herodotus, Tribute List District X/a: Ecbatana, Media, Paritacania
Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Media
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Media
Herodotus, Army List Medes
Arrian, Anabasis Media


Herodotus, Tribute List District X/b: Orthocorybantians
Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Sacae with pointed caps
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Sacae with pointed caps
Arrian, Anabasis Sacae


Herodotus, Tribute List District I/a: Pamphylia
Herodotus, Army List Pamphylia


Darius, Behistun Yaunâ
Herodotus, Tribute List District I/b: Lycians, Magnesians, Ionians, Aeolians, Milyans
Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Yaunâ
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Yaunâ by the sea
Herodotus, Army List Lycia, Doris, Ionia, Ionians from the islands, Aiolia, Milyans with Cabalians and Lasonians
Arrian, Anabasis Ionia


Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Yaunâ with sun hats


Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Yaunâ across the sea


Herodotus, Tribute List District I/c: Carians
Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Caria
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Caria
Herodotus, Army List Caria
Arrian, Anabasis Caria


Darius, Behistun Sardes
Herodotus, Tribute List District II: Lydians, Mysians, Lasonians, Cabalians,Hytennians
Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Sardes
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Sardes
Herodotus, Army List Lydia and Mysians, Cabalians and Lasonians
Arrian, Anabasis Lydia

Saspires and Alarodians

Herodotus, Tribute List District XVIII/a: Saspires, Alarodians
Herodotus, Army List Saspires and Alarodians


Herodotus, Tribute List District XVIII/b: Matienians
Herodotus, Army List Matienians


Herodotus, Tribute List District III/a: Paphlagonians
Herodotus, Army List Paphlagonians


Darius, Behistun Countries by the sea
Herodotus, Tribute List District III/b: Hellespontines, Asian Thracians, Mariandynians
Herodotus, Army List Hellespontines, Asian Thracians (or Bithynians), Ligyans, Mariandynians
Arrian, Anabasis Greater Phrygia


Darius, Behistun Cappadocia
Herodotus, Tribute List District III/c: Syrians, Phrygians
Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Cappadocia
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Cappadocia
Herodotus, Army List Syrians (= Cappadocians)
Arrian, Anabasis Cappadocia


Darius, Behistun Armenia
Herodotus, Tribute List District XIII: the Armenians and "their neighbors as far as the Black Sea", Pactyica
Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Armenia
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Armenia
Herodotus, Army List Phrygians and Armenians, Pactyans
Arrian, Anabasis Armenia


Herodotus, Tribute List District IV: Cilicians
Herodotus, Army List Cilicians
Arrian, Anabasis Cilicians


Darius, Behistun Beyond the river
Herodotus, Tribute List District V: Phoenicia; Palestina; Cyprus
Herodotus, Army List Phoenicia and Palestina; Cyprus
Arrian, Anabasis Syria, Palestina


Darius, Behistun Egypt
Herodotus, Tribute List District VI/a: Egypt
Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Egypt
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Egypt
Herodotus, Army List Egypt
Arrian, Anabasis Egypt


Herodotus, Tribute List District VI/b: Libya, Cyrene, Barca
Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Libya
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Libya
Herodotus, Army List Libyans


Herodotus, Tribute List District XX: Indians
Darius, Naqš-e Rustam India
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription India
Herodotus, Army List Indians and Asiatic Ethiopians
Arrian, Anabasis Taxila


Darius, Behistun Gandara
Herodotus, Tribute List District VII/a: Gandarians, Dadicae, Aparytae
Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Gandara
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Gandara
Herodotus, Army List Gandarians and Dadicae


Darius, Behistun Sattagydia
Herodotus, Tribute List District VII/b: Sattagydians
Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Sattagydia
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Sattagydia


Herodotus, Tribute List District XVII: Paricanians, Asiatic Ethiopians
Herodotus, Army List Paricanians
Arrian, Anabasis Oreitians, Ichthyophagi, Gedrosia, Carmania


Herodotus, Tribute List District XI: Caspians, Pausicae, Pantimathi, Daritae
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Men of Âkaufaciyâ?
Herodotus, Army List Caspians and Hyrcanians (?)
Arrian, Anabasis Mardians, Hyrcanians


Darius, Behistun Maka
Herodotus, Tribute List District XIV/a: Myci
Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Maka
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Maka
Herodotus, Army List Myci


Darius, Behistun Drangiana
Herodotus, Tribute List District XIV/b: Sarangians, Thamanaeans, Utians, those deported to the Persian Gulf, Sagartians
Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Drangiana
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Drangiana
Herodotus, Army List Sarangians, Utians and deported ones, Sagartians
Arrian, Anabasis Drangiana


Darius, Behistun Arachosia
Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Arachosia
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Arachosia
Arrian, Anabasis Arachosia


Darius, Behistun Bactria
Herodotus, Tribute List District XII: Bactrians
Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Bactria
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Bactria
Herodotus, Army List Bactrians
Arrian, Anabasis Bactria

Amyrgian Sacae

Darius, Behistun Sacae
Herodotus, Tribute List District XV: Sacae and Caspians
Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Amyrgian Sacae
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Amyrgian Sacae
Herodotus, Army List Amyrgian Sacae


Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Dahae
Arrian, Anabasis Dahae


Darius, Behistun Parthia
Herodotus, Tribute List District XVI/a: Parthians
Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Parthia
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Parthia
Herodotus, Army List Parthians
Arrian, Anabasis Parthia


Darius, Behistun Aria
Herodotus, Tribute List District XVI/b: Arians
Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Aria
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Aria
Herodotus, Army List Arians
Arrian, Anabasis Aria


Darius, Behistun Chorasmia
Herodotus, Tribute List District XVI/c: Chorasmians
Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Chorasmia
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Chorasmia
Herodotus, Army List Chorasmians
Arrian, Anabasis Chorasmia


Darius, Behistun Sogdia
Herodotus, Tribute List District XVI/d: Sogdians
Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Sogdia
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Sogdia
Herodotus, Army List Sogdians
Arrian, Anabasis Sogdia


Herodotus, Tribute List District XIX: Moschi, Tibareni, Macrones, Mosynoeci, Mares
Herodotus, Army List Moschi, Tibareni, Macrones, Mossynoeci, Mares


Herodotus, Tribute List Colchians and the tribes of the Caucasus
Herodotus, Army List Colchians


Herodotus, Tribute List Ethiopians
Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Kush
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Kush
Herodotus, Army List Ethiopians


Darius, Behistun Arabia
Herodotus, Tribute List Arabs
Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Arabia
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Arabia
Herodotus, Army List Arabs
Arrian, Anabasis Arabia


Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Sacae across the Sea


Darius, Naqš-e Rustam Thrace
Xerxes, Daiva Inscription Thrace

This page was created in 1996; last modified on 24 September 2020.