Gobryas (satrap)

Gobryas (Old Persian Gaubaruva): satrap of Babylonia and the countries "across the river" (Euphrates).

Achaemenid nobleman
Achaemenid nobleman

Gobryas was appointed in his important office by the Persian king Cyrus the Great in 535 BCE. He is mentioned in several cuneiform texts from Babylonia, in which he is called Gubâru. For example, we can read how he intervened in a conflict between the temple known as Eanna and the city of 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, Gobryas 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" named Gobares who cut a canal to protect Babylonia from the Euphrates flooding.note

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

Gobryas had a son Nabûgu.

This page was created in 1996; last modified on 10 April 2020.