SATRAPS were the governors of the provinces of the ancient Median and
Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as in the
The word SATRAP is also often used metaphorically in modern literature to refer to world leaders or governors who are heavily influenced by larger world superpowers or hegemonies and act as their surrogates.
* 1 Etymology * 2 Medo-Persian satraps * 3 Hellenistic satraps * 4 Parthian and Sassanian satraps * 5 Western satraps * 6 Satraps today * 7 See also * 8 References * 9 Further reading * 10 External links
The word satrap is derived via Latin satrapes from Greek satrápēs
(σατράπης), itself borrowed from an Old Iranian
*xšaθra-pā/ă-. In Old Persian , which was the native language of
the Achaemenids, it is recorded as xšaçapāvan
(𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎱𐎠𐎺𐎠, literally "protector of the province").
The Median form is reconstructed as *xšaθrapāwan-. It is cognate
In modern Persian the descendant of xšaθrapāvan is shahrbān (شهربان), but the components have undergone semantic shift so the word now means "town keeper" (shahr meaning "town" + bān meaning "keeper").
Although the first large-scale use of satrapies, or provinces, originates from the inception of the First Persian Empire under Cyrus the Great , beginning at around 530 BCE, provincial organization actually originated during the Median era from at least 648 BCE.
Up to the time of the conquest of Media by Cyrus the Great, emperors ruled the lands they conquered through client kings and governors. The main difference was that in Persian culture the concept of kingship was indivisible from divinity: divine authority validated the divine right of kings . The twenty-six satraps established by Cyrus were never kings, but viceroys ruling in the king's name, although in political reality many took advantage of any opportunity to carve themselves an independent power base. Darius the Great gave the satrapies a definitive organization, increased their number to thirty-six, and fixed their annual tribute ( Behistun inscription ).
The satrap was in charge of the land that he owned as an administrator, and found himself surrounded by an all-but-royal court; he collected the taxes, controlled the local officials and the subject tribes and cities, and was the supreme judge of the province before whose "chair" (Nehemiah 3:7) every civil and criminal case could be brought. He was responsible for the safety of the roads (cf. Xenophon), and had to put down brigands and rebels.
He was assisted by a council of Persians, to which also provincials were admitted and which was controlled by a royal secretary and emissaries of the king, especially the "eye of the king", who made an annual inspection and exercised permanent control.
There were further checks on the power of each satrap: besides his secretarial scribe, his chief financial official (Old Persian ganzabara) and the general in charge of the regular army of his province and of the fortresses were independent of him and periodically ported directly to the shah, in person. The satrap was allowed to have troops in his own service.
* The great satrapies (provinces) were often divided into smaller
districts, the governors of which were also called satraps and (by
Greco-Roman authors) also hyparchs (actually Hyparkhos in Greek,
'vice-regents'). The distribution of the great satrapies was changed
repeatedly, and often two of them were given to the same man.
* As the provinces were the result of consecutive conquests (the
homeland had a special status, exempt from provincial tribute), both
primary and sub-satrapies were often defined by former states and/or
ethno-religious identity. One of the keys to the Achaemenid success
(as with most enduring great empires) was their open attitude to the
culture and religion of the conquered people, so the Persian culture
was the one most affected as the Great King endeavoured to meld
elements from all his subjects into a new imperial style, especially
at his capital,
The last great rebellions were put down by
The satraps appointed by
Alexander the Great
The satrapic administration and title were retained—even for
Alexander the Great
PARTHIAN AND SASSANIAN SATRAPS
Main article: Western satraps
The Western Satraps or Kshatrapas (35–405 CE) were
Saka rulers in
the western and central part of the
* It is also used in modern times to refer (usually derogatorily) to
the loyal subservient lieutenants or clients of some powerful figure
(with equal imprecision also styled mogul , tycoon , or the like), in
politics or business.
* In Portuguese , Italian and Spanish , the word sátrapa not only
carries the aforementioned ancient historical meaning, but in modern
usage also applies to people who abuse power or authority. It can
refer as well to those living in luxurious and ostentatious conditions
or to individuals who act astutely and even disloyally.
* The College of \
'Pataphysics used the title Transcendent Satrap
for certain of its members, including
Marcel Duchamp , Jean
Baudrillard and the
Marx brothers .
* In the Serbian language, satrap is used to mock a person who
displays servile tendencies to an authority figure.
* ^ "
* Ashley, James R. (2004) . "Appendix H: Kings and Satraps". The Macedonian Empire: The Era of Warfare Under Philip II and Alexander the Great, 359–323 B.C. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. pp. 385–391. ISBN 978-0-7864-1918-0 .
* A. T. Olmstead, History of the Persian Empire, 1948. * Pauly-Wissowa (comprehensive encyclopaedia on Antiquity; in German). * Robert Dick Wilson. The Book of Daniel: A Discussion of the Historical Questions, 1917. Available on home.earthlink.net. * Rüdiger Schmitt, "Der Titel 'Satrap'", in Studies Palmer ed. Meid (1976), 373–390. * This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Satrap". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. . * Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses, 1992.
Look up SATRAP in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.