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Satraps were the governors of the provinces of the ancient Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as in the Sasanian Empire
Sasanian Empire
and the Hellenistic empires. 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]

Contents

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

Etymology[edit] The word satrap is derived via Latin satrapes from Greek satrápēs (σατράπης), itself borrowed from an Old Iranian *xšaθra-pā/ă-.[2] 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-.[3] It is cognate with Sanskrit
Sanskrit
kshatrapam (क्षत्रपम्) or kshtrapa, from xšaça ("realm" or "province") and pāvan ("protector") and is the origin of the word "kshatriya". In the Parthian (language of the Arsacid Empire) and Middle Persian (the language of the Sassanian Empire), it is recorded in the forms šahrab and šasab, respectively.[4] 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 [شهر‎] meaning "town" + bān [بان‎] meaning "keeper"). Medo-Persian satraps[edit] Although the first large-scale use of satrapies, or provinces, originates from the inception of the Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid 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 called 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.

Silver coin of Pharnabazus II, the Persian satrap of Cilicia. The relief on coin is in Hellenistic style, while the writing is in Aramaic.

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, Persepolis. Whenever central authority in the empire weakened, the satrap often enjoyed practical independence, especially as it became customary to appoint him also as general-in-chief of the army district, contrary to the original rule. "When his office became hereditary, the threat to the central authority could not be ignored" (Olmstead). Rebellions of satraps became frequent from the middle of the 5th century BCE. Darius I
Darius I
struggled with widespread rebellions in the satrapies, and under Artaxerxes II
Artaxerxes II
occasionally the greater parts of Asia Minor
Asia Minor
and Syria were in open rebellion (Revolt of the Satraps). The last great rebellions were put down by Artaxerxes III. Hellenistic satraps[edit]

The satraps appointed by Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great
during his campaign

The satrapic administration and title were retained—even for Greco-Macedonian incumbents—by Alexander the Great, who conquered the Achaemenid Empire, and by his successors, the Diadochi
Diadochi
(and their dynasties) who carved it up, especially in the Seleucid Empire, where the satrap generally was designated as strategos; but their provinces were much smaller than under the Persians. They would ultimately be replaced by conquering empires, especially the Parthians. Parthian and Sassanian satraps[edit] In the Parthian Empire, the king's power rested on the support of noble families who ruled large estates, and supplied soldiers and tribute to the king. City-states within the empire enjoyed a degree of self-government, and paid tribute to the king. Administration of the Sassanid Empire
Sassanid Empire
was considerably more centralized than that of the Parthian Empire; the semi-independent kingdoms and self-governing city states of the Parthian Empire
Parthian Empire
were replaced with a system of "royal cities" which served as the seats of centrally appointed governors called shahrabs as well as the location of military garrisons. Shahrabs ruled both the city and the surrounding rural districts. Exceptionally, the East Roman Empire
East Roman Empire
also adopted the title "satrap" for the semi-autonomous princes that governed one of its Armenian provinces, the Satrapiae. Western satraps[edit] Main article: Western satraps The Western Satraps or Kshatrapas (35–405 CE) were Saka
Saka
rulers in the western and central part of the Sindh
Sindh
region of Pakistan, and the Saurashtra and Malwa
Malwa
regions of western India. They were contemporaneous with the Kushans who ruled the northern part of the subcontinent from the area of Peshawar
Peshawar
and were possibly their overlords, and with the Satavahana
Satavahana
(Andhra) who ruled in central India to their south and east and the Kushan
Kushan
state to their immediate west. Satraps today[edit]

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.[citation needed] In Portuguese, Italian, Spanish and Greek the word sátrapa/satrápēs (σατράπης) 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
'Pataphysics
used the title Transcendent Satrap
Satrap
for certain of its members, including Marcel Duchamp, Jean Baudrillard
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.[citation needed] THRUSH, the primary antagonist organization in the TV series The Man From U.N.C.L.E., was divided into satrapies, based on geographic location.

See also[edit]

Suzerainty Orontid Dynasty

References[edit]

^ " Satrap
Satrap
– Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". Merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2012-01-26.  ^ http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/greece-xi-xii ^ https://www.academia.edu/6560686/_Towards_the_Discusion_on_the_Language_of_the_Scythians_The_Transition_of_OIr_x%C5%A1-_s-_and_its_Reflection_in_the_Ancient_Greek_%D0%9A_%D0%B4%D0%B8%D1%81%D0%BA%D1%83%D1%81%D1%81%D0%B8%D0%B8_%D0%BE_%D1%8F%D0%B7%D1%8B%D0%BA%D0%B5_%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B8%D1%84%D0%BE%D0%B2_%D0%BF%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%B5%D1%85%D0%BE%D0%B4_%D0%B4%D1%80.%D0%B8%D1%80._x%C5%A1-_s-_%D0%B8_%D0%B5%D0%B3%D0%BE_%D0%BE%D1%82%D1%80%D0%B0%D0%B6%D0%B5%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%B5_%D0%B2_%D0%B4%D1%80%D0%B5%D0%B2%D0%BD%D0%B5%D0%B3%D1%80%D0%B5%D1%87%D0%B5%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%BC ^ "šasab" in David Neil MacKenzie, A Concise Pahlavi Dictionary (1971).

Ashley, James R. (2004) [First published 1998]. "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. 

Further reading[edit]

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.

External links[edit]

Look up satrap in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Livius.org: Satraps and satrapies

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Provinces of the Achaemenid Empire (Behistun / Persepolis / Naqsh-e Rustam / Susa / Daiva
Daiva
inscriptions)

Amyrgoi Arabia Arachosia Aria Armenia Assyria Babylonia Bactria Cappadocia Caria Carmania Caucasian Albania Chorasmia Cilicia Colchis Dahae Drangiana 1st Egypt / 2nd Egypt Eber-Nari Elam Kusha (Nubia) Gandhara Gedrosia Hyrcania Ionia Hindush Libya Maka Margiana Media Lesser Media Massagetae Parthia Persia Phoenicia Phrygia

Hellespontine Phrygia Greater Phrygia

Saka Samaritan Province Lydia Sattagydia Thrace Sogdia Yehud

See also Districts of the Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
(according to Herodotus)

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Designations for types of administrative territorial entities

English terms

Common English terms1

Area

Insular area Local government area Protected area Special
Special
area Statistical area

Combined statistical area Metropolitan statistical area Micropolitan statistical area

Urban area

Canton

Half-canton

Borough

County
County
borough Metropolitan borough

Capital

Federal capital Imperial capital

City

City
City
state Autonomous city Charter city Independent city Incorporated city Imperial city Free imperial city Royal free city

Community

Autonomous community Residential community

County

Administrative county Autonomous county Consolidated city-county Metropolitan county

Non-metropolitan

Viscountcy

Country

Overseas country

Department

Overseas department

District

Capital district City
City
district Congressional district Electoral district Federal district Indian government district Land district Metropolitan district

Non-metropolitan district

Military district Municipal district Police district Regional district Rural district Sanitary district Subdistrict Urban district Special
Special
district

Division

Census division Police division Subdivision

Municipality

City
City
municipality County
County
municipality

Norway Nova Scotia Regional county municipality

Direct-controlled municipality District
District
municipality Mountain resort municipality Neutral municipality Regional municipality Resort municipality Rural municipality Specialized municipality

Prefecture

Autonomous prefecture Subprefecture Super-prefecture Praetorian prefecture

Province

Autonomous province Overseas province Roman province

Region

Administrative region Autonomous region Capital region Development region Economic region Mesoregion Microregion Overseas region Planning region Special
Special
administrative region Statistical region Subregion

Reserve

Biosphere reserve Ecological reserve Game reserve Indian reserve Nature reserve

State

Federal state Free state Sovereign state

Territory

Capital territory

Federal capital territory

Dependent territory Federal territory Military territory Organized incorporated territory Overseas territory Union territory Unorganized territory

Town

Census town Market town

Township

Charter township Civil township Paper township Survey township Urban township

Unit

Autonomous territorial unit Local administrative unit Municipal unit Regional unit

Zone

Economic zone

Exclusive economic zone Free economic zone Special
Special
economic zone

Free-trade zone Neutral zone Self-administered zone

Other English terms

Current

Alpine resort Bailiwick Banner

Autonomous

Block Cadastre Circle Circuit Colony Commune Condominium Constituency Duchy Eldership Emirate Federal dependency Governorate Hamlet Ilkhanate Indian reservation Manor

Royal

Muftiate Neighbourhood Parish Periphery Precinct Principality Protectorate Quarter Regency Autonomous republic Riding Sector

Autonomous

Shire Sultanate Suzerainty Townland Village

Administrative Summer

Ward

Historical

Agency Barony Burgh Exarchate Hide Hundred Imperial Circle March Monthon Presidency Residency Roman diocese Seat Tenth Tithing

Non-English or loanwords

Current

Amt Bakhsh Barangay Bezirk Regierungsbezirk Comune Frazione Fu Gemeinde Județ Kunta / kommun

Finland Sweden

Län Località Megye Muban Oblast

Autonomous

Okrug Ostān Poblacion Purok Shahrestān Sum Sýsla Tehsil Vingtaine

Historical

Commote Gau Heerlijkheid Köping Maalaiskunta Nome

Egypt Greece

Pagus Pargana Plasă Satrapy Socken Subah Syssel Zhou

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Arabic
Arabic
terms for country subdivisions

First-level

Muhafazah (محافظة governorate) Wilayah (ولاية province) Mintaqah (منطقة region) Mudiriyah (مديرية directorate) Imarah (إمارة emirate) Baladiyah (بلدية municipality) Shabiyah (شعبية "popularate")

Second / third-level

Mintaqah (منطقة region) Qadaa (قضاء district) Nahiyah (ناحية subdistrict) Markaz (مركز district) Mutamadiyah (معتمدية "delegation") Daerah/Daïra (دائرة circle) Liwa (لواء banner / sanjak)

City / township-level

Amanah (أمانة municipality) Baladiyah (بلدية municipality) Ḥai (حي neighborhood / quarter) Mahallah (محلة) Qarya (قرية) Sheyakhah (شياخة "neighborhood subdivision")

English translations given are those most commonly used.

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French terms for country subdivisions

arrondissement département préfecture subprefectures

v t e

Greek terms for country subdivisions

Modern

apokentromenes dioikiseis / geniki dioikisis§ / diamerisma§ / periphereia nomos§ / periphereiaki enotita demos / eparchia§ / koinotita§

Historical

archontia/archontaton bandon demos despotaton dioikesis doukaton droungos eparchia exarchaton katepanikion kephalatikion kleisoura meris naukrareia satrapeia strategis thema toparchia tourma

§ signifies a defunct institution

v t e

Portuguese terms for country subdivisions

Regional subdivisions

Estado Distrito federal Província Região Distrito Comarca Capitania

Local subdivisions

Município Concelho Freguesia Comuna Circunscrição

Settlements

Cidade Vila Aldeia Bairro Lugar

Historical subdivisions in italics.

v t e

Slavic terms for country subdivisions

Current

dzielnica gmina krai kraj krajina / pokrajina městys obec oblast / oblast' / oblasti / oblys / obwód / voblast' okręg okres okrug opština / općina / občina / obshtina osiedle powiat / povit raion selsoviet / silrada sołectwo voivodeship / vojvodina županija

Historical

darugha gromada guberniya / gubernia jurydyka khutor obshchina okolia opole pogost prowincja sorok srez starostwo / starostva uyezd volost ziemia župa

v t e

Spanish terms for country subdivisions

National, Federal

Comunidad autónoma Departamento Distrito federal Estado Provincia Región

Regional, Metropolitan

Cantón Comarca Comuna Corregimiento Delegación Distrito Mancomunidad Merindad Municipalidad Municipio Parroquia

Ecuador Spain

Urban, Rural

Aldea Alquería Anteiglesia Asentamiento

Asentamiento informal Pueblos jóvenes

Barrio Campamento Caserío Ciudad

Ciudad autónoma

Colonia Lugar Masía Pedanía Población Ranchería Sitio Vereda Villa Village
Village
(Pueblito/Pueblo)

Historical subdivisions in italics.

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Turkish terms for country subdivisions

Modern

il (province) ilçe (district) şehir (city) kasaba (town) belediye (municipality) belde (community) köy (village) mahalle (neighbourhood/quarter)

Historical

ağalık (feudal district) bucak (subdistrict) beylerbeylik (province) kadılık (subprovince) kaza (sub-province) hidivlik (viceroyalty) mutasarrıflık (subprovince) nahiye (nahiyah) paşalık (province) reya (Romanian principalities) sancak (prefecture) vilayet (province) voyvodalık (Romanian provinces)

1 Used by ten or more countries or having derived terms. Historical derivations in italics. See also: Census division, Electoral district, Political division, and List of administrative di

.