Achaemenid Satrapies > Satrapy of Media

Satrapy of Media

Background

Within one hundred years of the collapse of the Assyrian Empire the Median Kingdom was conquered along with Babylonia, Lydia and Egypt and assimilated into the larger Achaemenid Empire not long after it was created.

In fact, if you look at the maps it almost looks like the territory boundaries of the empires did not even change that much, it all just merged into one cohesive body. You can see that the only possible places for the Achaemenid Empire to advance at this point is south into Africa, east into India or west into Greece. It appears the Persians chose the latter and a clash of civilizations occurred that eventually led to the downfall of the entire Empire.

Achaemenid Empire Map (500 BCE) - Historical Atlas (1923)

Media (Old Persian: Māda, Middle Persian: Mād) is a region of north-western Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Medes.[N 1] During the Achaemenid period, it comprised present-day Azarbaijan, Iranian Kurdistan and western Tabaristan. As a satrapy under Achaemenid rule, it would eventually encompass a wider region, stretching to southern Dagestan in the north.[2] However, after the wars of Alexander the Great, the northern parts were separated and became known as Atropatene, while the remaining region became known as Lesser Media. In 678 BC, Deioces united the Median tribes of Media and made the first Iranian empire. His grandson Cyaxares managed to unite all Iranian tribes of Ancient Iran and made his empire a major power. When Cyaxares died he was succeeded by his son, Astyages, who was the last king of the Median empire. Under the Achaemenids[edit] The Ganj Nameh (lit.: Treasure epistle) in Ecbatana. The inscriptions are by Darius I and his son in Xerxes I Apadana Hall, 5th-century BC carving of Persian archers and Median soldiers in traditional costume (Medians are wearing rounded hats and boots) In 553 BC, Cyrus the Great, King of Persia, rebelled against his grandfather, the Median King, Astyages son of Cyaxares; he finally won a decisive victory in 550 BC resulting in Astyages' capture by his own dissatisfied nobles, who promptly turned him over to the triumphant Cyrus.[3] After Cyrus's victory against Astyages, the Medes were subjected to their close kin, the Persians.[4] In the new empire they retained a prominent position; in honor and war, they stood next to the Persians; their court ceremony was adopted by the new sovereigns, who in the summer months resided in Ecbatana; and many noble Medes were employed as officials, satraps and generals. Interestingly, at the beginning the Greek historians referred to the Achaemenid Empire as a Median empire. After the assassination of the usurper Smerdis, a Mede Fravartish (Phraortes), claiming to be a scion of Cyaxares, tried to restore the Mede kingdom, but was defeated by the Persian generals and executed in Ecbatana (Darius I in the Behistun inscription). Another rebellion, in 409 BC, against Darius II[5] was of short duration. But the Iranian[6] tribes to the north, especially the Cadusii, were always troublesome; many abortive expeditions of the later kings against them are mentioned.[7] Under Persian rule, the country was divided into two satrapies: the south, with Ecbatana and Rhagae (Rey near modern Tehran), Media proper, or Greater Media, as it is often called, formed in Darius I the Great's organization the eleventh satrapy,[8] together with the Paricanians and Orthocorybantians; the north, the district of Matiane, together with the mountainous districts of the Zagros and Assyria proper (east of the Tigris) was united with the Alarodians and Saspirians in eastern Armenia, and formed the eighteenth satrapy.[9] Caucasian Albania (roughly comprising modern-day Azerbaijan and southern Dagestan) was rapidly incorporated by the Achaemenid Persians and were under the command of the satrapy of Media[10][11] in the later period. When the Persian empire decayed and the Cadusii and other mountainous tribes made themselves independent, eastern Armenia became a special satrapy, while Assyria seems to have been united with Media; therefore Xenophon in the Anabasis always designates Assyria by the name of "Media".[7]

Achaemenid Satrapies

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Sources

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

Jump up ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Online Media (ancient region, Iran) Jump up ^ Bruno Jacobs, "ACHAEMENID RULE IN Caucasus" in Encyclopædia Iranica. January 9, 2006. Excerpt: "Achaemenid rule in the Caucasus region was established, at the latest, in the course of the Scythian campaign of Darius I in 513-12 BCE. The Persian domination of the cis-Caucasian area (the northern side of the range) was brief, and archeological findings indicate that the Great Caucasus formed the northern border of the empire during most, if not all, of the Achaemenid period after Darius" Jump up ^ Briant, Pierre (2006). From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire. Eisenbrauns. p. 31. Jump up ^ Herodotus, The Histories, p. 93. Jump up ^ Xenophon, Hellen. 2, 19 Jump up ^ Rudiger Schmitt, "Cadusii" in Encyclopedia Iranica ^ Jump up to: a b Wikisource-logo.svg Meyer, Eduard (1911). "Media". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 21. Jump up ^ Herodotus iii. 92 Jump up ^ Herod. iii. 94; cf. v. 49, 52, VII. 72 Jump up ^ Chaumont, M. L. Albania. Encyclopædia Iranica. Jump up ^ Bruno Jacobs, "ACHAEMENID RULE IN Caucasus" in Encyclopædia Iranica. January 9, 2006. Excerpt: "Achaemenid rule in the Caucasus region was established, at the latest, in the course of the Scythian campaign of Darius I in 513-12 BCE. The Persian domination of the cis-Caucasian area (the northern side of the range) was brief, and archeological findings indicate that the Great Caucasus formed the northern border of the empire during most, if not all, of the Achaemenid period after Darius" Jump up ^ Polybius, x. 27 Jump up ^ Strabo, xi. 524 Jump up ^ Justin xli. 6 Jump up ^ Strabo xi. 524 Jump up ^ Isidorus Charac. Notes[edit] Jump up ^ A)"..and the Medes (Iranians of what is now north-west Iran).." EIEC (1997:30). B) "Archaeological evidence for the religion of the Iranian-speaking Medes of the .." (Diakonoff 1985, p. 140). C) ".. succeeded in uniting into a kingdom the many Iranian-speaking Median tribes" ( from Encyclopædia Britannica [1]). D) "Proto-Iranian split into Western (Median, ancient Persian, and others) and Eastern (Scythian, Ossetic, Saka, Pamir and others)..." (Kuz'mina, Elena E. (2007), The origin of the Indo-Iranians, J. P. Mallory (ed.), BRILL, p. 303, ISBN 978-90-04-16054-5) ... [show] v t e Provinces of the Achaemenid Empire (Behistun / Persepolis / Naqsh-e Rustam / Susa / Daiva inscriptions)