Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Journal of Ancient History

Ed. by Farney, Gary

2 Issues per year

Online
ISSN
2324-8114
See all formats and pricing
More options …

Alexander’s Satraps of Media

John Hyland
Published Online: 2013-11-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jah-2013-0008

Abstract

After the conquest of the Achaemenid empire, Alexander of Macedon entrusted numerous provinces to Iranian satraps, many of whom had administrative experience under the earlier Persian kings. Modern scholarship has highlighted Alexander’s subsequent elimination of Iranian governors and replacement of most with Macedonians or Greeks, explaining the retention of a handful as the result of their superior loyalty. This study differs by exploring the Iranian satraps’ agency in obtaining and preserving authority under the new regime. It focuses on Oxydates and Atropates, the governors of the strategic province of Media, and the reasons for the former’s removal and the latter’s long-term success. While logistical and military support of Alexander was a prerequisite for survival, even more significant was the denunciation of rivals for military failures or disloyalty. Oxydates probably succumbed to charges by fellow Iranian nobles, but Atropates orchestrated complaints against the Macedonian generals in Media and profited greatly from their execution, winning royal favor and an advantageous marriage alliance in Alexander’s court. The deaths of Hephaestion and Alexander contributed to the reduction of Atropates’ satrapal position, but his skillful opportunism culminated in the foundation of a new kingdom in the era of the Successors.

Keywords: Alexander,; Achaemenid Persia,; satraps,; Media,; Oxydates,; Atropates

Bibliography

  • Atkinson, J. E. and Yardley, J. C. Curtius Rufus: Histories of Alexander the Great Book 10. Oxford: Oxford U.P., 2009.Google Scholar

  • Badian, E. “The eunuch Bagoas: a study in method.” CQ 8 (1958): 144–57.Google Scholar

  • Badian, E. “Harpalus.” JHS 81 (1961): 16–43.Google Scholar

  • Badian, E. “Conspiracies.” In Alexander the Great in Fact and Fiction, edited by A. B. Bosworth and E. Baynham, 50–95. Oxford: Oxford U.P., 2000.Google Scholar

  • Baynham, E. “Alexander and the Amazons.” CQ 51 (2001): 115–26.Google Scholar

  • Berve, H. Das Alexanderreich auf prosopographischer Grundlage. Two Volumes. Munich: C. H. Beck, 1926.Google Scholar

  • Billows, R. Antigonos the One-Eyed and the Creation of the Hellenistic State. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990.Google Scholar

  • Billows, R. “Polybius and Alexander Historiography.” In Alexander the Great in Fact and Fiction, edited by A. B. Bosworth and E. Baynham, 286–306. Oxford: Oxford U.P., 2000.Google Scholar

  • Bosworth, A. B. “The death of Alexander the Great: rumor and propaganda.” CQ 21 (1971): 112–36.Google Scholar

  • Bosworth, A. B. A Historical Commentary on Arrian’s History of Alexander. Two Volumes. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980–1995.Google Scholar

  • Bosworth, A. B. “Alexander and the Iranians.” JHS 100 (1980): 1–21.Google Scholar

  • Bosworth, A. B. “A missing year in the history of Alexander the Great.” JHS 101 (1981): 17–39.Google Scholar

  • Bosworth, A. B. Conquest and Empire: the reign of Alexander the Great. Cambridge: Cambridge U.P., 1988.Google Scholar

  • Bosworth, A. B. Alexander and the East: the Tragedy of Triumph. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996.Google Scholar

  • Bosworth, A. B. The Legacy of Alexander: Politics, Warfare, and Propaganda under the Successors. Oxford: Oxford U.P., 2002.Google Scholar

  • Briant, P. “Institutions perses et institutions macédoniennes: continuités, changements, et bricolages.” In Continuity and Change: Proceedings of the Last Achaemenid History Workshop, April 6–8, 1990, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Achaemenid History 8, edited by H. Sancisi-Weerdenburg, A. Kuhrt and M. Cool Root, 283–310. Leiden: Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten, 1994.Google Scholar

  • Briant, P. “The Achaemenid Empire.” In War and Society in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds: Asia, the Mediterranean, Europe, and Mesoamerica, edited by K. Raaflaub and N. Rosenstein, 105–28. Cambridge, MA: Harvard U.P., 1999.Google Scholar

  • Briant, P. From Cyrus to Alexander: a History of the Persian Empire. Translated by P. Daniels. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2002.Google Scholar

  • Briant, P. “The Empire of Darius III in Perspective.” In Alexander the Great: a New History, edited by W. Heckel and L. Tritle, 141–70. London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.Google Scholar

  • Briant, P. Alexander the Great and his Empire: a Short Introduction. Translated by A. Kuhrt. Princeton: Princeton U.P., 2010.Google Scholar

  • Brosius, M. “Alexander and the Persians.” In Brill’s Companion to Alexander the Great, edited by J. Roisman, 169–93. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2003.Google Scholar

  • Engels, D. Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978.Google Scholar

  • Green, P. Alexander the Great, 356–323 B.C.: a Historical Biography. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.Google Scholar

  • Hamilton, J. R. Alexander the Great. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1973.Google Scholar

  • Hamilton, J. R. “Alexander’s Iranian Policy.” In Zu Alexander dem Großen. Festschrift Gerhard Wirth zum 60. Geburtstag am 9.12.1986. Volume One, edited by J. Heinrichs and W. Will, 67–84. Amsterdam: Verlag Adolf M. Hakkert, 1987.Google Scholar

  • Heckel, W. “King and ‘Companions:’ Observations on the Nature of Power in the Reign of Alexander.” In Brill’s Companion to Alexander the Great, edited by J. Roisman, 197–226. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2003.Google Scholar

  • Heckel, W. Who’s Who in the Age of Alexander the Great. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2006.Google Scholar

  • Holt, F. “Alexander the Great Today: in the Interests of Historical Accuracy?” AHB 13.3–4 (1999): 111–17.Google Scholar

  • Holt, F. “The Death of Coenus: Another Study in Method,” AHB 14.1–2 (2000): 49–55.Google Scholar

  • Klinkott, H. Der Satrap: ein achaimenidischer Amtsträger und seine Handlungsspielräume. Frankfurt am Main: Verlag Antike, 2005.Google Scholar

  • Lane Fox, R. Alexander the Great. London: Penguin Books, 1973.Google Scholar

  • Lane Fox, R. “Alexander the Great: ‘Last of the Achaemenids?’” In Persian Responses: Political and Cultural Interactions with(in) the Achaemenid Empire, edited by C. Tuplin, 267–312. Swansea: Classical Press of Wales, 2007.Google Scholar

  • Naveh, J. and S. Shaked. Aramaic Documents from Ancient Bactria (Fourth Century BCE). From the Khalili Collections. London: The Khalili Family Trust, 2012.Google Scholar

  • Olbrycht, M. J. “Curtius Rufus, the Mutiny at Opis and Alexander’s Iranian Policy.” In The Children of Herodotus: Greek and Roman Historiography and Related Genres, edited by J. Pigoń, 231–52. Newcastle on Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008.Google Scholar

  • Olbrycht, M. J. “First Iranian Military Units in the Army of Alexander the Great.” Anabasis: Studia Classica et Orientalia 2 (2011): 67–84.Google Scholar

  • Porten, B. and A. Yardeni. Textbook of Aramaic Documents from Ancient Egypt (TADAE). Vol. I: Letters. Jerusalem: Hebrew U.P., 1986.Google Scholar

  • Roisman, J. Alexander’s Veterans and the Early Wars of the Successors. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2012.Google Scholar

  • Schachermeyr, F. Alexander der Grosse: das Problem seiner Persönlichkeit und seines Wirkens. Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1973.Google Scholar

  • Schippmann, K. “Azerbaijan iii. Pre-Islamic History.” Encyclopaedia Iranica III/2 (updated version 2011): 221–24 (available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/azerbaijan-iii).

  • Shahbazi, A. Shapur. “Irano-Hellenic notes, 3: Iranians and Alexander.” AJAH n.s. 2.1 (2003): 5–38.Google Scholar

  • Tarn, W. Alexander the Great. I: Narrative. Oxford: Oxford U.P., 1948.Google Scholar

  • Tuplin, C. “Treacherous hearts and upright tiaras: the Achaemenid King’s head-dress.” In Persian Responses: Political and Cultural Interactions with(in) the Achaemenid Empire, edited by C. Tuplin, 67–98. Swansea: Classical Press of Wales, 2007.Google Scholar

  • Yampolsky, Z.I. “Ob Atropate – Sovremennike Aleksandra Makedonskogo (Atropates, contemporary of Alexander of Macedon).” VDI 128 (1974): 176–77.Google Scholar

About the article

John Hyland


Published Online: 2013-11-01

Published in Print: 2013-11-01


Citation Information: Journal of Ancient History, Volume 1, Issue 2, Pages 119–144, ISSN (Online) 2324-8114, ISSN (Print) 2324-8106, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jah-2013-0008.

Export Citation

© 2013 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in