Achaemenid Satrapies > Satrapy of Cappadocia

Satrapy of Cappadocia


Cappadocia (from Old Persian Katpatuka) was a satrapy (province) of the Achaemenid Empire used by the Achaemenids to administer the regions beyond the Taurus Mountains and the Euphrates river. The Satrapy belonged to the third tax district and paid an estimated 360 talents a year in tribute.

The first satrap (governor) known by name is Ariaramnes, who ruled sometime at the beginning of the reign of the Achaemenid king Darius the Great. His successors are unknown, although Gobryas, the half brother of Xerxes, commanded the Cappadocians in 480 BCE. During the reign of Artaxerxes II, Cappadocia was divided, becoming Paphlagonia and Cappadocia Proper. Datames (abridged from Datamithra) then became the satrap of southern Cappadocia; he led a revolt and was later assassinated in 362 BCE. The last Achaemenid satrap of Cappadocia was Mithrobuzanes, who died in 334 BCE at the Battle of the Granicus fighting Alexander's invading army.

The Achaemenid Satrapy of Cappadocia was an administrative division of the Achaemenid Empire situated in central Anatolia, encompassing the region known as Cappadocia. Cappadocia occupied a large portion of central Anatolia, bordered by the Taurus Mountains to the south and the Pontic Mountains to the north. It was characterized by its unique geological formations, including rock formations known as fairy chimneys, underground cities, and cave dwellings.

Administrative Structure:

Cappadocia was governed by a satrap appointed by the Persian king, who oversaw the administration, taxation, and defense of the region.Local administrators and officials, possibly from the local aristocracy or Persian appointees, assisted the satrap in governing the satrapy.

Economic Importance:

Cappadocia was economically significant due to its strategic location along trade routes connecting Asia Minor with the Levant and Mesopotamia. The region was known for its agriculture, including the cultivation of grains, fruits, and grapes, as well as its production of minerals and textiles.

Cultural Influence:

Under Achaemenid rule, Cappadocia would have been influenced by Persian cultural, administrative, and architectural practices.However, the native Cappadocian culture, which had ancient roots in the region, would have also continued to flourish alongside Persian influences.

Historical Context:

The incorporation of Cappadocia into the Achaemenid Empire likely occurred during the reign of Cyrus the Great or his successors in the 6th century BCE. Cappadocia remained under Persian rule throughout much of the Achaemenid period, although it may have experienced periods of rebellion or unrest.


The Achaemenid Satrapy of Cappadocia played a significant role in Persian control over central Anatolia and contributed to the empire's economic prosperity and strategic interests in the region. Cappadocia's rich cultural heritage, including its ancient cities, rock-cut churches, and underground cities, continues to be studied and admired by scholars and historians.

In summary, the Achaemenid Satrapy of Cappadocia was an important administrative division of the Achaemenid Empire, located in central Anatolia. It played a key role in Persian control over the region and contributed to the empire's economic prosperity and cultural diversity.

Achaemenid Satrapies

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