Achaemenid Satrapies > Satrapy of Cilicia

Satrapy of Cilicia


Cilicia (modern Turkish name is Çukurova) was a satrapy of the Achaemenid Empire, with its capitol at Tarsus. It was conquered sometime in the 540's by Cyrus the Great. Cilicia was a vassal, and although it had a vassal king it had to pay a tribute of 360 horses and 500 talents of silver, according to Herodotus. The fertile Çukurova (Cilician) plains were the most important part of the satrapy.

There were several sanctuaries that remained more or less independent from Persian rule. Some of these included Castabala, Mazaca, and Mallus. The last vassal king of Cilicia became involved in the civil war between Artaxerxes II and Cyrus the Younger. Having sided with Cyrus the Younger, who was defeated, the king was dethroned and Cilicia became an ordinary satrapy. The second to last satrap (governor) of Cilicia was the Babylonian Mazaeus. Shortly aftwards, his successor was expelled by Alexander the Great.

The Achaemenid Satrapy of Cilicia was an administrative division of the Achaemenid Empire situated in the southeastern corner of Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey).

Geographical Extent:

Cilicia occupied a strategic position between Asia Minor and the Levant, bordered by the Taurus Mountains to the north and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It encompassed a diverse range of landscapes, including fertile plains, rugged mountains, and coastal regions.

Administrative Structure:

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

Economic Importance:

Cilicia 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 olives, as well as its production of timber, minerals, and textiles.

Cultural Influence:

Under Achaemenid rule, Cilicia would have been influenced by Persian cultural, administrative, and architectural practices. However, the native Cilician culture, which had ancient roots in the region, would have also continued to flourish alongside Persian influences. The incorporation of Cilicia into the Achaemenid Empire likely occurred during the reign of Cyrus the Great or his successors in the 6th century BCE. Cilicia remained under Persian rule throughout much of the Achaemenid period, although it may have experienced periods of rebellion or unrest.


The Achaemenid Satrapy of Cilicia played a significant role in Persian control over southeastern Anatolia and contributed to the empire's economic prosperity and strategic interests in the region. Cilicia's rich cultural heritage, including its ancient cities, fortifications, and religious sites, continues to be studied and admired by scholars and historians.

In summary, the Achaemenid Satrapy of Cilicia was an important administrative division of the Achaemenid Empire, located in southeastern 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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