Achaemenid Satrapies > Satrapy of Paraetacene

Satrapy of Paraetacene


The Satrapy of Paraetacene was an administrative division within the Achaemenid Empire, but historical information about it is limited, and its exact location and characteristics are not well-documented. However, Paraetacene is believed to have been situated in the mountainous regions of ancient Persia, likely in the Zagros Mountains or nearby areas.

Key Features of the Satrapy of Paraetacene (Hypothetical):

  1. Geographical Context:

    • Mountainous Terrain: Paraetacene likely encompassed rugged and mountainous terrain, possibly within the Zagros mountain range, which extends across modern-day Iran, Iraq, and southeastern Turkey.
    • Strategic Location: The satrapy's mountainous landscape may have provided natural defenses against invading forces, making it strategically important for the defense of the Persian Empire's western borders.
  2. Administrative Structure:

    • Satrapal Governance: Similar to other satrapies, Paraetacene would have been governed by a satrap appointed by the Achaemenid king. The satrap would have been responsible for overseeing local administration, collecting tribute, and maintaining order within the region.
    • Local Autonomy: Given the remote and rugged nature of the terrain, local governance structures and customs may have played a significant role in the administration of Paraetacene, with Persian officials likely collaborating with local leaders and tribes.
  3. Economic Contribution:

    • Resource Potential: While historical records are scarce, Paraetacene may have possessed valuable natural resources such as timber, minerals, and pastureland. The region's economic contribution to the empire likely included the provision of these resources, as well as tribute payments.
  4. Strategic Importance:

    • Military Significance: The mountainous terrain of Paraetacene could have served as a strategic stronghold for the Persian Empire, providing a defensive barrier against potential incursions from neighboring powers or nomadic tribes.
    • Communication Routes: Despite its rugged landscape, Paraetacene may have been situated along key communication routes linking the heartland of Persia with its western territories, facilitating trade and military movements.

Historical Significance:

  1. Military Campaigns:

    • Defensive Role: Paraetacene may have played a role in the defense of the Persian Empire's western borders against incursions from rival powers, such as the Greeks or the nomadic tribes of Central Asia.
    • Participation in Persian Campaigns: The inhabitants of Paraetacene likely participated in Persian military campaigns, providing troops and resources to support the empire's expansion and defense efforts.
  2. Cultural Influence:

    • Integration into Persian Empire: The inhabitants of Paraetacene would have been subject to Persian cultural and administrative influence, contributing to the cultural diversity of the Achaemenid Empire.
    • Local Customs and Traditions: Despite Persian rule, local customs, languages, and traditions may have persisted in Paraetacene, reflecting the region's cultural distinctiveness within the empire.


  1. Historical Obscurity:
    • Limited Historical Documentation: The scarcity of historical records makes it difficult to reconstruct the history and legacy of Paraetacene with certainty. Much of what is known about the satrapy is speculative and based on indirect references in ancient texts.
    • Archaeological Exploration: Future archaeological research in the region may shed light on the historical significance of Paraetacene and its role within the Achaemenid Empire, helping to unravel its mysteries and contributions to ancient Persian civilization.


Arrian, iii. 19

Arrian, iv. 21;

Curt. viii. 14. 17.


Herod., i. 101.

Herod., i. 101; Strab., xv. p. 732

Herod., i. 101.

Strabo, ii. p. 80, xi. p. 522, xv. p. 723;

Strabo, xvi. p. 744.

Strab. xv. p. 736;

Strab., xvi. p. 736.

Plin. vi. 27. s. 31.

Isid. Char. p. 8.

Lassen, in Ersch and GrĂ¼ber, Encycl. s. v. Paraetacene.

Persian Satrapies

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