Achaemenid Satrapies > Satrapy of Samaria

Satrapy of Samaria


The term "Satrapy of Samaria" isn't historically attested within the Achaemenid Empire. However, we can discuss the region of Samaria within the broader historical context.

Samaria in Ancient History:

  1. Geographical Location:

    • Samaria was an ancient region located in the central highlands of ancient Palestine, roughly corresponding to the northern part of the West Bank in modern-day Israel.
    • It was situated between the regions of Galilee to the north and Judea to the south.
  2. Historical Significance:

    • Samaria was inhabited by the Israelites during the Iron Age and served as the capital of the northern Kingdom of Israel after the split of the United Kingdom of Israel under King Solomon's reign.
    • The city of Samaria, built by King Omri in the 9th century BCE, became a prominent political and religious center in the region.
  3. Cultural and Religious Importance:

    • Samaria had a significant role in the religious history of ancient Israel, being associated with prophets such as Elijah and Elisha in the biblical narratives.
    • It was also the center of worship for the Israelite kings who ruled from the capital city of Samaria.
  4. Conquest and Exile:

    • Samaria fell to the Neo-Assyrian Empire in 722 BCE after a prolonged siege, leading to the exile of many Israelites and the resettlement of foreign populations in the region.
    • The region experienced successive waves of conquest and cultural change under various empires, including the Neo-Babylonian Empire and later the Persian Empire.

Persian Rule and Administrative Structure:

  1. Persian Conquest:

    • Following the defeat of the Neo-Babylonian Empire by Cyrus the Great of Persia in 539 BCE, the region of Samaria came under Persian control as part of the wider satrapy of Yehud (Judah) within the Achaemenid Empire.
  2. Administration:

    • While specific details about the administrative structure of Samaria under Persian rule are limited, it likely functioned as a sub-province or district within the broader satrapy of Yehud.
    • Persian-appointed officials, possibly overseen by the satrap of Yehud, would have administered the region's affairs, including taxation, law enforcement, and defense.


  1. Cultural and Historical Heritage:

    • The legacy of Samaria's ancient civilizations, including its Israelite heritage and subsequent periods of foreign rule, endures in the archaeological sites, historical records, and cultural traditions of the region.
    • The ruins of ancient Samaria, including the hill of Tel Shomron, contain evidence of its rich history and significance in the ancient Near East.
  2. Religious Significance:

    • Samaria continues to hold religious significance for various faiths, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, due to its association with biblical figures, events, and sacred sites.
    • The region remains a focus of archaeological research and religious pilgrimage, contributing to ongoing scholarly and cultural interest in its ancient history.

Persian Satrapies

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