Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Classical Studies

First Advisor

Jeremy J. McInerney


This dissertation explores the extent to which Persian policies in the western satrapies originated from the provincial capitals in the Anatolian periphery rather than from the royal centers in the Persian heartland in the fifth century BC. I begin by establishing that the Persian administrative apparatus was a product of a grand reform initiated by Darius I, which was aimed at producing a more uniform and centralized administrative infrastructure. In the following chapter I show that the provincial administration was embedded with chancellors, scribes, secretaries and military personnel of royal status and that the satrapies were periodically inspected by the Persian King or his loyal agents, which allowed to central authorities to monitory the provinces. In chapter three I delineate the extent of satrapal authority, responsibility and resources, and conclude that the satraps were supplied with considerable resources which enabled to fulfill the duties of their office. After the power dynamic between the Great Persian King and his provincial governors and the nature of the office of satrap has been analyzed, I begin a diachronic scrutiny of Greco-Persian interactions in the fifth century BC. Chapter four centers on a particular challenge the Persians faced in western Anatolia. On the one hand, the Persian conquest of Ionia in the middle of the sixth century BC triggered a gradual increase in the willingness of mainland Greeks to intervene in the affairs of Asia Minor, while on the other, Xerxes’ failure to subjugate European Greece resulted in a dramatic shift from a policy of westward expansion to a policy of entrenchment. The focus of chapter five is the limited interest of Artaxerxes I (r. 465-423 BC) in respect to the western satrapies. The last chapter deals with the machinations of the satraps Tissaphernes, Pharnabazus and Cyrus the Younger. I show that the alliance between Persia and Sparta was the outcome of satrapal action rather than royal initiative or intent. Accordingly, the satraps sought to exploit the power struggle between Athens and Sparta for their own favor while King Darius played a relatively secondary role in this conflict.