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As a rule, Achaemenid imperial administration involved no primary administrative (re-)organization of the conquered territories but simply adaptation of existing structures. In the reconstruction of the administrative levels, it is clear that, the lower the level one chooses, the less comparable the individual areas become, because the administration was to a greater extent characterized by deeply rooted traditional structures.This regional diversity explains the difficulty of determining within the general administrative hierarchy the precise rank of official titles gleaned from the study of local administrative archives (Briant, 2001, pp. The hierarchical structure meant that several Minor Satrapies formed a Main Satrapy, and two or more Main Satrapies a Great Satrapy.
THE SATRAPIES The methodological assumption of the following survey is that the Bisitun Inscription presents an inventory of the standard units of the imperial administration of its time: the Main Satrapies.The following overview provides information about the location and boundaries of each satrapy, its position within the hierarchical framework, and its officials and residences. Herodotus’s statement that Hystaspes, the father of Darius I, was governor of Persis, is, however, likely to be an error (Hdt., 3.70; cf. Besides the name-giving Main Satrapy Pārsa/Persis, the Great Satrapy included the Main Satrapy Ūja/Susiana, because Diodorus (18.6.3) stated that Susiana was located in Persis, which must represent Pārsa (cf. This can be deduced indirectly from Pliny the Elder ( lists. Its territory coincides with the modern district of Fārs. The satrapy comprised roughly the area of the modern provinces of Kermān und Lorestān.It begins with the imperial center, even though, because of the decline in source material as one goes from west to east, reconstruction of the administrative organization in the east can only be achieved by analogy with better-documented situations in the western satrapies. This is confirmed for the time of Alexander the Great, when the post in Carmania represents a first step in the impressive career of Sibyrtius and is therefore of modest rank (Jacobs, 1994, pp. In the east the range of the Shir mountains east of the Zāyanda-rud is likely to have formed the boundary (Strab., 15.3.6) in the northwest the border may well have been located at the Aorsis/Zohra and have run where the high range of the Baḵtiāri mountains rises (Arr., . The capital is likely to have been on the site of modern Kermān. But even then there were voices that questioned the usefulness of the list (Krumbholz, 1883, pp. To document the extent of the empire completely, it would be quite sufficient to enumerate all provinces of one specific level of the administrative hierarchy. This was already so in the case of Paul Krumbholz (1861-1945), the first who—at least for Asia Minor—attempted a more comprehensive treatment of satrapal administration. As a way of allowing both the OP inscriptions and Herodotus’s list to count as reliable, the possibility was repeatedly considered of assigning administration and fiscal matters to two different bureaucratic systems (Balcer, 1989, pp. ’ look at the sculptured figures which bear the throne platform” (Schmitt, 2000, p. The assumption of incompleteness, however, proves to be invalid if one accepts that the administration was structured hierarchically, a proposition that is both obvious and demonstrable for local bureaucracies and in the imperial administration.