Satrap

Satrap (Heb. achashdarpen', אֲחִשׁדִּרפֵּן; Sept. σατρᾶπης and στρατηγός; Vulg. satrapes; A.V. 'ruler of provinces;' Es 3:12; Es 8:9; Es 9:3; and with the Chaldee termination, Da 3:2-3,27; Da 6:2-3). The genuine form of this name has been found in Indian inscriptions to be ksatrapa, i.e. warrior of the host (see Benfey, in Gött. Gel. Anz. 1839, p. 805 sq.; Lassen, Zeitschriftf. d. Morgenl. 3, 161), to which the Greek ἐξατράπης or ἐξαιθράπης corresponds (Böckh, Corp. Inscr. No. 2691 c), from which the softer form satrapes gradually arose and passed into modern languages (Gesenius, Thesaur. s.v.). "These satraps are known in ancient history as the governors or viceroys of the provinces into which the Persian empire was divided. Strictly speaking, they had an extended civil jurisdiction over several smaller provinces, each of which had its own פחה, or governor. Thus Zerubbabel and Nehemiah were 'governors' of Judea under the Persian satraps of Syria (Ezr 4:3,6; Ne 2:9). The power and functions of the Persian satraps were not materially different from those of the modern Persian governors and Turkish pashas; and, indeed, the idea of provincial government by means of viceroys intrusted with almost regal powers in their several jurisdictions, and responsible only to the king, by whom they are appointed, has always been prevalent in the East. The important peculiarity and distinction in the ancient Persian government, as admirably shown by Heeren (Researches, 1, 489 sq.), was that the civil and military powers were carefully separated — the satrap being a very powerful civil and political chief, but having no immediate control over the troops and garrisons, the commanders of which were responsible only to the king. The satraps, in their several provinces, employed themselves in the maintenance of order and the regulation of affairs; and they also collected and remitted to the court the stipulated tribute, clear of all charges for local government and for the maintenance of the troops (Xenoph. Cyrop. 8, 6, § 1-3). In later times this prudent separation of powers became neglected in favor of royal princes and other great persons (Xenoph. Anab. 1, 1, § 2), who were intrusted with the military as well as civil power in their governments to which cause may be attributed the revolt of the younger Cyrus, and the other rebellions and civil wars, which, by weakening the empire, facilitated its ultimate subjugation by Alexander." SEE PERSIA.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

 
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