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A satrap (Greek: σατράπης, romanized: satrápes) was a governor of the provinces of the ancient Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as in the Macedonian Empire.

A satrap served as a viceroy to the king, though with considerable autonomy. The word came to suggest tyranny or ostentatious splendour, and its modern usage is a pejorative and refers to any subordinate or local ruler, usually with unfavourable connotations of corruption.

A satrapy is the territory governed by a satrap. Ancient Egypt twice became a satrapy of the Achaemenid Empire; first as the 27th Dynasty (525-404 BC), and second as the 31st Dynasty (343-332 BC). After the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great, it remained a satrapy of the Argead Dynasty (332-309 BC).

Satraps of Egypt[]

Satrap Rule Dynasty Reigning monarch Comments
Aryandes 525–522 BC;
518–c. 496 BC
27th Dynasty Cambyses II, Darius I Installed after Cambyses II conquered Egypt. Deposed following a revolt in 522 BC, later restored in 518 BC then deposed again by Darius I.
Pherendates I c. 496–c.486 BC 27th Dynasty Darius I Possibly killed during a revolt.
Achaemenes c. 486–459 BC 27th Dynasty Xerxes I, Artaxerxes I A brother of Xerxes I, later killed by the rebel Inaros II.
Arsames c. 454–410 BC;
c. 406-404 BC
27th Dynasty Artaxerxes I, Xerxes II, Darius II Longest ruling satrap of Egypt.
Artavant c. 410–c. 406 BC 27th Dynasty Darius II Probably acted as satrap of Egypt ad interim when Arsames was called back to Persia.
Pherendates II 343–335 BC[1] 31st Dynasty Artaxerxes III
Sabaces 335-333 BC[1] 31st Dynasty Darius III Killed in the Battle of Issus.
Mazaces 333–332 BC[1] 31st Dynasty Darius III Surrendered to Alexander the Great.
Cleomenes 332 BC – 13 June 323 BC[1] Argead Dynasty Alexander the Great Installed after Alexander the Great conquered Egypt.
Ptolemy 13 June 323 BC – 305 BC Argead Dynasty Philip III, Alexander IV Installed after the death of Alexander the Great. After the Argead Dynasty went extinct, Ptolemy became Pharaoh and founder of the Ptolemaic Dynasty.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Steward 2006, p. 83


  • Stewart, J., 2006: African States and Rulers (Third ed.). McFarland, London.

See also[]