The House of the Satrap and the Making of the Achaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE)


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations


At its height, the Achaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) stretched from eastern Europe and Libya to central Asia and Pakistan. How did the Achaemenid Empire endure at such a scale for so long? This project analyzes the mechanisms of Achaemenid imperialism through the study of a single institution: the house of the satrap. Satraps functioned as kings in miniature throughout the Empire and operated at the interface between state and subject. By foregrounding the satrapal house, this project emphasizes the roles of other actors—families, subordinates, slaves—connected to the satrap in maintaining imperial social and economic networks. Through the study of administrative documentation, legal records, and historiography across six languages, “The House of the Satrap” demonstrates how the Achaemenid imperial project simultaneously encouraged cooperation and fostered inequality.