Aria (satrapy)

Aria (satrapy)

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Aria inhabitants: Arians (Latin: Arii, Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

: Ἄρ(ε)ιοι/Ar(e)ioi), name of a region in the eastern part of the Persian empire, several times confused with Arianē
Ariana
Ariana was a region of the eastern countries of ancient Iran, next to India.Ariana may also refer to:* Ariana In places:*Ariana Governorate, a governorate in Tunisia*Ariana, Tunisia*Lake Ariana, a lake in Sofia, Bulgaria...

 in the classical sources.

Geography


Aria was an Old Persian satrap
Satrap
Satrap was the name given to the governors of the provinces of the ancient Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as the Sassanid Empire and the Hellenistic empires....

y, which enclosed chiefly the valley of the Hari River (Greek , this being eponymous to the whole land according to Arrian
Arrian
Lucius Flavius Arrianus 'Xenophon , known in English as Arrian , and Arrian of Nicomedia, was a Roman historian, public servant, a military commander and a philosopher of the 2nd-century Roman period...

) and which in antiquity was considered as particularly fertile and, above all, rich in wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

. The region of Aria was separated by mountain ranges from the Paropamisadae
Paropamisadae
Paropamisadae or Paropamisus was the ancient Greek name for a region of the Hindu-Kush in eastern Afghanistan, centered on the cities of Kabul and Kapisa .-History of Paropamisadae:...

 in the east, Parthia in the west and Margiana and Hyrcania
Hyrcania
Hyrcania was the name of a satrapy located in the territories of present day Gilan, Golestan, Mazandaran and part of Turkmenistan, lands south of the Caspian Sea. To the Greeks, the Caspian Sea was the "Hyrcanian Sea".-Etymology:...

 in the north, while a desert separated it from Carmania
Carmania
Carmania may refer to* Carmania, ancient satrapy of the Achaemenid Persian empire.* Carmania - a diecast model producer.* Kermān Province in the south-east of Iran.* RMS Carmania , a Cunard liner built 1905...

 and Drangiana
Drangiana
Drangiana or Zarangiana was a historical region of the Achaemenid Empire. This region comprises territory around lake Hâmûn, wetlands in endorheic Sīstān basin on the Irano-Afghan-Pakistan border, and its primary watershed Helmand river in nowadays southwestern Afghanistan and the "Nok Kondi" of...

 in the south. It is described in a very detailed manner by Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

 and Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

  and corresponds, according to that, almost to the Herat Province
Herat Province
Herat is one the 34 provinces of Afghanistan; together with Badghis, Farah, and Ghor provinces, it makes up the South-western region of the country...

 of today's Afghanistan. In this sense the term is used correctly by some writers, e.g. Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

 (3.93.3, where the Areioi are mentioned together with the Parthians, Chorasmians, and Sogdians); Diodorus (17.105.7; 18.39.6); Strabo (2.1.14; 11.10.1, cf. also 11.8.1 and 8; 15.2.8 and 9); Arrian (Anabasis 3.25.1); Pomponius Mela
Pomponius Mela
Pomponius Mela, who wrote around AD 43, was the earliest Roman geographer. He was born in Tingentera and died c. AD 45.His short work occupies less than one hundred pages of ordinary print. It is laconic in style and deficient in method, but of pure Latinity, and occasionally relieved by pleasing...

 (1.12, where we read that “nearest to India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 is Ariane
Ariana
Ariana was a region of the eastern countries of ancient Iran, next to India.Ariana may also refer to:* Ariana In places:*Ariana Governorate, a governorate in Tunisia*Ariana, Tunisia*Lake Ariana, a lake in Sofia, Bulgaria...

, then Aria”).
Its original capital was Artacoana
Artacoana
Artacoana or Artacana or Articaudna or Chortacana or Artacaena, name of the capital of Aria, an eastern satrapy of the Persian empire....

  or Articaudna according to Ptolemy. In its vicinity, a new capital was built, either by Alexander the Great himself or by his successors, Alexandria Ariana , modern Herat
Herat
Herāt is the capital of Herat province in Afghanistan. It is the third largest city of Afghanistan, with a population of about 397,456 as of 2006. It is situated in the valley of the Hari River, which flows from the mountains of central Afghanistan to the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan...

 in northwest Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. Ptolemy lists several other cities, an indication of the province's wealth and fertility. The most important, according to Ptolemy and Arrian were:
  • Dista
  • Nabaris
  • Taua
  • Augara
  • Bitaxa
  • Sarmagana
  • Sipharê
  • Rhagaura
  • Zamuchana
  • Ambrodax
  • Bogadia
  • Varpna
  • Godana
  • Phoraga
  • Chatrisachê
  • Chauvrina
  • Orthiana
  • Taupana
  • Astanda
  • Articaudna
  • Alexandria in Aria
  • Babarsana
  • Caputana
  • Susia
  • Aria civitas
  • Basica
  • Sotira
  • Orbetanê
  • Nisibis
  • Paracanacê
  • Gariga
  • Darcama
  • Cotacê
  • Tribasina
  • Astasana
  • Zimyra

  • History


    The Persian Achaemenid district of Aria is mentioned in the provincial lists that are included in various royal inscriptions, for instance, in the Behistun inscription
    Behistun Inscription
    The Behistun Inscription The Behistun Inscription The Behistun Inscription (also Bistun or Bisutun, Modern Persian: بیستون The Behistun Inscription (also Bistun or Bisutun, Modern Persian: بیستون...

     of Darius I (ca. 520 BC). Representatives from the district are depicted in reliefs, e.g., at the royal Achaemenid tombs of Naqsh-e Rustam
    Naqsh-e Rustam
    Naqsh-e Rustam also referred to as Necropolis is an archaeological site located about 12 km northwest of Persepolis, in Fars province, Iran. Naqsh-e Rustam lies a few hundred meters from Naqsh-e Rajab....

     and Persepolis
    Persepolis
    Perspolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire . Persepolis is situated northeast of the modern city of Shiraz in the Fars Province of modern Iran. In contemporary Persian, the site is known as Takht-e Jamshid...

    . They are wearing Scythian-style dress (with a tunic and trousers tucked into high boots) and a twisted turban around the head.

    At the time of Alexander the Great, Aria was obviously an important district. It was administered by a satrap, called Satibarzanes
    Satibarzanes
    Satibarzanes , a Persian, was satrap of Aria under Darius III, king of Persia.In 330 BC, Alexander the Great, marching through the borders of Aria on his way from Hyrcania against the Parthians, was met at a city named Susia by Satibarzanes, who made submission to him, and was rewarded for it by...

    , who was one of the three main Persian officials in the East of the Empire, together with the satrap Bessus
    Bessus
    Artaxerxes V, also known as Bessus was a prominent Persian nobleman and satrap of Bactria, and later self-proclaimed king of Persia...

     of Bactria and Barsaentes of Arachosia. In late 330 BC
    330 BC
    Year 330 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Crassus and Venno...

     Alexander the Great, captured the Arian capital Artacoana. The province was part of the Seleucid Empire
    Seleucid Empire
    The Seleucid Empire was a Greek-Macedonian state that was created out of the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Persia, today's Turkmenistan, Pamir and parts of Pakistan.The Seleucid Empire was a major centre...

     but was captured by others on various occasions and became part of the Parthian Empire
    Parthian Empire
    The Parthian Empire , also known as the Arsacid Empire , was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Persia...

     in 167 BC
    167 BC
    Year 167 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Paetus and Pennus...

    . Aria later on became a province of the Sassanid Empire
    Sassanid Empire
    The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

    .

    See also

    • Arii
    • Arianus
    • Alexandria in Ariana
      Alexandria in Ariana
      Alexandria in Ariana was a city in what is now present-day Afghanistan, one of the seventy-plus cities founded or renamed by Alexander the Great. The third largest Afghan city, Herat, is the city's modern name....

    • Arian (disambiguation)
    • Ariana (disambiguation)
    • Artacoana
      Artacoana
      Artacoana or Artacana or Articaudna or Chortacana or Artacaena, name of the capital of Aria, an eastern satrapy of the Persian empire....

    • Herat
      Herat
      Herāt is the capital of Herat province in Afghanistan. It is the third largest city of Afghanistan, with a population of about 397,456 as of 2006. It is situated in the valley of the Hari River, which flows from the mountains of central Afghanistan to the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan...