Political management of space in the Achaemenid era and its influence on People’s Convergence and Divergence

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Dep. of History, Faculty of Humanities, University of Tehran

2 Dep. of History, University of Tehran

3 National Geography Organization of Iran


Extended Abstract
Political management of space is in sum an optimal organizational approach, both de facto and theoretical (de jure) to managing political plans of the country in all its manifestations. This form of management hinges on the facts and principles of political geography, aiming to mitigate the uneven spatial distribution of limited resources, moving towards sustainable development. Despite the many ebbs and flows in the history of political divisions in Iran, the country is still faced with major challenges including but not limited to detrimental rivalries in procuring resources, gaps in and lack of a proper governmental structure, relatively weak performance in land-use planning, tribal quarrels, etc. This highlights the significance of a geographical-historical analysis of political divisions in Iran, as well as an investigation into the effects of these divisions in the divergence and convergence of citizens. The purpose of this study is to scrutinize the manner of political management of lands in the Achaemenid dynasty alongside the various strategies incorporated by the government and the extent to which they succeeded in preserving the integrity of their governments. By this token, the present study contributes not only to our historical knowledge but also provides insight into the theoretical and practical dimensions of the current demographic status of Iran.
The required information for this study were gathered using library research tools. First-hand historical resources were initially explored and notes were taken and categorized accordingly, after which relevant analyses were conducted.
Results and discussion
The present study proceeded to investigate strategies for political management of space during the Achaemenid era so as to gain further insight into the methods deployed by the government and possibly borrow from the proposed strategies in current times. The following question are duly investigated:
What structure of political management was employed in the Achaemenid dynasty? The proposed political structure in the time was non-centric, i.e. a decentralized government where the central government is in charge of coordinating affairs amongst different sectors of the country.
What was the role of the Satrap institution and how was it implemented? There are essentially two forms of Satraps in the Achaemenid Empire: Satraps dependent on and under the pension of of the king himself and semi-independent or protégé Straps. The dependent satraps that were elected by the king to govern the conquered lands. These satraps obeyed the ruling of the king in the manner by which they governed and administred authority over their territorie. The protégé straps on the other hand, were those who obeyed the king on their own accord.
How did the political management of space deployed by the Achaemenid Empire effect the rate of convergence and divergence of citizens to the central government?
Initially, the federal government of the Achaemenid empire encountered serious predicaments regarding reversibility of the former system of order due to efforts in maintaining the main principles of previous authorities.
The Achaemenid outlook on methods of political management left no room for converging local communities and states into a uniform government. The primary reason for this was the tribal and cultural diversity and distributiveness of the country.
The Achaemenid tax system had certain faults which allowed for aggressive and oppressing authority over the tax payers, which due to the extensiveness of the regions could not always be directly handled and supervised by the government.
On the one hand, political marriages between Achaemenid straps and local aristocrats encouraged and promoted the bonds between them and on the other hand engendered disobedience; stated differently, heads of state and local aristocrats would settle on a common interest and thereby seek autonomy.
The merging of states into one uniform government during the Achaemenid era would have led to economic prosperity.
The proposed strategies of the empire were one of the most influential methods for controlling various regions and maintaining the integrity of the country.

The prime indicator in political management of space during the Achaemenid era was the selection of an efficient model to govern and manage the country according to cultural, social, economic, and political features of the lands and tribes in the country, with the aim of maximizing convergence and minimizing divergence towards the central government. The most salient proceedings of the Achaemenid empire which were brought on either divergence or convergence of citizens and tribes to the central government include the following:
Divergence Convergence Proceedings
* Efforts to maintain the main principles of previous governments (during the rule of the first Achaemenid)
* Incorporating local citizens in domestic affairs of the satraps
* Minimizing the interposition of Achaemenid administration in the affairs of affiliated nations and methods common in various lands
* Merging various states into one uniform satrap government which negated all previous liberties and hindered commercial interactions
* Determining the king’s share of the taxes collected by the satraps
* Authority of straps in collecting taxes for the strap government which allowed for aggressive behavior towards citizens
* Constancy of the tax system incorporated by each satrap until the end of Achaemenid empire, whereas certain satrap governments were later divided into smaller satrap states
* Political marriages between aristocrats and governors which created a bond with the king’s court
* Political marriages between governors which allowed the formation of common interests between the heads of state who were later encouraged to seek autonomy
* Merging states into one uniform government in order to attain economic prosperity (commercial and agriculture)
* Authority of each satrap over the security of their affiliated regions
* Establishing communications pathways between the capital and satrap states
* Efforts attain symbiosis among states rather than solely attaining unity
Keywords: political management of space, Achaemenid, nations, historical pathology,
Keywords: political management of space, Achaemenid, nations, historical pathology,


Main Subjects

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Volume 53, Issue 2
July 2021
Pages 453-473
  • Receive Date: 02 May 2019
  • Revise Date: 28 February 2020
  • Accept Date: 28 February 2020
  • First Publish Date: 22 June 2021