Last updated
Abulites retained the satrapy of Susania under Alexander the Great in 330 BC. Elam Map-en.svg
Abulites retained the satrapy of Susania under Alexander the Great in 330 BC.
The "Porus" coinage of Alexander, struck circa 325-323 BC in Susa or Babylon, often bears the marks "AB" and "Ks" (here "Ks" appears on the obverse and "AB" on the reverse -the hoops of the "B" appear on the left leg of the "A"), which may correspond to Abulites and Xenophilus. KINGS of MACEDON. Alexander III 'the Great'. 336-323 BC. AR Poros medallion.jpg
The "Porus" coinage of Alexander, struck circa 325-323 BC in Susa or Babylon, often bears the marks "AB" and "Ξ" (here "Ξ" appears on the obverse and "AB" on the reverse -the hoops of the "B" appear on the left leg of the "A"), which may correspond to Abulites and Xenophilus.
Abulites went to help Alexander in the crossing of the Gedrosian desert, but he brought a huge load of coins rather than much-needed supplies, thus precipitating his demise. The army crosses the Gedrosian Desert by Andre Castaigne (1898-1899).jpg
Abulites went to help Alexander in the crossing of the Gedrosian desert, but he brought a huge load of coins rather than much-needed supplies, thus precipitating his demise.

Abulites (Greek : Ἀβουλίτης) was the Achaemenid satrap (governor) of Susiana during the reign of Darius III (336–330 BC), and retained the satrapy as a Hellenistic satrap under Alexander the Great until circa 324 BC, when he was executed for sedition.

Greek language language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Satrap Ruler of a province in ancient Persia

Satraps were the governors of the provinces of the ancient Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as in the Sasanian Empire and the Hellenistic empires. The satrap served as viceroy to the king, though with considerable autonomy; and the word also came to suggest tyranny, or ostentatious splendour.

Darius III Last king of the Achaemenid Empire

Darius III, originally named Artashata and called Codomannus by the Greeks, was the last king of the Achaemenid Empire of Persia, from 336 BC to 330 BC. Artashata adopted Darius as a dynastic name.


Surrender to Alexander

He may have been of Elamite origin, although his son, Oxathres (Gatha Avestan: Huxšathra), bears an Iranian name, "one that seems distinctly Zoroastrian". [4] After the Battle of Gaugamela (331 BC), the Mesopotamian province of the Achaemenid Empire quickly fell to Alexander. Thereafter, Abulites had no choice but to surrender nearby Susa. After entering Susa, Alexander captured "a vast collection of treasure, including 50,000 talents of silver in ingots". [4] Treasure from Xerxes' campaign in mainland Greece was found and taken as well. Some statuary from Athens, such as the bronze statue of Harmodius and Haristogiton, "the Tyrant-slayers", was recovered by Alexander in Susa. [5] Susa was the co-capital of the Achaemenid Persian Empire, but the "hoarding of specie" does illustrate the "shortsightedness of Achaemenid fiscal policy" according to C. J. Brunner. [4]

Elam ancient Pre-Iranic civilization

Elam was an ancient Pre-Iranian civilization centered in the far west and southwest of what is now modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of what is now Khuzestan and Ilam Province as well as a small part of southern Iraq. The modern name Elam stems from the Sumerian transliteration elam(a), along with the later Akkadian elamtu, and the Elamite haltamti. Elamite states were among the leading political forces of the Ancient Near East. In classical literature Elam was also known as Susiana, a name derived from its capital Susa.

Oxathres is a Persian name, which is also written Oxoathres and Oxyathres. It is frequently confounded or interchanged both by Greek and Latin writers with Oxartes and Oxyartes. Indeed, it is probable that these are all merely different forms of the same name.

Gathas Zoroastrian literature

The Gathas are 17 Avestan hymns believed to have been composed by Zarathusthra (Zoroaster) himself. They form the core of the Zoroastrian liturgy. They are arranged in five different modes or metres.

As Alexander was preparing to move into Persis, he left a garrison under the Macedonian Xenophilus (who replaced the Persian commandant Mazarus), and reconfirmed Abulites as satrap of Susania, "holding civil jurisdiction". [6] [4] Abulites remained satrap until Alexander's return from his Indian campaign; in the meantime, Abulites may "have moved to assert his independence". [4] Though this remains unclear, Abulites and his son were "promptly arrested and executed". [4] "Immediately afterwards", Alexander organized the mass weddings at Susa, "thus again showing his commitment to the ideal of Greek and Persian partnership". [4]

Persis Region

Persis, better known as Persia, or "Persia proper", is a region located to the southwest of modern Iran. The Persians are thought to have initially migrated either from Central Asia or, more probably, from the north through the Caucasus. They would then have migrated to the current region of Persis in the early 1st millenium BC. The country name Persia was derived directly from the Old Persian Parsa.

Xenophilus (phrourarch)

Xenophilus was a Macedonian military figure under Alexander the Great.

Indian campaign of Alexander the Great military campaign conducted by Alexander the Great into the northwestern Indian subcontinent

The Indian campaign of Alexander the Great began in 326 BC. After conquering the Achaemenid Empire of Persia, the Macedonian king, Alexander, launched a campaign into the Indian subcontinent in present-day Pakistan, part of which formed the easternmost territories of the Achaememid Empire following the Achaemenid conquest of the Indus Valley. The rationale for this campaign is usually said to be Alexander's desire to conquer the entire known world, which the Greeks thought ended in India.

Gedrosian desert and coinage

Plutarch (Alex. 68.7) relates a story in which Abulites was requested by Alexander to bring supplies after the disastrous crossing of the Gedrosian desert, but Abulites instead brought huge amounts of coinage, about 3000 tales (86 tons). [3] In a rage, Alexander threw the coins at horses, asking what help this would be to a hungry army. Alexander shouted "What good have you done having brought this?". Thereafter Abulites was jailed by Alexander. [3] Some of these coins may have been the "Porus" coins of Alexander, struck in 325-323 BC in Babylon or Susa, which often bear the initials "AB" and "Ξ", possibly identified with the initials of Abulites and his associated Macedonian general Xenophilus. [3]

Plutarch Ancient Greek historian and philosopher

Plutarch, later named, upon becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus, was a Greek biographer and essayist, known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia. He is classified as a Middle Platonist. Plutarch's surviving works were written in Greek, but intended for both Greek and Roman readers.

Porus King of Paurava

Porus or Poros, was an ancient Indian king whose territory spanned the region between the Hydaspes and Acesines, in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent. He is credited to have been a legendary warrior with exceptional skills. Porus fought against Alexander the Great in the Battle of the Hydaspes, thought to be fought at the site of modern-day Mong, Punjab, which is now part of the modern country of Pakistan. Though not recorded in any available ancient Indian source, Ancient Greek historians describe the battle and the aftermath of Alexander's victory. After the defeat and arrest of Porus in the war, Alexander asked Porus how he would like to be treated. Porus, although defeated, being a valiant, proud king, stated that he be treated like how Alexander himself would expect to be treated. Alexander was reportedly so impressed by his adversary that he not only reinstated him as a satrap of his own kingdom but also granted him dominion over lands to the south-east extending until the Hyphasis (Beas). Porus reportedly died sometime between 321 and 315 BC.

Babylon a kingdom in ancient Mesopotamia from the 18th to 6th centuries BC.

Babylon was a key kingdom in ancient Mesopotamia from the 18th to 6th centuries BC. The city was built on the Euphrates river and divided in equal parts along its left and right banks, with steep embankments to contain the river's seasonal floods. Babylon was originally a small Akkadian town dating from the period of the Akkadian Empire c. 2300 BC.

Related Research Articles

Seleucus I Nicator Alexandrian general

Seleucus I Nicator was one of the Diadochi. Having previously served as an infantry general under Alexander the Great, he eventually assumed the title of basileus and established the Seleucid Empire over much of the territory in the Near East which Alexander had conquered.

Nearchus or Nearchos was one of the officers, a navarch, in the army of Alexander the Great. He is known for his celebrated voyage from the Indus river to the Persian Gulf following the Indian campaign of Alexander the Great, in 326–324 BC.

Wars of Alexander the Great conflicts fought by King Alexander III of Macedon ("The Great"), against other Greek powers, the Persian Empire and warlords as far east as Punjab, India

The wars of Alexander the Great were fought by King Alexander III of Macedon, first against the Achaemenid Persian Empire under Darius III, and then against local chieftains and warlords as far east as Punjab, India. Due to the sheer scale of these wars, and the fact that Alexander was generally undefeated in battle, he has been regarded as one of the most successful military commanders of all time. By the time of his death, he had conquered most of the world known to the ancient Greeks. Although being successful as a military commander, he failed to provide any stable alternative to the Achaemenid Empire—his untimely death threw the vast territories he conquered into civil war.

Memnon of Rhodes Greek military leader

Memnon of Rhodes was a prominent Rhodian Greek commander in the service of the Persian Achaemenid Empire. Related to the Persian aristocracy by the marriage of his sister to the satrap Artabazus II, together with his brother Mentor he served the Persian king for most of his life, and played an important role during the invasion of Alexander the Great and the decades before that.

Ariarathes I of Cappadocia 4th-century BC king of Cappadocia

Ariarathes I was the satrap of the Satrapy of Cappadocia under the Achaemenid Empire from 350 BC to 331 BC, and the Hellenistic King of Cappadocia from 331 BC until his death in 322 BC.

Balakros 4th-century BC Macedonian general

Balakros, also Balacrus, the son of Nicanor, one of Alexander the Great's "Somatophylakes" (bodyguards), was appointed satrap of Cilicia after the Battle of Issus, 333 BC. He succeeded to the last Achaemenid satrap of Cilicia, Arsames.

Mithrenes was a Persian commander of the force that garrisoned the citadel of Sardis. According to Cyril Toumanoff, he was also a member of the Orontid dynasty, of Iranian origin. Waldemar Heckel, on the other hand, considers Mithrenes to be a Persian noble of unknown family background. After the battle of the Granicus Mithrenes surrendered voluntarily to Alexander the Great, and was treated by him with great distinction. Mithrenes was present in the Macedonian camp after the Battle of Issus, and Alexander ordered him to visit the captured family of Darius III and assure them that Darius was alive, before changing his mind and assigning the duty to Leonnatus instead. He fought for Alexander at Gaugamela, and ironically he was fighting against an army that included his father Orontes II. Afterwards, Alexander appointed him Satrap of Armenia.

Megabazus Iranian military leader

Megabazus, son of Megabates, was a highly regarded Persian general under Darius, of whom he was a first-degree cousin. Most information about him comes from The Histories by Herodotus.

The Orontid dynasty, also known by their native name Eruandid or Yervanduni, was a hereditary Armenian dynasty and the rulers of the successor state to the Iron Age kingdom of Urartu (Ararat). The Orontids established their supremacy over Armenia around the time of the Scythian and Median invasion in the 6th century BC.

Achaemenid coinage

Coins of the Achaemenid Empire were issued from 520 BCE-450 BCE to 330 BCE. The Persian daric was the first gold coin which, along with a similar silver coin, the siglos, represented the bimetallic monetary standard of the Achaemenid Persian Empire which has continued till today. It seems that before then, a continuation of Lydian coinage under Persian rule was highly likely. Achaemenid coinage includes the official imperial issues, as well as coins issued by the Achaemenid governors (Satraps), such as those stationed in ancient Asia Minor.

Mazaeus Achaemenid satrap

Mazaeus, Mazday or Mazaios (Greek:Μαζαῖος) was a Persian noble and satrap of Cilicia and later satrap of Babylon for the Achaemenid Empire, a satrapy which he retained under Alexander the Great.

Arsames (satrap of Cilicia) Persian Satrap

Arsames was an Achaemenid Persian satrap of Cilicia in 334/3 BC. He succeeded Mazaeus in this position. He took part in the Battle of Granicus where he fought with his cavalry on the left wing, along with Arsites and Memnon of Rhodes. He was able to survive that battle and flee to the capital of Cilicia Tarsus. There he was planning a scorched-earth policy according to that of Memnon which caused the native Cilician soldiers to abandon their posts. He also decided to burn Tarsus to the ground so as not to fall in the hands of Alexander but was prevented from doing so by the speedy arrival of Parmenion with the light armored units who took the city. After that, Arsames fled to Darius who was at this time in Syria. He was slain at the battle of Issus in 333 BC.

Orontes II was a Persian noble living in the 4th century BC. He is probably to be identified as the satrap of Armenia under Darius III, and may in fact have succeeded Darius in this position when Darius ascended the throne of Persia in 336 BC.

Sabaces Iranian general

Sabaces was an Achaemenid satrap of Egypt during the reign of king Darius III of Persia.

Achaemenid conquest of the Indus Valley

The Achaemenid conquest of the Indus Valley refers to the Achaemenid military conquest and occupation for about two centuries of territories of the North-western regions of the Indian subcontinent. The conquest of the areas as far as the Indus river is often dated to the time of Cyrus the Great, in the period between 550-539 BCE. The first secure epigraphic evidence, given by the Behistun Inscription inscription, gives a date before or about 518 BCE. Achaemenid penetration into the area of the Indian subcontinent occurred in stages, starting from northern parts of the River Indus and moving southward. These areas of the Indus valley became formal Achaemenid satrapies as mentioned in several Achaemenid inscriptions. The Achaemenid occupation of the Indus Valley ended with the Indian campaign of Alexander the Great circa 323 BCE. The Achaemenid occupation, although less successful than that of the later Greeks, Sakas or Kushans, had the effect of acquainting India to the outer world.

Hellespontine Phrygia

Hellespontine Phrygia or Lesser Phrygia was a Persian satrapy (province) in northwestern Anatolia, directly southeast of the Hellespont. Its capital was Dascylium, and for most of its existence it was ruled by the hereditary Persian Pharnacid dynasty. Together with Greater Phrygia, it made up the administrative provinces of the wider Phrygia region.


Frataraka is an ancient Persian title, interpreted variously as “leader, governor, forerunner”. It is an epithet or title of a series of rulers in Persis from 3rd to mid 2nd century BC, or alternatively between 295 and 220 BC, at the time of the Seleucid Empire, prior to the Parthian conquest of West Asia and Iran. Studies of frataraka coins are important to historians of this period.


Mazaces, also Mazakes, was the last Achaemenid satrap of ancient Egypt during the late reign of Darius III of the 31st Dynasty of Egypt.


  1. Holt, Frank L. (2003). Alexander the Great and the Mystery of the Elephant Medallions. University of California Press. p. 105. ISBN   9780520238817.
  2. CNG: KINGS of MACEDON. Alexander III ‘the Great’. 336-323 BC. AR ‘Medallion’ of 5 Shekels or Dekadrachm (33mm, 38.75 g, 5h). Local (Satrapal) mint in Babylon. Struck circa 325-323 BC.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Holt, Frank L. (2003). Alexander the Great and the Mystery of the Elephant Medallions. University of California Press. pp. 105–106. ISBN   9780520238817.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Brunner 1983, p. 228.
  5. D'Ooge, Martin Luther (1909). The acropolis of Athens. New York : Macmillan. p. 64.
  6. Heckel 2009, p. 38.


Waldemar Heckel is a Canadian historian.

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.