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A meridarch or meridarches (Greek : μεριδάρχης, from meris, "division", and -arches, "ruler") was the civil governor of a province in the Hellenistic world (4th-1st centuries BCE), and could be translated as "Divisional Commissioner". Only three mentions of meridarchs are known from ancient sources, one from Palestine, the two others from the Indo-Greek kingdom in India, one on a vase from Swat, the other on a copper plate from Taxila.



Shortly after 153 BCE, Josephus relates, Alexander Balas appointed Jonathan Maccabeus as strategos (general) and meridarch (civil governor of a province) of Judea, and sent him back with honors to Jerusalem (I Macc. x. 51–66; Josephus, "Ant." xiii. 4, § 1).

Indo-Greek kingdom

"Meridarch Theodorus" inscription in Swat relic vase. Meridarch Theodorus inscription in Swat relic vase.jpg
"Meridarch Theodorus" inscription in Swat relic vase.

At the far eastern end of the Hellenistic world, in northern India, an inscription in Kharoshthi has been found on a relic vase Swāt, referring to a "meridarch Theodorus" and his enshrinement of relics of the Buddha:

"Theudorena meridarkhena pratithavida ime sarira sakamunisa bhagavato bahu-jana-stitiye".

"The meridarch Theodorus has enshrined relics of Lord Shakyamuni, for the welfare of the mass of the people"

Swāt relic vase inscription of the Meridarkh Theodoros )
Taxila "meridarch" plate. The plate reads: "By....., the Meridarch, together with his wife. the stupa was established, in honor of (his) mother and father, for the presentation of a respectful offering." Taxila meridarch plate.jpg
Taxila "meridarch" plate. The plate reads: "By....., the Meridarch, together with his wife. the stupa was established, in honor of (his) mother and father, for the presentation of a respectful offering."

Another mention of a Meridarch appears on the Taxila "meridarch" plate. The plate reads:

"By....., the Meridarch, together with his wife. the stupa was established, in honor of (his) mother and father, for the presentation of a respectful offering."

Taxila plate inscription. [2]

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  1. Plate I, image 2 of Kharoshthi Inscriptions With The Exception Of Those Of Asoka by Sten Konow, 1929, published in India p.1-6
  2. Plate I, image 2 of Kharoshthi Inscriptions With The Exception Of Those Of Asoka by Sten Konow, 1929, published in India p.1-6