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Taxation districts of the Achaemenid Empire

Volume of annual tribute per district, in the Achaemenid Empire.[1][2][3]

Herodotus divided the Achaemenid Empire into 20 districts for the purpose of tribute payments. The following is a description of the ethnic makeup of the districts and the amount they paid in taxes, translated from Herodotus' Histories.[1][2]

Accounting units

The quantities of silver are given in Babylonian talent (1 Babylonian talent = about 30.3 kg), while the quantities of gold (India only) are given in Euboïc/Euboean talent (1 Euboïc talent = about 26 kg).[2][1] Only the Hindush paid in gold, the exchange rate of gold to silver being 1 to 13 by weight at the time of Herodotus.[2][1]

Tax districts

The order of the districts given here follows Herodotus, Histories, III.90–94. In hellenocentric way it starts with Ionia and Mysia. The official Persian order of the provinces, as devised under Darius I in 518 BCE, was different and started from the Empire's capital: 1. Media, 2. Susa, etc.[4] For comparison, it is given in the rightmost column.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Herodotus Book III, 89-95
  2. ^ a b c d e Archibald, Zosia; Davies, John K.; Gabrielsen, Vincent (2011). The Economies of Hellenistic Societies, Third to First Centuries BC. Oxford University Press. p. 404. ISBN 9780199587926.
  3. ^ "INDIA RELATIONS: ACHAEMENID PERIOD – Encyclopaedia Iranica".
  4. ^ Hermann Bengtson, Vladimir Milojčić (ed.), Grosser Historischer Weltatlas, Erster Teil: Vorgeschichte und Altertum (München, Bayerischer Schulbuch-Verlag, 4th ed., 1963), p. 11, Map (b), "Reich der Meder und Perser".

General references

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Taxation districts of the Achaemenid Empire
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