Thirty-first Dynasty of Egypt

Jump to navigation Jump to search
Satrapy of the Achaemenid Empire

343 BC–332 BC

Flag of Achaemenid Egypt (Second Egyptian Satrapy / satrapy VI)

Standard of Cyrus the Great
Location of Achaemenid Egypt (Second Egyptian Satrapy / satrapy VI)
Western part of the Achaemenid Empire, with the territories of Egypt.[1][2][3][4]
 •  343–338 BC Artaxerxes III (first)
 •  336–332 BC Darius III (last)
Historical era Achaemenid era
 •  Conquests of Artaxerxes III 343 BC
 •  Conquests of Alexander the Great 332 BC

The Thirty-first Dynasty of Egypt (notated Dynasty XXXI, alternatively 31st Dynasty or Dynasty 31), also known as the Second Egyptian Satrapy, was effectively a short-lived province (satrapy) of the Achaemenid Persian Empire between 343 BC to 332 BC. It was founded by Artaxerxes III, the King of Persia, after his reconquest of Egypt and subsequent crowning as Pharaoh of Egypt, and was disestablished upon the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great.

The period of the 31st Dynasty was the second occasion in which Persian pharaohs ruled Egypt, hence the term "Second Egyptian Satrapy". Before the 31st Dynasty was founded, Egypt had enjoyed a brief period of independence, during which three indigenous dynasties reigned (the 28th, 29th, and 30th dynasties). The period before this is referred to as the "First Egyptian Satrapy" or the 27th Dynasty.


Artaxerxes III as Pharaoh, satrapal coinage of Cilicia.

It is not known who served as satrap after Artaxerxes III, but under Darius III (336–330 BC) there was Sabaces, who fought and died at Issus and was succeeded by Mazaces. Egyptians also fought at Issus, for example, the nobleman Somtutefnekhet of Heracleopolis, who described on the "Naples stele" how he escaped during the battle against the Greeks and how Arsaphes, the god of his city, protected him and allowed him to return home.

In 332 BC, Mazaces handed over the country to Alexander the Great without a fight. The Achaemenid empire had ended, and for a while Egypt was a satrapy in Alexander's empire. Later the Ptolemies and the Romans successively ruled the Nile valley.


Egyptian Man in a Persian Costume, c. 343-332 BC, 71.139, Brooklyn Museum
Coin of Satrap Sabakes, in imitation of Athenian coinage. Circa 340-333 BC. Achaemenid Egypt.
Coin of Satrap Sabakes. Achaemenid Egypt. Circa 335-333 BC

Occasionally Egyptians wore foreign costumes and jewelry. The taste for non-Egyptian fashion arose during periods of extensive trade or diplomatic contact with distant courts, or when Egypt was controlled by a foreign power. The Persians, who twice invaded the Nile Valley from their Iranian homeland, dominated Egypt during Dynasty 27 (525–404 BC) and Dynasty 31 (342–332 BC). This statue to the left dates to the later period of Persian rule in Egypt.

The long skirt shown wrapped around this statue's body and tucked in at the upper edge of the garment is typically Persian. The necklace, called a torque, is decorated with images of ibexes, symbols in ancient Persia of agility and sexual prowess. The depiction of this official in Persian dress may have been a demonstration of loyalty to the new rulers.

Pharaohs of the 31st Dynasty[edit]

Name of Pharaoh Image Reign Throne Name Comments
Artaxerxes III Artaxerxes III of Persia.jpg 343–338 BC Placed Egypt under Persian rule for a second time
Artaxerxes IV 338–336 BC Only reigned in Lower Egypt
Khababash Stela Nastasen Kambasuten Lepsius.jpg 338–335 BC Senen-setepu-ni-ptah Led a revolt against Persian rule in Upper Egypt, declared himself Pharaoh
Darius III Darius III of Persia.jpg 336–332 BC Upper Egypt returned to Persian control in 335 BC

Timeline of the 31st Dynasty (Achaemenid Pharaohs only)[edit]

Darius IIIArtaxerxes IVArtaxerxes III

Satraps of the 31st Dynasty[edit]

Name of satrap Rule Reigning monarch Comments
Pherendates II c.343–before 333 BC Artaxerxes III
Sabaces † 333 BC Darius III Killed in the battle of Issus
Mazaces c.333–332 BC Darius III


See also[edit]


  1. ^ O'Brien, Patrick Karl (2002). Atlas of World History. Oxford University Press. pp. 42–43. ISBN 9780195219210.
  2. ^ Philip's Atlas of World History. 1999.
  3. ^ Davidson, Peter (2018). Atlas of Empires: The World's Great Powers from Ancient Times to Today. i5 Publishing LLC. ISBN 9781620082881.
  4. ^ Barraclough, Geoffrey (1989). The Times Atlas of World History. Times Books. p. 79. ISBN 0723003041.

External links[edit]