Deportation of People in the Achaemenid Empire
Migrations are the result of humans’ natural tendency to be mobile on available territories in order to meet different needs and react to environmental changes. Deportations are a form of migration too, but, within the scope of this dissertation project, the people or individuals to be investigated were forced by an enemy political authority to transfer into a territory that was controlled by the adversaries.
This dissertation project is going to shed light on the practice of deportation in the Ancient Near East during Achaemenid times (539-330 BC). Reading the available sources, which are of different origin and “value”, and actually, not exhaustive, we try to reconstruct different cases of deportations and, in particular, the reasons why the Achaemenid kings deported people. Even though the primary motivating factor was to punish enemies defeated on the battlefield, deportations also enabled the kings to effortlessly obtain handworkers and people to “exploit” them according to their specific abilities.
The social status of the uprooted communities transferred into the empire will be extensively investigated in this analysis. First results show that their status may not have been as low as some “biased” classical sources maintain (for example, the Historians of Alexander), since the preservation of culture and identity, which is testified for ethnic minority groups who lived in the Empire, also applied to deportees. In addition, oriental sources also showed that the status of people such as deportees, who were forced to work for the king (the well-attested kurtaš of the Persepolis Tablets), were not slaves at all, but occupied a position “somewhere” between slavery and freedom.
The reference model for Achaemenid deportations are those carried out by the kings who ruled the Ancient Near East before, from the Sumerian Age, and, in particular, during Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian times. Our task is to find out whether we can observe recurrent methods and purposes among different dynasties.
Since October 2010
Member of the Graduate School.
Master-Degree in Sciences of Antiquity (historical curriculum) with the thesis “I funzionari amministrativi del regno attalide. Uno studio su personaggi, ruoli, relazioni familiari e legami politici” (“The administrative civil servants of the Attalid Kingdom. A study on people, rolls, family relationships and political connections”) under Professor Virgilio’s (Ordinary Professor of Ancient Greek History) and Professor Ampolo’s (Ordinary Professor of Greek History at Scuola Normale Superiore) guidance, with an overall grade of 110/110 cum laude.
October 2008- July 2010
Scuola Normale Superiore and University of Pisa.
Bachelor-Degree in Ancient Language and Literature at the Department of Historical Sciences of the Ancient World with the thesis “Alessandro Magno: re macedone, Gran Re, basileus universale” (“Alexander the Great: Macedonian king, Great King, universal basileus”) under Professor Virgilio’s (Ordinary Professor of Ancient Greek History) guidance, with an overall grade of 110/110 cum laude.
October 2005-July 2008
University of Pisa.
Certificate of Higher Education with grade 100/100.
C. Matarese, “I caratteri della monarchia macedone. Assoluta o costituzionale?” (“The characteristics of the Macedonian monarchy. Absolute or constitutional?”), 24, December 2009 (LV), instoria.it.
C. Matarese, “I caratteri della monarchia achemenide. Tra assolutismo e decentramento amministrativo”, (“The characteristics of the Achaemenian monarchy. Between absolutism and administrative decentralization”), parte I (part 1), 27, March 2010 (LVIII), instoria.it.
C. Matarese, “I caratteri della monarchia achemenide. Tra assolutismo e decentramento amministrativo”, (“The characteristics of the Achaemenian monarchy. Between absolutism and
administrative decentralization”), parte II, (part 2), 29, Mai 2010 (LX), instoria.it.
The Persian king introduces himself: the adaptation of
previous imperial ideologies for building a new one.
Presented at: Association of Ancient Historians Annual
Meeting: „Adaptation in the Ancient World?, Mercyhurst
College, Erie (Pennsylvania), May 5-8, 2011.
The Achaemenid Proskynesis between explanations and
misunderstandings: the Oriental and the Classical evidence.
Presented at the 9th Conference on History: From Ancient to
Modern, by ATINER, Athens (Greece), August 1-4, 2011.
(accepted, with the contributions of many authors) What is
Landscape? Towards a common concept within an
interdisciplinary research environment. The 2nd Landscape
Archeology Conference, Freie Universitaet zu Berlin, Berlin (Germany), June 6-9 2012.
Alexander the Great and the introduction of the
Achaemenid proskynesis among his court (327 BC): a
logistic decision. Mini Conference on Ancient Macedonian
History: a Diachronic Analysis, as a part of the 10th Annual
International Conference on History: From Ancient to
Modern, Athens (Greece), July 30-31 & August 1-2 2012.