Bagadates I

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Who is Bagadates I?

Bagadates I, also Bagdates or Baydad, was a frataraka or "Keeper of the Fire", and a governor or sub-dynast for the Seleucids, ruling as a priest-king at Istakhr in the former Achaemenid heartland, the territory of Persis, after Alexander's conquests. He was the first indigenous Persian satrap to be appointed - or at least tolerated - by the Seleucids, who held the higher administrative posts tightly within the Greco-Macedonian circle that was headed by the "Companions" and their heirs. On the reverse of his coins, Bagadates is depicted standing in front of a Zoroastrian fire-altar, or seated in majesty holding a staff of authority and possibly a pomegranate in his left hand. Bagadates seems to have asserted his independence about 280 BCE, exploiting the turmoil after the death of Seleucus I. "That the first oriental reaction to Macedonian rule should come from Persis, the homeland of the Achaemenids, is hardly surprising," Otto Mørkholm remarks. The uprising against Seleucid control was continued by Bagadates' son, Oborzos, who emphasized the continuity by repeating the coinage type established by his father. However, some time during the 3rd century BCE the Seleucids terminated the pseudo-independence of Persis; during the 220s BCE, the satrap there was a Greek named Alexander, a brother of Molon. Persis finally drifted away from Seleucid control after the battle of Magnesia in 190 BCE.

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on July 23, 2013

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