MENOSTANES

 

MENOSTANES (Gk. Menostánēs, Bab. Manuštanu), Achaemenid prince, son of Artaxerxes I’s brother Artarios, who was satrap of Babylon; he was a “eunuch” at Artaxerxes’ court and during the troubles about the succession after Artaxerxes’ death in 424/23 BCE he took the side of Sogdi(an)os/Sekyndianos and participated in the murder of Xerxes II; under Sogdios he became chiliarch (Ctesias, frag. 15 §§ 48–49; Ctesias’s form azabarítēs should be understood as *hazarapítēs and as a rendering of OIran. *hazahra-pati-); when Dareios II Ochos had seized power, he advised Sogdios against negotiations with Dareios and, when arrested, committed suicide (ibid., §§ 50, 52). Although in the manuscripts the name is written unanimously as Menostátēs, we have to do with the same person who earlier, under Artaxerxes I, had been sent with troops against the rebellious Megabyzos (q.v.), suffered a defeat, and was wounded (ibid., frag. 14 § 41).

The emendation of the transmitted form (by Lenfant, p. 132; cf. Schmitt, 2006, p. 169 with fn. 114), which has been remodeled in Greek after the many nouns ending in -státēs, is caused (as well as confirmed) by the Babylonian evidence. For several documents of the Murašû archive mention one Manuštanu (written mMa(n)-nu-uš-ta-nu/-na-’), son of Artaremu (mAr-ta-re(-e)-me/mu) and royal prince (Bab. mār bīt šarri, literally “son of the royal house”), for the years 425/24 BCE (cf. Stolper, pp. 49, 89 ff., 102, 155 f.). Manuštanu had large estates in Babylonia (around Nippur) and supervised people belonging to the royal treasury; thus he must have occupied an official position in the fiscal administration. The Murašû documents also support the inference that, after Dareios’ accession, he was removed from his position and his functions and was replaced by the eunuch Artoxares. The agreement between Ctesias and the Murašû texts, in many single aspects and cumulatively, is so impressive that there can be no doubt that Ctesias is absolutely reliable in the events concerned, which are near in time to his own days at the royal court.

The name is without any doubt of Iranian origin. Among the theoretically possible forms for OIran. *Mā̆nuš-(s)tā̆na-, the most plausible seems to be *Manuš-tana- “descendant of Manuš,” like YAv. Manuš.ciθra- and perhaps to be understood as an allusion to this Zoroastrian name (see Schmitt, 2006, pp. 170 f.; 2011, pp. 258 f., no. 217, with literature).

 

Bibliography:

M. A. Dandamayev, Iranians in Achaemenid Babylonia, Costa Mesa, Cal. and New York, 1992, pp. 96–98.

D. Lenfant, Ctésias de Cnide. La Perse, l’Inde, autres fragments. Texte établi, traduit et commenté, Paris, 2004.

R. Schmitt, “Manuštānu,” RlA VII, 1990, p. 344.

Idem, Iranische Anthroponyme in den erhaltenen Resten von Ktesias’ Werk (Iranica Graeca Vetustiora. III), Wien, 2006, pp. 169–171.

Idem, Iranisches Personennamenbuch V/5a. Iranische Personennamen in der griechischen Literatur vor Alexander d. Gr., Wien, 2011, pp. 258 f., no. 217.

M. W. Stolper, Entrepreneurs and Empire. The Murašû Archive, the Murašû Firm, and Persian Rule in Babylonia, Istanbul, 1985.

(Rüdiger Schmitt)

Last Updated: January 23, 2012