Irdabama was a Persian businesswoman who lived during the reign of Xerxes in the late 400s BCE. She was of the noble class, but possessed far more political and economic power than most members of the nobility. Irdabama was a wealthy landowner, and ran her own wine and grain businesses, which were very successful. She owned many warehouses and employed workers of both sexes. Her success was shown further in that she possessed her own seal and letterhead, which was a symbol of autonomy, independence, wealth, and economic power. Old rosters list her influence over several villages, ownership of many warehouses, and a great control of the workforce. Because of this, she would have been hailed as a great economic player in the Persian court.

Persian women held more power than what our perception of history gives them credit for in the ancient world. The rights of women decreased immensely with the spread of Greco-Roman culture and laws, as well as the spread of the Abrahamic religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.


Women in Ancient Persia 559—331 BC by M. Brosius, Review by: Wouter F.M. Henkelman