SearchHappy Cyrus the Great Day

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en.wikipedia.org 29/10/2014 History

Keywords:#Aban, #Achaemenid, #Achaemenid_Empire, #Akkad, #Akkadian, #Anshan, #Asia, #Athens, #Babylon, #Babylonia, #Bible, #Book_of_Ezra, #British, #British_Museum, #Bulgaria, #California, #Cambridge, #Cambyses, #Caucasus, #Central_Asia, #Cyrenaica, #Cyrus, #Cyrus_Cylinder, #Cyrus_The_Great, #Cyrus_the_Great, #Egypt, #En.wikipedia.org, #Fars, #Getty, #Getty_Villa, #Happy, #Indus, #Indus_River, #Iran, #Iranian, #Iraq, #Israel, #Jerusalem, #Jew, #Jewish, #Lebanon, #Lord, #Macedonia, #Media, #Mediterranean, #Mediterranean_Sea, #Mesopotamia, #Messiah, #Monument, #Nabonidus, #Near_East, #Pasargadae, #Passargad, #Persia, #Persian, #Persian_Empire, #Persis, #San_Diego, #Syria, #Tehran, #Thrace, #USA, #United_Kingdom, #United_States, #Western

Cyrus the Great Day or Cyrus Day, October 29 (7th of Aban) is the day that some Iranian nationalists believe it is the anniversary of the entrance of Cyrus into Babylon. It is named the day of Cyrus The Great by "Save Pasargard" Institute, but is not registered in any international calender. King of Persia, who declared the first charter of human rights in the world, also known as the Cyrus Cylinder.
Photo: The Cyrus Cylinder, the reverse side

* * * In October 539 BCE, the Persian king Cyrus took Babylon, the ancient capital of an oriental empire covering modern Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. Several texts describe this event. In the Nabonidus Chronicle, for instance, is written that in the month of Arahsamna, the third day (29 October), Cyrus entered Babylon.

Cyrus the Great Hood & Helmet reconstructed

* * * The day is celebrated, especially by Iranian communities, in different countries such as Iran (Persia), the United States and the United Kingdom. It was, for instance, celebrated in the city of Cambridge in 2009 and 2010.

The Cyrus Cylinder (Persian: منشور کوروش‎) is an ancient clay cylinder, now broken into several fragments, on which is written a declaration in Akkadian cuneiform script in the name of the Persia's Achaemenid king Cyrus the Great. It dates from the 6th century BC and was discovered in the ruins of Babylon in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) in 1879. It is currently in the possession of the British Museum, which sponsored the expedition that discovered the cylinder. It was created and used as a foundation deposit following the Persian conquest of Babylon in 539 BC, when the Neo-Babylonian Empire was invaded by Cyrus and incorporated into his Persian Empire.

Cyrus Cylinder Getty Villa California USA Tour

* * * The text on the Cylinder praises Cyrus, sets out his genealogy and portrays him as a king from a line of kings. The Babylonian king Nabonidus, who was defeated and deposed by Cyrus, is denounced as an impious oppressor of the people of Babylonia and his low-born origins are implicitly contrasted to Cyrus's kingly heritage. The victorious Cyrus is portrayed as having been chosen by the chief Babylonian god Marduk to restore peace and order to the Babylonians. The text states that Cyrus was welcomed by the people of Babylon as their new ruler and entered the city in peace. It appeals to Marduk to protect and help Cyrus and his son Cambyses. It extols Cyrus as a benefactor of the citizens of Babylonia who improved their lives, repatriated displaced people and restored temples and cult sanctuaries across Mesopotamia and elsewhere in the region. It concludes with a description of how Cyrus repaired the city wall of Babylon and found a similar inscription placed there by an earlier king.

Winged man relief, Pasargadae, Province of Fars, Iran

* * * The Cylinder's text has traditionally been seen by biblical scholars as corroborative evidence of Cyrus’ policy of the repatriation of the Jewish people following their Babylonian captivity (an act that the Book of Ezra attributes to Cyrus), as the text refers to the restoration of cult sanctuaries and repatriation of deported peoples. This interpretation has been disputed, as the text identifies only Mesopotamian sanctuaries, and makes no mention of Jews, Jerusalem, or Judea. The Cylinder has also been called the oldest known charter or symbol of universal human rights, a view rejected by others as anachronistic and a misunderstanding of the Cylinder's generic nature as a typical statement made by a new monarch at the beginning of his reign. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, has stated that the cylinder was "the first attempt we know about running a society, a state with different nationalities and faiths — a new kind of statecraft." It was adopted as a national symbol of Iran by the Imperial State which put it on display in Tehran in 1971 to commemorate 2,500 years of the Iranian monarchy.

Monument to the Cyrus Cylinder in Balboa Park, San Diego, California erected by an Iranian émigré organisation, presenting a widely circulated false translation of the text that portrays Cyrus as a champion of human rights

* * *
Illustration from "Illustrerad verldshistoria utgifven av E. Wallis. volume I": Relief of Cyrus. Date 1875

* * * Cyrus the Great  and also known as Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much of Central Asia and the Caucasus. From the Mediterranean Sea and Hellespont in the west to the Indus River in the east, Cyrus the Great created the largest empire the world had yet seen. Under his successors, the empire eventually stretched from parts of the Balkans (Bulgaria-Pannonia) and Thrace-Macedonia in the west, to the Indus Valley in the east. His regal titles in full were The Great King, King of Persia, King of Anshan, King of Media, King of Babylon, King of Sumer and Akkad, and King of the Four Corners of the World. He also proclaimed what has been identified by scholars and archaeologists to be the oldest known declaration of human rights, which was transcribed onto the Cyrus Cylinder sometime between 539 and 530 BC. This view has been criticized by some as a misunderstanding of what they claim to be the Cylinder's generic nature as a traditional statement of the sort that new monarchs may make at the beginning of their reign.

Illustration of Achaemenid king Cyrus The Great entering Babylon

* * * The reign of Cyrus the Great lasted between 29 and 31 years. Cyrus built his empire by conquering first the Median Empire, then the Lydian Empire and eventually the Neo-Babylonian Empire. Either before or after Babylon, he led an expedition into central Asia, which resulted in major campaigns that were described as having brought "into subjection every nation without exception". Cyrus did not venture into Egypt, as he himself died in battle, fighting the Massagetae along the Syr Darya in December 530 BC. He was succeeded by his son, Cambyses II, who managed to add to the empire by conquering Egypt, Nubia, and Cyrenaica during his short rule.

Cyrus The Great Cylinder Museum at the British Museum

* * * Cyrus the Great respected the customs and religions of the lands he conquered. It is said that in universal history, the role of the Achaemenid Empire founded by Cyrus lies in its very successful model for centralized administration and establishing a government working to the advantage and profit of its subjects. In fact, the administration of the empire through satraps and the vital principle of forming a government at Pasargadae were the works of Cyrus. What is sometimes referred to as the Edict of Restoration (actually two edicts) described in the Bible as being made by Cyrus the Great left a lasting legacy on the Jewish religion where because of his policies in Babylonia, he is referred to by the Jewish Bible as Messiah (Isaiah 44:24, 26–45:3, 13) and is the only non-Jew to be called so:

Achaemenid king of kings Cyrus_The_Great of Persia Tomb in Passargad among Meadows

* * * So said the Lord to His anointed one, to Cyrus
—Yeshayahu, Isa 45:1-7
Cyrus the Great is also well recognized for his achievements in human rights, politics, and military strategy, as well as his influence on both Eastern and Western civilizations. Having originated from Persis, roughly corresponding to the modern Iranian province of Fars, Cyrus has played a crucial role in defining the national identity of modern Iran. Cyrus and, indeed, the Achaemenid influence in the ancient world also extended as far as Athens, where many Athenians adopted aspects of the Achaemenid Persian culture as their own, in a reciprocal cultural exchange.
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