29 October 2017 - 16:33
Cyrus The Great

When Cyrus the Great, King of Persia and founder of the Achaemenid Empire, entered the land of Babylon in 539 BC as a conqueror, he treated people in a way different from that of the ordinary conquerors of that time. He never violated their dignity and human rights and this has turned that day into a historic day for humanity.

Cyrus (580-529 BC) was the first Achaemenid Emperor. He founded Persia by uniting the two original Iranian Tribes- the Medes and the Persians. Although he was known to be a great conqueror, who at one point controlled one of the greatest Empires ever seen, he is best remembered for his unprecedented tolerance and magnanimous attitude towards those he defeated.

Upon his victory over the Medes, he founded a government for his new kingdom, incorporating both Median and Persian nobles as civilian officials. The conquest of Asia Minor completed, he led his armies to the eastern frontiers.

The victories to the east led him again to the west and sounded the hour for attack on Babylon and Egypt. When he conquered Babylon, he did so to cheers from the Jewish Community, who welcomed him as a liberator- he allowed the Jews to return to the Promised Land. He showed great forbearance and respect towards the religious beliefs and cultural traditions of other races. These qualities earned him the respect and homage of all the people over whom he ruled.

Bas-Relief of Cyrus the Great, in Pasargad, Iran The victory over Babylonia expressed all the facets of the policy of conciliation which Cyrus had followed until then.

Bas-Relief of Cyrus the Great, in Pasargad, Iran

He presented himself not as a conqueror, but a liberator and the legitimate successor to the crown.

He also declared the first Charter of Human Rights known to mankind. He took the title of "King of Babylon and King of the Land". Cyrus had no thought of forcing conquered people into a single mould, and had the wisdom to leave unchanged the institution of each kingdom he attached to the Persian Crown. In 539 BCE he allowed more than 40,000 Jews to leave Babylon and return to Palestine. This step was in line with his policy to bring peace to Mankind. A new wind was blowing from the east, carrying away the cries and humility of defeated and murdered victims, extinguishing the fires of sacked cities, and liberating nations from slavery.

Cyrus was upright, a great leader of men, generous and benevolent. The Hellenes, whom he conquered regarded him as 'Law-giver' and the Jews as 'the anointed of the Lord'.

Prior to his death, he founded a new capital city at Pasargade in Fars, and had established a government for his Empire. He appointed a governor (satrap) to represent him in each province, however the administration, legislation, and cultural activities of each province was the responsibility of the Satraps. According to Xenophon Cyrus is also reputed to have devised the first postal system, (Achaemenid achievements).

His doctrines were later adopted by the future emperors of the Achaemenian dynasty.  

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