The Cyrus Cylinder: The Great Persian Edict from Babylon
I.B.Tauris, Mar 26, 2013 - History - 144 pages
Some historical artfacts are destined forever to alter how the ancient world is perceived. The unerathing in today's Iraq (in 1879) of a clay cylinder-shaped decree from Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achaemenid dynasty of Persia, stands in the same traditin of game changing discoveries from antiquity as Hammurabi's famous law code or the intact tom of the boy-king Tutankhamun. For the Cyrus Cylinder contains in microcosm the whole history of its period. Inscribed with an account of the conquest of Babylon in 539 BC by the Persian king, it records an event which launched one of the greatest imperial adventures in history. It describes Cyrus' capture and deposition of Nabondius, last native Babylonian ruler (represented by the Cylinder text as an oppressor of his own people), and proclaims the Persian, aided by the god Marduk, as a liberator. His annexation of Babylon was to become the platform upon which the Achaemenid military machine built its later vast imperium. But the Cylinder is more than an ancient exercise in propaganda.