How did Cyrus the Great die

Cyrus II or Cyrus the Great

Here lies a truly great ruler

  • Old Persian Kūruš
  • New Persian کوروش بزرگ (Kurosch-e Bozorg)
  • Babylonian Kuraš
  • Elamish Kuraš
  • Aramaic Kureš
  • Hebrew כורש Koreš
  • Latin Cyrus

He connects peoples

Cyrus II ruled Persia from 559 BC. BC to 530 BC As the sixth king of the Achaemenid dynasty. Its importance for Iran cannot be overestimated. It gives the most diverse groupings a unifying identity and is transfigured to a large extent to this day. But how did it happen?

Cyrus II was the founder of the Persian empire of the Achaemenids. He was born in 559 BC. King of Anshan, a city in the Persis region. The Medes had exercised hegemony over Persis for about a hundred years. Cyrus II succeeded around 550 BC. To shake off this supremacy by overthrowing the Medieval king Astyages. In the years that followed, Cyrus II conquered the entire Meder Empire, thus laying the foundations for the great Persian Empire. Through his policy of expansion, he significantly expanded the borders of the old Persian Empire, which, under his successors, extended from India to Iran, Babylon, Asia Minor and Egypt until 330 BC. Before it was conquered by Alexander the Great.

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The ideal king

Cyrus II can thus be described as the first king of a Greater Persia in terms of its importance. Soon after his death he was legendarily glorified by his people as the ideal king. The ninth and most important king of the Achaemenid dynasty after Cyrus II, Darius I (founder of Persepolis), could not avoid changing the royal line to legitimize the succession. He was not a descendant of Cyrus II, who was not an Achaemenid at all, but Teispid. The Teispiden were a Persian noble family, whose royal line passed through Darius I to the Achaemenids. To this day, numerous other kings and rulers of Persia have identified themselves as direct descendants of Cyrus II. This seems extremely important. As mentioned, the reasons for this are certainly due to military success and the idea of ​​the founder of the Persian Empire. But there is another, perhaps the most significant, explanation.

A tolerant ruler

Cyrus II has been described by many historians as a tolerant ruler. Up until now, military campaigns have involved massacres, deportations and looting. Cyrus II broke new ground here and allowed the conquered peoples a certain degree of identity. This culminated in the liberation of the Jewish people from Babylonian exile (see quote below). So foreign things no longer had to be destroyed, as they did not represent a threat, but an enrichment. It remains to be seen whether Cyrus II was about tolerance out of inner conviction or out of insight, but it shows the self-confidence of this fascinating personality. More than 200 years later, after the destruction of Persepolis, even Alexander the Great expressed his admiration (he is said to have wept for a long time) in front of the tomb of this Persian king in Pasargadae.

An untouched grave?

The tomb is described by Aristobulus in the 4th century as follows: »After that, the rectangular grave building was in a large garden, was built at the base of solid stone blocks and above it had a burial chamber with a narrow entrance. Inside it was a table with glasses, a gold sarcophagus in which the body of Cyrus had once been buried, a bier, and splendid clothes and jewelry. Nearby on the ascent to the grave stood a hut for its guardians, the Mager. A Persian inscription adorned the grave: 'O man, I am Cyrus, who founded the rule of the Persians, King of Asia! Do not envy me this monument! ‹After Aristobulus’s first visit, the tomb was robbed, and then he had it restored and walled up. This also speaks for the consistently high reputation of Cyrus II.

Cyrus and God

“But in the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, the LORD awakened - thus the word of the LORD would be fulfilled through the mouth of Jeremiah - the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia, to proclaim it orally and in writing throughout his kingdom said: Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and has commanded me to build a house for him in Jerusalem in Judah. Whoever is among you of his people, with him be the LORD his God, and let him go up. "(Quotation from the Bible, 2.Chr. 36,22-23 or Ezra 1,1-3)

His name is alive

By the way, our bus drivers talked about names they wanted to give their sons. One of the two favorites was: Kyros (pronounced Kūroš) - a truly genuine Persian name. The second favorite should not be mentioned here ...

Text: Thomas Penkazki

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