Cyrus II the Great ( ancient Persian 𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁 Kuruš ) is a Persian king from the Achaemenid dynasty, who ruled in 559-530 BC. e.
|Cyrus II the Great|
|other Persian Kuruš (k u -ur u -u-š) ; |
Akkad. Ku (r) -raš / -ra-áš; Elamsk. Ku-raš ;
aram. Kwrš ; Greek Κῦρος ; lat Cyrus
Portrait of Cyrus II the Great.
A modern reconstruction based on a relief image in Pasargada , according to some historians wearing portrait traits of Cyrus.
|Birth||OK. 593 BC e.|
|Death||530 BC e. |
near the river Syr Darya
|Children||sons: Cambyses II , Bardia |
daughters: Artiston , Atoss , Roxanne
The son of Cambyses I and, possibly, Princess Mandana, daughter of the king of Medes Ishtuvegu (Astiaga) . Founder of the Persian state Achaemenids.
The Origin of Cyrus
Biography of Cyrus is known mainly from the " History " of Herodotus . Some useful information can also be obtained from the ancient Greek historian Ctesias , who lived at the Persian court in the 5th century BC. e., and in the books of the Old Testament . Original sources are scarce. In addition to the cylinder , which lists the list of Cyrus' victories, his gracious deeds, as well as his ancestors, only a few private Babylonian documents have been preserved that help keep a chronology of events.
Ancestors of Cyrus
Cyrus was the son of Cambyses I of the Achaemenid dynasty , founded by the legendary Achaemen , the leading clan in the Persian Pasargada tribe. Nabonid also titled Cyrus the king of Anshan  , that is, one of the regions in the southeast of Elam , the Babylonian priests who made up the so-called chronicle of Nabonid and Cyrus did the same  . In his appeal to the Babylonians, Cyrus himself called the “kings of Anshan ” his ancestors: “I am Cyr ... the son of Cambyses , the great king, the king of the city of Anshan, the grandson of Cyrus , the great king, the king of the city of Anshan, the descendant of Teisp , the great king, the king of the city of Anshan” .
This proclamation of Cyrus as king of the Elamite region of Anshan, mentioned in the Babylonian texts from ancient times, gives reason to think that Cyrus was an Elamite. Modern monuments of art to Cyrus indicate the influence in the ancient time of the Persian kingdom of Elamic statehood and art. However, it was precisely proved that Cyrus was an Aryan . His connection with Anshan is not entirely clear, the only explanation, perhaps, is that Cyrus came from the east, from the state that replaced Elam, therefore in the official solemn inscription he is called the king of Anshan. And he himself seized on this term sanctified by antiquity, which informed him in the eyes of the Babylonians more reverence, and, in addition, carried a program of attack on the west - because once the kings of Elam owned Babylon .
Bearing the title of King Anshan, the lord of the newly-arrived monarchy became the heir to the ancient Elamite kings with all the traditions and other beneficial consequences of this inheritance. However, the matter is complicated by the fact that it is difficult to prove the usefulness of Anshan’s understanding in the general sense, how to accurately localize it in general, as well as the fact that in the chronicle of Nabonidus Cyrus after the conquest of Medes is titled by the king of Persia (Parsa). This circumstance gives reason to directly identify Anshan with Persia, considering these terms to be equally used, or vice versa, points to their difference, considering the mention in the title of Persian kings Anshan as a reflection of the more ancient stage of their power, and the title of king of Persia as its next step. Be that as it may, it is known for sure that the Pasargada kings of Anshan were vassals of the Media Empire until the Cyrus uprising.
Kira's childhood and youth
The exact year of birth of Cyrus is unknown, it is believed that he was born on a period of time from 600 to 590 BC. e., most likely in 593 BC. e. About his childhood and youth is known only from legends that often contradict each other. The Greek historian Xenophon also writes that already in the 5th century BC. e. the life of Cyrus the Great was told in different ways.
According to Herodotus , Cyrus' mother was the daughter of the Medes king Astyages (Ishtuvegu) Mandan, who was predicted that she would give birth to a son who would become the ruler of the world. To avoid this, Astiag married his daughter to a Persian, and not to a Mead, but still fearing that his grandson would become king in his place, he then called pregnant Mandana to himself from Persia, and after a while, when her son was born, he decided to destroy him . He assigned this task to his dignitary, Harpag . In turn, Harpag passed the child to a shepherd, one of the slaves of Astyages, and ordered him to be left in the mountains, where there were a lot of wild animals. But, when this shepherd brought the baby to his hut, he found out that his wife had just given birth to a dead child. Parents decided to raise the king's son as their own, and left the dead child in a secluded place in the mountains, dressing him in the luxurious clothes of his grandson Astiaga. After that, the shepherd informed Harpag that he had obeyed his order. Harpag, having sent loyal people to inspect the corpse of the baby and bury him, was convinced that this was indeed so. Thus, Cyrus childhood passed among the king's slaves  .
When the boy was ten years old, he was once elected king when playing with children. But the son of a noble Medes refused to obey him, and Cyrus punished him with beatings. The father of this boy complained to Astyages that his slave beats the children of the royal dignitaries. Cyrus was brought to punish Astyages, who immediately had suspicions that his grandson was in front of him, since he noticed features of a family resemblance in him. Indeed, having questioned under the threat of torture of a shepherd, Astyages learned the truth. Then he severely punished Harpag: he invited him to dinner and secretly treated his own son, peer Cyrus, with meat. Then Astyages again turned to the magicians with a question whether he was still in danger from his grandson. They replied that the prediction had already come true, since Cyrus was elected king during the game with the children, and therefore there was no need to fear him anymore. Then Astyages calmed down and sent his grandson to Persia to his parents  .
But Herodotus himself did not pass off his version as the only one - he said that there were four more others. His version was indeed not only not the only, but not the original one - he admitted rationalism. For example, he has a dog that nurtured, according to Justin and in similar stories, Kira, when he was left to be eaten by wild animals, turned into a shepherd’s wife, whose Greek name was Kino, and Spako in Mead (“dog” midi spaco ).
Another version recorded by Ctesias is very interesting; it came to us through Nikolai Damassky and, finding undoubted signs of greater originality, is one of the few valuable pages in Ctesias. She says that Cyrus was the son of the poor Mardian robber Atradat (the Mardis were a nomadic Persian tribe), who subsequently exalted, having entered the service of Astyages . The prediction of future greatness, spoken by the Babylonian magicians, prompted Cyrus to escape to Persia and to the beginning of the rebellion  .
All Greek writers are unanimous in their opinion that the name of Cyrus was not given to him at birth, but was taken by him later, after taking the throne. The etymology of the name is not known. Plutarch says that he was named so in honor of the Sun (folk Persian etymology Kurash "Cyrus" from Zend. Hvare), because the Sun is Persian in "Cyrus"  . Strabo claims that the name of Cyrus was given to him in honor of the Cyrus River, which flows near Pasargad . As if the king of the Persians took the name of this river, renaming himself from Agradat to Cyrus  . Justin, perhaps, refers the meaning of the name to the word "shepherd", for: "The boy, living among the shepherds, received the name Cyrus"   .
Revolt against the Mussel
Cyrus becomes leader of the Persian tribes
If you believe Herodotus , who claimed that the reign of Cyrus lasted 29 years  , in 559 BC. e. (other Greek writers also attribute Cyrus' accession to the throne by the beginning of the first year of the 55th Olympiad, that is, 560–559 BC.  ) Cyrus became the leader of the Persian settled tribes, among which the pasargades played the leading role. In addition to them, the union also included marathons and maspies . All of them were dependent on the king of the Medes. The center of the then Persian state was located around the city of Pasargada , the intensive construction of which relates precisely to the initial period of Cyrus and which became the first capital of the Persian state. Cytia , Marda , Sagartia and some other nomadic tribes living in the cities and steppes of Persia, as well as the settled tribes of Karmania , Panfialei and Derush, were conquered by Cyrus later, apparently, already after the war with Medes    . According to the Armenian national tradition, which was reflected in Movses Khorenatsi , the kingdom of Media was defeated by the Armenian king Tigran in alliance with Cyrus and with his help. The historical kernel of this message is revealed when comparing it with the message of Xenophon, the Greek historian of the 5th - first half of the 4th centuries. BC e. contained in his work "Cyropedia". Here Cyrus and the Armenian prince Tigran appear as friends, and subsequently Tigran with Armenian troops takes part in the campaigns of Cyrus. 
Beginning of a rebellion against Mussel
In 553 BC e., according to the inscription of Nabonidus (3rd year of the reign of Nabonidus), Cyrus opposed the Medes king Astyages . Herodotus and Ctesius call the Persian war with the Medes an uprising, the success of which (especially according to Herodotus) was largely due to the existence of a party in Medes, dissatisfied with Astyages, and treason. According to Herodotus, the cause of the war between the two kingdoms was the conspiracy of the noble Medes Harpagh , to whom, as mentioned above, Astiag inflicted a severe offense. He managed to win over many noble Medes to his side, dissatisfied with the harsh rule of Astyages, and then persuaded Cyrus to revolt.
The fall of Media, in addition to discontent and treason, was facilitated by the dynastic crisis: according to both sources available to us, Astyages did not have an heir-son. Ctesias calls his son-in-law the heir to Spitam, on whom, apparently, the discontented party was leaning, and against which, as if, the Medes followers of Cyrus acted. The mussel fell not without struggle; Ctesias even speaks of the advance and victories of Astyages. Herodotus, in any case, recognizes his courage, which reached the armament of the elderly   .
Victory of the Rebels
Greek and Babylonian sources agree that the rebellion of Cyrus against Medes lasted three years. The Chronicle of Nabonidus under the 6th year (550 BC) reports:
“He (Astyages) gathered his army and went against Cyrus, king Anshan, to defeat him. But against Ishtuvegu (Astiaga) his army rebelled and, capturing him, surrendered to Cyrus. Cyrus went to Ecbatana , his capital. They plundered silver, gold, treasures of every kind of country of Ecbatana, and he carried it to Anshan ... ” 
Thus, it is clear that the war of Astyages with Cyrus lasted three years and ended in favor of the Persians only thanks to treason, and Astiages was on the offensive.
Where the last battle broke out and whether Ctesias , who placed it near the Pasargades , was right (supposedly this city was founded on the place where the Persians defeated the Medes), we are not aware. At the same time, Ctesias refers to the Persian tradition, which led to Cyrus and this war to establish that every king at every visit to Pasargad gives all women of the city a gold coin, supposedly in eternal gratitude that thanks to their intervention a victory was won that decided the outcome of the campaign and the fate of Persia. Allegedly, the Persians, ashamed of their wives and mothers, began to fight more decisively   .
Such a custom, it seems, really existed, they say that Alexander the Great followed him  . But it could have a different origin: for many peoples, the customs, the origin of which was forgotten, came up with an explanation associated with well-known historical or mythological characters  .
Cyrus - King of the Medes
Cyrus seized the media of the Medes of Ecbatana and proclaimed himself king of both Persia and Media , while taking the official title of Media Kings. Astiagh captured Cyrus mercifully and even, according to Ctesias , appointed him viceroy of Parkania (possibly Hyrcania ) and married his daughter (here Cyrus, it turns out, was not the son of Astyages daughter, but her husband). Of the people close to Astiagu, according to the same Ctesius, only Spitam suffered as the legitimate heir and dangerous rival of Cyrus  ; in all other respects, the coup was only a change in the dynasty.
The mussels and the Medes, and under the Achaemenids, were not humiliated and were considered equal with the Persians. Ekbatana continued to maintain the significance of the capital, sharing this role with Persepolis , Pasargada and Susa . Here the king spent summer time. All this determined the view of Persia as a continuation of the Media in the eyes of the neighboring peoples. It should be noted that the legality of Cyrus’s rule in Media was confirmed by his blood relations with Astyages, which, apart from Herodotus , are mentioned by other historians ( Justin  , Xenophon  , Elian  ). The Persians borrowed a system of government from the Medes, which in many respects dates back to the Assyrian .
Having conquered Media, Cyrus over the next two years (550-548 BC) captured the countries that were formerly part of the former Media State: Parthia and, probably, Armenia. Hyrcania apparently obeyed the Persians voluntarily  . In those same years, the Persians captured the entire territory of Elam . Conquering the vastness of the Median power, Cyrus overcame the resistance of its population. Although not a single source speaks about this, a dull mention related to this can, for example, be heard from Xenophon   .
Conquests of Cyrus II in Asia Minor
Conquest of Lydia
In 547 BC e. Cilicia voluntarily sided with Cyrus and provided him with military assistance. For this, Cyrus never sent satraps to her, but left the local rulers in power, who were supposed to pay tribute to him and, if necessary, put up an army.
Thus, Cyrus came close to the borders of the Lydian kingdom - one of the most powerful states in the Middle East , also claiming hegemony in Asia Minor . According to Herodotus , the initiative of the war belonged to the Lydian king Croesus . In 547 BC e. the Lydians invaded Cappadocia , which was previously ruled by the Medes and, after the Persians defeated the latter, moved into their zone of influence. Cyrus went there, en route replenishing his army of representatives of those peoples through whose territory he passed. Ambassadors were sent to the cities of Ionia and Aeolides with a call to abandon Croesus and speak on the side of Cyrus. However, the Asia Minor Greeks preferred to take a wait and see attitude  .
A bloody battle took place near the city of Pteria, on the eastern side of the Galis River, but it ended to no avail, and neither side ventured into a new battle. Creuse retreated to his capital - Sardis - and decided to thoroughly prepare for war and try to get more effective help from his allies: Egypt , Sparta and Babylon . However, Cyrus, who knew about the actions and intentions of his opponent, decided to take him by surprise and quickly moved to the Sardis. The inhabitants of Sard did not expect such an attack at all and learned about it only when the Persian troops appeared at the walls of the city. Croesus led his army, consisting of horsemen, armed with spears, to the plain in front of the Sards. Cyrus, on the advice of his commander, the Mead Harpag, put all the camels following in the convoy ahead of the troops, preliminarily planting archers on them (a military trick , which many other generals subsequently resorted to). The horses in the Lydian army, sensing the unfamiliar smell of camels and seeing them, took to flight. However, the Lydian riders jumped off their horses and began to fight on foot, but under the pressure of Cyrus troops they were forced to retreat to Sardis and lock themselves in the acropolis .
After a 14-day siege, the Persians took the acropolis, making their way there from the inaccessible and therefore almost unguarded side, and Croesus was captured and taken to Cyrus   .
According to the unanimous statement of the Greek authors, Cyrus spared Croesus, saving his life    . This is quite plausible, if we bear in mind that Cyrus was merciful to other captured kings. According to Herodotus , the Sardis were taken by the Persians somewhere between October and December 547 BC. e.
After defeating Creus, the coastal cities of the Ionians and Aeolians sent ambassadors to Sardis to Cyrus. They told him that they wanted to obey the Persians on the same terms that had previously been subordinate to Croesus. However, Cyrus reminded them that at one time he suggested they join him, but they refused, and now that Lydia’s fate has already been decided, he himself considers it necessary to indicate to them on what conditions they should obey him. Having learned about this, the Asia Minor Greeks began to strengthen their cities and decided to send messengers to Sparta asking for help. Only Miletus voluntarily submitted to the Persians, and Cyrus made an alliance with him on the same conditions as the Lydian king   .
The Conquest of Ionia, Caria, and Lycia
Taking advantage of the fact that Cyrus left for the eastern borders of his state, the Lydian Paktius, whom Cyrus instructed to preserve the treasures of Croesus, in 546 BC. e. rebelled against the Persians. With the help of gold, he managed to recruit mercenaries and convince residents of Greek coastal cities to join the uprising. After which he moved to Sardis and besieged the acropolis, where the governor of Lydia, Pers Tabal, took refuge. Against the rebels came the commander of Cyrus, the Mead Mazar.  Upon learning of the approach of the Persian army, Paktiy fled with his main partisans first to the coastal city of Kimu, then to Mytilene on the island of Lesvos and finally to the island of Chios , but was issued by the Persians in exchange for a small piece of land on the mainland [ 38] .
Having suppressed the rebellion in Lydia , Mazar began to conquer the Greek cities of Asia Minor , which joined the Paktia rebellion. He subjugated the area of the Venetians and the Meander river valley , allowing the army to plunder it. The same fate befell the city of Magnesia . Soon after, Mazar died, and the Mead Harpagh was appointed in his place   .
Harpagus began to build high embankments near the walled Greek cities, and then stormed to take them. The inhabitants of Phokea , the largest Greek city in Asia Minor after Miletus, did not want to obey the Persians and fled on ships first to the island of Kirn, and then to Italy to the city of Regius , where they founded a colony. An example of the Phocians was also followed by the inhabitants of the city of Theos , who moved to Abdera in Thrace . The rest of the cities of Ionia (except for Miletus, who had previously entered into an alliance with Cyrus) tried to resist Harpagus, but were defeated, subjugated and imposed a tribute. After Harpagus conquered the mainland Ionians, the island Ionians, fearing the same fate, voluntarily submitted to Cyrus. Needing the Greeks (like sailors), Cyrus did not worsen the conditions in which they were under the authority of Croesus  .
Having conquered Ionia, Harpagus waged war on the Carians , Cavians, and Lycians , taking with them the Ionian and the Aeolians . The population of Caria obeyed the Persians without a fight, as Herodotus says, “not covering himself with glory” and “not having made any feats” . True, the residents of Knidah , located on the peninsula, tried to dig a narrow isthmus (5 steps wide, about 900 m), separating them from the mainland, in order to make their land an island, but, stumbling on hard granite, they stopped work and surrendered without a fight. Only one of the Karean tribes - the Pedasians - resisted for some time. They fortified themselves on a mountain called Lida and delivered a lot of trouble to Harpoag, but, in the end, they were also conquered  .
Only the Lycians and Cavnias (the non-Greek autochthonous population of Asia Minor ) rendered desperate resistance to the large Persian army, having met him in open battle. The Lycians were driven back to the city of Xanthus , where they put the acropolis on fire, having gathered their wives, children, and slaves there in advance, and they died in battle. Equally stubborn was the resistance of the cavalies. But, of course, they could not stop the advance of a large and well-armed Persian army. Now all of Asia Minor came under the power of the Persians. For his loyalty, Harpag received Lydia in the hereditary management   .
Submission to Babylonia
The capture of Babylon
In the spring of 539 BC e. the Persian army marched on Babylon . At this critical moment, Ugbaru, the governor of the Gutium region (the Babylonian province east of the middle reaches of the Tigris ), betrayed King Nabonidus and switched to Cyrus. According to Herodotus , when crossing the Gind (modern Diyala ), one of the sacred white horses drowned in it. Cyrus in anger ordered to punish the river. During the summer, the Persian army dug through 360 canals and diverted water from the river. It can be seen that Cyrus was detained by the hydraulic structures of Nebuchadnezzar , which were activated and flooded the entire space from Opis and Sippar to the south, thus cutting off Babylon from the enemy army. What Herodotus presents as tyranny was obviously a well-considered venture - to lower the water from the flooded area again and make it passable. Only then did Cyrus continue the campaign  .
The Babylonian army became a camp near the city of Opis , covering the crossings over the Tiger . But Cyrus in the 20s of September unexpectedly walked around the Media Wall from the west. The corps sent by Cyrus to Ugbar besieged Babylon, in which there was a strong garrison led by the son of Nabonid Belshazzar . Cyrus himself struck the army of Nabonidus, standing at the Opis, from the rear. In the battle at Opis, which took place at the very end of September, the Babylonian army suffered a brutal defeat and fled   . Nabonidus with a few close associates wanted to retreat to Babylon, but the path there was cut off by the troops of Ugbar, and Nabonid took refuge in Borsippe .
On October 10, Sippar was captured without a fight, and on October 12, according to Babylonian sources, Ugbaru entered Babylon  (according to Herodotus, Cyrus ordered to divert the river and entered the city along its channel, while the inhabitants celebrated some holiday [ 47]  , but the Babylonian chronicle of events does not say anything about this, and therefore many historians consider the message of Herodotus unreliable  ).
Belshazzar , who was trying to resist the Persians in the city center, was killed. Ugbaru, the governor of Gutium, who commanded the Persian troops who entered Babylon, immediately took measures to prevent massacre and robbery in the city. The chronicle says: “Until the end of the month (tashrit, that is, until October 26, 539 BC), the shields of the Gutium country surrounded the gates of Esagila . No weapons were laid in Esagilus and shrines, and the ritual was not broken ”  .
Nabonidus, learning about the fall of Babylon and the death of Belshazzar, left Borsippus, returned to Babylon and voluntarily surrendered. October 29, 539 BC e. Cyrus himself also entered Babylon, to whom a solemn meeting was arranged. “3 arakshamnu (October 29), ” the chronicle continues, “ Cyrus entered Babylon. (Streets) in front of him were covered with branches. Peace in the city was established. Cyrus declared peace to all of Babylon . ”  The captured Nabonid was quietly sent to an honorary exile to remote Karmania in eastern Iran, where he ended his days   .
Cyrus's Attitude to the Babylonians and Other Conquered Peoples
In the official Babylonian historiography, the case was depicted as if there had been no war with Cyrus at all, and if there were separate incidents, such as the battle at the Opis, then only Nabonidus was guilty of them, but not Babylon . Cyrus willingly accepted this version of the Babylonian oligarchy, for it fully met his interests, and tried to back it up with deeds. The inhabitants of the Babylonian cities were promised peace and immunity. At first Cyrus appointed his eldest son and heir Cambyses king of Babylon, but after a few months, apparently, for political reasons, Cyrus removed his son and was crowned himself.
Having seized Mesopotamia , Cyrus formally preserved the Babylonian kingdom and did not change anything in the social structure of the country. Babylon became one of the royal residences, the Babylonians continued to occupy a dominant position in the state apparatus, and the priesthood was given the opportunity to revive the ancient cults, which Cyrus patronized in every way. In the inscriptions on the bricks, Cyrus acts as an admirer of the Babylonian gods and as a beautifier of Esagila and Ezida. Moreover, Cyrus’s power in Babylon was not regarded as foreign domination, since he received the kingdom “from the hands of the god Marduk ” by performing ancient sacred ceremonies. Cyrus took the title "king of Babylon, king of the countries . " However, in fact, Babylonia from an independent kingdom turned into a satrapy of the Power of the Achaemenids and lost all independence in foreign policy, and inside the country the highest military and administrative power now belonged to the Persian governor (Babylonian bel-pahati - "regional governor") of Babylon and Zarechye, that is throughout the New Babylonian Empire. Cyrus appointed Ugbar (or Gubara), whom the Greeks called Gobrius, as this "provincial commander."
After the capture of Babylonia, all the western countries to the borders of Egypt - Syria , Palestine and Phenicia - obeyed the Persians voluntarily. The trading cities of Phenicia, like the Babylonian and Asia Minor merchants, were interested in creating a large state with safe roads.
The peoples who were forcibly settled in Mesopotamia by the Babylonian kings, Cyrus allowed to return to their countries. The return to Palestine of the Jews , who had once been taken captive by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar , was a special case of these general measures of Cyrus. The book of Ezra preserved to us the decree of Cyrus, published in Ecbatan in the very first year of his Babylonian reign in 538 BC. e. In this decree, the Jews are allowed to build the Temple of Jerusalem according to the prescribed sizes and are ordered to return the temple vessels stolen by Nebuchadnezzar. Together with the temple and vessels, Jerusalem also received its ruler, a descendant of the David dynasty of Sheshbatsar, who, however, was not given the full royal title, but only princely, and who obeyed the governor of the Zarechnaya Oblast ( 1 Ezra. 5 , 6 ).
Probably Cyrus was rehabilitated and the Phoenician Sidon , destroyed by Asarhaddon and since then has lost its significance. At least now the kings reappear in him. Attracting Jews and Phoenicians to his side, Cyrus prepared himself for the loyal population of the western regions, which were of paramount importance as a base for operations against the only remaining large state - Egypt , as well as to create a fleet that could only stand in Phenicia and replenished by the Phoenician sailors  .
Manifesto of Cyrus
At this time, a document appeared, written in Babylonian for the Babylonians, - “Cyrus Manifesto”. It was composed by pro-Persian-minded oligarchs.
In the rather lengthy preface of the Manifesto, the ugliness of Nabonidus and the insults that he inflicted on the god Marduk , the temple of Esagilas and Babylon are described . When the patience of the god Marduk was exhausted, he found Cyrus, king of Anshan , handed him power over the nations, and finally entrusted him with the care of Babylon, whose people greeted him with great joy as a deliverer from the wicked king Nabonid. At the end of the "Manifesto" is placed a prayer to the Babylonian gods for the sending of well-being to Cyrus and his son and heir, Cambyses . This frame contains the actual text of the manifest, written on behalf of Cyrus.
It opens with the full title of Cyrus, compiled in the Babylonian way:
“I am Cyrus, the king of the multitudes, the great king, the mighty king, the king of Babylon , the king of Sumer and Akkad , the king of the four countries of the world, the son of Cambyses , the king of the great, king Anshan , the descendant of Theisp , the king of the great, king Anshan, the eternal royal seed, rule whom the gods Bel and Naboo love, whose dominion is pleasing to their heartfelt joy . ”
Then in the "Manifesto" on behalf of Cyrus it is said how his numerous troops peacefully entered Babylon . This is followed by a listing of the activities carried out by Cyrus, which are fully confirmed by other sources. Cyrus claimed the role of the king-liberator, and he fulfilled his promises given to the peoples who submitted to his power. A case in history is exceptional, but understandable. Aspiring to world dominion, Cyrus understood well that with the help of one Persian army he could not achieve this goal only by violence. He also understood that the countries of ancient civilization, which became the object of Persian conquests, were struck by a mortal ailment and were ready to see in him their savior and healer. Cyrus skillfully used this circumstance, which explains both his amazing military successes and the reputation of the “father” and “liberator”, which was entrenched in his memory not only by the Persians , but also by the peoples he conquered, including the Babylonians, Greeks and Jews .
Cyrus in the Manifesto said:
«От […] до Ашшура и Суз , Агаде , Эшнунны , Замбана, Ме-Турну, Дера до пределов страны Кути , городов [по ту сторону] Тигра , жилища которых были основаны в глубокой древности, богов, живших в них, я вернул на их места и устроил их вечные жилища. Я собрал всех их людей и вернул в их селения. И богов Шумера и Аккада , которых Набонид во гневе владыки богов перенёс в Вавилон , по приказанию бога Мардука , великого господина, я благополучно поместил в их чертоги, жилище радости сердца»
. Осуществление этой меры, имевшей первостепенное значение для судеб создаваемой им Персидской империи , Кир начал тотчас же после завоевания Вавилона. «С кислиму по аддару-месяц (с 25 ноября 539 по 23 марта 538 года до н. э.) боги страны Аккад, которых Набонид свёз в Вавилон, вернулись в свои резиденции» , — сообщает вавилонская хроника. Этот шаг вызвал всеобщее одобрение вавилонян. Он символизировал возврат к миру и привычному порядку.
Однако следует отметить, что Цилиндр Кира является обычной строительной надписью в духе ассиро-вавилонских традиций, а отнюдь не какой-то декларацией о человеческих правах  .
Поход против массагетов. Гибель Кира
Войну с Египтом при энергичном Амасисе Кир, очевидно, считал преждевременной и обратился против кочевых племён Ирана и Средней Азии . Неизвестно, тогда ли вошли в состав Персидского государства те области, которые перечисляются в списках Дария ( Парфия , Дрангиана, Ария, Хорасмия , Бактрия , Согдиана , Гайдара, Саки , Саттагида, Арахосия и Мака), или они были присоединены ещё до завоевания Вавилона . Из Геродота как будто следует, что бактрийцы и саки в порядке присоединения следовали за Вавилоном («… помехой Киру были Вавилон, бактрийский народ, саки и египтяне»)  . Историки Александра Македонского ( Арриан , Страбон ) упоминают также поход Кира через Гедросию, в котором он потерял всю армию, за исключением всего семи воинов  , а также основание на берегах Яксарта (древнее название Сырдарьи ) города Кирополиса   .
Поход Кира на массагетов стал для него роковым. Летом 530 года до н. э., согласно Геродоту , перейдя реку « Аракс », Кир потерпел поражение и погиб. По утверждению Геродота , « царица » массагетов Томирис , мстя Киру за смерть сына, приказала найти его тело и окунула его голову в винный мех, наполненный кровью, таким образом предлагая ему утолить ненасытную жажду крови  . Однако, поскольку доподлинно известно, что Кир был погребён в Пасаргадах (где его останки видел ещё Александр Македонский ), некоторые из исследователей считают этот эпизод недостоверным. Так, по мнению Бероса , Кир пал в битве с дахами после девятилетнего царствования в Вавилоне  .
Ктесий сообщает о войне с дербиками (кажется, на границах Индии ), и опять-таки не обходится без легенд, совершенно отличных от приведённых Геродотом  . Во всяком случае, место смерти Кира везде указывается на крайних пределах государства, вероятно требовавших особенного наблюдения и поставивших престарелого царя перед необходимостью лично вести войну. Видимо, Кир погиб в самом начале августа; во всяком случае, к концу августа 530 года до н. e. весть о гибели Кира дошла до далёкой Вавилонии.
Царствовал Кир 29 лет и погребён в Пасаргадах , где до сих пор сохранился памятник, считающийся его гробницей и напоминающий по стилю малоазиатские мавзолеи . Вблизи этой гробницы высечен краткий и скромный клинописный персидско-эламо-вавилонский текст — «Я — Куруш, царь, Ахеменид» , а также изображено охранявшее бывший здесь дворец крылатое существо в эламском царском наряде и с головным убором египетских богов. Принадлежность этой гробницы Киру едва ли может подвергаться сомнениям хотя бы из-за полного соответствия сооружения с описанием, например, у Аристобула , которому Александр поручил заботиться о его сохранности.
Во времена анархии, наступившей во время похода Александра в Индию , гробница была разграблена, но македонский завоеватель, вернувшись, казнил грабителей. Впрочем, они не нашли в ней почти никаких ценностей, и Александр удивлялся скромности, с которой был похоронен столь великий завоеватель    .
Память о Кире
Образ Кира оставил глубокий след в древневосточной и античной литературе. В короткий срок вождь небольшого, мало кому известного племени основал могущественную империю, распростёршуюся от Инда и Яксарта (Сырдарьи) до Эгейского моря и пределов Египта . Кир был великим воином и государственным деятелем, не только отличался большим политическим умом и дипломатической дальновидностью, но пользовался удачей, которая отдала в его руки Мидию и Вавилонию , раздираемые внутренними распрями и видевшие в нём не столько чуждого завоевателя, сколько освободителя.
Его общепризнанная гуманность, коренившаяся как в личном характере, так и в характере исповедуемой им религии, окружила его личность ореолом человека, принёсшего в историю Передней Азии светлый период между ассирийскими зверствами и позднейшим персидским деспотизмом. Он явился желанным для народов и ушёл, обновив Азию и начав новый период её истории. В памяти персов он остался как «отец народа», в то время как в древнегреческой и библейской традиции он почитался как образ мудрого и справедливого правителя. Вот высказывание Диодора Сицилийского о нём, которое только подтверждает слова Геродота  и Ксенофонта  :
«Царь Мидии Кир, сын Камбиза и Манданы, дочери Астиага, был выдающимся среди людей своего времени в мужестве, мудрости и других добродетелях, ибо его отец воспитал его на царский манер и сделал его ревностным подражателем высшим достижениям. И было ясно, что он сотворит великие дела, так как не по годам проявлял своё превосходство. Кир, как нам говорят, был не только мужественным человеком на войне, но он был также внимательный и гуманный в обращении к своим подданным. И именно по этой причине персы называли его Отцом». 
Иудеи называли его помазанником Яхве , на основании библейского пророчества в книге пророка Исаии , где «помазанник Иеговы», завоевавший многие народы  и приказавший отстроить Иерусалим и Храм  , дважды назван именем «Кир».
Популярность личности Кира в древности была столь велика, что ему приписывались феноменальные способности (например, что он поимённо знал своих воинов     ). Противники также признавали его величие, что подтверждает эллинская традиция. Несмотря на то, что могущественное государство, созданное Киром, в течение последующих двух столетий представляло для Греции источник угрозы, более поздние греки отзывались о нём как о мудром и справедливом правителе. В « Киропедии » Ксенофонта содержится в значительной мере вымышленное описание Кира как идеального царя.
В позднейшее время перед личностью Кира преклонялись такие разные люди, как Томас Джефферсон , Давид Бен-Гурион , Мохаммед Реза Пехлеви и Махмуд Ахмадинежад  .
Родословие Кира II Великого
царь Персии [*]
|Кир II Великий|
Смердис [*] )
|Alexander III |
- 1 2 3 4 5 : Нет достоверных свидетельств существования.
559 — 530 до н. e.
(правил 29 лет)
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