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The Cyrus Cylinder and Achaemenid Imperial Policy

The Cyrus Cylinder and Achaemenid Imperial Policy

Abstract

The Cyrus Cylinder and Achaemenid Imperial Policy SAGE Publications, Inc.1983DOI: 10.1177/030908928300802507 Amélie Kuhrt Department of History, University College Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT Cyrus the Great of Persia who founded one of the most extensive and powerful empires of the ancient world has traditionally enjoyed a very good press. He is presented as plucky, honourable and lacking in vicious traits by Herodotus who also provides the interesting information that the Persians themselves regarded him as a `father'1-a term suggestive of benevolence and wisdom as well as underlining his achievements as the founder of the Persian state and first extender of its realm. Xenophon (c.430-c.354 BC) chose Cyrus as the subject of his novel, the Kyropaideia, and presented him as the ideal ruler and a paragon of every conceivable moral virtue. Nor does this impression of the character of Cyrus rest only on Greek literary evidence; Cyrus received similar favourable treatment in the Jewish tradition as well: he is the ruler chosen by Yahweh to deliver Israel from the Babylonian exile and bring about the restoration according to the prophecies of Deutero-Isaiah, prophecies which are confirmed by the Book of Ezra where a proclamation of Cyrus is quoted positively
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