Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Persian Empire, was born 600 B.C. and died 530 B.C. Due to his efforts and under his rule, the Middle East and Central Asia enjoyed tolerance, prosperity and peace. Cyrus allowed foreigners who had been forcibly relocated, including the Jews of the Babylonian captivity, to return home. Cyrus respected the traditions and religions of those who lived in his country; as a result, he is celebrated as enlightened and tolerant. For more information about Cyrus’s Cylinder, click here.  Also watch this TED talk by Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, who traces 2600 years of Middle Eastern history through this single object, the Cyrus Cylinder.

A hallmark of Cyrus’ administration was religious freedom and a respect for the customs of ethnic minorities, a fact acknowledged by ancient Jewish historians. Combining these missions with Cyrus’ wise and fruitful economic policies, the Middle East and Central Asia emerged as a pinnacle of early civilization. A great man who also harboured a spirit of humility, Cyrus asked to be buried in earth, rather than encased in silver or gold.

It is appropriate to have a quotation from Cyrus the great here which says “…I was never the plaything of fear or greed. Thought I had the advantage of royal birth, it was through my own efforts that I reordered the world as I wished it to be, and conquered far more by the force of my mental powers than by the strength of my sinews.”(Larry Hedrick, 2006). Knowledge is Power.

A man of many achievements in life, in death he acknowledged he was a man, like any other, and insisted on being treated accordingly. This empathy for all humanity marks Cyrus’ greatness and inspires us to recall his achievements when we attempt, in some small way, to contribute to the knowledge generation, peace, and prosperity of the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia. Read more…

Cyrus the Great, The Art of Leadership and War, by Larry Hedrick, 2006.

For further information see several comprehensive articles at: