Cyrus the Great (Biographical details)

Cyrus the Great (ruler; royal/imperial; Persian; Male; c.590/80 BC; 550 BC - 530 BC; 530 BC; ; ruled)

Also known as

Cyrus II; Cyrus the Great; ku-ra-aš


Iranian ruler of the Achaemenid empire; captured the seat of the Neo-Babylonian empire at Babylon in 539 BC; seen as the founder of the Persian Empire, which he organized into satrapies, he is also hailed as an ideal ruler as he allowed the exiled Jews to return to Jerusalem (referred to in the Old Testament Book of Daniel), and he showed tolerance and generosity towards conquered people and other religions. The so-called "Cyrus cylinder", excavated at Babylon and in the British Museum, consequently has been popularly termed the "first charter of human rights". Cyrus II was son of Cambyses I (son of Cyrus I), and Princess Mandane, daughter of the Median king Astyages (q.v.). He is the subject of a semi-biographical work, the "Cyropaedia" ["The Education of Cyrus"], by Xenophon. Died on campaign in Central Asia while fighting the Massagetai, a moment described by Herodotus and thus linked to Tomyris, the queen of the Massagetai (q.v.).