I was watching a documentary on the search for the tomb of Alexander the Great and it got me thinking on our obsession with infamous characters of history. Yes Alexander though a great general/king was like many other in history such as Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun, Caesar.... arrogant, bloodthirsty conquerors who did engage in the odd rape pillage and destruction....
In Alexander's case it was the burning of the great Persian city of Persepolis in drunken stupor and the mass slaughter of Greek descendents in India of those who had betrayed the Greeks in during Xerxes invasion of Greece..... to name a few of his indiscretions.
Notwithstanding the above Alexander and the above Conquerors are idealized and romanticized to this day whilst arguably the greatest emperor who lived some 250 years before Alexander and the king Alexander admired the most and wished to emulate 'Cyrus the Great' remains a forgotten figure.
So whose this Cyrus?
He was the founder of the Persian Empire under the Achaemenid dynasty creating the largest state the world had yet seen.
During his twenty nine to thirty year reign, Cyrus fought and conquered some of the greatest states of his time, including the Median Empire, the Lydian Empire, and the Neo-Babylonian Empire. Cyrus did not venture into Egypt, as he himself died in battle, fighting the Scythians along the Syr Darya in August 530 BC. Beyond his nation, Cyrus left a lasting legacy on
Jewish religion (through his Edict of Restoration), human rights (being the first king to inscribe Human Rights, guaranteeing equality to all under his rule, irrespective of race religion or creed) , politics, and military strategy, as well as on both Eastern and Western civilizations.
In scope and extent his achievements ranked far above that of the Macedonian king, Alexander ("the great") who was to demolish the empire in the 320's but fail to provide any stable alternative.
—Charles Freeman in 'The Greek Achievement'
Such extraordinary achievements of Cyrus the Great, which exceeded all other leaders' throughout antiquity is well reflected in the way he is remembered today. His own nation, the Iranians, regarded him as "The Father", the Babylonians as "The Liberator", the Greeks as the "Law-Giver", and the Jews as the "Anointed of the Lord".
However, today apart from his native Iran he has been forgotten, even though he is mentioned on numerous occasions in the Bible. I can honestly say I have not yet in my 38 years seen a programme/documentary on this great ruler.
Why is that so? Well it might have something to do with the Euro-centric view of World History in the West, or more likely because Cyrus by pursuing a policy of generosity instead of repression, and by favouring local religions, was able to make his newly conquered subjects into enthusiastic supporters as in those times citizens were nothing but the chattel/slaves of the rulers to do and use as their inclinations desired. Cyrus freed them from their rulers and gave them their dignity as humans back. Maybe if he had been a bit more brutal his named would have been as famous as the other emperors?
Causes Qasir Shah Supports
Wildlife Survival Sanctuary/ World Wildlife Fund/ National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children