"Bas-relief of Cyrus the Great in Sydney, Australia"
Cyrus (Kourosh in Persian; Kouros in Greek) is regarded as one of the most outstanding figures in history. His success in creating and maintaining the Achaemenian Empire was the result of an intelligent blending of diplomatic and military skills and his rule was tempered with wisdom and tact. The Persians called him 'father'; the Greeks, whom he conquered, saw him as 'a worthy ruler and lawgiver' and the Jews regarded him as 'the Lord's anointed'.
His ideals were high, as he laid down that no man was fit to rule unless, he was more capable than all of his subjects. As an administrator Cyrus' insight was great, and he showed himself both intelligent and reasonable, and thereby made his rule easier than that of his previous conquerors.
His humanity was equaled by his freedom from pride, which induced him to meet people on the same level, instead of affecting the remoteness and aloofness, which characterized the great monarchs who preceded and followed him.
History has further labeled him as a genius, diplomat, manager, and leader of men, the first great propagandist and able strategist. Cyrus was indeed worthy of the title "Great".
Cyrus the Great, came to power after deposing the Median king Astyages in 550 BC. After a series of victories over the Lydian king, Croesus, in 546 BC, and after his successful campaign against the Babylonians in 539 BC, Cyrus established a large empire stretching from the Mediterranean in the west to eastern Iran, and from the Black Sea in the north to Arabia.
Whereas security was his main concern in the east, the immense wealth of the Greek maritime cities of the Ionian coast complemented their value as strategic bases in the west.
He was killed in 530 BC during a campaign in the north-eastern part of his empire.
Xenophon in the Cyropaedia wrote:
"He is able to extend the fear of himself over so great a part of the world that he astonished all, and no one attempted anything against him. He was able to inspire all with so great a desire of pleasing him that they wished to be governed by his opinions".
The following Chapters provide an insight into the
background, life, and achievements of Cyrus the Great: