Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cyrus cylinder touring USA in 2013

Kyros sylinteri
BBC news

The Great King of Persia, Cyrus II (600 or 567-530 BC) ordered a document to be written after the conquest of Babylon in 539 BC.

British Museum expedition discovered the cuneiform seal in the ruins of Babylon in 1879 and it has since been on display in London.

During 2010-2011 the cylinder was on loan to Iran where about a million people came to see it.

According to BBC news the cylinder is now leaving for the first time to the USA. It will be on display first in Washington DC on March 2013 and continue from there to Houston, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. (If all goes well it returns back to London after that... I am sure they have carefully chosen the insurance company to cover this trip.)

Cyrus grants religious freedom to the nations under Persian rule each worshipping their own gods according to their customs and permits exiled by the Babylonians to return home.

The document is first of its kind in the history of mankind watching over the rights of conquered people and the rights of minorities. It is therefore appropriate that a copy of the cylinder is on permanent display in the headquarters of United Nations in New York

Tomb of Cyrus II Pasargade, Iran
Alexander the Great visited the tomb twice

It is an interesting sign of our times and in a way saddening that the anonymous writer of the BBC news item does not refer to the holy Bible.

Great King Cyrus II is a central historical figure in the Jewish Bible and has a crucial role in the history of the Jewish people. The most magnificent texts are in Deutero-Isaiah where the God of Israel speaks about Cyrus

“Be silent before me, you islands!
    Let the nations renew their strength!
Let them come forward and speak;
    let us meet together at the place of judgment.
“Who has stirred up one from the east,
    calling him in righteousness to his service[a]?
He hands nations over to him
    and subdues kings before him.
He turns them to dust with his sword,
    to windblown chaff with his bow.
He pursues them and moves on unscathed,
    by a path his feet have not traveled before.
Who has done this and carried it through,
    calling forth the generations from the beginning?
I, the Lord—with the first of them
    and with the last—I am he.”

Isaiah 41:1-4

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