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  • Mesopotamia, Emergence Of Mesopotamia
    what is simpler and technically less accomplished is older In addition to this type of dating which can be only relative the radiocarbon or carbon 14 method has proved to be an increasingly valuable tool since the 1950s By this method the known rate of decay of the radioactive carbon isotope carbon 14 in wood horn plant fiber and bone allows the time that has elapsed since the death of the material under examination to be calculated Although a plus minus discrepancy of up to 200 years has to be allowed for this is not such a great disadvantage in the case of material 6 000 to 10 000 years old Even when skepticism is necessary because of the use of an inadequate sample carbon 14 dates are still very welcome as confirmation of dates arrived at by other means Moreover radiocarbon ages can be converted to more precise dates through comparisons with data obtained by dendrochronology a method of absolute age determination based on the analysis of the annual rings of trees The first agriculture the domestication of animals and the transition to sedentary life took place in regions in which animals that were easily domesticated such as sheep goats cattle and pigs and the wild prototypes of grains and leguminous plants such as wheat barley bitter vetch pea and lentil were present Such centers of dispersion may have been the valleys and grassy border regions of the mountains of Iran Iraq Anatolia Syria and Palestine but they also could have been say the northern slopes of the Hindu Kush As settled life which caused a drop in infant mortality led to the increase of the population settlement spread out from these centers into the plains although it must be remembered that this process described as the Neolithic Revolution in fact took thousands of years Representative of the first settlements on the borders of Mesopotamia are the adjacent sites of Zawi Chemi Shanidar and Shanidar itself which lie northwest of Rawanduz They date from the transition from the 10th to the 9th millennium BC and are classified as pre pottery The finds included querns primitive mills for grinding grain whether wild or cultivated is not known the remains of huts about 13 feet in diameter and a cemetery with grave goods The presence of copper beads is evidence of acquaintance with metal though not necessarily with the technique of working it into tools and the presence of obsidian volcanic glass is indicative of the acquisition of nonindigenous raw materials by means of trade The bones found testify that sheep were already domesticated at Zawi Chemi Shanidar At Karim Shahir a site that cannot be accurately tied chronologically to Shanidar clear proof was obtained both of the knowledge of grain cultivation in the form of sickle blades showing sheen from use and of the baking of clay in the form of lightly fired clay figurines Still in the hilly borders of Mesopotamia a sequence of about 3 000 years can

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  • Mesopotamia, Literary Sources Of Mesopotamia
    of primeval kings ruled before the Flood in Eridu Bad tibira Larak Sippar and Shuruppak These kings all allegedly ruled for multiples of 3 600 years the maximum being 64 800 or according to one variant 72 000 years The tradition of the Sumerian king list is still echoed in Berosus It is also instructive to observe what the Sumerian king list does not mention The list lacks all mention of a dynasty as important as the 1st dynasty of Lagash from King Ur Nanshe to UruKAgina and appears to retain no memory of the archaic florescence of Uruk at the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC Besides the peaceful pursuits reflected in art and writing the art also provides the first information about violent contacts cylinder seals of the Uruk Level IV depict fettered men lying or squatting on the ground being beaten with sticks or otherwise maltreated by standing figures They may represent the execution of prisoners of war It is not known from where these captives came or what form war would have taken or how early organized battles were fought Nevertheless this does give the first albeit indirect evidence for the wars that are henceforth one of the most characteristic phenomena in the history of Mesopotamia Just as with the rule of man over man with the rule of higher powers over man it is difficult to make any statements about the earliest attested forms of religion or about the deities and their names without running the risk of anachronism Excluding prehistoric figurines which provide no evidence for determining whether men or anthropomorphic gods are represented the earliest testimony is supplied by certain symbols that later became the cuneiform signs for gods names the gatepost with streamers for Inanna goddess of love and war and the ringed post for the moon god Nanna A scene on a cylinder seal a shrine with an Inanna symbol and a man in a boat could be an abbreviated illustration of a procession of gods or of a cultic journey by ship The constant association of the gatepost with streamers with sheep and of the ringed post with cattle may possibly reflect the area of responsibility of each deity The Sumerologist Thorkild Jacobsen sees in the pantheon a reflex of the various economies and modes of life in ancient Mesopotamia fishermen and marsh dwellers date palm cultivators cowherds shepherds and farmers all have their special groups of gods Both Sumerian and non Sumerian languages can be detected in the divine names and place names Since the pronunciation of the names is known only from 2000 BC or later conclusions about their linguistic affinity are not without problems Several names for example have been reinterpreted in Sumerian by popular etymology It would be particularly important to isolate the Subarian components related to Hurrian whose significance was probably greater than has hitherto been assumed For the south Mesopotamian city HA A the noncommittal transliteration of the signs there is a pronunciation gloss

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  • Mesopotamia,Achievements of ancient Mesopotamia
    the best known is the Code of Hammurabi Throughout these codes recurs the concern of the ruler for the weak the widow and the orphan even if sometimes the phrases were regrettably only literary clichés The aesthetics of art are too much governed by subjective values to be assessed in absolute terms yet certain peaks stand out above the rest notably the art of Uruk IV the seal engraving of the Akkad period and the relief sculpture of Ashurbanipal Nonetheless there is nothing in Mesopotamia to match the sophistication of Egyptian art Science the Mesopotamians had of a kind though not in the sense of Greek science From its beginnings in Sumer before the middle of the 3rd millennium BC Mesopotamian science was characterized by endless meticulous enumeration and ordering into columns and series with the ultimate ideal of including all things in the world but without the wish or ability to synthesize and reduce the material to a system Not a single general scientific law has been found and only rarely has the use of analogy been found Nevertheless it remains a highly commendable achievement that Pythagoras law that the sum of the squares on the two shorter sides of a right angled triangle equals the square on the longest side even though it was never formulated was being applied as early as the 18th century BC Technical accomplishments were perfected in the building of the ziggurats temple towers resembling pyramids with their huge bulk and in irrigation both in practical execution and in theoretical calculations At the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC an artificial stone often regarded as a forerunner of concrete was in use at Uruk 160 miles south southeast of modern Baghdad but the secret of its manufacture apparently was lost in subsequent years Writing

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  • Persians, Conquests Of Cyrus The Great
    Ekbatana are extolled by modern travellers just as they attracted the Great King in ancient times during the hot months The more southerly province called Persis proper Faristan consists also in part of mountain land interspersed with valley and plain abundantly watered and ample in pasture sloping gradually down to low grounds on the sea coast which are hot and dry the care bestowed both by Medes and Persians on the breeding of their horses was remarkable There were doubtless material differences between different parts of the population of this vast plateau of Iran Yet it seems that along with their common language and religion they had also something of a common character which contrasted with the Indian population east of the Indus the Assyrians west of Mount Zagros and the Massagetae and other Nomads of the Caspian and the Sea of Aral less brutish restless and blood thirsty than the latter more fierce contemptuous and extortionate and less capable of sustained industry than the two former There can be little doubt at the time of which we are now speaking when the wealth and cultivation of Assyria were at their maximum that Iran also was far better peopled than ever it has been since European observers have been able to survey it especially the north eastern portion Bactria and Sogdiana so that the invasions of the Nomads from Turkestan and Tartary which have been so destructive at various intervals since the Mohammedan conquest were before that period successfully kept back The general analogy among the population of Iran probably enabled the Persian conqueror with comparative ease to extend his empire to the east after the conquest of Ekbatana and to become the full heir of the Median kings If we may believe Ctesias even the distant province of Bactria had been before subject to those kings At first it resisted Cyrus but finding that he had become son in law of Astyages as well as master of his person it speedily acknowledged his authority According to the representation of Herodotus the war between Cyrus and Croesus of Lydia began shortly after the capture of Astyages and before the conquest of Bactria Croesus was the assailant wishing to avenge his brother in law to arrest the growth of the Persian conqueror and to increase his own dominions His more prudent counsellors in vain represented to him that he had little to gain and much to lose by war with a nation alike hardy and poor He is represented as just at that time recovering from the affliction arising out of the death of his son To ask advice of the oracle before he took any final decision was a step which no pious king would omit But in the present perilous question Croesus did more he took a precaution so extreme that if his piety had not been placed beyond all doubt by his extraordinary munificence to the temples he might have drawn upon himself the suspicion of a guilty scepticism Before he would send to ask advice respecting the project itself he resolved to test the credit of some of the chief surrounding oracles Delphi Dodona Branchidae near Miletus Amphiaraus at Thebes Trophonius at Labadeia and Ammon in Libya His envoys started from Sardis on the same day and were all directed on the hundredth day afterward to ask at the respective oracles how Croesus was at that precise moment employed This was a severe trial of the manner in which it was met by four out of the six oracles consulted we have no information and it rather appears that their answers were unsatisfactory But Amphiaraus maintained his credit undiminished while Apollo at Delphi more omniscient than Apollo at Branchidae solved the question with such unerring precision as to afford a strong additional argument against persons who might be disposed to scoff at divination No sooner had the envoys put the question to the Delphian priestess on the day named What is Croesus now doing than she exclaimed in the accustomed hexameter verse I know the number of grains of sand and the measures of the sea I understand the dumb and I hear the man who speaks not The smell reaches me of a hard skinned tortoise boiled in a copper with lamb s flesh copper above and copper below Croesus was awe struck on receiving this reply It described with the utmost detail that which he had been really doing so that he accounted the Delphian oracle and that of Amphiaraus the only trustworthy oracles on earth following up these feelings with a holocaust of the most munificent character in order to win the favor of the Delphian god Three thousand cattle were offered up and upon a vast sacrificial pile were placed the most splendid purple robes and tunics together with couches and censers of gold and silver besides which he sent to Delphi itself the richest presents in gold and silver ingots statues bowls jugs etc the size and weight of which we read with astonishment the more so as Herodotus himself saw them a century afterwards at Delphi Nor was Croesus altogether unmindful of Amphiaraus whose answer had been creditable though less triumphant than that of the Pythian priestess He sent to Amphiaraus a spear and shield of pure gold which were afterward seen at Thebes by Herodotus this large donative may help the reader to conceive the immensity of those which he sent to Delphi The envoys who conveyed these gifts were instructed to ask at the same time whether Croesus should undertake an expedition against the Persians and if so whether he should solicit any allies to assist him In regard to the second question the answer both of Apollo and of Amphiaraus was decisive recommending him to invite the alliance of the most powerful Greeks In regard to the first and most momentous question their answer was as remarkable for circumspection as it had been before for detective sagacity they told Croesus that if he invaded the Persians he would subvert a mighty monarchy The blindness of Croesus interpreted this declaration into an unqualified promise of success he sent further presents to the oracle and again inquired whether his kingdom would be durable When a mule shall become king of the Medes replied the priestess then must thou run away be not ashamed More assured than ever by such an answer Croesus sent to Sparta under the kings Anaxandrides and Aristo to tender presents and solicit their alliance His propositions were favorably entertained the more so as he had before gratuitously furnished some gold to the Lacedaemonians for a statue to Apollo The alliance now formed was altogether general no express effort being as yet demanded from them though it soon came to be But the incident is to be noted as marking the first plunge of the leading Grecian state into Asiatic politics and that too without any of the generous Hellenic sympathy which afterward induced Athens to send her citizens across the Aegean At this time Croesus was the master and tribute exactor of the Asiatic Greeks whose contingents seem to have formed part of his army for the expedition now contemplated an army consisting principally not of native Lydians but of foreigners The river Halys formed the boundary at this time between the Median and Lydian empires and Croesus marching across that river into the territory of the Syrians or Assyrians of Cappadocia took the city of Pteria with many of its surrounding dependencies inflicting damage and destruction upon these distant subjects of Ekbatana Cyrus lost no time in bringing an army to their defence considerably larger than that of Croesus trying at the same time though unsuccessfully to prevail on the Ionians to revolt from him A bloody battle took place between the two armies but with indecisive result after which Croesus seeing that he could not hope to accomplish more with his forces as they stood thought it wise to return to his capital and collect a larger army for the next campaign Immediately on reaching Sardis he despatched envoys to Labynetus king of Babylon to Amasis king of Egypt to the Lacedaemonians and to other allies calling upon all of them to send auxiliaries to Sardis during the course of the fifth month In the mean time he dismissed all the foreign troops who had followed him into Cappadocia Had these allies appeared the war might perhaps have been prosecuted with success And on the part of the Lacedaemonians at least there was no tardiness for their ships were ready and their troops almost on board when the unexpected news reached them that Croesus was already ruined Cyrus had foreseen and forestalled the defensive plan of his enemy Pushing on with his army to Sardis without delay he obliged the Lydian prince to give battle with his own unassisted subjects The open and spacious plain before that town was highly favorable to Lydian cavalry which at that time Herodotus tells us was superior to the Persian But Cyrus employing a strategem whereby this cavalry was rendered unavailable placed in front of his line the baggage camels which the Lydian horses could not endure either to smell or to behold The horsemen of Croesus were thus obliged to dismount nevertheless they fought bravely on foot and were not driven into the town till after a sanguinary combat Though confined within the walls of his capital Croesus had still good reason for hoping to hold out until the arrival of his allies to whom he sent pressing envoys of acceleration For Sardis was considered impregnable and one assault had already been repulsed and the Persians would have been reduced to the slow process of blockade But on the fourteenth day of the siege accident did for the besiegers that which they could not have accomplished either by skill or force Sardis was situated on an outlying peak of the northern side of Tmolus it was well fortified everywhere except toward the mountain and on that side the rock was so precipitous and inaccessible that fortifications were thought unnecessary nor did the inhabitants believe assault to be possible in that quarter But Hyroeades a Persian soldier having accidentally seen one of the garrison descending this precipitous rock to pick up his helmet which had rolled down watched his opportunity tried to climb up and found it not impracticable others followed his example the stronghold was thus seized first and the whole city speedily taken by storm Cyrus had given especial orders to spare the life of Croesus who was accordingly made prisoner But preparations were made for a solemn and terrible spectacle the captive king was destined to be burned in chains together with fourteen Lydian youths on a vast pile of wood We are even told that the pile was already kindled and the victim beyond the reach of human aid when Apollo sent a miraculous rain to preserve him As to the general fact of supernatural interposition in one way or another Herodotus and Ctesias both agree though they described differently the particular miracles wrought It is certain that Croesus after some time was released and well treated by his conqueror and lived to become the confidential adviser of the latter as well as of his son Cambyses Ctesias also acquaints us that a considerable town and territory near Ekbatana called Barene was assigned to him according to a practice which we shall find not infrequent with the Persian kings The prudent counsel and remarks as to the relations between Persians and Lydians whereby Croesus is said by Herodotus to have first earned this favorable treatment are hardly worth repeating but the indignant remonstrance sent by Croesus to the Delphian god is too characteristic to be passed over He obtained permission from Cyrus to lay upon the holy pavement of the Delphian temple the chains with which he had at first been bound The Lydian envoys were instructed after exhibiting to the god these humiliating memorials to ask whether it was his custom to deceive his benefactors and whether he was not ashamed to have encouraged the king of Lydia in an enterprise so disastrous The god condescending to justify himself by the lips of the priestess replied Not even a god can escape his destiny Croesus has suffered for the sin of his fifth ancestor Gyges who conspiring with a woman slew his master and wrongfully seized the sceptre Apollo employed all his influence with the Moerae Fates to obtain that this sin might be expiated by the children of Croesus and not by Croesus himself but the Moerae would grant nothing more than a postponement of the judgement for three years Let Croesus know that Apollo has thus procured for him a reign three years longer than his original destiny after having tried in vain to rescue him altogether Moreover he sent that rain which at the critical moment extinguished the burning pile Nor has Croesus any right to complain of the prophecy by which he was encouraged to enter on the war for when the god told him that he would subvert a great empire it was his duty to have again inquired which empire the god meant and if he neither understood the meaning nor chose to ask for information he has himself to blame for the result Besides Croesus neglected the warning given to him about the acquisition of the Median kingdom by a mule Cyrus was that mule son of a Median mother of royal breed by a Persian father at once of different race and of lower position This triumphant justification extorted even from Croesus himself a full confession that the sin lay with him and not with the god It certainly illustrates in a remarkable manner the theological ideas of the time It shows us how much in the mind of Herodotus the facts of the centuries preceding his own unrecorded as they were by any contemporary authority tended to cast themselves into a sort of religious drama the threads of the historical web being in part put together in part originally spun for the purpose of setting forth the religious sentiment and doctrine woven in as a pattern The Pythian priestess predicts to Gyges that the crime which he had committed in assassinating his master would be expiated by his fifth descendant though as Herodotus tells us no one took any notice of this prohecy until it was at last fulfilled we see thus the history of the first Mermnad king is made up after the catastrophe of the last There was something in the main facts of the history of Croesus profoundly striking to the Greek mind a king at the summit of wealth and power pious in the extreme and munificent toward the gods the first destroyer of Hellenic liberty in Asia then precipitated at once and on a sudden into the abyss of ruin The sin of the first parent helped much toward the solution of this perplexing problem as well as to exalt the credit of the oracle when made to assume the shape of an unnoticed prophecy In the affecting story of Solon and Croesus the Lydian king is punished with an acute domestic affliction because he thought himself the happiest of mankind the gods not suffering any one to be arrogant except themselves and the warning of Solon is made to recur to Croesus after he has become the prisoner of Cyrus in the narrative of Herodotus To the same vein of thought belongs the story just recounted of the relations of Croesus with the Delphian oracle An account is provided satisfactory to the religious feelings of the Greeks how and why he was ruined but nothing less than the overruling and omnipotent Moerae could be invoked to explain so stupendous a result It is rarely that these supreme goddesses or hypergoddesses since the gods themselves must submit to them are brought into such distinct light and action Usually they are kept in the dark or are left to be understood as the unseen stumbling block in cases of extreme incomprehensibility and it is difficult clearly to determine as in the case of some complicated political constitutions where the Greeks conceived sovereign power to reside in respect to the government of the world But here the sovereignty of the Moerae and the subordinate agency of the gods are unequivocally set forth The gods are still extremely powerful because the Moerae comply with their requests up to a certain point not thinking it proper to be wholly inexorable but their compliance is carried no farther than they themselves choose nor would they even in deference to Apollo alter the original sentence of punishment for the sin of Gyges in the person of his fifth descendant a sentence moreover which Apollo himself had formerly prophesied shortly after the sin was committed so that if the Moerae had listened to his intercession on behalf of Croesus his own prophetic credit would have been endangered Their unalterable resolution has predetermined the ruin of Croesus and the grandeur of the event is manifested by the circumstance that even Apollo himself cannot prevail upon them to alter it or to grant more than a three years respite The religious element must here be viewed as giving the form the historical element as giving the matter only and not the whole matter of the story These two elements will be found conjoined more or less throughout most of the history of Herodotus though as we descend to later times we shall find the latter element in constantly increasing proportion His conception of history is extremely different from that of Thucydides who lays down to himself the true scheme and purpose of the historian common to him with the philosopher to recount and interpret the past as a rational aid toward prevision of the future In the short

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  • Persians, Cyrus The Great
    Babylon I lifted their unbecoming yoke Their dilapidated dwellings I restored I put an end to their misfortunes At my deeds Marduk the great Lord rejoiced and to me Cyrus the king who worshipped and to Cambyses my son the offspring of my loins and to all my troops he graciously gave his blessing and in good spirit is before him we glorified exceedingly his high divinity Persia Life and legend of Cyrus II Author Grote George Cyrus was born between 590 and 580 BC either in Media or more probably in Persis the modern Fars province of Iran The meaning of his name is in dispute for it is not known whether it was a personal name or a throne name given to him when he became a ruler It is noteworthy that after the Achaemenian empire the name does not appear again in sources relating to Iran which may indicate some special sense of the name Most scholars agree however that Cyrus the Great was at least the second of the name to rule in Persia One cuneiform text in Akkadian the language of Mesopotamia present day Iraq in the pre Christian era asserts he was theson of Cambyses great king king of Anshan grandson of Cyrus great king king of Anshan descendant of Teispes great king king of Anshan of a family which always exercised kingship In any case it is clear that Cyrus came from a long line of ruling chiefs The most important source for his life is the Greek historian Herodotus The idealized biography by Xenophon is a work for the edification of the Greeks concerning the ideal ruler rather than a historical treatise It does however indicate the high esteem in which Cyrus was held not only by his own people the Persians

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  • Persians, Cyrus' conquests
    After inheriting the empire of the Medes Cyrus first had to consolidate his power over Iranian tribes on the Iranian plateau before expanding to the west Croesus king of Lydia in Asia Minor Anatolia had enlarged his domains at the expense of the Medes when he heard of the fall of Astyages and Cyrus as successor of the Median king marched against Lydia Sardis the Lydian capital was captured in 547 or 546 and Croesus was either killed or burned himself to death though according to other sources he was taken prisoner by Cyrus and well treated The Ionian Greek cities on the Aegean Sea coast as vassals of the Lydian king now became subject to Cyrus and most of them submitted peacefully Several revolts of the Greek cities were later suppressed with severity Next Cyrus turned to Babylonia where the dissatisfaction of the people with the ruler Nabonidus gave him a pretext for invading the lowlands The conquest was quick for even the priests of Marduk the national deity of the great metropolis of Babylon had become estranged from Nabonidus In October 539 BC the greatest city of the ancient world fell to the Persians In the Bible e g Ezra 1 1 4 Cyrus is famous for freeing the Jewish captives in Babylonia and allowing them to return to their homeland Cyrus was also tolerant toward the Babylonians and others He conciliated local populations by supporting local customs and even sacrificing to local deities The capture of Babylon delivered not only Mesopotamia into the hands of Cyrus but also Syria and Palestine which had been conquered previously by the Babylonians The ruler of Cilicia in Asia Minor had become an ally of Cyrus when the latter marched against Croesus and Cilicia retained a special status in Cyrus empire Thus it was by diplomacy as well as force of arms that he established the largest empire known until his time Cyrus seems to have had several capitals One was the city of Ecbatana modern Hamadan former capital of the Medes and another was a new capital of the empire Pasargadae in Persis said to be on the site where Cyrus had won the battle against Astyages The ruins today though few arouse admiration in the visitor Cyrus also kept Babylon as a winter capital No Persian chauvinist Cyrus was quick to learn from the conquered peoples He not only conciliated the Medes but united them with the Persians in a kind of dual monarchy of the Medes and Persians Cyrus had to borrow the traditions of kingship from the Medes who had ruled an empire when the Persians were merely their vassals A Mede was probably made an adviser to the Achaemenian king as a sort of chief minister on later reliefs at Persepolis a capital of the Achaemenian kings from the time of Darius a Mede is frequently depicted together with the great king The Elamites indigenous inhabitants of Persis were also the teachers of the Persians in

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  • Persians, Rise Of Persian Under Cyrus
    eponymous ancestor Haxamanish or Achaemenes There is no historical evidence of such a king s existence Traditionally three rulers fall between Achaemenes and Cyrus II Teispes Cyrus I and Cambyses I Teispes freed of Median domination during the so called Scythian interregnum is thought to have expanded his kingdom and to have divided it on his death between his two sons Cyrus I and Ariaramnes Cyrus I may have been the king of Persia who appears in the records of Ashurbanipal swearing allegiance to Assyria after the devastation of Elam in the campaigns of 642 639 BC though there are chronological problems involved with this equation When Median control over the Persians was supposedly reasserted under Cyaxares Cambyses I is thought to have been given a reunited Persia to administer as a Median vassal His son Cyrus II married the daughter of Astyages and in 559 BC inherited his father s position within the Median confederation Cyrus II certainly warranted his later title Cyrus the Great He must have been a remarkable personality and certainly he was a remarkable king He united under his authority several Persian and Iranian groups who apparently had not been under his father s control He then initiated diplomatic exchanges with Nabonidus of Babylon 556 539 BC which justifiably worried Astyages Eventually he openly rebelled against the Medes who were beaten in battle when considerable numbers of Median troops deserted to the Persian standard Thus in 550 BC the Median Empire became the first Persian Empire and the Achaemenid kings appeared on the international scene with a suddenness that must have frightened many Cyrus immediately set out to expand his conquests After apparently convincing the Babylonians that they had nothing to fear from Persia he turned against the Lydians under the rule of the fabulously wealthy Croesus Lydian appeals to Babylon were to no avail He then took Cilicia thus cutting the routes over which any help might have reached the Lydians Croesus attacked and an indecisive battle was fought in 547 BC on the Halys River Since it was late in the campaigning season the Lydians thought the war was over for that year returned to their capital at Sardis and dispersed the national levy Cyrus however kept coming He caught and besieged the Lydians in the citadel at Sardis and captured Croesus in 546 BC Of the Greek city states along the western coast of Asia Minor heretofore under Lydian control only Miletus surrendered without a fight The others were systematically reduced by the Persian armies led by subordinate generals Cyrus himself was apparently busy elsewhere possibly in the east for little is known of his activities between the capture of Sardis and the beginning of the Babylonian campaign in 540 BC Nowhere did Cyrus display his political and military genius better than in the conquest of Babylon The campaign actually began when he lulled the Babylonians into inactivity during his war with Lydia which since it was carried to a successful conclusion

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  • Persians, Legacy Of Cyrus
    seat of government in the royal palace amidst jubilation and rejoicing Marduk the great God caused the big hearted inhabitants of Babylon to me I sought daily to worship him My numerous troops moved about undisturbed in the midst of Babylon I did not allow any to terrorize the land of Sumer and Akkad I kept in view the needs of Babylon and all its sanctuaries to promote their well being The citizens of Babylon I lifted their unbecoming yoke Their dilapidated dwellings I restored I put an end to their misfortunes At my deeds Marduk the great Lord rejoiced and to me Cyrus the king who worshipped and to Cambyses my son the offspring of my loins and to all my troops he graciously gave his blessing and in good spirit is before him we glorified exceedingly his high divinity Persia The legacy of Cyrus Author Grote George It is a testimony to the capability of the founder of the Achaemenian empire that it continued to expand after his death and lasted for more than two centuries But Cyrus was not only a great conqueror and administrator he held a place in the minds of the Persian people similar to that of Romulus and Remus in Rome or Moses for the Israelites His saga follows in many details the stories of hero and conquerors from elsewhere in the ancient world The manner in which the baby Cyrus was given to a shepherd to raise is reminiscent of Moses in the bulrushes in Egypt and the overthrow of his tyrannical grandfather has echoes in other myths and legends There is no doubt that the Cyrus saga arose early among the Persians and was known to the Greeks The sentiments of esteem or even awe in which Persians held him were

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