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Cyrus Cylinder

Cyrus Cylinder. "...I am Cyrus. King of the world. When I entered Babylon...I did not allow anyone to terrorize the land...I kept in view the needs of the people and all its sanctuaries to promote their well-being...I put an end to their misfortune. The Great God has delivered all the lands into my hand; the lands that I have made to dwell in a peaceful habitation..." Site of Babylon, archaeologists discover a clay cylinder, inscribed record of capture of Babylon by the Persian king Cyrus…

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Cyrus Cylinder (c. 539 B.C.E.) -- an archaeological artifact that independently confirms a Biblical account told in the Book of Ezra. King Cyrus of Persia issued an edict that permitted the Jewish exiles in Babylonia (which Cyrus had just conquered) “ ‘to go up to Jerusalem in Judah, and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel,’ ” which the Babylonian troops had destroyed, and to return to their homes (Ezra 1:1–4).

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Cyrus Cylinder, Akkadian cuneiform, clay, 8.9" x 3.9", discovered in Babylon, Mesopotamia, Collection of British Museum, London

CYRUS THE GREAT. In 539 B.C., the armies of Cyrus the Great, the first king of ancient Persia, conquered the city of Babylon. But it was his next actions that marked a major advance for Man. He freed the slaves, declared that all people had the right to choose their own religion, and established racial equality.

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The Cyrus Cylinder. Front view of a barrel-shaped clay cylinder resting on a stand. The cylinder is covered with lines of cuneiform text. This documents the decision by Cyrus in 539 B.C. (or B.C.E. if you prefer) to allow a high degree of tolerance to different religions within the Persian Empire.

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TED talk on the 2600-year-old "Cyrus Cylinder," the oldest known declaration of religious tolerance and multiculturalism. By Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum.

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The Cyrus Cylinder and the ancient proclamation of human rights

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18 TEDTalks for World History Classrooms

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The Cyrus cylinder, regarding King Cyrus's treatment of religion, which is significant to the books of Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah.

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