Search This Blog


Thursday, August 6, 2020

Legacy and Battles of Cyrus the Great

Cyrus the Great
Original image by: Siamax (License:Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)

Conquest of Ecbatana

Cyrus' first great achievement was the conquest of Ecbatana, which was ruled by the estuary, the Madian capital. This phenomenon is first mentioned in two contemporary Babylonian sources: the Sippar's Nabonidus cylinder and the Nabonidus Chronicle. Herodotus also gives us a detailed account of this phenomenon. According to Nabonidus Cylinder of Sippar, King Cyrus of Anshan rose up against his suzerain, the Median king Astyages, in 553 BCE. After defeating the "huge Median mob" with his "small army", he captured Astyages and brought her back to her homeland. The Nabonidus Chronicle states that the Astyages marched on Cyrus in 550 BCE, but his forces revolted against him, took him captive and handed him over to Cyrus. Cyrus then takes Ecbatana and carries out the loot. The discrepancy in dates between these two sources can be explained by assuming that Cyrus began his rebellion in 553 BCE, that the Astyages marched against Cyrus in 550 BCE and during that campaign in the Median rebellion.

Herodotus' account largely agrees with the Nabonidus Chronicle. Herodotus states that the European nobleman Harpagus encouraged Cyrus to rise up against the Astyages, who had done injustice to him in the past. Harpagus sought support from other Median nobles, who were also unhappy with Estege's rule. Hearing of Cyrus's rebellion, Esteges employed the same Harpagus to lead the Medi army against Cyrus. When the Median and Persian armies met, Harpagus and other nobles crossed Cyrus in a planned manner. All sources agree that Cyrus spared Astyages's life. If we believe Ctizias, Cyrus also adopts Estige as his father and marries his daughter Amytis, who introduces himself as the rightful heir to Astyages. It is often believed that Cyrus took possession of all the lands that Medes had conquered, according to which Herodotus besieged the whole of Asia except Assyria, however, recent research concludes that the Medes The area was very small or even no median kingdom. Nevertheless, it seems that Cyrus' power and prestige on the Iranian plateau greatly increased after this victory.


After his victory over the Estes, Cyrus established the city of Pasargadae at the site of the fighting. The Pasargadae served as a ceremonial capital of the early Achaemenid empire and were never meant to house large populations. The city has several monument buildings, spread across the Murghab plain, especially Tall-e Takht (a stone stronghold atop a steep hill), Palace P (a residential building), Palace S (a pillar audience hall). ) And finally the graves of Cyrus and his son Cambyses.
Pasargadae's monuments include influences from the known world, including Assyrian-style sculptures and Ionian-style masonry. The mausoleum of Cyrus is believed to represent a Mesopotamian or Elamite ziggurat, with an Urartaean style cell at the top. Persepolis assumed its role as a ceremonial capital in 515 BCE, with only a brief period of Pasaragadae flourishing.

Conquest of Lyndia

Cyrus conquered Lydia sometime between the fall of Ecbatana (550 BCE) and the fall of Babylon (539 BCE). The Nabonidus Chronicle states that Cyrus led an expedition west of the Tigris in 547 BCE, however, now most scholars agree that the expedition had a different goal. Herodotus claims that it was Croesus (560–547 BC) king of Lydia, who started the war by crossing the Hayls River and sacked a Cappadocian city of Pteria within the Median sphere of influence. Croesus was an accomplice and brother-in-law of the Astyages, so upon hearing that Cyrus had removed Astyages, he swore to avenge her. The two forces met near Pateria, but the fighting ended in deadlock. When Croesus decides to go home to his army for the winter season, Cyrus adopts him at Lydia and confronts him near Thimbra for a second time. Cyrus deployed the Dromedarians to scatter the Lydian cavalry, forcing Croesus to retreat to their capital, Sardis, which fell after a 14-day siege.

There was some discussion of what happened to the cross after his final defeat. Herodotus, Ctesias, and Xenophon all agree that Cyrus had threatened to punish Croesus earlier, but he took pity on her and also appointed her as his personal advisor. So far, it seems plausible that Croesus survived the fall of Sardis. Some scholars, however, consider such accounts to be mythological and believe that Cyrus actually executed the cross. After the fall of Sardis, Cyrus placed a Lydian named Pactyes in charge of Croesus' treasury. Pactyes' job was to send these treasures to Persia, but, instead, he organized a rebellion to hire mercenaries. Cyrus sent his usual general Mazare to calm the rebellion, but due to his untimely death, it was Harpagus who conquered Asia Minor, capturing the cities of Livia, Cilicia, and Phoenicia, creating an earthquake.

Conquest of Babylon

539 BCE, Cyrus invaded the Babylonian Empire, which was on the banks of the Gyndes (Diyala) en route to Babylon. They allegedly dug canals to divert the river current, making it easier to cross. Cyrus met the Babylonian army in the battle near Opis and drove him from where Diyala flows into Tigris. Subsequently, the people of Sippar opened their gates without any resistance. King Babylon's Nabonidus fled, and Cyrus sent his servant Ugbaru, the governor of Gutium, to capture Babylon. Ugbar occupied the outskirts of Babylon, leaving only the temple district of Esagil controlled by Babylon. After two weeks, Cyrus was welcomed to Babylon with a celebration.

With Babylon under Persian control, Cyrus could add the title 'King of Babylon' with his name. He had inherited all the territories that belonged to the Babylonian Empire, and he clearly had no trouble pacifying these territories. In fact, Cyrus conquered Harpagus on the Mediterranean coast before invading Babylon. Cyrus now ruled the fertile river valleys of Mesopotamia in addition to the rich Mediterranean coast.

Legacy of Cyrus

Between the beginning of his rebellion against the Estes in 553 BCE and his death in 530 BCE, Cyrus united all the lands between the Aegean Sea and the Iaxartes under his rule. Through several rapid campaigns, he separated many powerful kings, either appointed Persian satraps in his place or claimed the title of 'Raja' for himself. In this way he established Persian dominion over the entire Middle East. Upon conquering a state, Cyrus usually allowed local authorities to maintain their positions. In this way, the administrative infrastructure remained intact. They also accommodated the cultural and religious practice of the terrain they had won, thus winning the respect of their subjects and gaining the loyalty of traditional nobility in the states they had won, such as the Median nobility and the Babylonian. Priest.
In order to truly understand the importance of Cyrus' policy towards the subject population, it must be kept in mind that the Achaemenid empire of the time was little more than a personal collection of states that Cyrus had conquered. This empire was mostly held together through personal loyalty to the king. Over time, the "imperial structure" of the Achaemenid Empire became more standardized, especially after the reforms of Darius, but it was Cyrus, who through his conquests and his ability to inspire loyalty among his subjects. , Laid the foundation of the Achaemenid Empire.

No comments:

Post a Comment