Thursday, October 15, 2009

2) The Achaemenians

Cyrus, called the Achemenian after the dynasty of that name, must have had a very noble ancestry. Following the Behistun records of Darius I5, he was the fourth Achaemenian king after the founder of that dynasty, Achaemenes. Although there are no historic records about the early kings besides their names, it is the name Achaemenes which speaks volumes. It may be rendered as Friend of Men, or perhaps Brother of Men6. Wherefrom did the founder of that dynasty take the idea and the courage to style himself this way and to make it the guiding principle for rulership, in an era of extreme violence, brutality, and corruption, allover the world of then?

It is well possible that Achaemenes heard of the fame of the First Temple and what it stood for8; and that he was told about the fate of the Kingdom of Israel; or had even personal contact with some of its exiles. Whatever the case might have been, it is surely most remarkable that in that era of cruelty and violence a small local king in a remote province of Persia made it a principle of his government to rule as "Friend of Men".

This ancestral background of Cyrus II makes us aware that he did not come out from the nowhere but rather that he could build upon a solid foundation. The good ancestry, and the contact with Divine teachers, are by the way, other components he shares with King David Messiah of Israel.

However, it was only with Cyrus II that the Achaemenians made their impact on world history in a big and decisive scale.

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