Thursday, October 15, 2009

4) Cyrus' kingship

Cyrus, king of a relatively small province called Persia, adopted in early years the title King of Anshan, a title originally used by Elamite kings. Anshan, if it was the name of a territory, was either the homeland of the once powerful kings of Elam; or it was conquered by them and incorporated into their kingdom. After Elam's final destruction by the hands of Assurbanipal, in 647/6 B.C.E., the province by that name may either have been conquered by one of Cyrus' ancestors who took then up the title King of Anshan (thus claiming succession to Elam); or it was given to the Achaemenians by the blood related powerful Medes in case they were contended with annexing the bigger part of Elam. Cyrus, then, inherited this title which must have expressed some importance for the Achaemenians. Some scholars hold that even the name Kurush is an Elamite word.

Anyway, he was then a vasall of the Medes. Approximately in 550 BCE, i.e. 37 years after the destruction of the First Temple by Nebukadnezzar, he overthrew them with the help of big parts of the Median nobility who cherished his noble character, as mentioned. Uniting the Persian and Median tribes, he founded the Medo-Persian Empire. In the following years he defeated declining Assyria, and swiftly conquered Minor Asia which was partly ruled by the Greeks, and partly by Croesus the famous king of the Lydians. Most of the peoples, taken in by Cyrus' humaneness and sense of righteousness, opened their gates and welcomed him as liberator.

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