Ciro II Great ( circa 600 / 575 - 530  a. ), king Aqueménida of Persia ( circa 559 - 530  a. ) and founder of Persian Empire Aqueménida . Their conquests extended on Average, Lydia and Babylon, from Mediterranean Sea to the mountain range of Hindu Kush, creating therefore the major Empire known to that moment. The empire founded by Ciro maintained its existence for more than two hundred years, until its final conquest by Great Alexander ( 332  a.


Ciro is the latinizada form and hispanicised of Greek Κύρος (Küros), that as well derives from Persian old Kūruš. In Persian modern is called کوروش Kurosh. On his Etimología, the classic authors Ctesias and Plutarco related to the word `sun', although the modern authors generally prefer `young' or `the one that humiliates to its enemy in a verbal dispute'. The epíteto “the Great one” is used by the Greek sources, that also call “the Old man” (or “the Major”), in contrast to later Ciro the Young person .


Ciro was son of Cambises I of Anshan, the dynasty aqueménida, and, according to Heródoto, of Mandane, daughter of the king medo Astiages and of Aryenis, princess of the kingdom of Lydia . This provides certain legitimacy to him on the Lydia and Media thrones, reason why it is possible to be taken like an invention of the official propaganda; however, the dynastic alliances were usual. The predecessors of Ciro led the Persian groups settled down in the mountainous zone of the east of the old kingdom of Elam (southwestern of present Iran ) since the beginning of VII  century; a., under Aquemenes, legendary founder of the aqueménida dynasty. They showed the title of " king of Anshan ", city of strong elamita tradition, and from VI  century; a. were vasallos of the kingdom of Average. The real residence of Ciro was placed in Pasargada, near Anshan ; despite it is probable that already Susa was used, another old urban center of the NORTHWEST of Elam, like alternative capital.

The grandfathers of Ciro II, Ciro I of Anshan, could be identified with the Ciro de Parsumas mentioned by the king asirio Asurbanipal towards 639  a. This would locate the date of birth of Ciro near 600  a., which agrees with the report of the Greek historian Dinón (mentioned by Cicerón in Of Divinatione ). On the contrary, more delayed dates would be preferred, around the year 580  a.

Certain inscriptions found in Ecbatana (Average, to the north of Iran) would indicate that Ariaramnes and Arsames, members of a house collateral of the dynasty, would have reigned in coregency of Ciro I and Cambises I. However, for reasons of style and of historical context, generally one considers falsifications, either work of later, descending kings of Darío I (grandson of Arsames and biznieto of Ariaramnes), or modern.


Conquest of Average

Towards 559  a., Ciro II happened to their father Cambises I. According to Heródoto, Ciro rebelled against the sovereign medo Astiages, to that managed to demote after to receive the support of Harpago, commander of the army medo. Contemporary sources say, corroborating to Heródoto, that in the year 550  a. ( Chronic of Nabónido, or Chronic of Babylon Nº7), or 553  a. ( Cylinder of Sippar ), Astiages attacked Ciro, but it was given to the Persian king by his own troops. Ciro took then Ecbatana, the Average capital of, and transferred its treasure to Persia.

The frequency with which Heródoto mentions origin generals medo in the campaigns of Ciro, among them is remarkable Harpago. Ecbatana would be transformed into residence of summer of the Persian sovereigns. However, anti-Persian reviews in the traditions can be found, probably of origin medo, picked up by the Greek historian Ctesias, and in Inscription of Behistún, that describes to rebellions in Average towards 521  a., about eight years after the death of Ciro.

Conquest of Lydia

The western border of the influence area meda was Halys River ( Anatolia, acioptual Turkey ), that separated of the kingdom of Lydia . Creso, king of Lydia, was brother-in-law of the demoted Astiages, existing therefore a married alliance enters kingdoms both. According to Heródoto, consulted to Oracle of Delphi on the convenience of attacking the Persians, and this it responded to him that if did, it would destroy a great empire. Then, Creso cross a river Halys and faced Ciro in Pteria, not gaining a definitive victory for neither sides. Creso retired to pass the stations cold and to wait for reinforcements of its ally Amasis II of Egypt and the Greek city of Sparta, but it was persecuted by the Persians until its capital, Sardes, and surrounded. Sardes fell and, on the verge of being burned in the bonfire, the life of Creso was pardoned by Ciro. The great destroyed empire finished being, then, his own one.

This is what narrates the story of Heródoto, that agrees to take with caution. However the Chronicle of Nabónido informs to us that in the summer into 547  a., Ciro " it conquered the country of Li" and it killed his king. The cuneiform symbols that represent the conquered kingdom seem to be able to interpret itself like " Lidia". The problem is in which it contradicts widely to Heródoto: in the station of the conquest of Sardes and in the death of Creso.

The first years of the Persian conquest of Lydia were something tumultosos. Pacties, Lydian in charge of the treasure of Sardes, led a rebellion that got to besiege Sardes. This was repressed by sátrapa Mazares, that died soon after. His Harpago successor directed to conquest of the Greek cities of Smaller Asia .

Conquest of Babylon

King of Babilonia was at that time Nabónido, that was good past part of its reign in the Arab oasis of Subject, but had returned to Babylon probably as a result of the threat of Ciro. The campaigns against Babylon seem to have begun at the end of the decade of 540  a. The first precise fact del that the news is had is the victory of Ciro on Babylonian in the battle of Opis, in the autumn of 539  a. Sippar surrendered, and Gobrias, Persian governor of Gutium, entered without battle Babylon 12 of October of 539  a., arriving Ciro several days later. Gobrias was designated like governor of Babylon, and lieutenant governors in the smaller provinces named.

For the conquest of Babylon, Ciro had the substantial support of the Babylonian priesthood, that was faced Nabónido because of its religious reforms. As well, the arrival of Ciro is celebrated by the Jewish community of Babylon (Isaiah 40-56).

The Eastern provinces

A problem exists exceeds when the Eastern provinces of the Empire were conquered, that correspond to present Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan ., bactrianos and were inhabited by sogdianos Aryan, towns of Iranian origin Indo-European and become related closely with Persian medos and. They are mentioned like satrapías (provinces) Persian in the year 521  a. ( Inscription of Behistún ), reason why necessarily comprised of the Empire of Ciro (his successor Cambises II could not them have conquered since their campaigns were concentrated in Egypt). Ciro could them have inherited of the kingdom medo, or them to have conquered after the annexation of Lydia, according to Heródoto can be supposed of the Greek historians and Ctesias .

Syria and Palestine

Judea - present the West Bank, Palestine and Israel -, that comprised of the Neobabilónico Empire, was subjugated pacifically. Ciro allowed to the return to Jerusalem of the Jewish communities deportees in Babylon (Esdras), as well as, according to archaeological data, of groups of arameos deportees to its land of origin in Syria. The cities Phoenician did not offer resistance, and a species of Persian protectorate in them settled down.

Later campaigns and death

Towards 530  a., Ciro launched a campaign against the nomads Escitas of the northeast of the empire, concretely the tribe of Masagetas leaving to their Cambises son like heir with the title of king of Babylon. According to later information ( Arriano, Anabasis ) it founded a city near Sir Daria, Cirópolis or *Kurushkatha. In any case, it was surpassed and died by masagetas commanded by the queen Tomiris . was happened by its son Cambises II.

Real family

According to one of the versions presented/displayed by Heródoto, the main wife of Ciro was Casandana, daughter of Farnaspes, a member of the real family Aqueménida. The data is most probably correct, since it is seen partly corroborated by Chronic of Nabonido, although this does not mention explicitly of Casandana. Second version, that affirms that the mother of Cambises was a daughter of the Egyptian king Amasis, must be considered as an attempt of legitimation of the conquest of Egypt on the part of Cambises (527  a. In the same way, the version of Ctesias is discarded, according to which the queen of Ciro was Amitis, daughter of the king medo Astiages.

Casandana gave light to at least two children, Cambises and Esmerdis, and one daughter, Atosa . Other two daughters, Artistona and one anonymous one, also appear in the story of Heródoto, although the identity is not known its mother. As much Atosa as Artistona Cambises II was successively consortes of their brother, of the usurper Gaumata and Darío I; of this last one also, the unique daughter of Esmerdis was it Parmis. Roxana, one consorte of Cambises mentioned by Ctesias, could also be a daughter of Ciro.

The Empire

Ideology and imperial propaganda

The Persian is a universalist empire. Besides " king of Anshan" (very usual) and " king of Persia", Ciro assumes the titles of " king of the Mundo" and of " king of the four ends of the Earth ", both of Babylonian origin, as well as " king of Babilonia" and the arcaizante " king of Sumer and Acad ".

The enemies of Ciro are condemned, within the framework of a propagandistic campaign of legitimation. Astiages de Media is described in Heródoto (that drinks of Persian traditions) like a cruel and despotic king. In addition, Creso was the one who cross a river Halys and attacked Ciro, this only responded to its aggression. As far as Babylon, in " Cylinder of Ciro" and other sacerdotal sources, the religious policy of Nabónido, as well as the own figure of the king, is ridiculed. Even so, the traditions picked up by Heródoto and Beroso speak of which Ciro granted stops as much political positions to Creso as to Nabónido.

Ciro emphasizes by its policy of concessions towards the submissive towns, that in to many do it willingly cases, and to that it is not demanded more than tribute, recruitment and acceptance of a permanent garrison. It rejects, then, the massive deportation practiced by his asirios and Babylonian predecessors, and occasionally by their Persian successors. With Ciro the movement is to the inverse one: to the communities deportees, like the Jews, it is allowed them to return to his earth.


or provincial governors exists numerous evidence of the existence of Sátrapas during the reign of Ciro, although a passage of the work of Heródoto could take to think that these later were introduced by Darío I . During the reign of Ciro sátrapas of which it is had the news is exclusively of Persian origin, although there is a considerable number of medos with positions of high rank, between which Hárpago seems to own an outstanding place.

Although elements such as sátrapas expresses the innovations of the new Persian dominion, it is possible to also observe a high degree of continuity in many aspects of the conquered societies, among them the office staff. So it is so, for example, numerous Babylonian civil servants who initiated their race during in reign of Nabonido uninterruptedly continued developing it during the one of Ciro.

Certain regions like Hair shirt, Lycia or the Greek cities and Phoenician seem to have owned a high degree of Autonomy at local level.


Also the religious tolerance applied by Ciro is very remarkable and its successors. Ciro is sincretista more than mazdeísta (Persian official religion from Darío I); in fact, there are no convincing tests of Mazdaism of Ciro, although this possibility is not excluded. In Babylon (" Cylinder of Ciro" and a sacerdotal source on Nabónido) is considered by the priesthood like an envoy of Marduk to reestablish the order after the religious reforms of Nabónido.

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