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Cyrus the Greats' Cylinder, the First Bill of Human Right Goes Home


News Category:

Achaemenian Dynasty

17 April 2004 


Cyrus the Great' Cylinder 

(Picture courtesy of the British Museum)




The Cyrus the Greats' cylinder is set to go on display in the national Iranian museum for the first time once the remodeling of the museum is complete, announced its curator.

Mohammad Reza Kargar noted the holding of a touring exhibition of 7000 years of Iranian art in Europe paved the way for increased international cooperation. “We seek to use international museums’ resources to hold Iranian exhibitions abroad in return for displaying objects not yet shown in Iran,” Kargar noted.

The national Iranian museum is supposed to raise awareness about Iranian culture and civilization while displaying objects from other countries in Iran, he continued. Kargar remarked there were tentative plans for displaying a coin collection from the Vienna museum of art, Mexican art and culture in Iran, adding the British museum officials have agreed in principle to hold an exhibition of the museum’s Iranian civilization collection, chief among them the reputed Cyrus cylinder, in Iran.

Yet, this was dependant on a remodeling of the museum currently underway. Known as the world’s first charter of human rights and peace, the cylinder was discovered by a British Mesopotamia expedition member, called Hormuz Rasam, in 1906.

Archaeologists initially thought it was written by a Babylonian king. However, further research by scripture specialists revealed it was written in 538 B.C. on orders from the great Iranian Emperor Cyrus the Great the founder of second Iranian dynasty and first Persian Empire, the Achaemenians, as he triumphantly entered Babylon.

The find gave credit to Cyrus the Great as the world’s first initiator of human rights. The scripture starts with an introduction of Cyrus, who adds he respected and did not destroyed gods after he conquered Babylon.

Rather than going on rampage, killing people and ransacking their belongings like his predecessors, Cyrus let people go on with their normal life.

The main points of the cylinder are religious freedom and abolition of slavery.



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