The Achaemenid Empire
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus II, the Great
Cyrus II ( Cyrus the Great , Old-Persian kurus meaning sun-like) was born in 576 ,590 or 600 B.C. depending on the source, died 530 B.C. )
Cyrus the Great
According to Herodotus and Xenophon Cyrus II was the son Persian king Cambyses I and the Median princess Mandane, who was the daughter of Astyages, the last king of the Median Empire . The Greek historian Ctesias, denies this . Astyages had no male heirs and it is uncertain whether he was really the father of any daughter or daughters. This lineage may have been invented to gratify the vanity of the Persians by tracing the descent of their kings to the great Median conqueror, while at the same time they flattered the Medes by showing them that a relative of the old monarchs was still seated on the throne.
In 1906, a stilted English translation of Xenophon of Athens, a story about Cyrus the Great's military campaigns was published. Now, a century later, a much more accessible edition of one of history's most extraordinary and successful leaders is emerging.
Accounts of the early Life of Cyrus the Great
Cambyses I , the father of Cyrus the Great , was the was the king of Anshan, a vassal state of the Median Empire where the Persian kings ruled . Cyrus, as crown prince of the Persians, resided at the Median Court in Ecbatana as security against rebellion on the part of his father .In the Median court, Cyrus was held in where he is in high favor with Astyages.
Cyrus the Great and the Rise of the Persian Empire
According to Herodotus, After the birth of Cyrus, Astyages had a dream that his priests, the Magi interpreted as a sign that his grandson would eventually overthrow him. He then ordered his general Harpagus to kill the infant. Harpagus, morally unable to kill a newborn, summoned a herdsman of the king named Mithridates and ordered him to dispose of the child. Luckily for the young boy, the herdsman took him in and raised himWhen Cyrus was ten years old, Herodotus claims that it was obvious that Cyrus was not a herdsman's son, stating that his behavior was too noble. Astyages interviewed the boy and noticed that they resembled each other. Astyages ordered Harpagus to explain what he had done with the baby, and after confessing that he had not killed the boy, the king tricked him into eating his own son.Astyageswas more lenient with Cyrus, and allowed him to return to his biological parents, Cambyses and Mandane. Herodotus' account does seem too much like other ' lost noble ' legends to be true .
Cyrus the great
According to Nicolaus Damascenus, Cyrus, while at the Court, conceives the idea of freeing his own country by a revolt, and enters into secret communication with his father for the furtherance of his object. His father somewhat reluctantly assents, and preparations are made, which lead to the escape of Cyrus and the commencement of a war of independence. The details of the struggle, as they are related by Nicolaus, have been already given here . After repeated defeats, the Persians finally make a stand close Pasargadae, where in two great battles they destroy the power of Astyages, who himself becomes a prisoner of Cyrus. Cyrus' father dies in 559 B.C. during the fighting and Cyrus becomes king of the Persians .Cyrus captured Ecbatana in 549 BC, conquering the Median Empire. He had intended, probably, no more than to free his country from the Median yoke; by the force of circumstances he had been led on to the destruction of the Median power, and to the establishment of a Persian Empire in its stead.
According to Nicolaus Damascenus, the nations previously subject to the Medes vied with each other in the zeal with which they made their submission to the Persian conqueror. Cyrus succeeded at once to the full inheritance of which he had dispossessed Astyages, and was recognized as king by all the tribes between the Halys ( central Turkey )and Khorassan (North-Eastern Iran. )
While Cyrus seems to have accepted the crown of Media, by 546 BC, he officially assumed the title of King of Persia instead.