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Cyrus (सायरस) (c. 600 BC or 576 BC–530 BC), commonly known as Cyrus the Great, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire.

Variants of name


The name Cyrus is a Latinized form derived from a Greek form of the Old Persian Kūruš. [1] The name and its meaning has been recorded in ancient inscriptions in different languages. The ancient Greek historians Ctesias and Plutarch noted that Cyrus was named from Kuros.


The reign of Cyrus, the Great, lasted between 29 and 31 years. Cyrus built his empire by conquering first the Median Empire, then the Lydian Empire and eventually the Neo-Babylonian Empire. Either before or after Babylon, he led an expedition into Central Asia, which resulted in major campaigns that were described as having brought "into subjection every nation without exception".[2] Cyrus did not venture into Egypt, as he himself died in battle, fighting the Massagetae along the Syr Darya in December 530 BC.[3] He was succeeded by his son, Cambyses II, who managed to add to the Empire by conquering Egypt, Nubia, and Cyrenaica during his short rule.

Acquisition of Lycia by Cyrus the Great

Herodotus writes more credibly of contemporaneous events, especially where they concerned his native land. Asia Minor had been partly conquered by the Iranians, starting with the Scythians, then the Medes. The latter were defeated by the Persians, who incorporated them and their lands into the new Persian Empire. Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achaemenid dynasty, resolved to complete the conquest of Anatolia as a prelude to operations further west, to be carried out by his successors. He assigned the task to Harpagus, a Median general, who proceeded to subdue the various states of Anatolia, one by one, some by convincing them to submit, others through military action.

Arriving at the southern coast of Anatolia in 546 BC, the army of Harpagus encountered no problem with the Carians and their immediate Greek neighbors and alien populations, who submitted peacefully. In the Xanthus Valley an army of Xanthians sallied out to meet them, fighting determinedly, although vastly outnumbered. Driven into the citadel, they collected all their property, dependents and slaves into a central building, and burned them up. Then, after taking an oath not to surrender, they died to a man fighting the Persians, foreshadowing and perhaps setting an example for Spartan conduct at the Battle of Thermopylae a few generations later. Coincidentally archaeology has turned up a major fire on the acropolis of Xanthus in the mid-6th century BC, but as Antony Keen points out, there is no way to connect that fire with the event presented by Herodotus. It might have been another fire.[4] The Caunians, says Herodotus, followed a similar example immediately after.[5] If there was an attempt by any of the states of Lycia to join forces, as happened in Greece 50 years later, there is no record of it, suggesting that no central government existed. Each country awaited its own fate alone.

Herodotus also says or implies that 80 Xanthian families were away at the time, perhaps with the herd animals in alpine summer pastures , but helped repopulate the place. However, he reports, the Xanthians of his time were mainly descended from non-Xanthians. Looking for any nuance that might shed light on the re-population of Xanthus, Keen interprets Herodotus' "those Lycians who now say that they are Xanthians" to mean that Xanthus was repopulated by other Lycians (and not by Iranians or other foreigners).[6] Herodotus said nothing of the remainder of Lycia; presumably, that is true because they submitted without further incident. Lycia was well populated and flourished as a Persian satrapy; moreover, they spoke mainly Lycian.

Jat History

Cyrus is mentioned in following Jat clan/placename Histories:

Dynastic history

The Persian domination and kingdom in the Iranian plateau started by an extension of the Achaemenid dynasty, who expanded their earlier domination possibly from the 9th century BC onward. The eponymous founder of this dynasty was Achaemenes (from Old Persian Haxāmaniš). Achaemenids are "descendants of Achaemenes" as Darius the Great, the ninth king of the dynasty, traces his genealogy to him and declares "for this reason we are called Achaemenids". Achaemenes built the state Parsumash in the southwest of Iran and was succeeded by Teispes, who took the title "King of Anshan" after seizing Anshan city and enlarging his kingdom further to include Pars proper.[7] Ancient documents[8] mention that Teispes had a son called Cyrus I, who also succeeded his father as "king of Anshan". Cyrus I had a full brother whose name is recorded as Ariaramnes.[9]

In 600 BC, Cyrus I was succeeded by his son Cambyses I who reigned until 559 BC. Cyrus the Great was a son of Cambyses I, who named his son after his father, Cyrus I.[10]There are several inscriptions of Cyrus the Great and later kings that refer to Cambyses I as the "great king" and "king of Anshan". Among these are some passages in the Cyrus cylinder where Cyrus calls himself "son of Cambyses, great king, king of Anshan". Another inscription (from CM's) mentions Cambyses I as "mighty king" and "an Achaemenian", which according to bulk of scholarly opinion was engraved under Darius and considered as a later forgery by Darius.[11] However Cambyses II's maternal grandfather Pharnaspes is named by Herodotus as "an Achaemenian" too.[28] Xenophon's account in Cyropædia further names Cambyses's wife as Mandane and mentions Cambyses as king of Iran (ancient Persia). These agree with Cyrus's own inscriptions, as Anshan and Parsa were different names of the same land. These also agree with other non-Iranian accounts, except at one point from Herodotus stating that Cambyses was not a king but a "Persian of good family".[12] However, in some other passages, Herodotus's account is wrong also on the name of the son of Chishpish, which he mentions as Cambyses but, according to modern scholars, should be Cyrus I.[13]

The traditional view based on archaeological research and the genealogy given in the Behistun Inscription and by Herodotus[7] holds that Cyrus the Great was an Achaemenian. However it has been suggested by M. Waters that Cyrus is unrelated to Achaemenes or Darius the Great and that his family was of Teispid and Anshanite origin instead of Achaemenid.[14]


  1. Schmitt 2010, p. 515.
  2. Cambridge Ancient History IV Chapter 3c. p. 170. The quote is from the Greek historian Herodotus.
  3. Beckwith, Christopher. (2009). Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-13589-2. Page 63.
  4. Keen & (1998), p. 73.
  5. Histories, Book I, Section 176.
  6. Keen & (1998), p. 76.
  7. Schmitt Achaemenid dynasty (i. The clan and dynasty)
  8. Cyrus Cylinder Fragment A. ¶ 21.
  9. Schmitt Achaemenid dynasty (i. The clan and dynasty)
  10. Schmitt, R.. "Iranian Personal Names i.-Pre-Islamic Names". Encyclopaedia Iranica. Vol. 4. "Naming the grandson after the grandfather was a common practice among Iranians."
  11. From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire By Briant, Pierre, Translated by Peter T. Daniels, ISBN 978-1-57506-120-7, see page 63
  12. Dandamev, M. A. (1990). "Cambyses". Encyclopaedia Iranica. Encyclopaedia Iranica Foundation. ISBN 0-7100-9132-X.
  13. (Dandamaev 1989, p. 9)
  14. M. Waters, "Cyrus and the Achaemenids", Iran 42, 2004 ( > ressources > sous presse), with previous bibliography.