Cyrus Cylinder. "...I am Cyrus. King of the world. When I entered Babylon...I did not allow anyone to terrorize the land...I kept in view the needs of the people and all its sanctuaries to promote their well-being...I put an end to their misfortune. The Great God has delivered all the lands into my hand; the lands that I have made to dwell in a peaceful habitation..." Site of Babylon, archaeologists discover a clay cylinder, inscribed record of capture of Babylon by the Persian king Cyrus…
Cyrus Cylinder (c. 539 B.C.E.) -- an archaeological artifact that independently confirms a Biblical account told in the Book of Ezra. King Cyrus of Persia issued an edict that permitted the Jewish exiles in Babylonia (which Cyrus had just conquered) “ ‘to go up to Jerusalem in Judah, and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel,’ ” which the Babylonian troops had destroyed, and to return to their homes (Ezra 1:1–4).
The Cyrus Cylinder, dated to 539 BC and written in Akkadian cuneiform script with an account by Cyrus, king of Persia (559-530 BC) of his conquest of Babylon in 539 BC and capture of Nabonidus, the last Babylonian king. This cylinder has sometimes been described as the 'first charter of human rights', but it in fact reflects a long tradition in Mesopotamia where, from as early as the third millennium BC, kings began their reigns with declarations of reforms.
This artifact, known as the Cyrus Cylinder, was discovered in Babylon in 1879. Using the Akkadian language in cuneiform script, it recounts the exploits of the Persian King Cyrus, who is referred to frequently in the Bible (e.g. Isaiah 40-55). The text contains a description of Cyrus returning captives to their homeland. The cylinder is made of clay and is about nine inches long. The artifact was fashioned in the 6th century BC and now resides in the British Museum.
The Cyrus Cylinder. Front view of a barrel-shaped clay cylinder resting on a stand. The cylinder is covered with lines of cuneiform text. This documents the decision by Cyrus in 539 B.C. (or B.C.E. if you prefer) to allow a high degree of tolerance to different religions within the Persian Empire.