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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…

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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).

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In 539 B.C., the armies of Cyrus the Great, the first king of ancient Persia, conquered the city of Babylon. But it was his next actions that marked a major advance for Man. He freed the slaves, declared that all people had the right to choose their own religion, and established racial equality. These and other decrees were recorded on a baked-clay cylinder in the Akkadian language with cuneiform script.

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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.

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Armlet with Griffins, From the Oxus Treasure, Achaemenid, 500–330 B.C. Gold, 12.3 x 11.6 x 2.6 cm. Image courtesy of and © The Trustees of the British Museum (2013). All rights reserved

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Amitis - Shahbanu Wife of Cyrus the Great http://www.pinterest.com/yaldashab/women-of-persia/

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OXUS TREASURE - Gold plaque. Achaemenid 5thC BC-4thC BC . © The Trustees of the British Museum | The Oxus treasure is a collection of about 180 surviving pieces of metalwork in gold and silver, the majority rather small, plus perhaps about 200 coins, from the Achaemenid Persian period which were found by the Oxus river about 1877-1880.

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