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The Cyrus Cylinder: The King of Persia's Proclamation from Ancient Babylon

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1780760636
ISBN-10: 1780760639
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Editorial Reviews

Review

""The Cyrus Cylinder is one of the most important records of antiquity, from the greatest of the near eastern empires: the Achaemenid Persian. The Cylinder is fascinating for the story of its discovery, its reconstruction and later history, even its forgery on Chinese bone. This presentation of it by several experts, fully illustrated and in color, offers a great deal for any reader engaged by how we reconstruct antiquity, as well as for dedicated scholars."" - Sir John Boardman, FBA, Emeritus Lincoln Professor of Classical Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford


""The Cyrus Cylinder represents a very significant addition to existing studies of this iconic object, which only seems to grow in stature with the passage of time. With reference to Irving Finkel's observations, it is of great interest to learn that the text existed in more than one format. That is to say that two newly identified fragments from a conventional tablet show that Cyrus' exceptional message was not only written on barrel-shaped cylinders that were intended for interment in the foundations of major structures, but that it was also written on large flat tablets that were very possibly intended for public display. In line with certain statements in the Book of Ezra, this finding could also lend new authority to a supposition that Cyrus issued separate proclamations addressed to separate components of the population of Babylon."" – David Stronach, OBE, Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Archaeology, University of California, Berkeley

'Few ancient testimonies have had as fascinating a history or as controversial an interpretation as Cyrus's building inscription from Babylon. The more it is used as a historical source and/or a political tool, the more grateful we are not only to have an edition of the text based on state-of-the-art research but also reliable information on the historical background of Cyrus's message and on the history of the artefact itself.'- Josef Wiesehöfer, Professor of Ancient History, Kiel University


About the Author

I. L. Finkel is Assistant Keeper of Ancient Mesopotamian Script, Languages and Cultures in the Department of the Middle East at the British Museum, UK. He is co-author (with M J Seymour) of Babylon: Myth and Reality (2008), and editor of Ancient Board Games in Perspective (2007).
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: I. B. Tauris (March 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780760639
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780760636
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.5 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,312,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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This artifact found in the wall of a prominent religious building in the ruined ancient city of Babylon, in current Iraq, is a 539 BC Babylonian cuneiform inscription by Cyrus II, King of the Persian Empire, declaring his bloodless conquest of Babylon the will of god Marduk. He continues to pound his chest, spelling out his titles, including “king of the universe,” his royal lineage, and his release of various ethnic groups held in bondage by Babylonian King Nabonidus.

Incredibly, I could not find the exact dimensions of the Cyrus Cylinder in the narrative, but there is a photograph of it with a scale. It is not really a cylinder but “barrel-shaped, slightly swollen in the middle.” My careful measurements reveal a length of 19.13 cm (7.60 inches), the center diameter 8.62 cm (3.39 inches) and the tapered end diameters 6.72 cm (2.65 inches). The cylinder appears as three glued-together fragments, two larger ones received by the British Museum from the discoverer in 1879, and the smaller one, only authenticated in 1971 when located within the Yale Babylonian Collection.

In the “discovery” chapter, mind-boggling artifact inventories and shipment schedules confuse not only the reader, but, apparently, also the involved archaeologists and British Museum curators. However, it is clear that Hormuzd Rassam, the British Museum’s leader of excavations at Babylon, departed the dig site, leaving one of his overseers, Dawood Toma, in charge, who discovered the famous “true cylinder without breaks; small” February-March 1879.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
great book about the history of this discovery and translation help understand history a little better would recommend for anyone studing the old testament
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not done reading
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