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Top Questions: Cyrus the Great



Transcript

Cyrus the Great

Why was Cyrus the Great “great”?
Cyrus the Great leveraged his skills as a warrior and a statesman to establish the Achaemenian Empire, which was the largest to have ever existed at the time of his rule. His reputation as “great” was enhanced by his appearance in ancient texts.
How did Cyrus the Great become king?
Greek historian Herodotus gives a historically dubious account in which Cyrus overthrows his grandfather Astyages and unites the latter’s Median kingdom with the Persian one he inherited. Alternate versions of the tale exist in other Classical texts.
What did Cyrus the Great conquer?
Cyrus’s career as a military leader began in earnest in 550 BCE, when he rose up against his Median overlord, King Astyages. Other mythologized campaigns during his reign include his conquests of Lydia and Babylonia.
What ancient sources mention Cyrus the Great?
Herodotus gives a famous account of Cyrus’s life in his History, which was probably highly fictionalized. Xenophon and Ctesias also lionized Cyrus in texts of questionable historical accuracy, and the Bible identifies Cyrus as the ruler who freed the Jewish people from captivity in Babylonia.
How did Cyrus the Great die?
Cyrus the Great died while campaigning on his empire’s eastern frontier, but little else is known of his final years. Herodotus noted that he came across several versions of the events that may have led to Cyrus’s demise.
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