Cyrus the Great

A gold coin from Lydia

Episode 12: One more on Cyrus and the Origins of His Empire

Episode 12 is out… download it from here, or subscribe to the History of Iran Podcast via your favourite podcast catcher. Here is the feed for it.

… and here are some pictures and maps to help with visualisation. Also, look at this Achaemenid Daric (Achaemenid gold coin) which is very close to the Lydian prototype.

A (bit fanciful) map of the conquests of Cyrus.

A (bit fanciful) map of the conquests of Cyrus.

A famous vase showing Croesus on his "suicide" pyre...

A famous vase showing Croesus on his “suicide” pyre…

A Lydian coin... notice that the reverse is just a hollow blank.

A Lydian coin… notice that the reverse is just a hollow blank.

View of a part of Pasargadae

View of a part of Pasargadae

Tol-e Takht, the old citadel of Pasargadae

Tol-e Takht, the old citadel of Pasargadae

Ruins of one of the palaces in Pasargadae

Ruins of one of the palaces in Pasargadae

cyrus_carpet

Episode 11: The Kingdom of Anshan and Cyrus the Great

You can download Episode 11 from here… you can also check out the feed or try your favourite podcast index.

This episode will explain the local (mainly Anshanite) context for the rise of Cyrus, as well as telling a bit about the version of the story of the birth of Cyrus told by Herodotus.

1- Cyrus’ genealogy:

  • Cyrus’ name is written as Kurush (II) son of Kambujia (Cambyses I) son of Kurush (I) son of Chish-pish (Tespes).
  • He is said to be the son of Mandane (daughter of Astyages of Media) by Herodotus.

2- Here is a useful article on the site of Malyan/Malian (ancient Anshan) and the archaeological excavations of it.

3- Another article on the description of Cyrus as presented in Herodotus’ History.

Map showing the extent of the Achaemenid Empire, with the region of Persis showing in dark green,

Map showing the extent of the Achaemenid Empire, with the region of Persis showing in dark green,

Drawing of the archaeological site of Malyan (Anshan)

Drawing of the archaeological site of Malyan (Anshan)

Arial view of Malyan

Arial view of Malyan

This, often presented as

This, often presented as “portrait of Cyrus” is nothing but a fanciful drawing, based loosely on…

... this relief at Pasargadae. This is known as the Winged Guardian and is actually a composite image.

… this relief at Pasargadae. This is known as the Winged Guardian and is actually a composite image.

Achaemenid seal

Episode 10: the World that Cyrus Conquered

Finally we arrive at the tale of Cyrus, what you have all been waiting for. Get the episode from here

This is the introduction to the history of Cyrus, looking at the world in which he started his career. I go from the Mediterranean to China and back to Mesopotamia, surveying the Eurasian world in 550 BCE or so, as well as making some preliminary remarks about Cyrus himself.

Check out the Bibliography for items added for this subject.

The world in the sixth century BCE (a bit idealistic, but gives you some ideas)

The world in the sixth century BCE (a bit idealistic, but gives you some ideas)

Map of the Neo-Babylonian (Chaldean) Empire

Map of the Neo-Babylonian (Chaldean) Empire

Cylinder of Nabonidus

Cylinder of Nabonidus

A gold coin from Lydia

A gold coin from Lydia