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The Cyrus Cylinder, discovered in 1879 and now in the British Museum, is one of the most famous cuneiform texts, because it was once believed that it confirmed what the Bible says: that in 539 BCE, the Persian conqueror Cyrus the Great had allowed the Jews to return from their Babylonian Exile.

Although this information can in fact not be found in the text (only countries east of the Tigris are mentioned), the Cyrus Cylinder remains an interesting document, because it shows that the common elements of Babylonian royal propaganda were also used by the Persian conqueror: for example the restoration of the temples, good care for the gods, and a lengthy titulary (cf. the Nabonidus Cylinder from Sippar for a parallel). So, Cyrus presented himself to the conquered nation as a normal ruler. There is no evidence that Cyrus inaugurated a new policy of tolerance.

The document is also interesting because it confirms information from the Nabonidus Chronicle: that, after the battle of Opis, the capture of Babylon itself was peaceful. Sources that indicate that Nabonidus, the last king of Babylonia, was impopular and believed to be mad, such as the Verse Account, are also corroborated by the Cyrus Cylinder.

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The Cyrus Cylinder, discovered in 1879 and now in the British Museum, is one of the most famous cuneiform texts, because it was once believed that it confirmed what the Bible says: that in 539 BCE, the Persian conqueror Cyrus the Great had allowed the Jews to return from their Babylonian Exile.

Although this information can in fact not be found in the text (only countries east of the Tigris are mentioned), the Cyrus Cylinder remains an interesting document, because it shows that the common elements of Babylonian royal propaganda were also used by the Persian conqueror: for example the restoration of the temples, good care for the gods, and a lengthy titulary (cf. the Nabonidus Cylinder from Sippar for a parallel). So, Cyrus presented himself to the conquered nation as a normal ruler. There is no evidence that Cyrus inaugurated a new policy of tolerance.

The document is also interesting because it confirms information from the Nabonidus Chronicle: that, after the battle of Opis, the capture of Babylon itself was peaceful. Sources that indicate that Nabonidus, the last king of Babylonia, was impopular and believed to be mad, such as the Verse Account, are also corroborated by the Cyrus Cylinder. More

 
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