The Cyrus Cylinder

The Cyrus Cylinder

This royal inscription of Persian King Cyrus the Great commemorates his conquest of Babylon, portraying it as a peaceful event guided by Marduk himself. Cyrus was chosen by the Babylonian god to deliver the land from Neo-Babylonian king Nabonidus, portrayed as a failed, oppressive, impious tyrant.

The inscription incorporates elements of the classic Mesopotamian royal inscription genre but rejects boast of violence, instead highlighting Cyrus' merciful and pious treatment of Babylon: restoring cult centres, returning displaced Mesopotamians to their homes, instituting correct religious practice. Although the document has been used as evidence of the Persian policy towards conquered peoples, it must be remembered that it is a work of royal propaganda and its claims should be taken with a heavy grain of salt.

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Cite this Posting

CDLI contributors. 2022. “The Cyrus Cylinder.” Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative. November 29, 2022.

CDLI contributors. (2022, November 29). The Cyrus Cylinder. Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative.

CDLI contributors (2022) The Cyrus Cylinder, Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative. Available at: (Accessed: November 29, 2022).

  • note = {[Online; accessed 2022-11-29]},
  • author = {{CDLI contributors}},
  • year = {2022},
  • month = {nov 29},
  • title = {The {Cyrus} {Cylinder}},
  • howpublished = {},

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