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The Cyrus Cylinder is an ancient artifact also known as Rarman-e-Kourosh and the 'Cyrus the Great Cylinder' was inscribed in Babylonia upon the capture of the city by Cyrus the Great (559-530 BCE) The inscription is in cuneiform on a clay cylinder about the same size as a football.  It was issued by Cyrus the Great and is the first declaration of human rights in the world and was a fundamental influence on our founding father, Thomas Jefferson.  

The cylinder has been shipped on loan from the British Museum to the United States for a year long tour of five cities beginning this month at the Smithsonian's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, DC.  Following the exhibit in Washington, the display will travel to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco and will conclude at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa Los Angeles in October

The Cyrus Cylinder from ancient Babylon.
The cylinder was discovered by archaeologist, Hormuz Rassam in 1879 during an excavation in Babylon (modern day Iraq) carried out for the British Museum.  The cylinder had been buried there by Cyrus the Great upon his capture of the city.  The length of the cylinder is 22.86 centimeters and contains a detailed account by Cyrus the Great of his conquest of Babylon in 539 BCE and his humane treatment of his conquered subjects.
“I am Cyrus, king of the universe, the great king, the powerful king, king of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of the four quarters of the world.”
The Persian King granted freedom of worship and abolished forced labor.  He also encouraged all exiled people to return to their homelands which seems to confirm a story from the Bible's Old Testament Book of Chronicles and Book of Ezra  describing how Cyrus released all captives including Jews who returned to Jerusalem to build the second temple.
Rear view of the Cyrus Cylinder.
Front view of the Cyrus Cylinder.
The image on the left is the front view of the cylinder and the one on the right is the rear view.  

It is not an exaggeration to state that this is one of the most precious historical records of the world.  This ancient document has often been called the world's first universal declaration of human rights.  In 1971 the United Nations published a translation of the document in all of the official U.N. languages.

The Greek historian, Xenophon, contemporary of Socrates, wrote his book, "Cyropaedia" about the philosophies of Cyrus who ruled with tolerance over a region of such rich and diverse cultures.  A copy of "Cyropaedia" is part of the exhibit on loan from the British Museum. This book, a bilingual Greek and Latin version published in Europe in 1767, is one of the two copies of Cyropaedia belonging to Thomas Jefferson that is currently held at the Library of Congress.

The book became popular during the Enlightenment among political thinkers in Europe and America, including those who drafted the US Constitution in 1787.  Accoding to Massumeh Farhad, director of the Freer and Sackler Galleries, Jefferson not only studied the book in detail, but also advised his family to read it. Ms Farhad said Jefferson in a letter had asked his grandson to study Cyropaedia.

"He wrote. 'when you start learning Greek, the first book you should read is Cyropaedia,'" Ms Farhad said.
When the cylinder was shown in 2010 and 2011 in Iran, it drew at least half a million visitors. Before this current tour the artifact has only been shown in Tehran, Barcelona and London.


Cyrus Cylinder, Ancient Human Rights Engraving, Embarks on tour of US Museums

Cyrus Cylinder: How a Persian Monarch Inspired Jefferson

The British Museum: The Cyrus Cylinder travels to the US

Network of Iranian American Society: Cyrus Cylinder

Wikipedia: Cyrus Cylinder

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good Sunday Morning, MOTliteers. (11+ / 0-)



    Have a wonderful day, everybuddy ;~D

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 05:23:45 PM PDT

  •  Big Mac (6+ / 0-)

    I replaced the power supply and got the old Dual G5 Power Mac  up and running again last night.

    I'm wondering why RISC and the PowerPC didn't work out?

    Maybe it was like the Wankel back in the '70s. It looked great on paper, but in real life it didn't work out so much....

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:36:13 AM PDT

    •  Good Morning, Dude. (4+ / 0-)

      I saw the subject line and thought --NO!  Please tell me you don't eat Big Macs!  

      I've never operated a Mac and while I'm sure I could figure out the differences between a Mac and a PC, in the meanwhile I'd be pretty cranky!

      Have a great day, Dude.

      As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

      by JaxDem on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 04:36:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the heads up, Jax. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian H, JaxDem, Joy of Fishes, Aunt Pat

    It may just be time for a trip to Washington.

    The chance to actually stand next to such a remarkable artifact is too great to pass up.

    Though I'll take any excuse to hit the Freer/Sackler.

    Republicans represent both sides: the insanely rich and vice versa.

    by Crashing Vor on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:55:07 AM PDT

  •  I've often wondered at the coincidental fact that (4+ / 0-)

    three of the most enlightened civlilizations of their time are now our biggest enemies. The Persians that you talk about here, the Mediterranean Muslims during Europe's Dark Ages and China's Ming Dynasty. They all tried to make a better world and succeeded for a bit.  They all fell from grace. Do we sense the seeds of our own dissolution in their past? Is there anything we could learn from their fall? Do the barbarians always win?

    We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

    by PowWowPollock on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 04:11:37 AM PDT

    •  Good Morning, PWP... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joy of Fishes, Aunt Pat

      Very good points/observations.  

      Certainly there are lessons to learn, but would we be able to enact any defensive measures?  I highly doubt it considering the other major political party in our country is so steeped in complete ignorance as to deny global warming and insist on the magical abilities of a woman's uterus.  Seems to me that our worst enemy resides right here in our own country!

      How's that on a third a cuppa coffee?

      Have a grand day.

      As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

      by JaxDem on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 04:33:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  just a note on "barbarians", the Greeks (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JaxDem, Joy of Fishes, Aunt Pat

      considered any nonGreek as being a barbarian while the Romans considered the Germanic tribes they plundered as barbarians though those tribesmen had a culture that in its own way was as rich as Rome's.  We are now only discovering the extent that the tribes were civilized.

      Problem is that Romans wrote the histories and made sure that they looked good in every one of them at the expense of the Germanic tribes.  For example, everyone has heard of the sack of Rome by the Vandals but by that time, the tribes had become Romanized and were very appreciative of Roman culture.  The Vandals (whose name has come through history to mean wanton destruction) actually did little damage to Rome on their way to North Africa to establish their kingdom there.

      Who the barbarian is is in the eye of the beholder

    •  The seeds they planted are still with us... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JaxDem, Aunt Pat

      ... I  hope so at least.  Two steps forward, one step back.  I think we are in a step back phase.  

      I hear Karen Arstrong has a new book out about a second axial age.... has anyone read it?

      Her first book on the axial age covered this period -

      Apology for disjointedness. .. I will lose the comment altogether if I try to edit.

      Dwell on the beauty of life. ~ Marcus Aurelius

      by Joy of Fishes on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 05:41:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  g'day MOTers; bout time for me to go to bed (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JaxDem, Joy of Fishes, Aunt Pat

    Got wrapped up in an auction and my night got away from me.

    •  Good Morning, entlord. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joy of Fishes, Aunt Pat, entlord

      What auction sites do you use?  I've never done an auction in my life and I've always wanted to.

      There is a huge building that had been standing vacant for a number of years and a bit over a year ago a consignment shop took it over and devoted a portion to an auction area.  They auction on most Saturday nights.  Last time I was in there they allowed me to go through the items for auction, but when the auction day came one of the kids had called and asked me to baby sit that night so I missed it.

      Obviously you need to know the value of things, so how do you do that?

      As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

      by JaxDem on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 04:46:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I use different sites for different things (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JaxDem, Joy of Fishes for ordinary stuff for household stuff and specialized items mostly for coins and firearms for firearms and edged weapons
        There there are the Sotheby and Christie sites as well as for GB auctions and mostly replicate the the larger sites but still have some unique items.  There are some more sites and, of course, and and I use to locate retail items
        I check out for books on valuing items I am interested in and, in addition, many auction sites allow you to run a search of its archives so you know the range that the items bring.  Finally, depending on the item, there is usually a lot of information available online, such as identifying samurai swords and even discussion boards on many topics.  I use the Yahoo discussion group on fakes to review the many many fakes out there in Egyptian antiquaries and to read discussions of what the real deal looks like  

        •  Thanks for the reply. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          entlord, Joy of Fishes

          I'm saving this comment in a word document so that one day when I have free time (Ha!) I can browse around.

          As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

          by JaxDem on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 08:34:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  it is amazing what you can find, particularly with (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JaxDem, Joy of Fishes

            auction houses that have in house experts and will stand behind their evaluations.  You can also find the most amazing stuff that you would not expect to find on local auctions (though I have gone to local auctions for 40 years).  This is particularly true for coins and for smaller housewares.  I recently picked up a dozen sets of Victorian brass embossed doorknobs for $50 (and got an old footed silver plated serving tray to boot in the deal)

  •  In case you didn't know (4+ / 0-)

    Help me to be the best Wavy Gravy I can muster

    by BOHICA on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 05:47:23 AM PDT

  •  Good morning, MOTlies. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BOHICA, JaxDem, Aunt Pat, Otteray Scribe

    Chiily, but the sun is shining in about the first time in what seems like forever.    I will spend the morning with friends and the afternoon puttering around home.  

    Have a good day, everyone.

    Dwell on the beauty of life. ~ Marcus Aurelius

    by Joy of Fishes on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 05:49:23 AM PDT

  •  Top o' the mornin' to ya JD and Bon MOTs ... (4+ / 0-)

    ... he said, in his best faux Irish accent. Happy Day When Everyone (including me) Thinks They're Irish!

    Nice bit of history to start the synapses firing this morning, thanks JD.

    Makes one wonder why, in spite of all the good examples throughout history, we still can't seem to get it right with that whole equality thing. Must be because, eventually, somebody gets greedy, or suspicious, or pretentious, or superior, or ethnocentric, and then gets everyone else all scared about it and then, Bob's your uncle, we're right back at each other like a bunch of marauding chimpanzees!

    Someday, maybe we'll get that perfect combination of an enlightened leader with great ideas at the same time that we have an enlightened citizenry that can handle the idea being just equal. It could happen!

    Have a good Sunday, all!

    - Politics is the entertainment branch of industry.
    - Frank Zappa

    by rudyblues on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 06:09:11 AM PDT

    •  Top o' the Morn to you, rudy! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rudyblues, Aunt Pat, Joy of Fishes

      It does seem we have hardly evolved at all in our treatment of one another, certainly not even close to the scale of our evolving in other ways.  

      Have a fine Irish Day!

      As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

      by JaxDem on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 06:49:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Internet Fail (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JaxDem, Otteray Scribe, Joy of Fishes

    when I turned the puter on around 7:45 there was no connection !
    I called to see what was up, they knew & was working on it.
    so I when to Home Depot to return 2 things, My licenses in in such bad shape they wouldn't/couldn't do the returns !


    went to lowes to look for a water filter ! .............

    at least the internet is BACK :=)

    SO .........................

    interesting subject JD. Amazing it still exsist !

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