Cyrus the Great is famed as a triumphant conqueror, a superb warrior, and the founder of the greatest empire the world has ever seen. However, with the Cyrus Cylinder and a range of Jewish texts, plus extensive writings by Xenophon, Cyrus is generally more admired as a liberator than a conqueror. Cyrus the Great was mentioned twenty-two times in the Old Testament, where he is unconditionally praised. This followed his active liberation of the Jews from Babylon in 539BCE and his support as more than 40,000 Jews then chose to . Cyrus then funded the subsequent rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. Cyrus was also eulogized by many other writers and his actual or legendary exploits were used as moral instruction or as a source of inspiration for political philosophies. For example, the Greek author and soldier Xenophon believed him to be the ideal ruler, and in the Cyropedia - often considered Xenophon's masterpiece - he offers a fictionalised biography of the great man. This is more "a treatise on political virtue and social organisation" than a history. It was influential in ancient times and then again in the Renaissance. It may have been composed in response to Plato's The Republic, and Plato's Laws seems to refer back to it. Scipio Africanus is said to have always carried a copy of the Cyropedia with him. Later on, in the Renaissance, Spenser, in his The Faerie Queene (1596), says: "For this cause is Xenophon preferred before Plato, for that the one, in the exquisite depth of his judgment, formed a Commune wealth, such as it should be; but the other in the person of Cyrus, and the Persians, fashioned a government, such as might best be: So much more profitable and gracious is doctrine by ensample, then by rule." The English philosopher Sir Thomas Browne named his 1658 discourse The Garden of Cyrus after the benevolent ruler. This dense treatise of hermetic philosophy may be a Royalist criticism upon the autocratic rule of Cromwell. Cyrus' name and his doctrine is still cited and celebrated into modern times. On 12th October 1971 Iran marked the 2500th anniversary of Cyrus' founding of the Persian Empire . The then Shah of Iran, in his speech opening the celebrations, said: "O Cyrus, great King, King of Kings, Achaemenian King, King of the land of Iran. I, the Shahanshah of Iran, offer thee salutations from myself and from my nation. Rest in peace, for we are awake, and we will always stay awake." In 1994, a replica of a bas relief depicting Cyrus the Great was erected in a park in Sydney, Australia . This monument is intended as a symbol for multiculturalism, and to express the coexistence and peaceful cohabitation of people from different cultures and backgrounds.


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