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    Cyrus the Great was born in the Southern branch of the Aryan nation of Persia.  The Persians were ruled by local kings.  One of these kings married the daughter of the Median king Astyages.  Their son was named Cyrus (this genealogy is considered mythological to some).  In 550 B.C., Cyrus revolted against Astyages and his own troops went over to Cyrus.  The Median Empire then became the Persian Empire. 
    Cyrus got involved in many wars.  The first was with Croesus.  He was the King of Lydia, a wealthy state in Western Asia Minor.  Croesus tried to find allies but Cyrus attacked too quickly .  In a winter attack, he took the capital city of Sardis.  Cyrus returned to the East and left Harpagus to finish of the conquest of the Lydian area.  Nabonidus of Babylon had originally favored Cyrus but border conflicts led to war and in 539 he captured Babylon.  Cyrus posed as both a liberator and a supporter of local gods and once in power pursued a careful policy of religious toleration.  The most important example of this was when he allowed the Jews to return to their homeland. 
    Cyrus's right to be called Cyrus the Great can hardly be questioned.  Just the fact that he was the first to conquest on Mesopotamia and gain control of it marks the first time that a true Indo-European-speaking people had gained control of the old centers of civilization.  He also made it a precedent among Persians to give generosity toward anyone that they conquered.  Cyrus the Great died in the year 530 B.C. in a conquest to modern-day Khazakistan.  They were called the Massagetes.  Cyrus was buried near Pasargadae.

Map of Persian Empire

Cyrus the Great

Cyrus The Great