Cyrus the Great was the founder of the Archaemenian dynasty and the Persian
Empire. Cyrus' military victories eventually put him in possession of the
largest empire in the world at that time. No doubt he was a remarkably humane
ruler for his time. Certainly he has achieved his greatness not by words
but by hard and difficult choices, actions, and sacrifice. Without any doubt
all the above selected criteria in regard to Cyrus the Great is true. Even
the Greeks, who for a long time considered the Persian Empire to be the chief
threat to their own independence, never ceased to regard Cyrus as a thoroughly
admirable ruler. His policy towards the people of his empire was one of tolerance
and understanding, as reflected in his authorization of the rebuilding of
the Jerusalem Temple in 538 BC. Cyrus the Great died in battle in 530 BC.
He was succeeded by his son Cambyses. Cyrus the Great achieves highest rank
among all world leaders throughout the human history because of the following
High moral and ethical values.
Created Persian Empire based on ethics.
Expanded the Ethical Empire to include all men who wish to join it.
In the Bible (e.g., Ezra 1:1-4), Cyrus is famous for freeing the Jewish
captives in Babylonia and allowing them to return to their homeland. His
name occurs twenty two times in the Bible.
Establishment of a constitution and Judicial system based on high moral
and ethical values.
Freedoms of religion, job, and place of residency; being advocate of freedom
of choice 2500 years ago is very admirable. On the contrary Constantine the
Great 800 years later did not have religious toleration (persecuted the Jews)
and introduced laws that made certain occupations (e.g., butchers, bakers)
Were it not for Cyrus, therefore, it seems at least possible that the Jewish
people would have died out as a separate group in the fifth century BC
Created Gold and Silver coins for trading.
Ordered all Governors to treat the people as their own children, and no
one could be executed for a first time crime.
Slavery was not allowed. The Old Persian culture did not accept the concept
of slavery. This is a good indication of a great ethical culture; we can
admire this especially when we see some 250 years later Aristotle's ideas
of slavery as natural law. This idea of Aristotle was used in the Roman Empire
and after that in the British Empire as natural law.
Despite the fact that Cyrus the Great was a genius he would consult with
other leaders from different ethnic background to come up with a better solution
for their problems.
Cyrus was clearly a leader of immense military ability, and an outstanding
Cyrus the Great had a Major influence on the thinking of Aristotle and
Alexander the Great, and the Roman Empire form of government.
He was exceptionally tolerant of local religions and local customs.
He was moderate and respectful toward his defeated opponents, and if they
were popular leaders among their people let them continue with their positions.