Image: The Cyrus Cylinder
The Cyrus Cylinder contains the decree Cyrus the Great issued after he conquered Babylon in 539 B.C. restoring the proper worship of Marduk in Babylon and allowing the return of the captive gods to their own countries. Cyrus’ decree also allowed the exiled people in Babylon to return to their native lands. The Cyrus the Great cylinder is inscribed in Babylonian cuneiform and is considered by some to be the world’s first charter of human rights.
The Cyrus Cylinder is partially broken, but the British Museum has announced that several new fragments of the Cyrus Cylinder have been found in their archives. The following is an excerpt from a news release announcing the discovery:
Iranian inscription expert Abdolmajid Arfaei says the newly-found pieces of the Cyrus cylinder had been housed in the British Museum.
“The pieces have most probably been housed in the museum and only recently recognized as parts of the Cyrus cylinder.”
The British Museum recently announced that some new parts of the cylinder’s broken pieces have been found, which might be a clue to some other documents sent by Cyrus the Great to other regions.
“If there are any new pieces, then they can provide more information about the contents of the cylinder,” Arfaei said.
I believe the discovery of additional pieces of the Cylinder is very important. If these pieces indeed belong to the Cylinder, they may supply additional information about Cyrus and his decree.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary