cyrus cylinder great human rights charter

Cyrus Cylinder (Photo by Marco Prins and Jona Lendering)

A 2,500-year-old clay cylinder bears what has been called the world’s “first human rights charter” and was inscribed under the direction of the Persian ruler Cyrus the Great in 539 BCE. In the Greek Bible (Isaiah 45:1), Cyrus is called “Christ” (“…τῷ χριστῷ μου Κύρῳ…”) or “the Lord’s anointed” for his role in rescuing the Jews out of the “Babylonian Captivity.”

In addition to that alleged good and godly deed, Cyrus committed to writing what is believed to be the earliest charter establishing human rights so far found. Thus, Persia – or Iran – is ironically and tragically the birthplace of a remarkable tradition of human rights. Contrast that amazing fact with the state in which the ancient and noble Persian people live today, under Islamic fanaticism, with a severe restriction of many basic rights we take for granted.

Iran made to wait for loan of ancient treasure after ‘remarkable’ discovery

THE “remarkable” discovery of two small fragments of inscribed clay at the British Museum will cast vital new light on a 2,500-year-old cylinder bearing what is often described as the world’s first charter of human rights, it has been claimed….

The cylinder was written in 539BC on the orders of Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Persian empire, after he conquered Babylon and freed the Jews and other peoples held captive there, while ushering in religious freedom.

Here an ancient Persian man deemed “Messiah” and “Christ” by a group of people is likewise renowned for “ushering in religious freedom” and inscribing one of the world’s first known documents addressing human rights. Meanwhile his modern heirs are infamous as some of the worst human-rights abusers in the world, with little to no religious freedom under their tyranny. Who can honestly contend that human creation progresses linearly rather than cyclically?

It is time for a resurgence of the Persian spirit, as exemplified in the legends of Cyrus the Great and his civilized charter for human rights.