Cyrus the Great’s Declaration of Human Rights

spydersden

More than 2 millennia before the French Revolution introduced the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizens, an ancient Near Eastern monarch issued a charter that is considered to be the oldest known declarations of human rights. This charter is known today as the Cyrus Cylinder.

The Cyrus Cylinder was discovered in the ruins of Babylon, in modern Iraq, in March 1879. The ancient relic, which was a foundation deposit at the city’s main temple, the Ésagila, was made of baked clay, and measured 22.5 cm (8.85 in) in length. On the cylinder is an account detailing the conquest of Babylon in 539 B.C. by Persian king Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, who had created the largest empire of the era.  It also describes the capture of Nabonidus, the last king of Babylon. The account was inscribed in cuneiform text, and has been…

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