Date: 539 B.C.E.

The Cyrus Cylinder is an ancient clay cylinder, now broken into several pieces, on which is written a Achaemenid royal inscription in Akkadian cuneiform script in the name of Persian king Cyrus the Great. It dates from the 6th century BC and was discovered in the ruins of the ancient Mesopotamian city of Babylon (now in modern Iraq) in 1879. The text on the Cylinder praises Cyrus, sets out his genealogy and portrays him as a king from a line of kings. The Babylonian king Nabonidus, who was defeated and deposed by Cyrus, is denounced as an impious oppressor of the people of Babylonia and his low-born origins are implicitly contrasted to Cyrus' kingly heritage. The victorious Cyrus is portrayed as having been chosen by the chief Babylonian god Marduk to restore peace and order to the Babylonians. The Cylinder's text has traditionally been seen by biblical scholars as corroborative evidence of Cyrus' policy of the repatriation of the Jewish people following their Babylonian captivity, as the text refers to the restoration of cult sanctuaries and repatriation of deported peoples.