The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: A New Beginning

October 2–December 8, 2013
At the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Villa

Found in 1879, the Cyrus Cylinder is among the most iconic discoveries from the ancient world, with a legacy that resounds to this day. A clay cylinder inscribed with cuneiform script, it records the conquest of Babylon in 539 B.C. by the Persian king Cyrus the Great. The text proclaims that Cyrus restored religious practices and allowed exiled peoples to return home. In doing so, it bears witness to the multiethnic nature of the Achaemenid Empire, which introduced innovative forms of writing, religion, and luxury goods to the Near East. This exhibition is organized by the British Museum in partnership with the Iran Heritage Foundation and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, in collaboration with the J. Paul Getty Museum. The Los Angeles presentation is made possible by the generosity of Farhang Foundation.

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Banner image: The Cyrus Cylinder, after 539 B.C. Image courtesy of and © The Trustees of the British Museum (2013). All rights reserved.

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