Cyrus: King of Persia

The influence, both military and intellectual, by which Babylon had dominated the world for two thousand years or more was destroyed when Cyrus and his Persians captured the city over five hundred years before Christ's time. The Persians belonged to a new race of people, the Aryans, very different in many ways from the Semitic Babylonians, and worshipping other gods than the Baal or Lord Marduk. So even as a religious centre Babylon lost its importance. The Persians built a new capital of their own.

The story of the downfall which comes to us from the Hebrew prophets is naturally a deeply shadowed one. Their race had suffered terribly at Babylon's hands, and, looking upon her fall as a vengeance and a triumph, they tell of the revelry which preceded it, and of the divine warning which Daniel interpreted to the heedless roisterers. Thus the modern world has come to think of the Babylon civilization as a mass of drunkenness and corruption. But while recognizing and regretting the evil side of that ancient splendor, we must realize that on the whole Babylon was the greatest influence for good the world had yet known. She substituted intellect for mere brute force, as the ruling power among mankind.

Cyrus did not storm the city. He probably had friends within who opened the gates to him. Hence only the king and his revelling courtiers suffered from the assault. The mass of the people welcomed Cyrus as a deliverer. Babylon's downfall freed all the subjugated nations.

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Read about Cyrus: King of Persia in the The Story of the Greatest Nations and the Worlds Famous Events Vol 1

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