The Persian Empire: Inscriptions of Cyrus and Darius I
(c. 525 BCE)

I am Cyrus, king of the world, great king, legitimate king, king ofBabylon, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of the four rims (of the earth), son of Cambyses, great king, king of Anshan, grandson of Cyrus, great king, king of Anshan, descendant of Teispes, great king, king of Anshan, of a family (which) always (exercised) kingship; whose rule Bel and Nebo love, whom they want as king to please their hearts.

When I entered Babylon as a friend and (when) I established the seat of the government in the palace oithe ruler under jubilation and rejoicing, Marduk, the great lord, (induced) the magnanimous inhabitants of Babylon (to love me), and I was daily endeavouring to worship him. My numerous troops walked around in Babylon in peace, I did not allow anybody to terrorize (any place) of the (country of Sumer) and Akkad. I strove for peace in Babylon and in all his (other) sacred cities. As to the inhabitants of Babylon, (I abolished) the corvée (lit.: yoke) which was against their (social) standing. I brought relief to their dilapidated housing, putting (thus) an end to their (main) complaints. Marduk, the great lord, was well pleased with my deeds and sent friendly blessings to myself, Cyrus, the king who worships him, to Cambyses, my son, the offspring of (my) loins, as well as to all my troops, and we all (praised) his great (godhead) joyously, standing before him in peace.

All the kings of the entire world from the Upper to the Lower Sea, those who are seated in throne rooms, (those who) live in other (types of buildings as well as) all the kings of the West land living in tents, brought their heavy tributes and kissed my feet in Babylon. (As to the region) from . . . as far as Ashur and Susa, Agade, Eshnunna, the towns Zamban, Me-Turnu, Der as well as the region of the Gutians, I returned to (these) sacred cities on the other side of the Tigris, the sanctuaries of which have been ruins for a long time, the images which (used) to live therein and established for them permanent sanctuaries. I (also) gathered all their (former) inhabitants and returned (to them) their habitations. Furthermore, I resettled upon the command Marduk, the great lord, all the gods of Sumer and Akkad whom Nabonidus has brought into Babylon to the anger of the lord of the gods, unharmed, in their (former) chapels, the places which make them happy.

May all the gods whom I have resettled in their sacred cities ask daily Bel and Nebo for a long life for me and may they recommend me (to Whim); to Marduk, my lord, they may say this: “Cyrus, the king who worships you, and Cambyses, his son,...” . . . all of them I settled in a peaceful place . . . ducks and doves, … I endeavoured to fortify/repair their dwelling places. . . . (six lines destroyed)

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A great god is Ahuramazda, who created this earth, who created yonder firmament, who created man, who created welfare for man, who made Darius king, one king of many, one lord of many.—I am Darius, great king, king of kings, king of countries, king of this earth, son of Ilystaspes, the Achaemenian.—Says Darius the king: Ahuramazda the greatest of gods, he created me; he made me king; he to me this kingdom granted, the great (kingdom), with good horses, with good men. By the grace of Ahuramazda my father Hystaspes and Arsames my grandfather then both were living when Ahuramazda made me king of this earth. Ahuramazda created for me the horse on the whole earth, and man; he made me king. Ahuramazda granted me aid, Ahuramazda I reverenced, Ahuramazda the greatest of gods—what he told me to do, all that by my hand was done, all that Ahuramazda did.—By the grace of Ahuramazda this palace I made which at Susa was made. From afar to here its ornamentation was brought.


The earth was dug until I came to rock-bottom. When the excavation was made, then rubble was filled in, one part 40 feet in depth, the other 20 feet in depth.

On this rubble the palace was constructed.— And that the earth was dug down, and that rubble was filled in and that brick was moulded, the Babylonian folk, it did (that). The timber cedar,

this—a mountain named Lebanon—from there was brought; the Assyrian folk, it brought it to Babylon; from Babylon the Karkians and Ionians brought it to Susa. The oak from Gandara was brought and from Carmania. The gold from Sardis and from Bactria was brought, which was wrought here. The stone—lapis lazuli and serpentine—which was wrought here, this from Sogdiana was brought. The stone hematite, this from Choras mia was brought, which was wrought here. The silver and the copper from Egypt were brought. The ornamentation with which the wall was adorned, that from Ionia was brought.


The ivory, which was brought here, from Ethiopia and from India and from Arachosia was brought. The stone pillars which here were wrought—a place named Abirãdus in Uja

from there were brought; the stone-masons who there worked, those were Ionians and Sardians.—The artisans who the structure wrought, those were Medes and Egyptians; those who worked on the fine stones, those were Sardians and Egyptians. The men who worked on the brick (work), those were Babylonians and Ionians; those who (worked) at the wall, those were Medes and Egyptians.—Says Darius the king: by the grace of Ahuramazda (this) fine well-laid well- walled (palace) I made. Me may Ahuramazda protect, and what by me was done, and what my father (has done), and my country.