Tag Archives: Cyrus The Great

Cyrus the Great was no Zoroastrian

Cyrus the Great was no Zoroastrian.

Dr. Pallan Ichaporia, Mainz University.


Cyrus the Great does not make mention of Ahura Mazda in any of his inscriptions. In fact many of his inscriptions betray a sense of plurality that is not found in the texts of later kings of the Achaemenid dynasty. A very famous inscription of his illustrates this. This is the Cyrus Cylinder, found in  Babylon, which contains a decree justifying his rule in the city of Babylon. In it he relates how Marduk, the local god of Babylon and chief god of Babylonia, appointed him to be king over Babylon. Later in the text he commands that temples be rebuilt and the various local cults be started up again. He then asks that these gods bless him. This text has a parallel in Ezra 1:1—4 in the Hebrew Bible. The portion of the text reads: “May all the gods whom I settled in their sacred centers ask daily of Bel that my days may be long, and may they intercede for my welfare. May they say to Marduk, my lord, As for Cyrus, the king who reveres you, . . .'” 1


This inscription betrays in Cyrus a plurality which the later Achaemenid kings rejected. In this inscription he invokes Marduk and Bel, a title for Marduk, to bless him, and mentions a number of other gods. Mary Boyce, once again trying to fit this text into her interpretation of the Achaemenid kings’ religion has observed, “Doctrinally, it is impossible to reconcile his acknowledgment of alien great gods with his own acceptance of Ahura Mazda as the one true God.” for supposing for a later Zarathustra, because there is no textual evidence for his existence or his religion until after the reign of Cyrus the Great, in the mid sixth century b.c.e. Cyrus does not seem to be a worshiper of Ahura Mazda, at least not exclusively, nor does he seem to be an adherent of the teachings of Zarathustra.

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20130310 All NA Z Tele Class 12 – Cyrus Cylinder

North American Zoroastrian Religious Tele – Class  – Sunday March 10th 2013 11 AM EDST

Background, History and content of Cyrus Cylinder and its Universal Appeal in present day!

Ervad Soli P. Dastur

            A Zoroastrian Religion Class was held by Telephone on March 10th 2013 by Jo Ann Dastur & Ervad Soli P. Dastur from their home, Hira Villa, in       Sarasota,          Florida.

There were about 33 callers with multiple people listening together in some homes by calling a Tele-meeting phone number. The people were from both Canada and USA, from NY to Dallas and Los Angeles, Montreal to Miami. The class material was a PowerPoint Presentation sent ahead of time to all participants in PDF format.

In this class, by popular demand starting with Behram Pastakia’s suggestion, we covered in details the ancient Iranian history and culture surrounding the Cylinder of Cyrus the Great! Read more