After 40 years, the Cyrus Cylinder returned back to National Museum of Iran

Abd- Al Majid Arfaei; the first translator of Cyrus Cylinder in Persian

Publish Date : Monday 20 September 2010 - 13:57
Cyrus Cylinder has been translated repeatedly by Western scholars. The first translation of it into English was done, by "Rawlinson". Then other scholars like "Vysbakh", "Rykhter", "Openhaym" and also "Lokok" translated it. In Iran, the Cylinder has been translated into Persian, by Dr. Abd -Al Majid Arfaei, a professor of Ancient Near Eastern languages and cultures, for the first time.
Abd- Al Majid Arfaei; the first translator of Cyrus Cylinder in Persian
IBNA: Excavating Babylon and Nyshgah cities and in “Asgalyeh” ("Marduk", the Temple of Babylon God), Hormoz Rasam, the Assyrian British, archaeologist, found a clayish Cylinder in 1879 AD ,(1258 solar), which was soon recognized as Achaemenid Cyrus Cylinder, made after the seizure of the Babylonia and the defeat of "Nabunyd" the king of Bablyon. Made of clay, this object with 5/22 centimeters in length and 11 cm in width has 45 lines around itself. The mentioned Cylinder is written in Akkadian (Neo-Babylonian) and dates back to 538 BC. 

Some lines of the plate isn't readable, but they can be reconstructed partially. That is why; there is no consensus in reading and comprehension of some lines. In 1996, part of the disk which would have until then been thought to belong to Nabunyd, was re-evaluated by “Paul Richard Berger” and it was found that it is, in fact, the divided part of the Cyrus Cylinder. 

Thus, the 36th to 43th ruined lines of the Cylinder were reconstructed. This fragment which was preserved at Yale University was moved to the British Museum, in order for the Cyrus Charter lines to be completed. 

Entering the ancient and pompous Babylon, (550 530 BC. M) Achaemenid Cyrus issued a command for various nations’ freedom from Sababelyan’s bondage, based on which, 40,000 captives were released and returned to their own territories. This 45 line Charter, called Declaration of Freedom and the Charter of Cyrus, is an explanation of Cyrus entrance into Babylon without carnage, and introduction of his status and high position. Cyrus emphasizes two times in his charter that he and his army entered Babylon peacefully. 

Following this he insists on a few points which are historically important. He says: "I established the freedom for all human beings to worship their own gods and commanded that no one has the right to maltreat someone else because of the reason. I gave the command that, no house would be destroyed. I guaranteed peace and comfort for all people ".
There has passed about 2550 years from the time of writing this command up to now.

This is also worth to say that, various copies of this command have been written and sent to different Achaemenid Empire areas. The counterfeit version of the Cyrus Cylinder is now kept at the United Nations organization and is known as the sign of coexistence and understanding between the world nations. 

The charter has been translated by Western scholars several times. The first translation into English was performed by "Rawlinson" (1880 AD). Then other scholars like "Vysbakh"" (1890 M), "Rykhter""(1952 M), Openhaym" (1955 M) and "Lokok" (1990) have implemented to translat the charter as well. 

In Iran, the charter has been translated into Persian, for the first time by Dr. Abd al Majid-Arfaei, a professor of Ancient Near Eastern languages and cultures. He was suggested by Iranian Cultural Foundation to go to England and photograph the text of cylinder which is kept in the British Museum. Along with preparing the images, he made a copy of the cylinder to translate it, after returning to the Iran. First of all, he pictographed its parts and then after beautification of its figures, he managed to publish it. 

On the other hand, with the help of cylinder's copy, he reconstructed that point which were figuratively suspected, and clarified those lines which were not clear. This work, along with explanations about Cyrus life and times, has been published with Mahin Sadiqian as its text editor. Another translation of Cyrus Charter done by Reza Moradi Qiath Abadi has been published in 1998. 

Anyway, the first lines of Cyrus Charter are as follow: "I am Cyrus, the great king .The powerful king, The king of Babylon, The King of Sumer and Akkad, The king of the world’s four corners, The son of great king, Cambyses, King of Anshan, grandson of Cyrus, the Great King, King of Anshan, from the race of Chish Pish, from the Royal dynasty. When I captured Babylon in peace, I placed happily the royal palace as my kingdom center ...». These preliminary lines play historically significant role in recognition of Cyrus and his dynasty.

A report of the unveiling ceremony of Cyrus Cylinder at Iran National Museum 

At first, Azadeh Ardakani, , the General Director of Iran National Museum, said: We are proud of Cyrus Cylinder. This is the command issued by Cyrus to rescue captive people. What prompted us to try to bring it back, were the country’s people and culturist requests. We are a honored, civilized and benevolent nation. Cyrus Charter also certificates that Iranians have the spirit of freedom.

Then Mc Gregory, the director of the British Museum, said: It is a honor to participate the ceremony on the behalf of the Board of Trustees of the British Museum. The event demonstrates the importance of Cyrus, the Great. His charter was found in excavations of Babylon and under the foundation a wall, in 1879. So far, millions of people have visited this charter, and many studies have been done on it. Forty years ago, the Charter had been excluded of the museum, for the first time, and was brought to Iran. Now, glad to see the charter of Cyrus has been displayed in Cyrus's country once again. 

He mentioned: Cyrus conquered Babylon without any involvement and returned homeless people back to their lands. This intellectual action was really unique in the ancient world. So his charter can be considered as part of the Eastern land history East and the world and that of the world as well.

Esfandiar Rhymmashaei, the head of the presidential office, was the other lecturer. He said: "Today is a day of pride for the Iranian nation, the great nation who are the basic founder of civilization, and reveals the transcendental wisdom of creation. Today once again, we emphasize on those values which display the reality of human essence. Such work is not done for pride and development of individual interests, but is to show the divine capabilities within man nature.

He added: “Cyrus Charter has been written and declared 2500 years ago, but its values are not only lower than past, let alone that, today perhaps the world needs more than ever to pay attention to its meaning . What that makes the Declaration of Cyrus greater and more precious is its full attention to the divine and human genuine values. Values rooted in the heavens and honored on the earth. During their long history, Iranians have had their head up towards the sky and have walked on the earth with stability of goodness. It is the tendency towards goodnesses which forces man kind to respect the Charter and its historical provisions. 

Rahimmashaei noted: human society requires paying the utmost attention to this historical document and put, development, stability, peace, security, love and affection, forward on its basis. Iran and Iranians imply wisdom, kindness and sense. Respecting of Iran is the historical task of Iranian men and women, but not to feel pride, but just to find a human and divine common identity.

Hamid Baqaeil, the head of Tourism and Cultural Heritage Organization also said: Cyrus Message is regarding the dignity of man. When his soldiers entered the city of Babylon, instead of killing command, he issued the command of observing humans rights, and obligated them to meet the defeated people rights. And treat the people politely. The main Idea of the cylinder is to respect freedom. The same command, God has emphasized within all the divine religions.

Moreover Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also said: "This charter is in fact, a true emphasis on Iranians’ worship of God. Cyrus Charter emphasizes on fighting against oppression and defending of those who suffer from unjust, in front of oppressors. This Charter is also a measure to evaluate Commanders, throughout the history. 

This event, held in presence of diplomats and ambassadors from different countries of the world, continued with a short film showing the surviving monuments of Persepolis and Achaemenid era.
Story Code: 81663