|Meaning||"Sun", "One who bestows care"|
|Related names||Kourosh, Koresh|
Cyrus is the given name of a number of Persian kings. Most notably it refers to Cyrus the Great. Cyrus is also the name of Cyrus I of Anshan (ca. 650 BC), King of Persia the grandfather of Cyrus the Great; and Cyrus the Younger (died 401 BC), brother to the Persian King Artaxerxes II of Persia.
Cyrus, as a word in English, is the Latinized form of the Greek Κῦρος, Kȳros, from Old Persian 𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁 Kūruš. According to the inscriptions the name is reflected in Elamite Kuraš, Babylonian Ku(r)-raš/-ra-áš and Imperial Aramaic kwrš. The modern Persian form of the name is Koorosh.
The etymology of Cyrus has been and continues to be a topic of discussion amongst historians, linguists, and scholars of Iranology. The Old Persian name "kuruš" has been interpreted in various forms from "the Sun", "like Sun", "young", "hero" to "humiliator of the enemy in verbal contest" and the Elamite "kuraš" has been translated as one "who bestows care".
The name has appeared on many monuments and inscriptions in Old Persian. There is also the record of a small inscription in Morghab (southwestern Iran) on which there is the sentence (adam kūruš xšāyaƟiya haxāmanišiya) in Old Persian meaning (I am Cyrus the Achaemenian King). After a questionable proposal by the German linguist F. H. Weissbach that Darius the Great was the first to inscribe in Persian, it had previously been concluded by some scholars that the inscription in Morghab refers to Cyrus the Younger. This proposal was the result of a false interpretation of a passage in paragraph 70 of Behistun inscription by Darius the Great. Based on many arguments, the accepted theory among modern scholars is that the inscription does belong to Cyrus the Great.
There are interpretations of name of Cyrus by classical authors identifying with or referring to the Persian word for “Sun”. The Historian Plutarch (46 - 120) states that "the sun, which, in the Persian language, is called Cyrus". Also the Physician Ctesias who served in the court of the Persian king Artaxerxes II of Persia writes in his book Persica as summarized by Photios that the name Cyrus is from Persian word "Khur" (the sun). These are, however, not accepted by modern scholars.
Regarding the etymology of Old Persian kuruš, linguists have proposed various etymologies based on Iranian languages as well as non-Indo-European ones. According to Tavernier, the name kuraš, attested in Elamite texts, is likely "the original form" as there is no Elamite or Babylonian spelling ku-ru-uš in the transcriptions of Old Persian ku-u-r(u)-u-š. That is, according to Tavernier, kuraš is an Elamite name and means "to bestow care". Others, such as Schmitt, Hoffmann maintain that the Persian Kuruš, which according to Skalmowsky, may be connected to (or a borrowing from) the IE Kúru- from Old Indic can give an etymology of the Elamite kuraš. In this regard the Old Persian kuruš is considered with the following etymologies: One proposal is discussed by the linguist Janos Harmatta that refers to the common Iranian root "kur-" (be born) of many words in Old, middle, and new Iranian languages (e.g. Kurdish). Accordingly, the name Kūruš means "young, youth...". Other Iranian etymologies have been proposed. The Indian proposal of Skalmowsky goes down to "to do, accomplish". Another theory is the suggestion of Karl Hoffmann that kuruš goes down to a -ru derivation from the IE root *(s)kau meaning "to humiliate" and accordingly "kuruš" (hence "Cyrus") means "humiliator (of the enemy in verbal contest)".
People and fictional characters named Cyrus include:
- Cyrus I (ca. 650 BC), King of Anshan
- Cyrus the Great (ca. 600 BC or 576 BC–530 BC) – also known as Cyrus II – the grandson of Cyrus I, an Achaemenid ruler and founder of the Great Persian Empire
- Cyrus the Younger (died 401 BC), brother to the Persian King Artaxerxes
- Cyrus (architect), 1st century Greek architect who worked in Rome
- Saint Cyrus (see Cyrus and John), 4th century Coptic saint
- Cyrus of Alexandria, Melkite Patriarch and co-founder of Monothelism
- Cyrus of Panopolis, 5th-century Byzantine writer and official
- Cyrus Leroy Baldridge (1889-1977), American artist, illustrator, author and adventurer
- Cyrus Townsend Brady (1861-1920), American journalist, historian and adventure writer
- Cyrus Broacha (born 1971), MTV India VJ
- Cyrus Christie (born 1992), professional footballer who plays as right back for Middlesbrough F.C.
- Cyrus Chothia (born 1942), British scientist
- Cyrus Edwin Dallin (1861-1944), American sculptor
- Cyrus S. Eaton (1883-1979), Canadian-American banker, investor and philanthropist
- Cyrus West Field (1819-1892), American businessman who successfully laid the first transatlantic telegraph cable
- Cyrus Frisch (born 1969), Dutch film director
- Cyrus Herzl Gordon (1908 – 2001) was an American scholar of Near Eastern cultures and ancient languages.
- Cyrus Hamlin (general) (1839-1867), Union general during American Civil War, son of Vice President Hannibal Hamlin
- Cy Hungerford (1889-1983), American editorial cartoonist
- Cy Kendall (1898–1953), American actor
- Cyrus B. Lower (1843-1924), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
- Cyrus McCormick (1809-1884), American inventor who developed the modern mechanical reaper
- Cyrus Pallonji Mistry (born 1968), Irish-Indian businessman and Chairman of Indian conglomerate Tata Group
- Cyrus Mistry (writer) (born 1956), Indian author and playwright
- Cyrus Patell (born 1961), American literary and cultural critic
- Cyrus Peirce (1790-1860), founder of first public normal school (teachers' college) in the United States
- Cyrus Poncha (born 1976), national squash coach in India
- Cyrus S. Poonawalla (fl. 1966–present), Indian businessman
- Cyrus Sahukar (born 1980), MTV India VJ
- C. R. Smith (1899-1990), longtime CEO of American Airlines
- Cyrus Vance (1917-2002), U.S. Secretary of State under President Jimmy Carter
- Cyrus Villanueva, Australian singer who won The X Factor Australia in 2015
- Cyrus (dog) played Bronson in the soap oprea Eastenders in 2017 as the Taylor family beloved pet dog.
- Ron Cyrus (1935–2006), Kentucky politician, and his descendants:
- Billy Ray Cyrus (born 1961), American musician and actor, son of Ron
- Gordon Cyrus, Swedish performer and record producer
- David Cyrus (born 1986), Grenadian footballer
- Cyrus Trask, from John Steinbeck's novel East of Eden
- Cyrus Bortel, from the animated TV series Kim Possible
- Cyrus Lupo, a detective from Law & Order
- Cyrus Simpson, the brother of Abraham Simpson in The Simpsons
- Cyrus Tolliver, from the TV series Deadwood
- Cyrus, from the TV series Trailer Park Boys
- Cyrus, from the animated series Sonic Underground
- Cyrus "The Virus" Grissom, in the 1997 film Con Air, played by John Malkovich
- Cyrus, a gang leader in the 1979 film The Warriors
- Cyrus, the leader of Team Galactic and the main antagonist of Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum
- Cyrus Gold, the DC Comics character Solomon Grundy
- Cyrus Smith, the leading character in Jules Verne's novel Mysterious Island
- Cyrus, a vampaneze from the novel The Vampire Prince by Darren Shan
- Cyrus (Chrono Trigger), in the video game Chrono Trigger
- Cyrus, a Redguard pirate and hero in the video game The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard
- Cyrus, one of the main protagonists in the video game Octopath Traveler
- Ghirshman, R. (1965), "A propos de l'ecriture cuneiforme vieux-perse", JNES, 24 (3): 244–250, doi:10.1086/371818
- Schmitt, Rüdiger (1996a), "Cyrus i. The Name", in Yarshater, Ehsan, Encyclopaedia Iranica, 6, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, pp. 515–16
- Schmitt, Rüdiger (1996b), "Cyrus vi. Cyrus the Younger", in Yarshater, Ehsan, Encyclopaedia Iranica, 6, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, p. 518
- Tavernier, Jan (2007), Iranica in the Achaemenid Period (ca. 550-330 B.C.): Linguistic Study of Old Iranian Proper Names and Loanwords, Attested in Non-Iranian Texts, Peeters Publishers, ISBN 90-429-1833-0
- Tolman, Herbert Cushing (1908), Ancient Persian Lexicon, American Book Company, ISBN 0-7905-2613-1
- Gershevitch, Ilya (1985), The Cambridge History of Iran Vol. 2: The Median and Achaemenian periods, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-20091-2
- Harmatta, János (1971), "The Rise of the Old Persian Empire — Cyrus the Great", Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, 19: 1–15
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