Tomb of Cyrus
|Tomb of Cyrus
آرامگاه کوروش بزرگ
Ruins of the Mausoleum of Cyrus.
|Location||Pasargadae World Heritage Site Iran|
|Built||4th century BC|
|Architectural style(s)||Persian architecture
The tomb of Cyrus is a building of a small stone monument approximately 1 km southwest of the palaces of Pasargadae, According to Greek sources, the tomb of Cyrus the Great dates to 559-29 B.C.E. was located in the royal park at Pasargadae. The most extensive description* based on a lost account by Aristobulus. who had accompanied Alexander the Great (q.v,) on his eastern campaign in the late 4th century B.C.E., is to be found in the Anabasis of Arrian (6.29). written in the 2nd century C.E.
When Alexander looted and destroyed Persepolis, he paid a visit to the tomb of Cyrus. Arrian, writing in the second century of the common era, recorded that Alexander commanded Aristobulus, one of his warriors, to enter the monument. Inside he found a golden bed, a table set with drinking vessels, a gold coffin, some ornaments studded with precious stones and an inscription on the tomb. No trace of any such inscription survives, and there is considerable disagreement to the exact wording of the text. Strabo reports that it read:
Passer-by, I am Cyrus, who gave the Persians an empire, and was king of Asia.
Grudge me not therefore this monument.
Another variation, as documented in Persia: The Immortal Kingdom, is:
O man, whoever thou art, from wheresoever thou cometh, for I know you shall come, I am Cyrus, who founded the empire of the Persians.
Grudge me not, therefore, this little earth that covers my body.
The design of Cyrus' tomb is credited to Mesopotamian or Elamite ziggurats, but the cella is usually attributed to Urartu tombs of an earlier period. In particular, the tomb at Pasargadae has almost exactly the same dimensions as the tomb of Alyattes II, father of the Lydian King Croesus; however, some have refused the claim (according to Herodotus, Croesus was spared by Cyrus during the conquest of Lydia, and became a member of Cyrus' court). The main decoration on the tomb is a rosette design over the door within the gable. In general, the art and architecture found at Pasargadae exemplified the Persian synthesis of various traditions, drawing on precedents from Elam, Babylon, Assyria, and ancient Egypt, with the addition of some Anatolian influences.
According to the records by the ancient Greek historian, Aristobulus: "The tomb - in the lower parts was built of stones cut square and was rectangular in form. Above, there was a stone chamber with a roof and a door leading inlo it so narrow that it was hard and caused much distress for a single man of low stature to get through. In the chamber lay a golden sarcnphagus, in which Cyrus' body had been buried; a couch stood by its side with leel of wrought gold; a Babylonian tapestry served as a covertct and purple rugs as a carpet. There was placed on it a sleeved mantle and other garments of Babylonian workmanship . . . Median trousers and robes dyed blue lay there: some dark, some of other varying shades, with necklaces, scimitars, and earrings of stones set in gold, and a table stood there. It was between the table and the couch that the sarcophagus containing Cyrus' body was placed. Within the enclosure and by the ascent to the tomb itself there was a small building put up for the Magians who used to guard Cyrus’ tomb.”
The Mausoleum is said to be the oldest base-isolated structure in the world, meaning it is resilient to seismic hazards.
- R.M.Ghias Abadi (2004) Achaemenid Inscriptions, 2nd edition, publisher Shiraz Navid ISBN 964-358-015-6
- Amelie Kuhrt (1995) The Ancient Near East: ca. 3000-330 BC, chapter 13, p. 647, Routledge ISBN 0-415-16762-0
- Arrian, Anabasis I. IX; cf. M.A.Dandamaev Cyrus II, within Encyclopaedia Iranica
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