BABAK TAFRESHI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BABAK TAFRESHI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Cyrus Cylinder. This is a Babylonian clay document that dates from the 6th century BC. The writing is in Akkadian cuneiform script, and names the Achaemenid Persian king Cyrus the Great. The text describes his ancestry, and praises him as a saviour of the people of Babylon. The cylinder is 22.5 centimetres long. It was discovered during excavations in Babylon, Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq) in 1879. Since 1880, it has been in the possession of the British Museum. It has been loaned for exhibition elsewhere three times: twice to Iran (1971 and 2010) and once to Spain (2006).
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