Follow TV Tropes

Following

Useful Notes / Cyrus the Great

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/CyrusTheGreat_3879.jpg
In scope and extent his achievements ranked far above that of the Macedonian king, Alexander who was to demolish the empire in the 320's but fail to provide any stable alternative.
Charles Freeman, The Greek Achievement
Advertisement:

Cyrus (Persian: Kourosh, circa 600 – circa 530 BC) was one of the most famous rulers in history. He was born a prince of a recently-settled Iranian tribe, the Persians. According to a legend (familiar in biographies of conquerors) the previous king, at Cyrus' birth, heard in a dream that Cyrus was destined to seize his kingdom, whereupon the King ordered him abandoned. He was found by a herdsmen and raised as a son. Eventually. he proved himself as a warrior and came back to avenge himself. The more probable version of his story is that he was a vassal of the Medes, another Iranian tribe, and in a series of campaigns made himself king of both the Medes and the Persians. From there he began a life of conquest that spread until he had the largest and perhaps most successful empire yet created in the world, The Achaemenid Empire.

Advertisement:

One of the most notable things about Cyrus was not just his skill as a warrior, but his skill as a politician. Previous conquerors had ruled by fear alone. Cyrus grasped the fact that if he was magnanimous and made enough Pet the Dog gestures to his new subjects he would win their willing submission from comparison with the probable alternatives. In essence he conquered as much through bribery as through war. It would probably be overly cynical to say that this was all Pragmatic Villainy. Being a gracious conqueror (by comparison) seems to have fit his personality so well that there was some truth to it. Among the most famous of his gestures was encouraging the resettlement of the Jews in exile in Babylon. This got him a curious place in The Bible as the only Gentile prince to be specifically named as a deliverer of Israel.

Advertisement:

Tropes as portrayed in fiction:

  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The Bible loves Cyrus for letting the Jews return back to the Promised Land. Thus he's the only Gentile called "anointed" i.e. "messiah".
  • Improvised Weapon: According to one tale, he won a battle by herding baggage camels ahead of his army so that the enemy horses would be scared off by an unfamiliar scent.
  • Pride Before a Fall: The moral of the story of Herodotus' version of his death at the hands of the Warrior Queen Tomyris of the Massagetae.
  • You Killed My Son: According to Herodotus (who admittedly liked a good yarn) a prince Cyrus was fighting against had on a whim forced one of his nobles to eat his own son. This noble for some odd reason happened to be in command of a large part of the army on the day of battle and refused to fight, leaving Cyrus with the victory. If this story is true it is a clinical example of Stupid Evil. This could also apply to his troops capturing Queen Tomryis' son being the cause for his killing himself in shame, which then led to Tomyris going all-out savage on him and his army.
  • The Paragon: Just look at some of these quotes that informed his leadership style.
"Success always calls for greater generosity—though most people, lost in the darkness of their own egos, treat it as an occasion for greater greed. Collecting boot [is] not an end itself, but only a means for building [an] empire. Riches would be of little use to us now—except as a means of winning new friends." & "When I became rich, I realized that no kindness between man and man comes more naturally than sharing food and drink, especially food and drink of the ambrosial excellence that I could now provide. Accordingly, I arranged that my table be spread everyday for many invitees, all of whom would dine on the same excellent food as myself. After my guests and I were finished, I would send out any extra food to my absent friends, in token of my esteem." as well as "There is a deep—and usually frustrated—desire in the heart of everyone to act with benevolence rather than selfishness, and one fine instance of generosity can inspire dozens more. Thus I established a stately court where all my friends showed respect to each other and cultivated courtesy until it bloomed into perfect harmony."
  • True Companions: How Cyrus seemed to view and talk about his friends [When asked how he planned to dress for a celebration] "If I can only do well by my friends, I'll look glorious enough in whatever clothes I wear."

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report