Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great can refer to a number of people. It could be Billy Ray Cyrus, Miley Cyrus or Cyrus Vance - a former USA Secretary of State or Cyrus the Virus from the film Con Air. However, it could also refer to someone who is probably the only Persian who is guaranteed a good press in Israel. This was Cyrus , King of the Persians and Medes, King of Kings and the ruler who gave the Jews permission to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem and collate the various documents to create the Old Testament. He also liked to swing on a ball and show off his nipples.
Cyrus was born in Persia in 600 BC. His father was Cambyses, King of the Persians which then meant essentially bugger-all as they were a tribe of nobodies at the time. Cyrus's mother was a Median princess Mandane which had improved the family's invitation-to-swish-parties access recently. Mandane (also spelt 'Mundane' and 'Mandown') gave her boy a grudge to avenge - for forcing her to marry his father.
This indifference and mutual disdain between Cyrus's parents explains why he was brought up by a dog and lived in a kennel (a bit like Brian and Stewie in Family Guy). This may have been some ancient Persian tradition to add a bit of the 'dog' into Cyrus's character but it would come in handy later on. Cyrus could move as quickly on four limbs than just depending his legs to get him around.
This was a period in history when the big imperial dicks at the time were Egypt who had demolished the Assyrian Empire and broke up the Kingdom of Judah. There was also Lydia, home of the tattooed women with their King Croesus and the Cocoanuts. The Lydians were also first nation to create its own coinage so they could pay their bills on time. Then there were the Medes with their monarch, King Astyages, son of King Synapses and Queen Grammar who insisted Cyrus write out his tribute in gold, silver and used bottle tops. Finally there were the Babylonians led by King Nebuchadnezzar. All three powers were interrelated by marriage pacts and cross border loans.
The Persians were at this stage of civilisation in advance of the Europeans and Americans but a bit behind everyone else in the Middle East and China. The Medes saw them as their 'sheep-shagging'uncouth cousins in the Zagros Mountains. The Medes called their country 'Media' and grew aloof, socially progressive and very Liberal. Cyrus who was still a minor gangster managed to persuade the Persians that with some luck, they could beat the Medes and take over the country. King Astyages laughed in Cyrus's face when issued with a challenge but then saw his troops run away from the fierce Persians and submitted to Cyrus.
The Golden One and the Writing on the Wall
Cyrus had just turned 50 when he beat the Medes. This made him by Ancient World standards, the equivalent of a very old man. He was bald with a paunch and wore a large fake beard which was all the fashion in those days. King Croesus 'the Golden One' of Lydia claimed the Medes owned him personally a lot of money for their various liberal vices but Cyrus refused to pony up the fees. Croesus declared war and put on his golden armour to collect his debts.
A few battles were won and lost. Croesus then lost his capital Sardis to Cyrus and seeing that as a personal humiliation, built a huge bonfire and chucked himself on it. The Greeks called this a 'pyre' and it was considered to be a heroic suicide. Cyrus moved on to his next victims in Old Downtown Babylonia where King Belshazzar was holding a big party. There a small hand appeared by a wall and wrote 'Belly Boy is going to Lose This Bigly." Belshazzar got stabbed in bed later that same night and the gates to the city were opened.
Cyrus and his Persians rode into the city, followed by their army. The locals were happy it wasn't the usual sack and pillage (Ancient World insurance premiums were a total bugger then). One group of Babylonians were very happy to see Cyrus. This was the Lost Tribe of Boney M. who, with stolen voices and clothes, asked for free passports to Germany or, failing that Israel. Cyrus loved the music and granted them full rights as long as they paid him directly via a bank account held by the Helveticans of Central Europe.
Alternatively, the Jews claim this is an invented story and that it was them who were given the chance to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. By the Rivers of Babylon, where we sat down....
Cyrus had planned to move onto Egypt but for reasons unknown, decided to invade Central Asia instead in 530 BC. He was upset that his wife (one he had also offered to forcibly abduct), Tomyris of the Scythians, had returned all his gifts broken and the unlucky messengers, headless. Taking an army with him, he was ambushed and captured by Tomyris. She turned out to be Tomyris the Tomboy and appeared to prefer shells over winkles. She then cut off his head and put into a chamberpot full of blood and shit saying 'Cyrus always loved the taste of blood'.
However, this all could be Fake History as written by Herodotus. He also wrote down elsewhere that Cyrus had in fact retired and become a Country and Persian Gulf Singer. He let his son Billy-Bob Cambyses free to conquer Egypt and sell his albums in a new untapped market.
So whether Cyrus ended up in a shit bottle or died wearing his monogrammed jim-jams, he was well enough remembered to have people borrow his name in future generations. What would have made of Miley Cyrus? Answers on a wrecking ball.