Scenes from the Life of Cyrus the Great

rjmendera (c) Germany/Canada

OH ANCIENT KING!! Scenes from the Life of CYRUS the GREAT

poems by rjmendera(c)2013

(from a manuscript begun in 1986)


FORWARD: Most people know the stories of the birth,life and martyrdom of the Palestinian Jesus,but not that of the great warrior King Cyrus the Persian.That a fairly small nation of tribes rose out of the Parsan Valley around 550 BC to conquer the Medic,Lydian and by 539BC,Babylonian Empires can be traced in Isaiah,Jeremias,Esdras and Ezechial;through the greek historian Herodotus as well as other sources.That Cyrus the First(there were at least three kings called Cyrus after him) liberated the Jews held captive in Babylon and generally allowed religious freedom throughout his eventual empire attests to his wisdom and generosity as a ruler.It is still difficult today to imagine all of the Middle East and some of the near Orient governed by one authority.

The many dramatic events in Cyrus‘ life-the revolt against Media, the conquest of Lydia and the famous military stratagem against Babylon, contrast the pacifist ideology of Christ‘s story during the Roman Empire.Cyrus was the embodiment of a Persian legend of a „ruler-sheperd“. In his legend there is the purity not only of a noble campaigner but also of the Persian tribes;their reverence for Nature,their skill as horsemen,their respect for an ancient code of laws---in direct contrast to the corrupt,city-dwelling Babylonians.

Cyrus was not only the historical saviour of the Jews who allowed them to rebuild their temple in Judea,but he also dealt mercifully with defeated enemies like Croesus the Lydian.

Extant among the remnants of Persias Empire are the grand monuments to his son Darius,and Cyrus‘simple tomb;as well as this direct statement in the Book of Esdras--“and King Cyrus brought forth the vessels of the temple of the Lord,which Nebuchadnessar had taken from Jerusalem.“ rjmendera




EZECHIEL:“and i will set up one Sheperd over them“ chp. 34/23


----------------------------Astyages First Dream---------------------------


On the ridge of a cliff one thousand feet up

Stands a stout young boy by a proud white horse.

White clouds drift high across hot desert sands

Green hills,mountains and sun drenched valleys.

The boy spills water onto earth by lifting and

Tilting a small bronze goblet.He speaks to the sky

And rides away recklessly churning a funnel of red-brown dust.

He rests his horse and climbs higher still

To the base of a spring that feeds a clear stream.

From this stream a mist rises up where the water

Rushes and falls on a rock,and by this rock

The boy stoops over cupping his hands

And drinking slowly.When he drinks and stands up

He hears a whisper,the light trickling voice of Anahita!

He mouths her name still standing and listening

He walks in the stream on bare feet,still listening,

Listening,feeling he searches for rocks but finds

Instead treasures jewels at his feet.

But all that is precious he tosses away;opal,

Emerald,silver,jade.Armies stand by to catch

His treasures,whatever he gathers he tosses away

Wherever he walks the rivers give treasures.

Wherever he rides the crops grow green.Now

All of Media runs rich with his wealth,and

The boy is a man,and the people call him „Generous Sheperd“ !!




ISAIAS:“Who has raised up the just one from the east?“


-------------------------ACHAEMENES WINGS------------------------------------


I am a spirit of justice and reason.Mine is an ancient

Voice of empire,the music of hoofbeats,the thunder

Of courage.Men stand in their stirrups to see

My name inscribed upon an obelisk,but i am live!

I breath as a mighty wind upon the mightiest men

I am the blood urge and high minds of Persians

I am the spirit of beasts untamed,of herbs

That heal,of men and women,wherever they are

Who carry themselves without a poor conscience

I ride like a great man upon a fine horse

I sing like a woman who weaves and gives birth

I am the Day‘s sunshining and the Night light‘s fire

By me fountains rise,highways fork,rivers ford

Torrents flow from mountain to valley for the welfare

Of all who greet and preserve me. Oh who shall

Meet me and observe me,she shall be pure,he shall

Be just,him will i praise and exalt on this earth

Her‘s shall be the joy of a family the plain and

Exalted shall stand in one place and rejoice with

Mutual power and wisdom.

Across this earth wild wars are raging,men

Strike like beasts for blood and treasure,but he

Who heeds me tames all demons, him shall i touch

And protect and conceal.

I singe my wings at the altars of Parsa

I stretch my peace over the valleys of Parsa

I wake myself like an unnourished swallow

And contain myself in the mountains of Parsa

I travel,I feed,I bring back fodder

All to the mind of a child of Parsa

Have you heard the music of ancient Persia

Gracing the paths of distant swallows?

So swiftly turns this child towards justice

This son of Cambyses who sleeps on his rug

While a minstrels voice chants from a terrace

„Great were thy ways, oh Achaemenes!“


ISAIAS : „ I have raised up one from the North and he shall come from the rising of the sun.He shall make princes to be as dirt,and as the potter treading clay“ Chpt. 41-25


---------------------------------The Wounding of Mithra-----------------------------------------


Aiee how he thirsts his spirit spumes pearl-spangled cheeks

Char-sparkling jewels his eyes defend his hands raise up

Oh sunchild simple prince perfection‘s lord I praise

The grey-checkered scarf at your throat your crown of hair

Swirling round your brows truce.


Out of the mountains he comes to play

Down from the hill with his poor white horse

And Mithra rides up from the Maspians clearing

And others come to play with their friends

Within sight of the entrance steps of Parsa.

They feign at fighting and pretend on the hunt

And then someone wouls play „King of the Land“

NowMithra decides by his wealth and station

He should be the king and set the rules,

But the others refuse to make Mithra king.

So a gate teacher there says to have an election

And gentle Cyrus is chosen king.

Now Mithra has no respect of Cyrus,

The orders he gives,Mithra scoffs away,

And Mithra mounts his small black pony

Disrupting the kingdom of the chosen boy.

„Your soldiers are weak,small king,next to me

Climb on your mount or get out of my path!“

The other boys stand in fear of young Mithra

Who holds a spear and a shield in his rein hands

But Cyrus smiles,“Come Mithra,lets play

We can both be Kings“ yet he stands in his way.

„You there,say,who is your King!“

Mithra points his spear at a small boy beneath him,

Who jumps away,and as he is leaning

Cyrus jumps in,scaring the pony

Dismounting the rider,grabbing the spear.

And with his own spear now poised above him

Cyrus repeats Mithra‘s own harsh words.

„You there,say,who is your King!“

When Mithra tries to roll away

The spear tip rips through the side of his stomach.

His cry of pain brings the Gate Teachers running

And when they ask Cyrus why he has done it

He says.“It was a game and I was King!“


ISAIAS: „And a throne shall be prepared in mercy and one shall sit upon it in truth,judging and seeking judgment,and quickly rendering that which is just.“




What is this that is my son

Whose spirit thrives on the air he breathes

Whose head is raised by the hands of strangers?!

Let me sit on these old stone steps and watch

Him vault and ride his horse.

Sad that his Mother‘s touch can‘t heal him.

Sad he will never be calmed by her eyes

Eyes that died,closed and dried,

Withered flowers,shrivelled leaves,

Wind that cried,winter sighed,

Weather moved her from her grave

Up into the vault-blue sky-

Son of mine,her voice in rhyme

Sings from the green grass bursting vines

Fine! Fine! you balance fine

Violet scented morning time

When she lay still sleeping framed in sunlight

Son was conceived and later she died

As though broken by the bounty of his birth.

How he shines this boy of mine

And all the tribes become his nursemaid,

Every sea a mother embracing

Every stream a goddess whispering

Safely cross over me my son.

Let the beams for the new portico wait awhile-

I am watching my son learn to ride his horse.



ISAIAS: „I have raised him up to justice and i will direct all his ways“ Chpt 45-13


----------------------------------DIVIDED TRIBES------------------------------------

Wearing round felt cap,a neck cover

And tunic girdled by a boy‘s belt

The youth Cyrus rides alone into the Maspians camp.

Without ceremony he is brought before the Kavis

Leaders and counsellors of the tribe.

It is dusk,and to one side another youth,about fourteen

Approaches the campring,assisted from his stallion

Takes his place by his Father‘s side.

„For three generations Maspian warriors

Have shared ground with the other six tribes

Become Asvaran,offered service to the arrogant Medes

Now it is time again for Maspians and Persians

Maraphians and Germanians,Mardians and even

The nomad Dayans to ride North with tribute.

It is our wish that the son of Cambyses

Shall take his warriors‘ vows and training

In this camp for six months,then accompany

Our guides towards Ecbatana.

One does not take such a journey

At an early age without pride.

One does not wound a friend without pride.

And one does not stand before the Medes with pride!

Your pride,son of Cambyses,has injured us

Has injured Mithradat for his remaining life.

It is your Father‘s wish you should make amends

And it is our wish you reply to what has been spoken.“

„For my part and for my Father, I accept your judgment.“

The youth is dismissed from the council fire.

Later,in the near dark,he finds Mithra,

Changed and sullen.They speak little,

But Cyrus sits and takes bread at his side.



Haiyee ya he cried! Faster than an ibex i 

I'll run and steal your honey cakes 

I'll come and eat your sugared fruits 

Dare me to take your Barley pies 

I'll swim this river faster than an ibex i 


Oh ho! She sighed let's see you try 

You're slower than a Caspian plow 

Your sandals don't have silver wings 

So you won't steal my lovely things 


Haiyee ya he cried stronger than a warhorse I 

I'll tie your long black hair in knots 

I'll cut it with my long edged sword 

And then I'll take my double belt 

And show you what a man am I 


Oh yes she sighed such Heroes all in Kangdiz lie! 

Having tamed only black sheep and goats 

Stay over there and sow your oats 

Or this pomegranate will punch your eye


Haiyee ya! He cried i'll come and smack your white cheese cheeks 

Or maybe I'll just spank your sides 

Prince of Persia soon am I 


Oh ho she sighed a pony prince who cannot ride! 


You lie! he cried 


Can't swim! can't ride! 


Stripping his tunic he plunged into the surging stream 

And on the far bank she now cried 

Swim back! you'll die! 


Stroking steady against the Stream 

Swept down river, and she in tears 

Yet steadily stroking with his young years 

Against the current, angle along 

Kassandan sings a different song 


Swim! swim! you stupid boy! 


And he stumbles on Shore full of triumphant joy 

She drops her wares to help him dry 

After a while when his muscles reply up he jumps Haiyee ya! he cries 

Faster than an ibex ! Now I'll steal your honey cakes 

Your sugared fruits and barley pie! 


Oh no she's sighs for if you do you'll weigh too much 

To swim back to the other side. 


But from that day, Kassandan, daughter of Farnaspes, stayed at Cyrus's side .


           'Who is this that cometh from Edam,with dyed garments from Bosra,this beautiful 

      one in his robe,walking in the greatness of his strength.'