Monday, January 14, 2008

Tomb of Cyrus to be Submerged

From Arutz-7:

Iran is planning on submerging the tomb of King Cyrus (Coresh), the Persian King known for authorizing the Jewish exiles to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Holy Temple....

The Iranian ayatollahs are planning on destroying the tomb as part of a general campaign to sever the Persian people from their non-Islamic heritage; Cyrus was thought to be a Zoroastrian and was one of the first rulers to enforce a policy of religious tolerance on his huge kingdom. Journalist Ran Porat quoted a young Iranian who said that the measures being taken by the Islamic Republic’s regime include the destruction of archaeological sites significant to this heritage.

“The government is in the final stages of constructing a dam in southern Iran that will submerge the archaeological sites of Pasargad and Persopolis – the ancient capital of the Persian Empire,” the report states. “The site, which is considered exceptional in terms of its archaeological wealth and historical importance, houses the tomb of the Persian King Cyrus.”

The story continues here.  I'm not very familiar with Persian sites or history, but this sounds like it could be one of the greatest destructions of ancient ruins in modern times. 

Cyrus is known in the Bible for issuing a decree allowing the Jews to return to Israel after the Babylonian exile (see Ezra 1).  There is a photo of the tomb of Cyrus in the current issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

UPDATE: Paleojudaica notes that this appears to be a false rumor.


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