The Flag of Bilal (2): King Cyrus issues the first declaration of human rights, 539 BC

Tracing the history of Constitutions and the Bill of Human Rights, my first stop is at the great king Cyrus, who is mentioned in the Bible as Messiah and in the Quran as Zul-Qarnayn. He issued what is seen as the first human rights declaration in history. As wrote the Teheran Times:

On October 4th, 539 BC, the Persian Army entered the city of Babylon, which was then the capital of the Babylonian state (in central Iraq). This was a bloodless campaign and no prisoners were taken. Later, on November 9th, King Cyrus of Persia visited the city. Babylonian history tells us that Cyrus was greeted by the people, who spread a pathway of green twigs before him as a sign of honor and peace. Cyrus greeted all Babylonians in peace and brought peace to their city.

On this great event, Cyrus issued a declaration, inscribed on a clay barrel known as Cyrus’s inscription cylinder. It was discovered in 1879 by Hormoz Rassam in Babylon and today is kept in the British Museum. Many historians have reviewed it as the first declaration of human rights.

The Babylonian annals, as well as the first section of the Cyrus’ inscription, shed light on the religiopolitical plight that had angered the people of Babylon and why they invited Cyrus’s military campaign. Evidently, the Babyloninan king, Nabonidus, eliminated the festival of the New Year and Nebo (one of the gods) was not brought into the city, and Bel (another god) was not taken in the procession of the festival. Also, the worship of Marduk, the king of the gods, was changed to an abomination and Nabonidus tormented the inhabitants with unbelievable oppression and forced labor.

Teheran Times

For all items under the Flag of Bilal, see Human Rights page

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