Cyrus the Great

(died 529 BC)

Cyrus the Great


On one occasion Cyrus reprimanded his son, Cambyses, for his arrogant behavior and rudeness. Like many fathers before and since, Cyrus told his son that he would never have spoken to his own father in the way that Cambyses spoke to him. “But you were the son of a nobody,” replied Cambyses, “whereas I am the son of Cyrus the Great.”

Biographical Note: 

Cyrus II (Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus the Elder) was King of Persia and founder of the Achaemenian Empire. After staging a revolt against his overlord, he went on to conquer the empires of the Medes, Lydia, Ionia, and Babylonia. As conquerer he was humane; as ruler, tolerant.