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In 559 BC a man became king of the Persians This man would unite the Persians and conquer three of the four major powers of the ancient Near East in the first 20 years of his reign In doing this he would start the creation of what becomes the Persian Empire This man was Cyrus the Great Cyrus the great was able to do this because of his excellent military leadership In the first nine years as king of the Persians he assembled an army and conquered his neighbor the Medes Ten years after he defeats the Medes Cyrus conquers the kingdom of Lydia whose wealth was legendary This brought the Persians to their first contact with the Greeks The Greek settlements on the Ionian coast had been subjects of Lydia and had grown rich through trade Cyrus saw this and easily conquered them then placed them under control of rulers loyal to him This greatly increased the wealth of the Persians One year later Cyrus captured Babylon and made it part of the Persian Empire This was the last of Cyruss conquest He spent the next eight years consolidating his empire In 530 BC he was killed in battle against Messagetae There have been many kings in the past who were excellent military leads but what made Cyrus the Great worthy of his name was how he ruled his empire Cyrus was an unusual ruler for his time He was a man who showed considerable compassion and wisdom in the way he ruled Cyrus gained the favor of priesthood of his own people and the people he conquered by allowing much religious toleration The greatest example of this was when he conquered Babylon Cyrus allowed the people of Judah to return to their homeland which they were removed from during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar and rebuild their temple He also undid the destruction caused by Nabonidus by returning the statues of gods that
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