The letter below had been sent by Dr. Khosro Khazai against Spiegel Magazine’s July 15, 2008 article which attacked Cyrus the Great.
The letter below by Dr. Khazai was written by him on August 12, 2008.
Other respondents to Spiegel’s article were:
- Response against Spiegel by the Shahrbaraz Blog (in Persian).
- Response against Spiegel by Cyrus Kar in Payvand news of Iran
- Response by Kaveh Farrokh to Der Spiegel Magazine’s Attack on the Legacy of Cyrus the Great (2008), Available in Persian and in German. Also available in Akhbare Rooz News Service of Iran (in Persian), Iranian.com, IranpressNews (in Persian) and Iranshenakht (in Persian). Interview with Kaveh Farrokh regarding Spiegel’s article on BBC Persian.
- Follow-up response by Kaveh Farrokh to “Response to Der Spiegel Magazine’s Attack” (2008).
- Response to the Daily Telegraph’s Article Against Cyrus the Great (2008). Response to the Daily Telegraph’s Article Against Cyrus the Great (pdf)
From, Dr. Khosro Khazai
Historian of Civilisations and archaeologist
Specialised in Persian and Middle Eastern Studies
Professor of university
Director of “European Centre for Zoroastrian Studies”
Editor in Chief of Der Spiegel Magazine
Historian or Charlatan ?
Dear Mr. Mathias Müller von Blumencron,
What a sad surprise to read a pseudo-article in your magazine, Der Spiegel International, dated 15 July 2008, entitled: “Falling for ancient propaganda, UN treasure honours Persian despot” (1) . It is written by a certain “Mathias Schultz”.
My sadness and my astonishment are not about the content of this pseudo-article which is a collection of hatred and lies about one of the greatest personalities in human history “Cyrus the Great”; This nonsense does not deserve one minute to waste time on it. But my great surprise is how a respectable magazine such as Der Spiegle could be trapped by a charlatan and publishes unchecked such absurdities.
Some of my outraged colleagues, all professors in Persian and Middle Eastern history and culture in different universities in Europe and US verified about this man. Not a single article, not a single book on Persian history, archaeology or culture could have been found written by this man. Moreover, no one in the field of Persian history, either in Europe or in the United-States, has ever heard his name. He should really have a lot nerves to write on the subject that he ignores totally… and astonishingly to get them published in a respectable magazine!
Surely one does not need to be a genius to see easily that he has picked up on internet, here and there, the phrases that suit his “ideology”, bringing them out of the context and writing an “article” .Clearly his “ideology” reflect a deep anti-Semitism, even though Cyrus the Great was an Aryan! The content of this “article “appears in fact very close to the Mullahs’ discourses in Iran, who since two years, endeavour to destroy the Cyrus’s Mausoleum in Pasargadae in building close to this monument the Sivand Dam. More than 80 archaeologists around the world have warned that this dam will destroy this monument by moisture. Also more than 500.000 people in US, in Europe and Iran have signed several petitions to stop Islamic Republic to commit this crime as the Taliban did with Buddha’s statue in Afghanistan.
For the information of your misled readers I write below a few lines about Cyrus the Great with references of the foremost specialists and researchers on the subject. I think Der Spiegel owes its readers truth and honesty in its articles..
Who was Cyrus the Great ?
Thanks to Zarathustra’s Existential Philosophy, the Persians propagated in an unprecedented way the most tolerant and humanitarian ideas, in complete contrast with those who preceded them. They had learned that “the truth does not belong to any people, any country, any race” ( Gerard Israel; Cyrus the Great, Paris 1987, p.264 271; see also, Plato; The Laws, chapter the Persians III 693,694).
It was within this Zoroastrian atmosphere, which permitted the abandoning of all the religious dogmas and formalism, that the first declaration of Human Rights was drawn up, in the 6th century BC, under Cyrus the Great. According to this chart, engraved 2541 years ago on a clay prism, and preserved today in the British Museum, the people of the Empire could enjoy the freedom of faiths, languages, customs, owning property and choice of the place of abode: “I have granted to all humans the liberty to worship their own gods and ordered that no-one could ill-treat them for this. I ordered that no house should be destroyed. I guaranteed peace and tranquility for all humans. I recognized the right of everyone to live in peace in the country of his choice …” ( W. Eilers; The cuneiform text of the Cyrus’ cylindre , Acta Iranica, tome II, 1974; I.Quiles, Analysis of the principles in cylinder of Cyrus, Acta Iranica, tome I 1973; Gerard Israel; Cyrus the Great, op cit. pp.268-269).
It was the first humanitarian and liberating revolution in history. In particular, women found equality with men. The great French specialist of Zarathustra Paul du Breuil writes ” the Persian women enjoyed the unprecedented liberty through the whole Antiquity, thanks to Zarathustra’s reform. Before, the women were real slave, like for Aristotle, the women had no soul” (Paul du Breuil; History of Zoroastrian Philosophy, Paris 1984. p.110).
It was also in this context that the Jews were liberated from their Babylonian captivity by Cyrus the Great and the Temple of Jerusalem, destroyed in the 7th century by the Babylonian Nabuchodonosor, was rebuilt by his follower Darius. The Jewish prophets such as Isaiah, Hezekiah, Daniel, Jeremy named Cyrus the Great in the Bible “The Saviour“.( see, E.Yamauchi; Persia and the Bible, New York 1990).
A revolutionary vision of humanity was now established. It was based on liberty and transcendence.
The liberation of the Jewish people by Cyrus, the reconstruction of the temple of Jerusalem by Darius and the gathering of the traditions of the Torah by Artaxerxes – the three Zoroastrian kings of Persia – and the massive return of Jews from their Babylonian captivity provoked a beneficial review of the ancient Jewish laws. The prophets of Israel then included, with a great lyricism, the Zoroastrian vision into the New Laws (G. Israel; Cyrus le Grand, op.cit. pp. 270-295). Thus, Cyrus the Great enter the universal history as one of the greatest humanist ruler who has ever lived on this earth.
Professor Richard Frye, of Harvard University writes that “The most important thing about Cyrus and the Achaemenid empire was the spread of secular law all over the empire. Before this time, law was based on religion, local religion of the Babylonians, or the Hebrews, or the Egyptians. But now, for the first time in history, you have secular law. In my opinion, the continuation of Roman law is based upon Achaemenid law”.
Professor David Stronach, of U.C. Berkeley university writes “For the first time, on a very wide scale, Cyrus used great force to protect, not degrade, the human condition.”
Professor Maria Brosius, of the University of New Castle writes “The politics of the Achaemenid (Persian) Empire” is referred to as the politics of Pax Persica, which means the Persian Peace, and what the Persian kings propagated was the idea of an empire at peace and the way that they tried to achieve that was through tolerance of other people’s cultures, religion, languages and administration.”
Again for the information of your readers, I remind that about 4000 books, articles, and academic papers have been written by the specialists from all over the world about Cyrus the Great. On the internet you can find also a large number of them. Added to them there are a large number of citations in the Bible about Cyrus. In fact Cyrus the Great was the only Aryan who entered the Bible and hailed as ” Messiah” The Saviour.
Khosro Khazai ( Pardis)
12 August 2008
1- To see this article in Der Spiegel please click :