Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Cyrus the Great

I recently read a book on Cyrus, King of Kings, the king of Persia of the ancient times. He was born to a humble king and became the first king to conquer vast extents of land in the Middle Eastern region. He was a man that I admire not just because he was a great conqueror and ruler, he was a man who, apart from hard work and perseverance, used cool ideas to defeat his enemies. His strategies were some of the wisest I have ever heard of.

He used his wit wisely to conquer the nation of Sardis. The king of the small nation retreated from battlefield thinking Cyrus would not advance beyond a certain point. Cyrus, with his men, stealthily followed the enemy troops to reach their land and attacked the place when the all their army had dispersed. An easy victory followed.

After taking over most of the surrounding nations, Cyrus turned towards the mighty Babylon - one of the greatest wonders the world has ever seen. The city was ruled by king Nabonidus, son of King Nebuchadnezzar, the ruler who brought havoc to the city of Jerusalem. This time Cyrus had almost the entire army of Babylon overpowered, but the city itself was impermeable. It was a square city with a length and breadth of 20Km. The entire place was surrounded by high walls and strong inner walls. The whole city was content with its food and water supplies that were available internally. I guess if one would have thought it possible to penetrate a city of such high protection. But smart Cyrus took advantage of the river Euphrates that flowed into the city, to penetrate the city. He used his skilled engineers to divert the river and made the water way shallow for his horsemen to move. The rest is history.

Cyrus in my opinion is an Alexander the world knows less about. In fact, Cyrus is spoken of in comparison to Alexander often, as both followed similar routes in their quest to conquer the world. We have lots of lessons that can be learnt from great men like Cyrus, Cyrus the Great.