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John Lord
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 244 pages of information about Beacon Lights of History, Volume 04.

St. Chrysostom Condemns the Vices of the Empress Eudoxia.
After the painting by Jean Paul Laurens.

St. Ambrose Refuses the Emperor Theodosius Admittance to His Church. After the painting by Gebhart Fuegel.

St. Augustine and His Mother.
After the painting by Ary Scheffer.

Invasion of the Goths into the Roman Empire.
After the painting by O. Fritsche.

Invasion of the Huns into Italy.
After the painting by V. Checa.

BEACON LIGHTS OF HISTORY

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CYRUS THE GREAT.

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559-529 B.C.

ASIATIC SUPREMACY.

One of the most prominent and romantic characters in the history of the Oriental world, before its conquest by Alexander of Macedon, is Cyrus the Great; not as a sage or prophet, not as the founder of new religious systems, not even as a law-giver, but as the founder and organizer of the greatest empire the world has seen, next to that of the Romans.  The territory over which Cyrus bore rule extended nearly three thousand miles from east to west, and fifteen hundred miles from north to south, embracing the principal nations known to antiquity, so that he was really a king of kings.  He was practically the last of the great Asiatic emperors, absorbing in his dominions those acquired by the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and the Lydians.  He was also the first who brought Asia into intimate contact with Europe and its influences, and thus may be regarded as the link between the old Oriental world and the Greek civilization.

It is to be regretted that so little is really known of the Persian hero, both in the matter of events and also of exact dates, since chronologists differ, and can only approximate to the truth in their calculations.  In this lecture, which is in some respects an introduction to those that will follow on the heroes and sages of Greek, Roman, and Christian antiquity, it is of more importance to present Oriental countries and institutions than any particular character, interesting as he may be,—­especially since as to biography one is obliged to sift historical facts from a great mass of fables and speculations.

Neither Herodotus, Xenophon, nor Ctesias satisfy us as to the real life and character of Cyrus.  This renowned name represents, however, the Persian power, the last of the great monarchies that ruled the Oriental world until its conquest by the Greeks.  Persia came suddenly into prominence in the middle of the seventh century before Christ.  Prior to this time it was comparatively unknown and unimportant, and was one of the dependent provinces of Media, whose religion, language, and customs were not very dissimilar to its own.

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