Cyrus the Great figures in the Old Testament as the patron and deliverer of the Jews. In the first year of his reign he was prompted by God to make a decree that the Temple in Jerusalem should be rebuilt and that such Jews as cared to might return to their land for this purpose. He sent them back with he sacred vessels which had been taken from the First Temple and money with which to buy building materials. Cyrus II of Persia (600 or 576 BC-530 BC) was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, conquered most of Southwest Asia and Central Asia, parts of Europe and the Caucasus. From the Mediterranean sea and Hellespont in the west to the Indus River...
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