Monday, September 20, 2004

British Museum to loan Cyrus Cylinder to Iran

The British Museum is lending the Cyrus Cylinder, an inscribed clay drum, that has been described as the "first charter of human rights" to Iran. Dating from 539 BC, it records Cyrus the Great's order for the humane treatment of the Babylonians after their conquest by the Persians. As BM director Neil MacGregor points out, the text has "powerful modern resonances in the context of current conflicts in the regionn."

The Cyrus Cylinder is to be lent to Tehran's National Museum for several months in 2006. The Iranian museum has also promised to send more than 50 antiquities for the BM's "Splendours of Ancient Persia" exhibition, which opens in September 2005.