The Fall of Babylon; Cyrus the Great defeating the Babylonian army. Mezzotint by J. Martin, 1831
Nabonidus as depicted in the Harran Stela
Map of the Neo-Babylonian Empire at its greatest territorial extent, under its final king, Nabonidus
The Achaemenid Empire at its greatest territorial extent under the rule of Darius I (522 BC–486 BC)
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Map of the path of Cyrus the Great, during his 539 BC invasion of Babylonia.
The Achaemenid Empire at its greatest territorial extent under the rule of Darius I (522 BC–486 BC)
Relief of Ashurbanipal, who ruled as king of Assyria 669–631 BC. Nabonidus emulated elements of Ashurbanipal and his dynasty, the Sargonids. Some historians believe that Nabonidus was a descendant of Ashurbanipal, or Ashurbanipal's father Esarhaddon.
Engraving of Isaiah's vision concerning the destruction of Babylon by Gustave Doré
Family tree of the Achaemenid rulers.
Locations of some major Mesopotamian cities
Map of the expansion process of Achaemenid territories
Nabonidus as depicted in a stele from Harran
Cyrus the Great is said, in the Bible, to have liberated the Hebrew captives in Babylon to resettle and rebuild Jerusalem, earning him an honored place in Judaism.
A granite stele of Nabonidus
The tomb of Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achaemenid Empire. At Pasargadae, Iran.
Map of the Neo-Babylonian Empire under Nabonidus. Tayma is in northern Arabia, in the south-west of the empire.
The Achaemenid Empire at its greatest extent, c. 500 BC
Ancient ruins at Tayma
The Persian queen Atossa, daughter of Cyrus the Great, sister-wife of Cambyses II, Darius the Great's wife, and mother of Xerxes the Great
The Harran Stela, depicting Nabonidus as praying to the moon (i.e. Sîn), the sun and Venus
Map showing events of the first phases of the Greco-Persian Wars
The Verse Account of Nabonidus, a biased document written about Nabonidus's reign, probably in the reign of Cyrus the Great
Greek hoplite and Persian warrior depicted fighting, on an ancient kylix, 5th century BC
Cyrus the Great, who conquered Babylon in 539 BC, depicted with a Hemhem crown, or four-winged Cherub tutelary divinity
Achaemenid king fighting hoplites, seal and seal holder, Cimmerian Bosporus.
Map of the path of Cyrus the Great during his 539 BC invasion of Babylonia
Achaemenid gold ornaments, Brooklyn Museum
Nebuchadnezzar (1795) by William Blake. The painting depicts Nebuchadnezzar II as nude and mad, living like a wild animal. The story of Nebuchadnezzar II's madness originally referred to Nabonidus.
Persian Empire timeline including important events and territorial evolution – 550–323 BC
Terracotta cylinder of Nabonidus, recording the restoration work on the temple of Shamash at Larsa
Relief showing Darius I offering lettuces to the Egyptian deity Amun-Ra Kamutef, Temple of Hibis
The 24 countries subject to the Achaemenid Empire at the time of Darius, on the Egyptian statue of Darius I.
The Battle of Issus, between Alexander the Great on horseback to the left, and Darius III in the chariot to the right, represented in a Pompeii mosaic dated 1st century BC – Naples National Archaeological Museum
Alexander's first victory over Darius, the Persian king depicted in medieval European style in the 15th century romance The History of Alexander's Battles
Frataraka dynasty ruler Vadfradad I (Autophradates I). 3rd century BC. Istakhr (Persepolis) mint.
Dārēv I (Darios I) used for the first time the title of mlk (King). 2nd century BC.
Winged sphinx from the Palace of Darius in Susa, Louvre
Daric of Artaxerxes II
Volume of annual tribute per district, in the Achaemenid Empire, according to Herodotus.
Achaemenid tax collector, calculating on an Abax or Abacus, according to the Darius Vase (340–320 BC).
Letter from the Satrap of Bactria to the governor of Khulmi, concerning camel keepers, 353 BC
Relief of throne-bearing soldiers in their native clothing at the tomb of Xerxes I, demonstrating the satrapies under his rule.
Achaemenid king killing a Greek hoplite. c. 500 BC–475 BC, at the time of Xerxes I. Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Persian soldiers (left) fighting against Scythians. Cylinder seal impression.
Color reconstruction of Achaemenid infantry on the Alexander Sarcophagus (end of 4th century BC).
Seal of Darius the Great hunting in a chariot, reading "I am Darius, the Great King" in Old Persian (𐎠𐎭𐎶𐏐𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁𐎴 𐏋, "adam Dārayavaʰuš xšāyaθiya"), as well as in Elamite and Babylonian. The word "great" only appears in Babylonian. British Museum.
Achaemenid calvalryman in the satrapy of Hellespontine Phrygia, Altıkulaç Sarcophagus, early 4th century BC.
Armoured cavalry: Achaemenid Dynast of Hellespontine Phrygia attacking a Greek psiloi, Altıkulaç Sarcophagus, early 4th century BC.
Reconstitution of Persian landing ships at the Battle of Marathon.
Greek ships against Achaemenid ships at the Battle of Salamis.
Iconic relief of lion and bull fighting, Apadana of Persepolis
Achaemenid golden bowl with lioness imagery of Mazandaran
The ruins of Persepolis
A section of the Old Persian part of the trilingual Behistun inscription. Other versions are in Babylonian and Elamite.
A copy of the Behistun inscription in Aramaic on a papyrus. Aramaic was the lingua franca of the empire.
An Achaemenid drinking vessel
Bas-relief of Farvahar at Persepolis
Tomb of Artaxerxes III in Persepolis
The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven wonders of the ancient world, was built by Greek architects for the local Persian satrap of Caria, Mausolus (Scale model)
Achamenid dynasty timeline
Reconstruction of the Palace of Darius at Susa. The palace served as a model for Persepolis.
Lion on a decorative panel from Darius I the Great's palace, Louvre
Ruins of Throne Hall, Persepolis
Apadana Hall, Persian and Median soldiers at Persepolis
Lateral view of tomb of Cambyses II, Pasargadae, Iran
Plaque with horned lion-griffins. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Fall of Babylon denotes the end of the Neo-Babylonian Empire after it was conquered by the Achaemenid Empire in 539 BCE.

- Fall of Babylon

Nabonidus (Babylonian cuneiform: Nabû-naʾid, meaning "May Nabu be exalted" or "Nabu is praised") was the last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, ruling from 556 BC to the fall of Babylon to the Achaemenid Empire under Cyrus the Great in 539 BC. Nabonidus was the last native ruler of ancient Mesopotamia, the end of his reign marking the end of thousands of years of Sumero-Akkadian states, kingdoms and empires.

- Nabonidus

Nabonidus (Nabû-na'id, 556–539 BCE), son of the Assyrian priestess Adda-Guppi, came to the throne in 556 BCE, after overthrowing the young king Labashi-Marduk.

- Fall of Babylon

Nothing is known of Persian-Babylonian relations between 547 BC and 539 BC, but it is likely that there were hostilities between the two empires for several years leading up to the war of 540–539 BC and the Fall of Babylon.

- Achaemenid Empire

In October 539 BC, Cyrus won a battle against the Babylonians at Opis, then took Sippar without a fight before finally capturing the city of Babylon on 12 October, where the Babylonian king Nabonidus was taken prisoner.

- Achaemenid Empire
The Fall of Babylon; Cyrus the Great defeating the Babylonian army. Mezzotint by J. Martin, 1831

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Hormuzd Rassam in Mosul circa 1854. The Cyrus Cylinder was discovered during Rassam's excavations in Babylon in February–March 1879.

Cyrus Cylinder

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Hormuzd Rassam in Mosul circa 1854. The Cyrus Cylinder was discovered during Rassam's excavations in Babylon in February–March 1879.
Map of the site of Babylon in 1829. Hormuzd Rassam's diggers found the Cyrus Cylinder in the mound of Tell Amran-ibn-Ali (marked with an "E" at the centre of the map) under which lay the ruined Esagila temple.
Extract from the Cyrus Cylinder (lines 15–21), giving the genealogy of Cyrus and an account of his capture of Babylon in 539 BC (E. A. Wallis Budge, 1884).
Sample detail image showing cuneiform script.
The Nabonidus Cylinder
Stele depicting Nabonidus praying to the moon, sun and the planet Venus. The Babylonian king's religious practices were harshly condemned by the Cyrus Cylinder's inscription.
Places in Mesopotamia mentioned by the Cyrus Cylinder. Most of the localities it mentions in connection with the restoration of temples were in eastern and northern Mesopotamia, in territories that had been ruled by the deposed Babylonian king Nabonidus (excepting Susa).
Cyrus Cylinder at the center of the official emblem of 2,500 year celebration of the Persian Empire at Pahlavi Iranian imperial era
The Cyrus Cylinder in Room 52 of the British Museum in London

The Cyrus Cylinder is an ancient clay cylinder, now broken into several pieces, on which is written a declaration in Akkadian cuneiform script in the name of Persia's Achaemenid king Cyrus the Great.

It was created and used as a foundation deposit following the Persian conquest of Babylon in 539 BC, when the Neo-Babylonian Empire was invaded by Cyrus and incorporated into his Persian Empire.

The Babylonian king Nabonidus, who was defeated and deposed by Cyrus, is denounced as an impious oppressor of the people of Babylonia and his low-born origins are implicitly contrasted to Cyrus' kingly heritage.