Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Ancient Rights 

Wednesday, Jul 31 2013

The Cyrus Cylinder is one of the worldÕs greatest surviving documents governing peopleÕs personal freedoms Ð as important as the U.S. Constitution and EnglandÕs Magna Carta, but dating back much further to 539 BCE, when PersiaÕs Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon. Written in Babylonian cuneiform, the Cyrus Cylinder established the rights of conquered people to worship as they wished. Unearthed in 1879 in Iraq, the clay cylinder Ð owned by the British Museum Ð is touring the United States for the first time, and the Asian Art Museum is one of only five institutions where people can see this outsized work of history that, at nine inches, is tiny. ÒThe Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: A New BeginningÓ also features other artifacts from CyrusÕ era, including pottery and jewels, but the cylinder is the exhibitÕs absolute star Ð a surviving testament to a time in the Middle East when war led to bloodshed but also to rapprochement. Among the exhibitÕs related events: On Friday, Aug. 9, 3-5 p.m., John Curtis Ð the British MuseumÕs Keeper, Department of the Middle East Ð will give a keynote address at the Asian Art Museum, coupled with a Cyrus Cylinder panel discussion with scholars, historians and writers (tickets $20-$25); and on Saturday, Aug. 10 at 7 p.m., the San Francisco Philharmonic Orchestra performs the world premiere of ÒThe King Cyrus Symphonic Suite: From Birth to the Proclamation of Human RightsÓ at the Nob Hill Masonic Center, 1111 California St. (tickets $28-$153,

Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Aug. 9. Continues through Sept. 22, 2013

About The Author

Jonathan Curiel

Related Locations


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"