Each of these 2-hour theatrical release motion pictures will be followed up with 18 1-hour episodes in a streaming series deep into the story surrounding this ancient epic tale of nobility, love and freedom.
CYRUS: arising (picture 1)
Twenty-five hundred years ago, Cyrus the prince of Persia is called upon by his uncle, the King of Media, for support against the invasion of the tyrant-emperor of Babylon, Belteshazzar. Seizing the opportunity from heaven, he secretly begins to forge new alliances through extravagant generosity, freeing enslaved nations to love and follow him as he marches to face the world’s Despot.
Cyrus, A Persian prince, reared among a moral and martial society, stands out at a young age in reason and ability. As the grandson of Astyages, King of the neighboring Medes, Cyrus develops deep friendships as a boy with the young princes of Media and its surrounding kingdoms in hunting, riding horses, and endless activity together. After returning to Persia as a teen, he is eager to prove his prowess in warfare and joins the Median army in a campaign defending her boarders against attack by the Assyrians. Having snuck into the battle’s ranks against his father’s will, his fearless exploits leading the charge into the midst of the enemy drew the hot ire and equally strong praise of his father, King Cambyses. When the Assyrian tyrant once again invades Media, Cyrus, now 30, is chosen by the council of elders to come to the aid of his uncle Cyaxares, King of the Medes after his father Astyages. Cyrus demonstrates the character of the greatest of history’s leaders of men. He conducts conversation over meals with his officers with a blend of seriousness and charm. He persuades the army to make all men equal among them according to merit, rather than rank and prestige. Having gained the advantage, he uses generosity to turn his captured enemy, the Armenian king, into a friend, and proceeds to use further generosity and wisdom to forge an alliance between ancient foes, the Armenians and Chaldeans. After leading his uncle’s and his joined forces in victorious battle against the Assyrians, Cyrus pursues the foe without his uncle Cyaxares, who stays behind, too busy with the meat and drink of victory. After Cyrus finds allies in the rebelling Hyrcanians, an Assyrian leader named Gobryas surrenders to Cyrus and asks for aid in avenging his son. After telling Cyrus the heartbreaking tale of the brutal murder of his son at the hands of the Assyrian tyrant, Cyrus pledges to Gobryas to do what he can against the tyrant. Cyrus suddenly receives an angry summons from a messenger sent by his uncle King Cyaxares to send the entire Median cavalry back home. Realizing this could ruin all, he shrewdly invites his Median allies to stay on with him if they so choose for their love they bear him, and for glory and riches; the result was virtually the entire Median cavalry decided to stay loyal to Cyrus. Thus do they set their faces like flint to overturn the world’s tyrant in Babylon, and set up a new empire founded on liberty and equality for all, setting the stage for picture 2.
CYRUS: empire (picture 2)
Having routed the Assyrians in battle, Cyrus continues his mission to free the world of the tyrant of Babylon, raising an army along the way until he faces Babylon’s very gates. With provisions and water from the Euphrates to last a decade, the brute Belteshazzar holes up in Babylon while the Medes and Persians camp outside her walls. With a brilliant stroke of strategy, Cyrus’ army diverts the river and takes the city all in one night, losing not one life among them. Having gained the wealth and power of the world, Cyrus proves his true leadership through extravagant generosity, decreeing the world’s first human right’s charter, and together with his Uncle Darius the Mede builds a new, free empire for one and all.
Picking right up where the first Cyrus picture left off [script pg. 169], Cyrus visits Gobryas and hatches his plan with him to march to Babylon to ally themselves with the eunuch, Gadatas, who had been wrongfully mutilated by the Assyrian king. After Cyrus successfully allies himself with the Gadatas, they take an important fortress in Babylon. Cyrus rescues Gadatas from a treacherous plot, avenges the reckless Cadusians, and prepares to make war on Babylon. The inner conflict that has been growing between Cyrus and his uncle finally comes to a head. Cyrus’ vast alliance shames Cyaxares, confronting Cyrus before the entire army of Medes and Persians. The campaign stands on the edge of a knife; when Cyrus realizes his familial disloyalty, he willingly offers over to his uncle the entire army and all his possessions, resigning to return to Persia. At this great show of repentant humility, Cyaxares softens and asks Cyrus to continue the joint Medo-Persian campaign against Babylon. Cyrus and Cyaxares prepares to occupy Assyrian garrisons for the winter, sending Araspas on a spy-mission, reuniting Pantheia with Abradatas. Cyrus instructs the men to take their positions for battle while Pantheia and Abradatas have an illustrious and tearful parting. Cyrus does battle with Croesus and makes allies of the Egyptians; Abradatas dies valiantly. Cyrus takes Sardis and Croesus comes to enjoy the good life. Pantheia commits suicide at the burial of Abradatas. Cyrus acquires a few more allies and heads to Babylon, where the brute Belteshazzar mockingly parties behind his famous walls, with provisions and water from the Euphrates to last a generation. Will Cyrus and his army of loyal allies, vastly outnumbered by the Assyrian hoard behind the walls of Babylon, defeat the Enemy of the free the world, or will they be destroyed?
Xenophon’s biography The Education of Cyrus
Written around 370 BC by the Athenian gentleman-soldier, and student of Socrates, Xenophon, the Cyropaedia means "The Education of Cyrus". Aspects of it would become a model for medieval writers of the genre known as mirrors for princes. Peter Drucker says of “Xenophon’s Cyrus—the earliest book on the subject—is still the best book on leadership.” In classical antiquity, the Cyropaedia was considered the masterpiece of a very widely respected and studied author. Polybius, Cicero, Tacitus, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Quintilian, Aulus Gellius and Longinus "ranked him among the best philosophers and historians". Amongst classical leaders, Scipio Aemilianus is said to have carried a copy with him at all times, and it was also a favorite of Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar.
The Cyropaedia was rediscovered in Western Europe during the late medieval period as a practical treatise on political virtue and social organization. It became an important influence upon the late medieval and Renaissance genre known as "mirrors of princes", which attempted to give examples of behavior in order to educate young future rulers.
The work continued to be widely read and respected in the early modern period and during the Enlightenment. Among early modern writers after Machiavelli, Montaigne, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Bacon, Jonathan Swift, Bolingbroke, Shaftesbury, Edward Gibbon, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin "all concurred with the classical view" of Xenophon's merits as a philosopher and historian. John Milton called his works divine, and the equal of Plato. Edmund Spenser in his preface to The Faerie Queene said that "Xenophon is preferred before Plato, for that the one, in the exquisite depth of his judgement, formed a Common Wealth, such as it should be; but Xenophon, in the person of Cyrus and the Persians, fashioned a government such as might best be: so much more profitable and gracious is teaching by example, then by rule."