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Cyrus, the Grandson of Astyages, King of the Medes, Given Suck by a Wild Animal
about 1413 - 1415
Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, and ink on parchment
Leaf: 42 x 29.6 cm (16 9/16 x 11 5/8 in.)
According to legend, Astyages, the king of the Medes, had a dream one night that one of his descendents would grow up to overthrow him. He immediately ordered that his precocious grandson Cyrus be killed. His chief adviser, however, secretly gave the baby to a shepherd to raise. Here the shepherd minds his sheep, while the child Cyrus takes nourishment from a wild goat in order to survive. Astyages discovered Cyrus when he reached the age of ten, but others persuaded Astyages to allow the boy to live, in spite of the dream. Cyrus eventually did revolt against his grandfather and conquered the kingdom in 550 B.C.