A variety of special programs complement the exhibition The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: A New Beginning. All events are free, unless otherwise noted. Admission to the Getty Villa and to the exhibition is FREE; an advance, timed-entry ticket is required for general admission. For more, see information on planning a visit or call (310) 440-7300.

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The Cyrus Cylinder

A 12-minute film provides an overview of the exhibition.

Daily, October 2–December 2, 2013; screens continuously
Museum Theater


Cyrus the Great and the Persian Empire: Perspectives from Antiquity to Today

Since its discovery in 1879, the Cyrus Cylinder has prompted wide-ranging discussion about the benevolent nature of Cyrus's rule. At this one-day symposium, experts address a range of perspectives from which the Cylinder—and the Achaemenid Empire generally—have been understood. Speakers will consider Babylonian precursors, the Persian and Jewish traditions, the ancient Greek view, and the representation of Cyrus in modern Iran. Symposium fee $15. Generous support for this program was provided by the J. Paul Getty Museums Villa Council.

Sunday, October 27, 2013; 10:15 a.m.–5:15 p.m.

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The Cyrus Cylinder: The Discovery and Creation of an Icon

John Curtis, Keeper of Special Middle Eastern Projects at the British Museum, speaks about the Cyrus Cylinder, an ancient clay cylinder inscribed by the Persian king Cyrus the Great after he conquered Babylon (present-day Iraq) in 539 B.C. Curtis explores the reasons for the cylinder's historical significance and the importance it has acquired since its discovery in 1879. Free; a ticket is required.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013; 7:30 p.m.

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Empire, Authority, and Autonomy in the Achaemenid Persian Empire

The Achaemenid Persian Empire (about 550–330 B.C.) was enormous and incorporated many different cultures. Before rapid transit or instant communication, how were affairs of governance conducted in a sociopolitical entity of this size? Archaeologist Elspeth Dusinberre examines government archives, food, alcohol, gender relations, and even the original Pony Express to illuminate how the empire founded by Cyrus the Great functioned. Co-presented with the Archaeological Institute of America. Free; a ticket is required. Tickets available beginning Thursday, October 10, 2013.

Saturday, November 2, 2013; 2:00 p.m.

Gallery Course

Cyrus to Alexander: Persians, Greeks, and the Invention of History

The Greeks feared, admired, and maligned the Persians from before Cyrus until after Alexander the Great. Explore the Greek view through tales and art with educator Shelby Brown, then compare the Persian perspective and try your hand at cuneiform. The course ends with a tour of the exhibition The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: A New Beginning. Course fee $35 (includes refreshments). Complimentary parking.

Saturday, October 19, 2013; 2:00–4:30 p.m.
Repeats Sunday, October 20, 2013; 2:00–4:30 p.m
Meeting Rooms

Studio Courses

Proclamations in Clay

Join artist Anna Mayer for a ceramic workshop pairing language and clay. Begin with an exploration of the exhibition The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: A New Beginning. In the studio, learn hand-building techniques to create ceramic cylinders and vessels inscribed with your own text dedications. Ceramics will be fired following the course for later pick-up. Course fee $150 (includes materials and lunch). Complimentary parking.

Sunday, October 27, 2013; 10:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Repeats Sunday, November 17, 2013; 10:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Education Studio and Museum galleries

Culinary Workshop: Ancient Persia

Discover the flavors of the ancient Near East with chef and educator Maite Gomez-Rejón. Tour the exhibition The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: A New Beginning and pick herbs in the garden to prepare and enjoy a meal showcasing the multiethnic cuisine of the Persian Empire. Course fee $85. Complimentary parking. Tickets available beginning Tuesday, October 2, 2013.

Thursday, November 14, 2013; 11:00 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Repeats Friday, November 15, 2013; 11:00 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Meeting Rooms and Museum galleries


Twinklings of Hope: Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat in Concert

The music of Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat reflects the evolution of Persian song. Part of a new generation of musicians who are university educated and devoted to their artistic cause, the Vahdats uphold a waning tradition in today's Iran. Tickets $25. Generous support for this program was provided by the J. Paul Getty Museums Villa Council.

Saturday, October 19, 2013; 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 20, 2013; 3:00 p.m.

Family Activity

Scribes Wanted!

Drop by with your family to learn how scribes in ancient Persia created documents such as the Cyrus Cylinder. Try your hand at writing your own cuneiform (a type of old script) message! This is a free, drop-in program.

Saturdays, October 5–26, 2013; 11:00 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Outer Peristyle

Free GettyGuide® Multimedia Player

The Cyrus Cylinder is among the most iconic discoveries from the ancient world, with a legacy that resounds to this day. Listen to Timothy Potts, Director of the J. Paul Getty Museum, discuss its history and significance.
Pick up an iPod touch at the GettyGuide Desk on the first floor of the Museum.