A new beginning for the Middle East: The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia

One of the great things about the objects
we make is that they live longer than we do. So they can have many different lives. In every one of their lives, in every different
generation, they can acquire different meanings. So the meaning can become richer as time goes
on. One of the most extraordinary objects in that
regard, is the so called Cyrus Cylinder. It’s about two and a half thousand years old, it’s a small barrel shaped piece of clay covered in cuneiform inscriptions. Discovered in 1879 by a British Museum expedition
to Babylon, now in modern Iraq But to understand the Cyrus Cylinder, we need to start with the world from which
it came. A world in which Iran/Persia reigned supreme. Our story begins five hundred and fifty years
before Christ with Cyrus the Great, founder of the Persian
Empire. After uniting the Persian and Median tribes, Cyrus came into conflict with King Croesus
of Lydia, in what’s now modern day Turkey. He defeated Croesus in battle, Cyrus then clashed with the powerful Babylonian
empire to the West. In 539 B.C. he besieged their capital Babylon, it fell with barely a fight. Persia under Cyrus became a superpower of
the ancient world. Cyrus’ conquest of Babylon had been predicted and was described in the old Testament by
the Jewish prophet Daniel. That very night, the Babylonian region Belshazzar
had held a feast. He feasted using the sacred gold vessels from
the temple in Jerusalem and then suddenly miraculously there was a
hand writing on the wall and the writing said “you have been weighed
in the balance, you’ve been found wanting and your kingdom
will be given to the Medes and the Persians”. So from this we have the expression ‘the writing
is on the wall’ and we have Rembrandt’s great painting Balshaazar’s
feast. Within hours the great empire of Babylon was
no more. Cyrus justified his invasion to the Babylonian
people in a proclamation written on clay tablets such as this one which are likely to have
been widely distributed. Surviving fragments along with the Cyrus Cylinder
carry identical wording. Because the Cyrus Cylinder was meant for a
Babylonian audience, it was written in the Babylonian language which is a Semitic tongue related to the modern languages of Hebrew
and Arabic and Aramaic. The writing system which Cyrus’ officials
used was the traditional cuneiform script which had been invented in Ancient Iraq well
before 3000 B.C it is written by pressing a stylus, something
a bit like a chopstick into the surface of the clay which is nearly
dry and the signs which convey the sound of the
language consist of different arrangements of these
strokes, they’re written one by one and the reader has to join them up and the sound emerges from the clay. This is the line that says “I am Kurash, shar kishshati King of the world, the Great King, King of Babylon” and so it
goes on. So we’re going to write Kurash… So the first sign ‘Ku’, has a big vertical, two small horizontals, one bigger horizontal a little vertical and another horizontal like a box. This is ‘Ku’. Then ‘Ra’, we have three strong horizontals
to begin, one big one next to it, and then one little vertical wedge and one bigger vertical wedge. “Ku-Ra’. Now we do ‘Ash’, which is three long horizontals comme ça and then a vertical in the middle. So we can read this Kurash, the name of Cyrus. The early lines on the Cylinder extol Cyrus’
virtues and his reasons for invading Babylon but it’s lines 30-35 that set Cyrus up as
a great leader in the modern liberal sense. One of Cyrus’ first acts after his conquest was to release those who had been made captive
by the Babylonians. Now this was a mark of his style of rule and it’s this very event that is recorded
on the cylinder. So this was a key moment in the history of
the Jewish people, they had spent many years weeping by the rivers
of Babylon and now finally they were allowed to return
to Jerusalem and then to rebuild the temple. The return to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon, the permission from Cyrus to rebuild the second
temple reshaped Judaism and the notion of return is central to Jewish
life and mythology. No lesser person than David Ben-Gurion wrote
– ‘Cyrus displayed a spirit of charity towards
his adversaries, a unique tolerance towards all religions, he Cyrus played a decisive role in the first
return to Zion’. Although Cyrus’ empire was eventually broken
up the idea of Cyrus himself remained, Cyrus as the model ruler. The principle source for that view of Cyrus came from the Greek historian Xenophon, his book Cyropaedia was really about how to
run an empire with Cyrus as the model. It was very popular all through the Renaissance and particularly with the founding fathers
of America. And we know that Jefferson had two, possibly
three copies of Xenophon’s ‘Life of Cyrus’ and referred
to it regularly, so there’s a very direct link between the
Cyrus Cylinder and the making of the United States. The Persian Empire founded by Cyrus the Great reached its peak under the later King Darius. Extending from Libya in the the Central Mediterranean to the Indus Valley, in modern day Pakistan. It is the beginning of the idea of the Middle
East, an idea that we still live with today. And when we use the words the ‘Near East’, the ‘Middle East’, we’re talking about exactly the area that
was the Persian Empire. The frieze behind me is a cast of the frieze
in the Royal Palace at Persepolis, the Persian capital. And it shows the different peoples of the
Empire, bringing their different tributes. It’s a perfect emblem of the variety of the
Empire. Every people brings their own kind of tribute and the Persian Empire, unlike others didn’t try to crush people into
one way of being or doing, it allowed a great diversity of habits and
patterns, language and faith to live together. It became the great model of how to run an
empire of dizzying diversity. Because it was such a vast area, new practices and techniques had to be introduced to administer this vast space. The exhibition has tried to highlight some
of these all as the introduction of old Persian cuneiform, there are technological introductions, wonderful new forms of jewelery and gold and silver bowls, we find Aramaic becoming widely used at this
time and we’ve got the introduction on a large
scale of coinage. The King of Lydia is Croesus who rules a very
prosperous nation and Cyrus sees Lydian coinage in silver and
in gold and he adopts that coinage and produces Croesids as we call these coins. These coins show a lion attacking a bull and it is until the time of Darius in 522
that this coinage is continued. Darius introduces a completely new monetary
coinage, the gold daric, named after him. And the silver siglos which derives from the
Hebrew word for silver shekel. He describes himself as a competent archer, as a competent horseman, as a competent spearman. So this imagery of the archer on his coins is something definitely that the Persians
would like to be portrayed as. This armlet is actually one of a pair, from the Oxus treasure, the griffin terminals possibly show these
are Zoroastrian Veragna bird the surface is covered with lots of little
cavities for inlaying with semi-precious stone, glass
or coloured paste characteristic of the Achaemanid period. Armlets were particularly precious diplomatic
gifts at this time, they’re shown being brought by four of the
different delegations on the Apadana reliefs at Persepolis. Amongst the objects of the Oxus treasure, there are some fascinating votive objects
in the form of gold plaques. These figures wear a soft cap perhaps made
of felt. They had a chin guard this could be pulled
up to cover the mouth . When they were engaged in a religious act
or ritual act in front of the fire they had to protect the fire which is a holy
element and must not be polluted. They hold consecrated wooden sticks the barsom. We think the Achaemenids were Zoroastrians,
an ancient religion which gets its name from the prophet Zarathustra
or Zoraster in Greek. At a time when a number of Gods were worshiped Zarathustra came and said no the creator of
all is Ahura Mazda. This is the official seal of the later King
Darius who put the Empire on a secure administrative
and financial footing. King Darius hunts a lion, above him is a winged
figure with the head of a human being thought to be the Zoroastrian God Ahura Mazda, the wording declares; ‘I am Darius, the Great King’. It’s in three languages, old Persian, Elamite and Babylonian. These monumental official languages which
sometimes also include Egyptian hieroglyphs are another sign of the multi-cultural nature
of the empire. Almost everything that we know about the Persian
Empire actually comes from Greek sources, so was written by their enemies. So it’s a bit like knowing the story of 20th
America entirely through Soviet sources. And thats why this cylinder is so important this is the Persians speaking as the Persians
addressing the world it’s a message direct from Cyrus. When the Cyrus Cylinder was excavated in 1879, it brings Cyrus and indeed the cylinder into
a totally different kind of debate not about government, but about the reliability
of scripture. The middle of the 19th Century was of course a moment when the authenticity and the authority of scripture was being challenged. Darwin is writing about evolution, the discoveries of geology are making people
wonder whether you can rely on scripture. The Cylinder tells us that Cyrus is governed, led by the God of Babylon Marduk, the Hebrew Bible tells us that it was the
Lord God of Israel who governed Cyrus who conducts him through
the whole military campaign and so what we have in the Cyrus Cylinder put beside the Hebrew Bible, the book of Chronicles,
the book of Ezra are two different priestly interpretations
of the same military campaign. It suggested that the Hebrew scriptures must be part of a much bigger Middle Eastern
religious tradition. But the life that the Cyrus Cylinder could
breathe into contemporary affairs was only just beginning. In 1971 for the two thousand five hundred
year anniversary of the Persian monarchy. The shah of Iran held lavish celebrations
in the ancient capital Persepolis and in Pasargadae the site of Cyrus’ mausoleum. The Cyrus Cylinder was the official symbol
of the celebrations once again it took on a new story. The invention by the Shah of a return to Iranian
history to put him at the centre of a great tradition. Coins were minted portraying the Shah and
the Cylinder. The Cyrus Cylinder as guarantor of the Shah but soon the Shah was gone and revolutionary Iranians wanted an Islamic
history. Since the Iran-Iraq war, it’s become a symbol of unity for all Iranians to remember when two and a half thousand years
ago they fought Iraq and won. It’s worth reflecting on a moment when a Persian
released the Jews enabling them to go back to Jerusalem. When the Cyrus Cylinder went to Tehran for
exhibition in 2010 it was seen by about half a million people. Muslims, Christians, Zoroastrians, Jews, everybody, and it became the focus of a very particular
debate about what Iran is today., What are the histories that will shape Iran
now and in the future and how will those affect therefore the future
of the whole of the region and indeed of the world. In that intense debate I think it’s possible
that one of the most persuasive and most powerful voices may well be the voice
of this mute broken clay cylinder.

100 thoughts on “A new beginning for the Middle East: The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia

  • I recently found out by own research that the name"Kurāsh" in ancient persian which is constructed as "Kur-a-ash" but writen as "Ku-r-ash" just like darius scripts explanes that the emperial script was the arameic script, this name in old persian means "kur's alike",and that is the river "Kur" located and still is in shiraz/ancient persia was a river which were well respected by the ancient persians and represented clean soul.
    "Darius" in persian "Daráushė" constructed as "Dará-ushė" meaning "the intelligent" name of the secound great persian king, and many other great leaders through out history.
    "Zaretost" in old persian "Zer-atuşt"
    In case anyone asks for the original names 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing this video. However, it can't be ignored that keeping something like this away from its original home is a real bully. Western governments are free to judge other nations, to set their rules as universal standards, and to make decisions on the behalf of the EARTH. Although I'm from Persia, I think that The Cyrus Cylinder belongs to the people of Iraq. The country that was invaded by US governments based on a lie. The country that have been the core of ideological conflicts in the middle east. The country that was "stable" and "happy", just before someone decided that a dictator is ruling others by force. So, the cylinder can't be a property of Iraq national museum, just because Iraq is not safe and ISIS destroys museums. Then, ask yourself. What is ISIS and where is the Iraq? Where is Persia? And how humans can live their life at the cost of other's blood and misery? Think again, then read the history, and think again and again. I, personally forgive you, because I know everybody can make mistakes. But think your own thoughts, for god sake. Wake up. You are drinking human blood. Can't you see that? I mean, Really?

  • Every civilization had their own, somewhat similar, creation stories. The bible/Torah is a collection of spiritual/political stories, corrupted/perverted over the millennia.

  • ALL the Jews were never ALL in Babylon … those who were there were released by Cyrus, and the people went back home to the Jews who had avoided captured.

  • I would love to go back in time and see those sights back then but since I can't this is the next best thing. Thankyou 🌹

  • Wow same themes that we live in today and they still hide the fire from us. Those same characters, themes, repeating over and over but now we all live in cave staring at shadows on the wall, hypnotised. Collapse will come once again, until fools get it right this time and actually learn from true history that the ancients left behind for us. Those bloody bloodlines ay the true tyrants of earth…

  • so he is only trying to say, every 1000 years the food chain produced a magical thing which was in fact, magic mushrooms which eaten would produce all the wonders of the universe in your spaced out brain, then after seeing all these wonderful beings with large heads and streets paved with gold and trees blowing in the wind became dragons you curled up in a ball thiinking you were an orange and someone was coming to peel you. how terryfing this must have been to the people of the time

  • Britain should return these artifacts they stole from other countries. What right have they to have this in their hands? It's not theirs, it's not their history.

  • I struggle to accept the time frame discussed here. I don't think any of us know when these artifacts were actually created, therefore I am dubious of conclusions based upon them.

  • Well we know the US did not follow Cyrus as an example, he freed slaves the US made slaves. More than likely they followed Babylon example get slaves let them build your wealth and in case they revolt make sure you dumb down the people.

  • Reminds me of the way knowledge was stored in the library of Atlantis for a while they had a much h smaller way when me and gilgamesh were there

  • Return to where they belong since Conquerers take from the conquered hopefully humans,more civilized objects taken should be returned to original people who made these objects as every leader took from those they defeat in battle .

  • 26 centuries ago the planet Mars and Venus came very close to earth and wrought havoc on planet earth. These catastrophic happenings are detailed in these cuneiform tablets as well as in the writings and aural stories of most cultures around the world including American indigenous peoples.

  • Wonderful peice of pro zionist propaganda from the Free Masonic museum house of acquisitions. Never telling you the true nature of the Empire and the true history. Those who governed the past governs the future and so today.

  • I wonder if anyone considered that these are cylindrical because they were ROLLED when they were clay onto a metal mold, making a printing press….i guess they could have made it cylindrical for structural integrity….but i think it makes more sense to say these cylinder tablets were rolled across a mold in order to pass out public decree in mass.


  • 1:32 "Cyrus conquest of Babylon was predicted in the Bible…by the prophet Daniel."

    That's strange…how could "Daniel" make a prophecy about that when "he" lived/wrote 400+ years after Cyrus's conquest of Babylon.

  • my ass!! This is bullshit. Who knows what the fuck it says. There’s no way to read that without a way of knowing.

  • Get, ThE FuCk off my USA youtube server. We do not trust information given from a country that does not have a republic-style governance of freedom, equal to ours in the United States. Don't forget that redcoat.

  • Funny how every country on planet rapes these countries for their history. Notice that this item is not in an Iranian museum.

  • Sooo…exactly how can this, und why would this indicate "A new beginning for the Middle East"? Will this artifact change the fact that the majority of muslims want to rule everyone else in the world, regardless of what they will admit to, or change the fact that the "Moon-cult" islam ist an immoral, self-important, raping, pedophile, sharia law belief?

  • You have to read between the lines, this is the story of America. The holy Land is in America, Babylon is in America, the original Egypt is in America.

  • KING DARIUS said I am Darius the great king… Aryan, of the Aryan race. Funny how they left that out.
    Multicultural my ass, more progressive propaganda, nothing like re-writing history.

  • John 6: 47 "verily, verily I say unto you, he that believes in me has everlasting life."-Jesus.  Jesus the Messiah died for the remission of sin, including yours, was buried, and rose form the dead 3 days later. If you simply believe in this to save you, then you have everlasting life.

  • "It must be true, I read it on the Cyrus Cylinder." Humans lie. We lie to others. We lie to ourselves. We lie to ourselves about lying to others. Children lie to parents. Parents lie to children. We lie to authorities. We lie to those we serve, treat, employ, lead, manage, and govern. Could I fail to mention that we lie by omission? Those in the top ten most trusted professions are so steeped in lies that they are unable to apprehend them. We speak lies, write lies, and even gesture lies. So, you found an artifact with some writing by a human on it, and you expect me to be impressed. Really? Let's be brutally honest (in itself a phrase that reveals the attitude of humans toward truth). The only value that this cylinder might have would be to reveal how the lies are different now as opposed to then. If you could do that, honestly, we might have a place to start. But the truth is that you, The British Museum, cannot, lest your museum turn to a house of cards. How awkward for you.

  • Cyrus was also predicted by books given to prophet dawud/david ( this is mentioned in Quran), while the name given to cyrus in Quran is "Zulkarnain" meaning man with 2 horns which is proven by the coins and some other scripture. Cyrus was believer of One God as mentioned in quran. if you need to study cyrus then you also need to study Bible , Quran and Chinese history together and then you will explore another amazing history of Gog and Magog defined in Bible and Quran and the reason for Cyrus to sent the cylinder to china.

  • I'm sure lots of people nowadays are triggered by this information ….. the Jews have been around for thousands of years?… doesn't fit the narrative does it?

  • Another great thing, this time about objects OTHER Peoples collectively make, being cultural things they are commonly held CULTURALLY in high esteem by those cultures and despite the fact that you may have nefariously ended up with them and graspingly held and continue to hold on to them, despite the pleas of the items' originating creator cultures to return these artefacts in part because that culture may actually identify their very sense of culturality and even race by these items, you have taken the arrogant non-ideal that "we appropriated these items legally over two centuries ago so we will use this comparatively shortened timeframe to justify our state of self-righteous self-entitlement (and of patronising and racist superiority over the pleading of the de-cultured by you cultures)in keeping what we downright stole, as this has become part of our history now, and possession (especially according to the thief) is nine-tenths of the law". To have and to hoard. The arrogance and the temerity. This is all about control.

  • Incorrect. Language is the most important form of diversity…all must be able to communicate to live together and still accept diversity.

  • All past wars become a outcome that was not the outcome fought for. War is fruitless .Nations rise and fall along with boundary lines that are forever changing . Fight for this and with time it becomes something else .This is Gods way to say wars are fruitless. Man is so stupid and it is greed that makes man this way.

  • Marduk was the son of Enki, and they have played the parts of our gods, our demons, and Satan, too.They created our religions.  Marduk is still here. The Luciferians (our elite leaders) worship him. We are their cattle imprisoned on a world they built from the remnants of our original world, Tiamat, which they destroyed. The Creator took away their power to Create because they were mentally and emotionally damaged (yes, the Fallen Ones). Now they use us to create what they want. They feed off of you, and control you, and most of you don't even realize it. They were the Archons that the Gnostics warned us about in the Nag Hammadi texts. You can escape the recycling of souls they put in place, but only until they put you into a cyborg body – one that doesn't die. They will tell you how wonderful it will be to "live forever" (as their source of soul energy, their food, and their slaves). The Singularity approaches – the merging of man and machine. Will YOU accept an implant in your brain, if you are offered one for free? It will help you communicate very rapidly across an ever faster Internet. You will be part of their "hive" mind, just like the Borg. They gave us nuclear weapons and nuclear energy which has almost destroyed this world, and soon you will find out how bad the Fukushima disaster really is – The Pacific ocean is almost dead because of it. A cybernetic body may be the only way you can live on this polluted, radioactive world in the future. Good Luck, Humanity. You will need it. I tell you this not to cause fear, but to make you THINK.  READ, study, and learn as much history as you can since it is the key to intelligent choices for YOUR future.  Use your Heart to make decisions, not your mind. Jesus was a teacher – I hope you paid attention to him.

  • There is a theory that the Jews in Bablyon adapted very quickly the bad ways of Babylon and that's the influence they took back to the HolyLand.

  • But a new community into an existing system with existing laws does not have the right to murder and Chase out those inhabitants I'm sure that's in the law somewhere with several different laws and statutes and that's exactly what happens here in the United States with the Mexicans moving into the United States they murder they robbed they killed they deal drugs and they break our laws simple fact no different than any other group of people everybody doesn't but they do it on a larger scale and if they can get away with it

  • Diversity is both a prerequisite for and symptom of an empire, and empires have a way of not surviving for very long. A nation, on the other hand can live for thousands of years, and not only doesn't need any diversity but it's precisely diversity which destroys it.

  • A New Beginning?
    Because you all destroyed the Past?
    And now you all can invent whatever invented "Truth" suit you all best…

  • When you find out what a real history of the Middle East was…before being rewritten by The State of Israel through surrogates….

  • Wow!!
    This cuneiform is so cool man 👍 my hand writing is Well shite 😂 but i recon if i used this cuneiform people could understand what i write
    Cheers 🥂 Sumerian dudes n dudets ile get right on it 👍👍✊️👏

  • Very interesting this artifact proves that Cyrus who the Prophet Isaiah said would come to free the Israelites from Babylon after 70 years of captivity exactly as the scriptures foretold. in Isaiah 44: 28 and 45:1 which names Cyrus specifically who will conquer the Babylonians and free the Hebrews. Isaiah's Prophecy was approx. 200 years before this happened.

  • Many Iranians today do not wish to be Muslim and believe that they were forced into it. Many want to go back to being Persians .

  • I dont understand why the west are licking the arabs ass when the history is in the mi
    ddle east.
    The suharastrian religion have more similaretis to greek and asa sagas then mohammedans have.


    Did King Arthur really exist? The oldest manuscripts refer to him as a "Lord of Battle" who emerged soon after the Roman Empire crumbled. But what would be the origin of all these stories that turned a war leader into a king, an emperor, a legend. . . even a god? What if Arthur was really a deity similar to Zeus and Odin, with his roots in the rich Celtic mythology of the British Isles? A study of Arthurian myths reveals Britain's most legendary king as an ancient Sun God, known by many different names in the myths of Wales and Ireland. Even his Knights of the Round Table, and his sister Morgan le Fay can all be identified as ancient Gods and Goddesses of earth, sea and sky. Their survival in Arthurian legend stands as a shining testament of a story far more ancient, but by no means lost to us. . .

    Did Jesus Christ exist and what is King Arthur here with Knights: science unexpectedly checked the facts from the bible

    The existence of Jesus Christ has been proven more millennia earlier

    Although today some and claim that Jesus Christ is just an idea, not a real historical figure, there are many written testimonies of his existence 2000 years ago.

    Historical testimony of Jesus from Nazareth has long been known and widespread. Compare This, for example, with King Arthur, who supposedly lived around 500 years old, the main historical sources about the events of that time do not even mention Arthur, the first mentions of him meet only 300-400 years after his death. It is quite possible that such participation was expected by Jesus, the mention of which in literature was discovered much later.

  • The Saddam Hussein & Muammar Gaddafi 'deposements' were a smokescreen for the extraction of illicit and secret history that the multinational zionist criminal cabal felt was a threat to their worldwide standing.

  • “God’s purpose in sending His Prophets unto
    men is twofold. The first is to liberate the children of men from the darkness
    of ignorance, and guide them to the light of true understanding. The second is
    to ensure the peace and tranquility of mankind, and provide all the means by
    which they can be established.”

    Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 79)

  • What a waste of clay, instead of a doodle pad, could have been used to make a useful pot.back then they didn't practice conservation. Save the mud.

  • the question is why Jews are held captive by Lydia goverment?? and why they are always included in every political turmoil ??

  • The war was a carefully diverted construct, the real prize is the "artifact"(s). Black people's secrets. Quickly stealing the 'cornerstones.' Black people "are the motor of the world". America never had an original idea.

  • stop using the word multi cultural to describe to Persian empire… Those were all people of the same stock and with very similar cultural practices – to use the word "multi cultural" is therefore counter factual. It's NOT like today, where psycotic elites are trying to force incompatible cultures to live side by side. Cyrus was smarter than that !!

  • Though it’s so difficult,ones mind has to believe in another’s beliefs in and with a form of acceptance. There is no right way of religion. We should be beyond that.

  • The Jewish and christian chroniclers are underappreciated in our time. Without them, I wonder how much longer it would have taken us to discover great empires of the past.

  • People like to talk about Alexander the Great. I prefer Cyrus the Great–I just wish the damn Greeks hadn't smashed it all to bits, just to reanimate the corpse in the Greek style. Funny old world.

  • The British Museum cant be trusted. Also why the fuck are there North American Indian artifacts there?? They belong to America!!!

  • Bad plug for "diversity." Thomas Jefferson would be horrified by what America has become. Cyrus' "multiculturalism" was not a forced, soft genocide, Arians as 2nd class citizens, inviting foreign racial groups & hostile religions to "take."
    How dare you insinuate this dystopian multicultural nightmare is what those Great Men envisioned.

  • anyone notice the chunk missing out of the Cyrus Cylinder looks eerily similar to the Dragon that covers Burma and Thailand

  • If Archaeologists dig deeper, literally, they will find older Civilizations and it will further stress their *Fraternal 19th Century Darwin Theory"

    They continue to try to put "Cinderella's Shoe on Drucella's Foot" …

  • Wow! The British Museum steals other countries' treasures and broadcasts it to the world. And not only that, but they try to whitewash it by claiming that it is evidence of the veracity of the bible.

  • Why give a shit what the Sumerians wrote? why is it that all of the oldest text come from brown people countries? why are there no Celtic texts that predate or are within the same time period as

    The Rigveda
    The Epic of Gilgamesh
    The Samaveda
    The Pyramid Texts

    My hypothesis is that the Celtics are from other planets…

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