PRETI, Mattia
(b. 1613, Taverna Calabria, d. 1699, La Valletta)

Queen Tomyris Receiving the Head of Cyrus, King of Persia

Oil on canvas, 181 x 129 cm
Private collection

Tomyris was the queen of nomadic people Massagetae in central Asia in ancient times. According to Herodotus (1:214), Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Persian empire, met his death in battle against her. The painting depicts Tomyris submerging the severed head of Cyrus, King of Persia, in a basin of human blood, having repulsed his invasion of her lands in a violent battle in 530 B.C.