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ancient country, W Asia Minor, N of Caria and S of Mysia (now NW Turkey). The tyrant Gyges was the founder of the Mermnadae dynasty, which lasted from c.700 B.C. to 550 B.C. The little kingdom grew to an empire in the chaos that had been left after the fall of the Neo-Hittite kingdom. Lydia was proverbially golden with wealth, and the capital, SardisSardis
or Sardes
, ancient city of Lydia, W Asia Minor, at the foot of Mt. Tmolus, 35 mi (56 km) NE of the modern Izmir, Turkey. As capital of Lydia, it was the political and cultural center of Asia Minor from 650 B.C. until the death of Croesus (c.547 B.C.).
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, was magnificent. To Lydian rulers is ascribed the first use of coined money in the 7th cent. B.C. Lydia had close ties with the Greek cities of Asia, which were for a time within the Lydian empire. Cyrus the GreatCyrus the Great
, d. 529 B.C., king of Persia, founder of the greatness of the Achaemenids and of the Persian Empire. According to Herodotus, he was the son of an Iranian noble, the elder Cambyses, and a Median princess, daughter of Astyages.
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 of Persia defeated (c.546 B.C.) CroesusCroesus
, d. c.547 B.C., king of Lydia (560–c.547 B.C.), noted for his great wealth. He was the son of Alyattes. He continued his father's policy of conquering the Ionian cities of Asia Minor, but on the whole he was friendly to the Greeks, and he is supposed to have given
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, Lydia's last ruler, and Lydia was absorbed into the Persian Empire.


(lĭd`ēə), in the New Testament, Christian convert at whose house in Philippi Paul stayed. She was from Thyatira.



an ancient country in western Asia Minor in the fertile Hermus River valley.

The territory of Lydia was populated by the Indo-European tribes of Lydians, who spoke one of the Hittite-Luwian languages and who had a written alphabet that was used from the seventh to fourth centuries B. C. Lydia was rich in gold deposits, and it was there that at around the seventh century B.C. the first coins in human history were minted. Lydia was famous for its jewelery, weaving, and leather production. Its geographical location helped it to develop foreign trade relations.

At the beginning of the first millennium B. C., Lydia became part of Phrygia. In the early seventh century B.C. it became an independent state with its capital at Sardis. Invasion by Cimmerians and Thracians apparently caused a change of dynasties in Lydia. (According to Greek tradition, the Heraclid dynasty ruled in Lydia from the 12th century. In the early seventh century B. C., the Mermnad dynasty began to rule; their first kings conquered the Greek cities of Asia Minor.) During the reign of Croesus, Lydia’s power extended to nearly all of the peninsula of Asia Minor except the southern regions. In 546 B. C., Lydia was seized by the Persian king Cyrus II. In the fourth century B. C. it became part of the realm of Alexander the Great. During the third and second centuries B. C., Lydia was part of the state of the Seleucids and then of the state of Pergamum. In 133 B. C., Lydia became part of the Roman province of Asia.


Shevoroshkin, V. V. Lidiiskii iazyk. Moscow, 1967.
Gusmani, R. Lydisches Wõrterbuch. Heidelberg, 1964. Pages 17–48.


an ancient region on the coast of W Asia Minor: a powerful kingdom in the century and a half before the Persian conquest (546 bc). Chief town: Sardis
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