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Lydia

From Academic Kids

Lydia was an ancient kingdom of Asia Minor, known to Homer as M毮ia. Its principal city was Sardis.

The boundaries of Lydia varied across the centuries. It was first bounded by Mysia Major, Caria, Phrygia and Ionia. Later on, the military power of Alyattes and Croesus expanded Lydia into an empire, with its capital at Sardis, which controlled all Asia Minor west of the River Halys, except Lycia. Lydia never again shrank back into its original dimensions. After the Persian conquest the Maeander was regarded as its southern boundary, and under Rome, Lydia comprised the country between Mysia and Caria on the one side and Phrygia and the Aegean on the other.

The name of Croesus of Lydia became synonymous with wealth. Lydia was one of the first countries to mint coins (circa 650 BC), and Sardis was renowned as a beautiful city. Croesus was beaten by Cyrus in 548 BC, and the kingdom became a province of the Persian Empire.

Homer speaks only of Maeonians (Iliad ii. 865, V. 43, 11. 431), and their city Hyde the place of the Lydian capital Sardis is taken by Hyde (Ii. xx. 385), unless this was the name of the district in which Sardis stood (see Straho xiii. p. 626).

When Herodotus (i. 7), tells that the "Meiones" (called Maeones by other writers) were named Lydians after Lydus, the son of Attis, in the mythical epoch which preceded the rise of the Heracleid dynasty, we may be able to identify a kernel of social history in the purely conventional guise of such an eponym descended from a god. Straightforward deconstruction reveals a social upheaval, perhaps in the early 1st millennium BC (perhaps even after the age of Homer) in which the cult of Attis, the consort of Cybele, the Great Goddess of Anatolia, was introduced among the Maeones by a new dynasty.

Some Maeones still existed in historical times inhabiting the upland interior along the River Hermus, where a town called Maeonia existed, according to Pliny (Natural History book v:30) and Hierocles.

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