The Lydians were a people who lived in the Lydia landscape in western Asia Minor that was named after them , and are associated with an Indo-European origin due to their language . Their language, Lydian , belongs to the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European languages , but also contains elements of pre-Indo-European ancient Anatolian languages.
The rise of Lydian power began with the destruction of the Phrygian Empire in the 7th century BC. Under the royal dynasty of the Mermnaden , who lived around 680 BC. Begins with Gyges , the Lydians extended their empire with the capital Sardis to the east Ionian coast and to the river Halys . The East Ionian cities came under increasing pressure and were partly conquered. The Lydian Empire suffered setbacks up to about 630 BC. But again and again by the Cimmerians who stayed in Asia Minor in the 7th century. So Sardis was conquered by the Cimmerians around 652. Gyges died in the defensive fighting.
At the beginning of the 6th century, the Lydian Empire reached its height under King Alyattes II . A war against the Medes was triggered by the solar eclipse of May 28, 585 BC. BC ended (this date has recently been discussed by ancient historians ). Both sides were so terrified by the natural event that they made peace. From then on the Halys formed the border between Lydians and Medes. To the west of it, Alyattes was able to conquer all regions except Lycia . Lydia was now on an equal footing with the Media, Babylonia and Egypt .
Alyattes' successor, King Kroisos , passed in 547 BC. The Halys and went against the Persians , who had annexed the Meder Empire. According to Herodotus ( I, 53 ) the oracle of Delphi had prophesied Kroisos that he would destroy a great empire if he crossed the Halys. In the (false) belief that this meant the Persian Empire , he attacked the Persians. In 547 Kroisos was defeated by the Persians at Pteria . The Persians invaded the Lydian empire and conquered the capital Sardis in 546. Lydia became a satrapy .
The Lydians are said to have invented minted money in ancient sources. There is clear evidence that the Lydians were in fact the first to use coins minted on both sides. The earliest of their means of payment, which can be regarded as coins, date from the last third of the 7th century BC. Chr.
- Christian Marek : History of Asia Minor in Antiquity. CH Beck, Munich 2010, pp. 152–160 (Chapter: 3.6 The Lydians and the Lydian Empire (approx. 7th / 6th century BC) ), 911 (Index Lydien / Lyder ).