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Lydia - Region 9

Map of ancient Asia MinorMap of ancient Lydia

Cities / Mints

1 - Akrasos (Acrasus)
2 - Aninetos (Aninetus)
3 - Apollonis
4 - Apollonoshieron
5 - Attaleia (Attalea)
6 - Bageis (Bagis)
7 - Blaundos (Blaundus)
8 - Daldis
9 - Dioshieron
10 - Germe
11 - Gordos-Iulia (Gordus-Julia)
12 - Hermokapeleia (Hermocapelia)
13 - Hierokaisareia (Hierocaesaria)
14 - Hypaipa (Hypaepa)
15 - Hyrkaneis (Hyrcanis)
16 - The Kaystrianoi (Caystriani)
17 - Kilbianoi Inferiores (Nikaia) (Cilbiani Minor, Nicaea)
18 - Kilbianoi Superiores (Cilbiani Major)
19 - Klannudda (Clannudda)
20 - Magnesia ad Sipylos (Sipylum)
21 - Maionia (Maeonia)
22 - Mastaura
23 - Mostene
24 - Nakrasa (Nacrasa)
25 - Nysa


 

26 - Philadelphia
27 - Saitta
28 - Sala
29 - Sardeis (Sardis, Sardes)
30 - Silandos (Silandus)
31 - Stratonikeia (Stratonicaea)
32 - Tabala
33 - Thyateira (Thyatera, Thyatira)
34 - Tmolos-Aureliopolis (Tmolus)
35 - Tomaris
36 - Tralleis
37 - Tripolis

38 - Lydia Uncertain

Kings

- Valvel or Walwet
- Alyattes II
- Kroisos (Croesus)

39 - Kings of Lydia

Eras
 
Archaic
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Classical

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Hellenistic
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Roman
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Historical

Lydia was situated in the Western part of Asia Minor on the river Galis with its main city Sardis. It was first mentioned by Homer in the 8th century BC under the name Maeonia. It was celebrated for fertile soil and rich deposits of gold and silver. Lydia became most powerful under the dynasty of the Mermnadae [royal family to rule Lydia to the time of Cyrus]. In the 6th century BC, Lydian conquests transformed the kingdom into an empire. Under the rule of King Kroisos (Croesus), Lydia attained its greatest splendor. The empire came to an end, however, when the Persian ruler Cyrus the Great captured Sardeis about 546 BC and incorporated Lydia into the Persian Empire.

In the first decade of the fifth century, Lydia was a frontier area, because the Greeks on the Asian west coast - or Yaunâ, as the Persians called them - revolted in 499 BC and sacked the lower city of Sardeis. They held out for five years but the resurrection was eventually suppressed. Artaphernes surprised the Greek world by his lenient treatment of the defeated rebels, although it seems that rich Persian landlords took over many country estates. From then on, many Iranians were living in Lydia, and there are indications of worship of eastern gods (e.g., Anahita) and "persification" of Lydian deities.

In 440 BC, the satrap Pissuthnes unsucessfully tried to reconquer Samos, which had revolted against Athens. When Athens was involved in the Peloponnesian war against Sparta (431-404 BC), Pissuthnes tried to expand his influence among the Ionians by supporting almost every rebel in the Athenian empire (e.g., Kolophon, Lesbos). In 420 BC, Pissuthnes revolted against king Darios II Nothus. The king sent a nobleman named Tissaphernes to Lydia, who arrested, executed, and succeed the satrap in ca. 415 BC. Later, Darios sent his younger son Cyrus to govern Lydia; Tissaphernes, although demoted, remained loyal, and was able to regain his position later when Cyrus unsuccessfully revolted.

As Sparta had defeated Athens, and as leader of the Greek world, it felt it had to intervene in Asia. Tissaphernes overcame the invasion of Thibron (399 BC), but was defeated at Sardeis by the Spartan king Agesilaos. The satrap was executed and replaced by Tiribazos, who restored order in Lydia and was responsible for the first of a series of treaties between the Persian king and the Greek city states, the so-called King's Peace of 387/386 BC. The next satrap we know of is Autophradates, who was the great king's loyal supporter during the series of revolts, started in 370 BC by Datames of Kappadokia and continued by Ariobarzanes of Hellespontine Phrygia and Orontes of Mysia (367-360 BC).

The last satrap of Lydia was Spithridates, who was killed by the Makedonian conqueror Alexander the Great in the battle at the Granikos (spring 334 BC). In the early summer, Sardeis surrendered. From then on, Lydia was to be ruled by Greek-speaking governors, first as part of the empire of Alexander, then controlled by Antigonos Monophthalmos, after 301 BC by Lysimachos, from 281 to 190 BC as province of the Seleukid Empire. Often, they did direct business with the cities, and as an administrative unit Lydia became obsolete. King Seleukos I, founded Thyateira, his son Antiochos I founded Stratonikeia, and Antiochos III resettled 2,000 Jewish families from Babylonia to Lydia. The Greek language spread across the country, many buildings were rebuilt according to Greek archaeological designs, and many towns invented myths to prove they had been founded by Greek heroes like Herakles or warriors from the Trojan war.

When the Romans defeated the Seleukid king Antiochos III, they first gave Lydia to their ally, the kingdom of Pergamon, and then added it to their own empire in 133 BC. From then on, Lydia was officially known as the Roman province of Asia. [Based on article by Jona Lendering - Livius.org]

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