We have to go back to the 6th century BC when Croesus was King of Lydia, which covered all of Asia Minor west of the
to the south. He was the last ruler to oppose Lycia Persia’s
conquest of Asia Minor and their invasion of . Croesus'
opponent was nobody less than the powerful Cyrus
the Great. Greece
While preparing for this mighty confrontation, Croesus consulted the oracle of
know what his chances were. As always, the oracle answered in an ambiguous way
stating that should Croesus
attack the Persians, he would destroy a great empire. He obviously believed
what he wanted to believe (that he would be victorious) but the reality turned
out to be just the opposite and he was defeated by Cyrus
in 546 BC.
According to history, Croesus was the first to issue coins with a standard tenure in gold used for general circulation. However, the coins were made of electrum which was found in the alluvial deposits of the
Pactolus River that ran through Sardes, the capital of . It did
not take local metallurgists too long to discover how to separate gold from
silver and in the process they were able to produce each metal with a high degree
of purity. Lydia
After the Persian victory, gold was adopted by the Achaemenids to become the main currency for their coins, the Daric. The value of the Lydian gold and silver coins was trusted throughout the antique world, making Sardes inevitably one of the richest cities. It is no surprise that Alexander, even one century later, was most determined to conquer Sardes and its precious treasury.
Beside these precious gold/electrum mines,
an important center for manufacturing and dying delicate woolens and carpets. It
makes me wonder whether these were the ancestors of today’s carpet industry in Lydia , who