A kingdom of western Asia Minor and rival to the empires of Mesopotamia until King Croesus was defeated by the Persians in the mid-sixth century BC. Its capital was Sardis and its earlier kings included Midas, who finds a place in Greek mythology. It was rich in gold and famed for luxury and a way of life which was to some degree transmitted to and further developed by the Ionians of the archaic period. Croesus was especially philhellene with gifts to Greek sanctuaries in Ionia and the homeland.
Above: Map of Greece and the Aegean © Beazley Archive, Ian Hiley