II. Ancient and Classical Periods, 3500 B.C.E.–500 C.E. > B. Kingdoms of Western Asia and Africa, to 323 B.C.E. > 7. Asia Minor, c. 3000–333 B.C.E. > d. The Phrygians and the Lydians
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  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
 
d. The Phrygians and the Lydians
c. 1200–1000
 
THE PHRYGIAN INVASION. The Indo-European-speaking Phrygians came from Thrace about 1200 and occupied the whole of Asia Minor from the Sea of Marmara to the border of Assyria. They were divided into two groups of tribes, Mushki (biblical Meshech, perhaps the Mysians) and Tabal (biblical Tubal).  1
 
c. 1000–700
 
THE KINGDOM OF PHRYGIA arose in the western part of the central plateau, with its capital at Gordium, not far from modern Ankara. Since the Phrygian inscriptions cannot be read, almost nothing is known of their history. Greek legend speaks of a King Midas of the Phrygians, whose touch turned objects to gold, but, ironically, a royal burial that was discovered unplundered in 1955, while quite elaborate, contained no gold whatsoever. Midas might be the individual called Mita of Mushku mentioned in the inscriptions of Sargon II (c. 715). The Cimmerians invaded Phrygia and devastated the kingdom, but the Phrygian nation remained independent until its conquest by Cyrus in 547 (See 556–530).  2
 
c. 800–685
 
THE LYDIAN KINGDOM. Little is known about the early history of the Lydian kingdom. Its capital Sardis was located on the Magnesia River between the Ionian cities of the coast and Phrygia. Lydia survived the devastation of the Cimmerians c. 695, which destroyed Phrygia. Herodotus relates the story of King Candaules' overthrow by his closest friend and advisor, Gyges.  3
 
685–547
 
THE DYNASTY OF THE MERMNADAE. Gyges (680–652) was the founder of the Mermnadae dynasty and defeated the nomadic Cimmerian tribes, extending the borders of his kingdom. A tablet recording an embassy of Gyges to Ashurbanipal of Assyria survives, but Gyges sent Carian and Ionian mercenaries to aid Psammetichus I in driving the Assyrians out of Egypt (See 664–525). In 652, the Cimmerians renewed their attack on Lydia, and Gyges fell in battle. Gyges' successor Ardys (652–625) overcame the Cimmerian menace and then turned to fight the Greek cities along the coast of Asia Minor. The Lydians invented coinage in the 7th century using electrum, a natural alloy of gold and silver.  4
 
609–560
 
THE REIGN OF ALYATTES. Under Alyattes, the Greek cities of the coast (except Miletus) were conquered. In 590, Alyattes began a war with Cyaxares of Media which lasted for five years. After a battle, which can be dated by a solar eclipse to May 28, 585, a treaty was signed. Alyattes' daughter married Astyages, son of the Median king. The enormous tumulus tomb of Alyattes was described by Herodotus and is still to be seen near the ruins of Sardis.  5
 
560–546
 
THE REIGN OF CROESUS. Croesus brought the Lydian kingdom to its height. He controlled all of Asia Minor west of the Halys except Cilicia and Lycia. Under Croesus, pure gold coins were minted for the first time. In 547, Croesus went to war with Cyrus of Persia (See 556–530) but was completely outmaneuvered. The Persians routed the Lydians in a pitched battle at Sardus, and Croesus was taken prisoner. A Lydian noble named Pactyas took the throne and continued resistance but was defeated.  6
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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