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The inhabitants of a small kingdom in western Turkey that flourished early in the 1st millennium bc. The capital at Sardis became rich as a result of exploiting gold in the nearby Pactolus River, and by the 7th century bc it was an important trading post en route between the Aegean and the oriental civilizations in India and China. Overrun by the Cimmerians for a while in the mid 7th century bc, the Lydians bounced back to become strong again. In addition to being very fine masons and architects, they were the first people to create a coin‐based currency. This innovation was subsequently adopted by both the Greeks and the Persians. Lydia flourished until the mid 6th century when, during the reign of King Croesus, they were overcome by the Achaemenids. Sardis later became the western capital of the Persian Empire, linked to Susa by a royal road.

Subjects: Archaeology.

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