Sardis: A First Millennium B.C.E. Capital in Western Anatolia

Crawford H. Greenewalt

in The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Anatolia

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780195376142
Published online November 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199940127 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Sardis: A First Millennium B.C.E. Capital in Western Anatolia

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This article discusses findings from excavations at Sardis. Settlement at Sardis has existed for three-and-a-half millennia, from ca. 1500 BCE to the present; it may have existed even earlier, in the third millennium BCE (perhaps even before that). During its long existence, the settlement hosted many cultures: western Anatolian, Lydian, Persian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Turkish. Contemporaneous cultures typically merged (e.g., Anatolian and Greek, Byzantine and Turkish), and earlier cultural traditions affected later ones. In the first half of the first millennium BCE, Sardis was the capital of an independent state created by the Lydians, a western Anatolian people who inhabited valleys of the Hermus, Kayster, and Maeander Rivers and adjacent highlands and mountains, and who had distinctive cultural traditions; the Lydian language, an Anatolian sub-branch of Indo-European, is known from a relatively small number of alphabetic texts. The nature and extent of settlement has fluctuated between the extremes of a large prosperous city and a modest hamlet or group of hamlets, sometimes coexisting with transhumant populations. From the seventh century BCE to the seventh century CE, Sardis was a large city of major political and cultural importance, occupying at maximum extent an estimated 200 ha of land.

Keywords: excavations; archaeological sites; major cities; settlements

Article.  6864 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology of the Near East

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