1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Alyattes

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

ALYATTES, king of Lydia (609-560 B.C.), the real founder of the Lydian empire, was the son of Sadyattes, of the house of the Mermnadae. For several years he continued the war against Miletus begun by his father, but was obliged to turn his attention to the Medes and Babylonians. On the 28th of May 585, during a battle on the Halys between him and Cyaxares, king of Media, an eclipse of the sun took place; hostilities were suspended, peace concluded, and the Halys fixed as the boundary between the two kingdoms. Alyattes drove the Cimmerii (see Scythia) from Asia, subdued the Carians, and took several Ionian cities (Smyrna, Colophon). He was succeeded by his son Croesus. His tomb still exists on the plateau between lake Gygaea and the river Hermus to the north of Sardis—a large mound of earth with a substructure of huge stones. It was excavated by Spiegelthal in 1854, who found that it covered a large vault of finely-cut marble blocks approached by a flat-roofed passage of the same stone from the south. The sarcophagus and its contents had been removed by early plunderers of the tomb, all that was left being some broken alabaster vases, pottery and charcoal. On the summit of the mound were large phalli of stone.

See A. von Ölfers, “Über die lydischen Königsgräber bei Sardes,” Abh. Berl. Ak., 1858.