560–547 BC

Croesus was the last king of Lydia of the Mermnadae dynasty, which had ruled much of Asia minor since 680 B.C. The father of Croesus was Alyattes, and during his reign (609-560 B.C.), Lydia conquered many of the Greek cities on the Ionian coast, and made them pay tribute. As a consequence of this, and also the discover of some gold and silver mines in Asia Minor, they kingdom of Lydia became very rich. Croesus inherited this wealth, and continued his father's policy of conquest until virtually all of Asia Minor was subdued. He developed a friendly relationship with the Greeks however, and generously contributed to some of their temples.

When Cyrus of Persia conquered the kingdom of Medes, whose king Astyages was an ally of Lydia, Croesus began to prepare for war against Persia. He made alliances with Egypt, Babylon and Sparta for the defense of Lydia, and he consulted with the Oracle at Delphi. The first battle of the war with Cyrus inconclusive, but when Croesus returned to Sardis for the winter, the Army of Cyrus followed him, and unexpected besieged and conquered the city. Instead of killing Croesus, however, Cyrus made him an advisor and confidant, and Croesus spent the rest of his life at the court of the Persian King.

Key events during the life of Croesus:

560 BC
Croesus inherited throne of Lydia, on the death of his father Alyattes.
  Captured Ephesus, Miletus, and other cities on the West coast of Asia Minor.
  Legendary visit with Solon.
549 BC
Cyrus the great overthrows the kingdom of Medes, an ally of Lydia.
548 BC
Croesus makes alliances with Amasis II of Egypt and Nabonidos of Babylon.
547 BC
Croesus consults Oracle at Delphi regarding War with Persia.
546 BC
Croesus is besieged in Sardis, and overcome by Cyrus the Great.
  Croesus becomes a minister and advisor to Cyrus the Great.
529 BC
Croesus advises Cyrus regarding his ill-fated Campaign in Scythia.
523 BC
Cambyses, successor of Cyrus, orders the execution of Croesus, but recants.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Croesus  in  Cyrus the Great  by  Jacob Abbott
End of Cambyses  in  Darius the Great  by  Jacob Abbott
Story of King Croesus  in  Stories of the East From Herodotus  by  Alfred J. Church
Solon Frees the Slaves  in  The Story of Greece  by  Mary Macgregor
Fortune of Croesus  in  Historical Tales: Greek  by  Charles Morris
The Richest King  in  Stories of the Ancient Greeks  by  Charles D. Shaw

Image Links

Croesus on the Funeral Pile
 in Stories of the East From Herodotus

Croesus on the Funeral Pyre
 in Greatest Nations - Greece

Short Biography
Cyrus the Great Prince of Persia who overran Medes, Lydia and Assyria to create the Persian Empire.
Astyages King of Medes, who was overthrown by his grandson Cyrus the Great.
Solon Rewrote the laws of Athens to better protect poor citizens from the rich.
Amasis II Second to last king of Egypt, died before Egypt was overrun by Cambyses.
Aesop Famous Greek Fablist, alledgedly lived at the court of Croesus in Lydia.
Tomyris Queen of the Scythians. Her army defeated and killed Cyrus the Great.
Alyattes King of Lydia who expanded the power and wealth of the kingdom. Father of Croesus.