Maybe you have heard of a saying “as rich as Caesar”?! The original saying actually is “as rich as Croesus”, - it has been ever since ancient times.
Often nowadays people use Caesar’s name instead of Croesus, possibly because it is much harder to pronounce, and it is less recognizable.
King Croesus was the last king of Lydia (560 – 546 B.C.E).
Greatly due to his conquests and trade practices, Croesus was revered by many of his contemporaries as the wealthiest man on earth. Historically, the legend of the immenseness of his wealth is shadowed only by his merit in issuing the first standard purity gold coin - used in general circulation. The coin itself was a crude mix, so called electrum, which is a naturally occurring pallid yellow alloy of silver and gold. It has been also produced artificially during history. Lydian’s and other ancient people referred to it as “white gold”, as opposed to “refined gold”. In 546 B.C.E Croesus was defeated and captured by Persians, who then adopted gold as the predominant metal in their coins.
|Croesus gold coin|
Although Croesus had subjugated the Ionian city-states, he was friendly to the Greeks, making salient and grand offerings to their oracles.
Herodotus, (ancient Hellenic historian), is in large responsible for the legendary stories involving this Lydian king. According to one, the Athenian Solon once advised Croesus that no man could be deemed happy, despite his riches, until he finished his life happily. Later, after Croesus had already been defeated by Persian ruler Cyrus the II, and sentenced to be burned alive, he allegedly cried out Solon’s name three times from the burning pyre. Cyrus, moved by king’s explanation, sympathetically spared his captive’s life, just to become his friend and ally later on. The myth, however, is chronologically impossible, and it is only one of the legends relating to this very real Midas.
|Croesus on Pyre|