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Reference: Sardis


SARDIS was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia on the western coast of Asia Minor, and in the 6th cent. b.c. one of the most powerful cities of the world. It stood on one of the alluvial hills between Mount Tmolus and the sea, about 1500 feet above and south of the great plain of the river Hermus, and was inaccessible except by a neck of land on the south. The date of its foundation must be about b.c. 1200, and the situation was ideal for an early fortified capital of a kingdom. As time advanced, extension was necessary, and a lower city was built on the west and north sides of the original city, near the little river Pactolus, and probably also on the east side. The older city now acted as acropolis, or citadel, for the later. This rich Oriental city, whose wealth depended on well-cultivated land and incessant commerce, was for centuries to the Greek the type of an Oriental despotism, under which all must sooner or later bend. Its absorption was not without its effects on the conquerors, and Sardis became the home of a newer Hellenism, different from the old.


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