Lydia: Where The First Coins Were Minted


This article will cover where some of the first coins were minted. The article will cover Lydian culture, Lydia’s capital Sardis, King Croesus, and Lydian coins.


Lydia was a kingdom in the area today known as modern Turkey. It reached its peak sometime during the Iron age. Similar to other kingdoms at the time, Lydia’s borders grew, shrank, and changed throughout its existence. Unfortunately, Lydia’s early history and borders have been lost to history due to the lack of records.

Lydia existed as an independent state starting in 1200 BCE and lasted until 546 BCE. It was a powerful kingdom and imposed itself on its Ionian Neighbours. However, everything ended in 546 BCE when Lydia became a province of the Achaemenid Empire.


Lydian Culture

Very little is known about Lydian Mythology. This comes mostly from the lack of written sources relaying Lydia’s Mythology. However, it is thought that Lydian mythology was extremely similar to greek mythology. Many contemporary greek Historians, such as Homer and Herodotus, visited and/or wrote about Lydia and Lydian culture.

The Lydian language is included within the Indo – European languages. We understand the grammar of the Lydian language but do not know the meaning of many of the words that have been found within the surviving written records.


The Lydian Capital Sardis

Sardis was the capital city of Lydia. Most of the original structures were destroyed when Cyrus the Great laid siege to the city. While nothing of the early settlements remains, it is thought that Sardis was founded sometime around 1500 BCE, and today it’s considered an important archaeological site by many archaeologists.

Throughout its time, it was both a wealthy city and a struggling city. Lydia’s exact full layout is still unknown. It is thought that Sardis covered around 108 Hectares— and many of the buildings that archaeologists have found match Herodotus’s description of the city.

Lydian culture and capital sardis. first coins minted
Aerial view with drone; Sardes (Sardis) Ancient City which has gymnasium and synagogue ruins and columns in Manisa, Turkey.

King Croesus

Croesus was the last king of an independent Lydia. At the end of his 14-year reign in 546 BCE, Lydia was conquered by Cyrus The Great, which led to Lydia being brought into the Achaemenid Empire. There is no written record of the fate of Croesus after the conquest of Lydia.

Lydian Coin Minting

After Cyrus The Great conquered Lydia, he allowed the minting of coins to continue. Lydia is known for minting some of the first coins in human history. These were different from the silver and gold bullion bars used in trade previously. The Lydians began minting coins, first out of natural Electrum. Lydian coinage was important in influencing Greek coinage, which in turn would influence Phoenician and Roman coinage.

Lydian coins were eventually made predominantly out of silver and are among the oldest coins somebody can collect and carry a heavy premium.

The oldest Lydian coins date back to the 7th century BCE. Herodotus wrote that the Lydians were also the first to establish stores in permanent locations, creating the first marketplaces.


Lydian Coins

Lydia coins are extremely popular amongst collectors. We recommend if you are looking to buy one, then try to find one that has been certified by a major coin grader. We include ant Lydian coins we get in stock under our Ancient Greek Coins. Below is a link to all of the ancient Greek coins we currently have in stock.


Published by Invest in History Co.

We specialize in high-quality gold and silver coins. Focusing on Middle East, Eastern European, and Ancient coins. We carry Roman, Greek, Parthian, Phoenician, Celtic, Byzantine, Russian, Jewish, Islamic, and many other culture's coins.

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