Last king of Lydie, of the line of the Mermnades, it is famous for his richnesses and shared his reign between the pleasures, the war and arts. He conquered the Pamphylie, the Mysie and the Phrygie until the Halys.
Its court with Sardes was the appointment of the philosophers and the men of letters: Solon having come to visit there, Crésus showed him with pride its treasures, its palates, believer to dazzle the philosopher and praising his happiness; but Solon was satisfied to say to him: “ let us not call anybody happy before his death. ” Indeed, Crésus does not enjoy its happiness a long time: Atys, his/her single son, was victim of an accident of hunting, killed by the Javeline of Phrygian Adraste; being combined with the Egyptian against Cyrus, it was beaten with the Bataille of Thymbrée, then besieged in Sardes; soon even the city was taken by storm (-548), and Crésus makes captive. It was led in front of Cyrus, which made raise one to rough-hew for burning there. Then, recognizing the truth of what Solon had said to him, he exclaimed: “ O Solon, Solon! ” This word, noticed by Cyrus, saved the life to him: because, as soon as he had explained to the winner what made it speak thus, Cyrus, struck instability of the human things, made it withdraw to rough-hew. It kept it near him and honoured it even with its confidence.
The gold bearing Sable S of the river Pactole ensured a colossal fortune to him, which enabled him to build its legend by generous offerings with the Greek temples . It made in particular rebuild the Temple of Artémis with Éphèse, one of the seven wonders of the world ancient. It made carry to the sanctuary of Delphes an unimaginable quantity of offerings: according to Hérodote, it offered three thousand heads of cattle, the beds covered with gold blades, of the gold cuts, of the clothing dyed of crimson, hundred pure gold bricks, two large basins to mix water and the wine, out of money and gold, forty barrels of money, a statue of its gold baker also, the jewels of his wife and finally a lion all out of gold. This lion made a long time the admiration of the visitors with Delphes. At the time of a fire, it lost half of its weight. The still sizeable remainder was placed in the Treasury of the Lacédémoniens.
Its name remained in the language running with the rich expression “like Crésus”.
Crésus is regarded as one of the richest entities of Antiquity, but is not comparable with the richness of today.
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