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The capital of Lydia, lying under a fortified, precipitous hill in the Hermus valley, near the junction of roads from Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, and inner Anatolia. As the capital of the Lydian kingdom, esp. under Croesus, and later as the headquarters of the principal Persian satrapy (see persia; satrap), it was the political centre of the Lydian dynasty and of Achaemenid Anatolia. Thus Sardis was captured and burned by Ionians in 498 bc (see ionian revolt), and Xerxes mustered his troops there before he crossed the Hellespont. After Alexander 2 the Great, it was controlled first by Antigonus I, and then, from 282, by the Seleucid kingdom. Its geopolitical importance and the Achaemenid heritage led the Seleucids to make Sardis one of the ‘royal capitals’ of their realm.

Subjects: Classical studies

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