Alyattes of Lydia

Alyattes (Greek Αλυάττης Aluáttēs, likely from a Lydian Walwates; reigned c. 610–560 BC), sometimes described as Alyattes I, was the fourth king of the Mermnad dynasty in Lydia, the son of Sadyattes and grandson of Ardys. He was succeeded by his son Croesus. A battle between his forces and those of Cyaxares, king of Media, was interrupted by the solar eclipse of 28 May 584 BC. After this, a truce was agreed and Alyattes married his daughter Aryenis to Astyages, the son of Cyaxares. The alliance preserved Lydia for another generation, during which it enjoyed its most brilliant period. Alyattes continued to wage a war against Miletus for many years but eventually he heeded the Delphic Oracle and rebuilt a temple, dedicated to Athena, which his soldiers had destroyed. He then made peace with Miletus. Alyattes was the first monarch who issued coins, made from electrum (and his successor Croesus was the first to issue gold coins). Alyattes is therefore sometimes mentioned as the originator of coinage, or of currency. The Greek form Αλυάττης is most likely derived from a name with initial digamma, ϝαλυάττης (walwattes), from a Lydian walwet- (Lydian alphabet: 𐤥𐤠𐤩𐤥𐤤𐤯).


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