/kree"seuhs/, n., pl. Croesuses, Croesi /-suy/ for 2.
1. died 546 B.C., king of Lydia 560-546: noted for his great wealth.
2. a very rich man.

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died с 546 BC

Last king of Lydia, famous for his great wealth.

He succeeded his father as king с 560 BC, and, after completing the conquest of mainland Ionia, he faced the rising threat of the Persians under Cyrus II. He forged an alliance with Babylon, Egypt, and Sparta to combat the Persians, but, after an inconclusive effort to invade Cappadocia, he returned to his capital at Sardis. The Persians pursued him, storming Sardis in 546 BC and conquering Lydia. Croesus's later fate is uncertain. Herodotus claims he was condemned to be burned alive but was saved by Apollo.

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▪ king of Lydia

died c. 546 BC

      last king of Lydia (reigned c. 560–546), who was renowned for his great wealth. He conquered the Greeks of mainland Ionia (on the west coast of Anatolia) and was in turn subjugated by the Persians.

      A member of the Mermnad dynasty, Croesus succeeded to the throne of his father, Alyattes, after a struggle with his half brother. Croesus is said to have acted as viceroy and commander in chief before his father's death. He completed the conquest of mainland Ionia by capturing Ephesus and other cities in western Anatolia. Lack of sea power forced him to form alliances with, rather than conquer, the islanders of Ionia. His wealth was proverbial, and he made a number of rich gifts to the oracle at Delphi.

      After the overthrow of the Median empire by the Persians under the Achaemenian Cyrus II the Great (550), Croesus found himself confronted by the rising power of a Persian empire. The Lydian king formed a coalition with Nabonidus of Babylon, and Egypt and Sparta promised to send troops. Taking the initiative, Croesus invaded Cappadocia, a region of eastern Anatolia. After what was evidently an inconclusive battle at Pteria, he returned to his capital, Sardis, to gather the forces of the confederacy. Cyrus pursued him, caught him completely by surprise, and stormed the city (546).

      Croesus' subsequent fate is recounted in several ancient sources. According to the Greek poet Bacchylides, Croesus tried to burn himself on a funeral pyre but was captured. Herodotus claims that the King, condemned by Cyrus to be burned alive, was saved by the god Apollo and eventually accompanied Cyrus' successor, Cambyses II, to Egypt. The Greek-born Persian doctor Ctesias says Croesus subsequently became attached to the court of Cyrus and received the governorship of Barene in Media.

      One of the most famous tales concerning Croesus is Herodotus' account of the (fictitious) meeting of Croesus with the Athenian lawgiver Solon. Solon was said to have lectured his host on how good fortune, not wealth, was the basis of happiness.

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  • Croesus —    Croesus, the last king of Lydia, reigned from about 560 to 546 B.C. He was reputed to be the wealthiest man in the world, and from this reputation we have the eponym Croesus, meaning an extremely wealthy man. He had subjugated the Ionian… …   Dictionary of eponyms

  • CROESUS — Rex Lydorum, ex Mermnadis, quae Dynastia fuit III. quintus, et ultimus, Alyattae fil. omnium, quos hominum memoria celebrat, ditissimus. Unde etiam hodie, cum immensas opes significare volumus, Craesi Divitias dicim us. Ovid. l. 4. De Ponto, Ep.… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Croesus — Cr[oe] sus (kr[=e] s[u^]s), n. [L., fr. G. Kroi^sos.] A king of Lydia who flourished in the 6th century b. c., and was renowned for his vast wealth; hence, a common appellation for a very rich man; as, he is a veritable Cr[oe]sus. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Croesus — from Latinized form of Gk. Kroisis, 6c. B.C.E. king of Lydia in Asia Minor, famously wealthy; hence rich man or in other allusions to riches, from late 14c …   Etymology dictionary

  • Croesus — ► NOUN ▪ a person of great wealth. ORIGIN from the name of a famously wealthy king of Lydia c.560 546 BC …   English terms dictionary

  • Croesus — Croesus1 [krē′səs] n. [after CROESUS2] a very rich man Croesus2 [krē′səs] fl. 6th cent. B.C.; last king of Lydia (560 546), noted for his great wealth …   English World dictionary

  • Croesus — For the opera, see Croesus (opera). Croesus Receiving Tribute from a Lydian Peasant, by Claude Vignon. Croesus (   …   Wikipedia

  • Croesus — I. noun Etymology: Croesus, king of Lydia, famed for his wealth Date: 1621 a very rich man II. biographical name died circa 546 B.C. king of Lydia (circa 560 546) …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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  • CROESUS —    the last of the kings of Lydia, in the 6th century B.C.; celebrated for his wealth, so that his name became a synonym for a man overwhelmed by the favours of fortune; being visited by Solon, he asked him one day if he knew any one happier than …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

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