Sardis, also Sardes (Lydian: Sfard, Greek: Σάρδεις, Persian: Sparda) was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia, one of the important cities of the Persian Empire, the seat of a proconsul under the Roman Empire, and the metropolis of the province Lydia in later Roman and Byzantine times. The earliest reference to Sardis is in the The Persians of Aeschylus (472 BCE).
In Hittite times the city was probably called Uda, while it was called Hyde during the Heraclid dynasty. The Mermnad king Gyges made Sardis the capital of Lydia in 687 BCE, which it remained until Lydia was defeated by the Persians under King Croesus (c. 547 BCE). Sardis then became the capital of the satrapy of Lydia, a division of the Persian empire.
The early Lydian kingdom was advanced in the industrial arts and Sardis was the chief seat of its manufacturers. The most important of these trades was the manufacture and dyeing of delicate woolen textiles and carpets. The stream Pactolus, which flowed through the marketplace, "carried golden sands" in early antiquity, which may have been gold dust (there were gold mines near Sardis), or simply a metaphor for the city's wealth. The city remained a center of commerce and trade throughout antiquity, until Constantinople became the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire.
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