List of kings of Lydia

List of kings of Lydia

This page lists the kings of Lydia, an ancient kingdom in western Anatolia. The Greeks of Homer's time knew Lydia as Maeonia, which was probably an earlier name for the country. Three dynasties are mentioned by the ancient sources; the first is entirely mythical, the second begins with myth but is partly historical, and the third is entirely real.


  • Atyads (Tantalids) 1
  • Tylonids (Heraclids) 2
  • Mermnads 3
  • References 4

Atyads (Tantalids)

Herodotus gives Manes as the eponymous first king of Maeonia, with a son named Atys (Atyllus). Other sources, such as Strabo, name Tmolus and his son Tantalus as kings of the region at the same time, ruling from Sipylus. Since Omphale is a member of both these families, it is conjectured that they are identical.[1][2][3]

  • Omphale (widow of Tmolus, after whom she controlled the kingdom. The reign was assumed by the Tylonids or Heraclids through her)
  • Tantalus (son of Zeus and Plouto, stepson of Tmolus; according to myth he sacrificed his son Pelops for a feast for the gods and was punished for doing so).[4]
  • (Tantalus) (son of Broteas, married Clytemnestra but never reigned in Lydia).

Tylonids (Heraclids)

Usurping the throne, this semi-legendary dynasty, which established its capital at Sardis, comprised 22 kings reigning for 505 years, according to Herodotus. They were descended from a liaison between Omphale and the mythical hero Heracles (known as Tylon to the Lydians). The kingdom came to be called Lydia after the last king of the previous dynasty.[1]

  • Agron 1221–? BC (son of Ninus, son of Belus, son of Alcaeus, son of Heracles and Omphale)
  • (17 kings, names unknown, all succeeding father to son)
  • Ardys I (Ardysus I) 795–759 BC (son of predecessor)
  • Alyattes I 759–745 BC (son of Ardys I)
  • Meles (Myrsus) 745–733 BC (son of Alyattes I)
  • Candaules (Myrsilus) 733–716 BC (son of Meles, murdered by Gyges)


Although this dynasty is historical, the dates for it have never been determined with certainty. The traditional dates are derived from Herodotus, who gives reign-lengths for each king; but these have been questioned by modern scholars on the basis of synchronisms with Assyrian history. Both versions are given here (with the modern estimates in brackets).[5][6][7]

  • Gyges (Guges) 716–678 BC (or c. 680 – 644) (husband of Candaules's widow)
  • Ardys II (Ardysus II) 678–629 BC (or 644 – c. 625) (son of Gyges)
  • Sadyattes 629–617 BC (or c. 625 – c. 600) (son of Ardys II)
  • Alyattes II 617–560 BC (or c. 600–560) (son of Sadyattes)
  • Croesus (Kroisos) 560–546 BC (or 560, 547) (son of Alyattes II)

Croesus was defeated by Cyrus the Great at the battles of Pteria and Thymbra. He completely annexed Lydia after the Siege of Sardis.


  1. ^ a b Greek Mythology Link: Croesus
  2. ^ Greek Mythology Link: Tantalus
  3. ^ Theoi Project Guide to Greek Mythology: Plouto
  4. ^ Herodotus. Histories, 1.7.
  5. ^ Compendium of World History: Homer and the Lydian Kings
  6. ^ Encyclopaedia of the Orient: Lydia
  7. ^ Livius Articles on Ancient History: Mermnad dynasty