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Croesus (krēˈsəs) [key], d. c.547 B.C., king of Lydia (560–c.547 B.C.), noted for his great wealth. He was the son of Alyattes. He continued his father's policy of conquering the Ionian cities of Asia Minor, but on the whole he was friendly to the Greeks, and he is supposed to have given refuge to the Athenian statesman Solon. Threatened by Cyrus the Great of Persia, Croesus allied himself with Amasis II of Egypt and Nabonidus of Babylonia against the Persian might, but the alliance was of no avail. Cyrus defeated and captured Croesus, and, according to Herodotus, Croesus cast himself upon a funeral pyre.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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