Mermnad dynasty

Mermnad dynasty: name of the royal family of ancient Lydia after c.680 BCE.

Lydian stater. Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara (Turkey)
Lydian stater.

During the reigns of the five Mermnad kings, the Greeks of Asia Minor and many other nations were subdued.

They kept all the people west of the Halys in subjection - Lydians, Phrygians, Mysians, Mariandynians, Chalybians, Paphlagonians, Thracians (both Thynian and Bithynian), Carians, Ionians, Dorians, Aeolians, and Pamphylians. When all these nations had been added to the Lydian empire and Sardes was at the height of her wealth and prosperity, all teachers of that epoch, one after another, paid visits to the capital. [Herodotus, Histories 1.28]
The citadel of Sardes, seen fronm the west
The citadel of Sardes, seen from the west

One of the sources of their power was the presence of gold dust in the river Pactolus, which the Mermnad king used to mint coins. Coinage is, in fact, their main legacy. The last king of this dynasty, Croesus, was in c.547 defeated near his capital Sardes and killed by the Achaemenid king Cyrus the Great, who integrated the Lydian realms in the Persian empire. Sardes, however, remained one of the most important cultural centers of the Mediterranean world.

Gyges ca. 680 - 644
Ardys 644 - ca.625
Sadyattes II ca.625 - ca.600
Alyattes ca.600-ca.560
Croesus ca.560-ca.547

The main source for the history of the Mermnad dynasty is the first book of Histories by the Greek researcher Herodotus of Halicarnassus (fifth century BCE). It should be stressed, however, that he focuses not on the history of Lydia, but on the relation between the Memnad kings and the Greek towns in the west.

This page was created in 2000; last modified on 18 August 2017.