King Sadyattes of Lydia is hardly more than a name - but it is probably the real name of a man who is better known as Candaules or Myrsilus. All names have a special meaning.
- Sadyattes is derived from two Luwian words, sâdu and atta, which means something like 'strong father'. This may have been the honorific title of a ruler, comparable to the Roman pater patriae ('father of the fatherland') and Atatürk ('father of the Turks').
- Candaules is a religious title, probably signifying that the king was protected by a Lydian god, who may or may not be identical to the god known by the Greeks as Hermes.
- Myrsilus is a very ancient name, which had once been used by several kings of the powerful Hittite Empire (Mursili).
We know hardly anything about the reign of Sadyattes, but it is almost certain that he was a local ruler, subject to king Midas of Phrygia. However, in 696/695, he was defeated by the Cimmerians and committed suicide. His capital Gordium was destroyed. Probably, Sadyattes / Candaules / Myrsilus was unable to stand his ground, and was deposed by a military leader, Gyges.
The fall of Sadyattes is the subject of one of the most famous Greek fairy tales, told by Herodotus of Halicarnassus. You can read it here.