Pactolus (Sart Çayı)

Pactolus: little river in western Turkey (modern Sart Çayı), famous because it contained gold.

Pactolus
Pactolus

The river Pactolus has become famous because it carries down gold dust from Mount Tmolus. The Lydian kings, whose capital Sardes was directly east of the Pactolus, were the first to use the gold dust of this river to strike coins. Their wealth was proverbal, and we still have the expression that someone is "as rich as Croesus", the famous last king of Lydia (c.560-c.547).

Writing at the beginning of our era, the Roman poet Ovid records an ancient myth in which the presence of gold in the Pactolus is explained from the fact that the Phrygian king Midas, who converted everything he touched into gold, but had forgotten that he would starve from hunger because he could not eat his golden food, had washed himself in the river to get rid of his curse.note

The Pactolus
The Pactolus

According to the Greek geographer Strabo, a contemporary of Ovid, the amount of gold dust had in his age become lower than ever.note Today, you will no longer find gold diggers near the Pactolus.

This page was created in 2004; last modified on 15 August 2015.