Portrait of a Lydian man
I: last king of the Heraclid dynasty of Lydia,
succeeded in c.680 BCE by Gyges,
the founder of the Mermnad
dynasty. Also known as Candaules and Myrsilus.
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.
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.
Sadyattes is derived from two Luwian words, sâdu and
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 (Mursilis).
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.