Sardes, Or Sardis, an ancient city of Asia Minor, capital of Lydia, in the plain N. of Mount Tmolus, on the river Pactolus near its junction with the Hermus, about 45 m. E. of Smyrna. Ancient writers say the town was named after the god of the sun, and it is conjectured that it is identical with the Homeric Hyde. The early history and traditions of Sardes have been given in the article Lydia. There are but few remains of the magnificent residence of Croesus, in whose time Sardes was one of the richest cities in the world. At the side of a steep hill, on which the walls of the acropolis are still standing, are the ruins of a theatre and other buildings. In the valley are the remains of a gymnasium, or perhaps a basilica, and on the acropolis stand two enormous columns, besides several others lying on the ground, supposed to belong to a temple of Cybele, which Herodotus mentions as having been burned by the revolted Ionians when they took the city in 500 B. C. On the other side of the valley is the necropolis of the Ly-dian kings. Prominent among the tumuli, and the largest of all, is that of Alyattes, which is circular and about 1,140 ft. in diameter.
It was discovered that the tomb had been opened years ago, and the excavations made here in 1868 by G. Dennis showed that most of the tombs in the necropolis had been rifled. A few mud huts in the midst of the ruins constitute the Turkish village of Sart. In the reign of Tiberius Sardes was visited by an earthquake which convulsed the whole face of the country, and reduced it, together with other important cities, to a heap of ruins. It was rebuilt by the aid of Roman benefactions, and it is supposed that either St. Paul or St. John preached here, and founded the church mentioned in the Apocalypse as one of the seven churches of Asia. The Seljuks captured Sardes in the 11th century, and in 1402 it was almost entirely destroyed by Tamerlane.