King Of Lydia Croesus, succeeded to the throne before the middle of the 6th century B. C. Writers of high repute, however, conjecture that he had already been for 15 years associated in the government with his father Alyattes, and that many of the events recorded by Herodotus as belonging to his reign are to be referred to this period of joint government. This view is rejected by Rawlinson, according to whom his reign extended from 568 to 554. He ascended the throne in a time of peace and prosperity; he was the heir to untold treasures; success crowned all his early efforts; he subdued the Greek cities on the coast of Asia Minor, formed an alliance with the Grecian islands, and extended his conquests toward the east to the river Halys. He was now a mighty monarch, ruling over 13 nations, and in alliance with the powerful rulers of Media, Babylon, and Egypt; the vast wealth which he had inherited had been increased by the tribute of conquered countries, by the confiscation of great estates, and by the golden sands of the Pacto-lus. We may perhaps form some idea of the extent of this wealth from the votive offerings which he deposited in the temples.
Herodotus saw the ingots of solid gold, six palms long, three broad, and one deep, which to the number of 117 were laid up in the treasury at Delphi. He also beheld in various parts of Greece other rich offerings, all in gold, which had been deposited in the temples by the same opulent monarch; among them a figure of a lion, probably of the natural size; a wine bowl of about the same weight as the lion; a lustral vase; and a statue of a female, said to be Croesus's baking woman, three cubits high. But in the midst of all his wealth and prosperity, Croesus began to be alarmed at the rapid conquests of Cyrus; and when at length he saw the Median power fall before the Persian arms, he resolved to avenge his brother-in-law Astyages, the dethroned king of Media. He accordingly crossed the Halys, and offered battle to the Persians, but after an indecisive engagement returned to Sardis. Cyrus pursued him, took the city, and made him his prisoner. Croesus was condemned to be burned alive, but was finally spared, and became the confidential adviser of his conqueror, and afterward of his son Cambyses. Rawlinson regards the narrative of the life of Croesus as largely mythical.