Iranian Malek museum in Tehran has a collection of thousands coins from different periods, the earliest of which date back to Lydian king Croesus (564-546 BC), Iranian Cultural Heritage News Agency reported.
The museum has a team of experts who just exhibit around 400 of the coins, while stocking the rest in warehouses.
"In 1996, we chose 400 coins to study; now we have finished reading and translating the inscriptions," said Afkham ul-Sadat Bromand, a coin expert in the museum.
She added the oldest coin in the collection dates from the reign of Croesus and features a cow on its side.
Lydia was situated in the Western part of Asia Minor, on the river Galis, with its main city Sardis. It was first mentioned by Homer already in the 8th century B.C. under the name Maeonia. It was celebrated for fertile soil, rich deposits of gold and silver. Lydia became most powerful under the dynasty of the Mermnadae, beginning about 685 BC. In the 6th century BC Lydian conquests transformed the kingdom into an empire.
Under the rule of King Croesus, Lydia attained its greatest splendor. The empire came to an end, however, when the Persian ruler Cyrus the Great captured Sardis about 546 BC and incorporated Lydia into the Persian Empire. After the defeat of Persia by Alexander III, king of Macedonia, Lydia was brought under Greek - Macedonian control. Soon after that, Lydians were assimilated by Greeks, Greek language and Greek culture, and though Strabo in the 1st century A.D. talks about Lydians as an ethnos, they did not have much of their original language at that moment.
... Payvand News - 8/17/04 ... --