231 MEDIA.-CIVIL AND MILITARY ANNALS.
merians, spreading terror and ruin through the country. Gyges, having first sought and obtained the help of the Assyrians, gave battle to the invaders, and inflicted a decisive blow. Of the routed Cimmerians many were killed and many taken prisoners, of whom not a few were sent as a present to Asshur-Bani-Pal at Nineveh. In a second war with the same rude and turbulent race fortune completely forsook the banners of the king. He himself was slain in a great battle, and the people and soldiery were obliged to seek refuge in the walled towns. Fascinated by the fabulous wealth of Sardis, the barbarians besieged the city and succeeded in breaking in and reducing everything to ruin. Only the citadel held out against the vengeance of the furious men of the North.
A period of prostration followed this overthrow. The Asiatic Greeks dependent on Lydia recovered their freedom. The emancipation of the coast cities, however, was but of brief duration, for in the next reign after that of Gyges the Lydians had already sufficiently recovered from the Cimmerian ravages to continue and main- tain their conquests in the extreme west of Asia Minor. The cities of Smyrna and Miletus were taken, and the territory of Clazomenae devastated in a successful campaign conducted by the Lydian king.
After Gyges the most distinguished ruler of Lydia was his great grandson, ALYATTES. This monarch undertook the work of expelling the Cimmerians and their descendants from the kingdom. Large districts were almost exclusively inhabited by this people. Contact with civilization had somewhat modified their warlike habits, but they were still sufficiently vengeful to be an object of terror as well as of aversion. To expel these Intruders at once and forever was not an easy task. Alyattes succeeded in clearing not only his own kingdom, but all Asia Minor of the scourge that had so long threatened and lashed the nations of Western Asia. Lydia, Bithynia, Paphlagonia, Phrygia, and Cilicia were all freed from the terror which had oppressed them. A great cause of the prosperity and
wealth of the Lydian kingdom was the natural fertility of the country. No other of all Asia Minor had so rich a soil. Not only was this true of the field and glebe and orchard, but the sands also yielded their treasure. The bed of the Pactolus, flowing through the capital, glittered with gold. In this fact is founded the well authenticated claim of the Lydians to be regarded as the inventors of coined money. They were a frank and merry people, having great sociability and not a little artistic taste. They were musicians, having many peculiar instruments on which they produced sweet and plaintive melodies. In the active sports and in the discipline of war they were second only to the Assyrians and Medes. In the management of the horse they greatly excelled. The cavalry wing was an important branch of the Lydian army, and long before the time of Alyattes the cavalrymen of the service numbered thirty thousand.
After the Battle of the Eclipse, Western Asia presented three great kingdoms: Media, Babylonia, Lydia-all at peace. The princes and princesses of the three powers were inter- married, and the affinities thus established, strengthened by treaty stipulations, furnished strong bonds of amity. Aryenis, the daughter of Alyattes and sister of Croesus, was married to Astyages, the crown prince of Media; and Amyitis, the sister of Astyages, was wedded to Nebuchadnezzar, the heir apparent to the throne of Babylonia. Nor were the royal brothers-in-law in such proximity of territory as to be much vexed with each other's minor movements and ambitions. Ecbatana, Babylon, and Sardis stood well apart, and opportunity was thus given to the members of the three royal houses to love and admire each other-at a distance.
Thus, after the crisis ofB. C. 610, a half century of peace elapsed. The previous times had been filled with turbulence and bloodshed. For more than five hundred years there had not been such an epoch of quiet as that which followed the treaty between Cyaxares and Alyattes. All three of the monarchies grew strong, prospered, flourished. Even th dependent prov-