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docia known afterwards as the Kingdom of Pontus, and soon found himself on the borders of

his adversary's country. Croesus, meanwhile, had advanced to meet his antagonist. Several

Cappadocian towns were taken by the Lydians, and the two armies came together in a

district called PTERIA. Here a hard battle was fought, but night came on without decisive

results. On the morrow the Persians did not renew the fight; and Croesus, seeing that with

an inferior force he had held his own in a whole, day's battle against the renowned

warrior of the East, drew the false conclusion that the Persian was overrated, that he

durst not renew the conflict, and that no further hostilities need be expected until the

following spring. For it was already well advanced towards winter. Acting on these

erroneous deductions, the Lydian monarch fell back across the Halys and proceeded, at his

own capital of Sardis, to disband a large part of his troops, trusting to re-collect them

in the spring in time to foil any attempts of his adversary.

Cyrus, it appears, had foreseen precisely the course which the Lydian would take. For

himself he had no thought of allowing the invasion to lag. So, as soon as he was informed

of the policy of the king of the Lydians, he pressed forward, crossed the Halys, and came

with great rapidity into the immediate vicinity of Sardis. Croesus, though surprised, was

not dismayed. He gathered the remnant of his army, mostly native Lydians, and went out to

give the Persians battle. Cyrus had respect enough for his antagonist to act with extreme


The Lydian cavalry was at this time regarded as the best in Western Asia; so, in the

beginning of the battle, which was fought in the valley of the Hermus, but a few miles

from the capital, the Persian king ordered a line of camels to be arranged in that part of

the field where they would be opposed to the Lydian horse. The latter were frightened into

a stampede, but the cavalrymen dismounted and fought on foot, and the whole battle on the

side of the Lydians was pressed with the greatest courage. The Persians, however, gained

ground in every part, and after a very hard conflict the Lydians were driven within the

walls of Sardis. Here Croesus determined to defend himself to the last extreme.

Cyrus at once began a siege;, for the city was walled. The Lydians suffered no great

alarm, deeming the capital impregnable. Their courage was increased by an unsuccessful

assault made by the Persians. Croesus sent messengers to the provincial states of his

kingdom and to Egypt and Babylonia to urge forward contingents and supplies to the end.

that the Persian king might be overwhelmed. After his attack on the ramparts Cyrus

invested the city, and the siege was progressing slowly when an accident brought about

what valor had been unable to accomplish. The citadel, which occupied a part of the

defenses, was built on the native rock, from which in a single place a slope led down with

a comparatively easy descent to the plain outside. A Persian soldier, happening to see a

Lydian whose helmet had fallen over the battlement, descend this slope and return without

difficulty, perceived that he and his companions could do the same, and making a rush up

the slope, gained the citadel, cut down the guards, and laid the city at the mercy of

Cyrus. Sardis fell. Pillage followed. Croesus, about to be slain, was recognized and taken

into the presence of the Persian king. The latter at the first treated his fallen foe with

some severity, but afterwards received him into favor. The captive monarch was taken to

Ecbatana, where be was given a provincial government, or, at any rate, the revenues of a

province for his support. Here, and afterwards at Babylon, he continued to reside for

thirty years, a friend of his conqueror and of his successor, Cambyses. Such was the usage

of the early Persian kings, whose conduct on the score of humanity may be set in happy

contrast with the ferocious blood-thirstiness of contemporary oriental monarchs.

As to the kingdom of Lydia, thus subverted, it was at once annexed to the Persian

dominions. With the capture of the king and capital all resistance ceased, as was usually

the case in Eastern conquests.