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(died c. 546 BC) Last king of Lydia, famous for his great wealth. He succeeded his father as king c. 560 BC, and, after completing the conquest of mainland Ionia, he faced the rising threat of the Persians under Cyrus II. He forged an alliance with Babylon, Egypt, and Sparta to combat the Persians, but, after an inconclusive effort to invade Cappadocia, he returned to his capital at Sardis. The Persians pursued him, storming Sardis in 546 BC and conquering Lydia. Croesus's later fate is uncertain. Herodotus claims he was condemned to be burned alive but was saved by Apollo.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Croesus, visit Britannica.com.