|Around 550 BC, near the beginning of his reign, Croesus paid for the construction of the temple of Artemis at Ephesus, which became one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. |
Although some have claimed that Croesus was largely a legendary figure, his signature at the base of one of the columns of the Temple of Artemis (now on display at the British Museum) is evidence that he was an actual historical king who ruled from the city of Sardis.
Marble column from the Temple of Artemis at Sardis
|Cyrus ordered Croesus to be burned alive. When Croesus saw the flames of the pyre lapping toward him, he called out for aid from Apollo to rescue him and a sudden rain shower broke overhead and put out the fire. Croesus cried out, "O Solon! Solon! Solon!" Cyrus asked a translator what this word meant and Croesus told the story of Solon’s visit, how no man can be counted happy until after his death, and how he was misled by the Oracle at Delphi.|
Cyrus was moved by this story and Croesus was released. He sent him to Delphi for an answer from the gods as to why he was betrayed. The answer came back that the Oracle had spoken only truth - a great empire had, in fact, been destroyed by Croesus – and it was not the fault of the gods if man misinterpreted his words.