Archaic Lydia and the Greeks of Asia Minor: new evidence, new implications

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Seminar on Archaic Lydia and the Greeks of Asia Minor: new evidence, new implications

Speaker: Rosalind Thomas (University of Oxford)

Thursday 16 November 2023, 5pm

Online and In-person event

Registration for in-person or online attendance, please contact Michele Bianconi (



Archaic Lydia before the Persian Conquest tends to be seen through the inevitably hellenising lens of our Greek authors. This obscures the more Anatolian side of Lydia and much else. This paper explores some of the recent archaeological discoveries in Lydian Sardis which prompt a reexamination of much of our other evidence. It will look at the Lydian traditions about the fall of Croesus in Xanthos the historian, and other highly ambiguous traditions in our Greek authors relevant to Lydian power and Lydian-Greek relations. It will also analyse some of the implications of the back-dating of the first (Lydian) coinage for Lydian-Greek relations, tyranny and state-formation.



prof rosalind thomas

Rosalind Thomas is Dyson McGregor Fellow and Jowett Lecturer and Tutor in Ancient History at Balliol College Oxford, and Oxford University. In 2011, she was awarded the title of Professor of Greek History, Oxford University.

She teaches Greek and Roman history. She has written extensively on ancient literacy, particularly Greek literacy and orality, or non-written and performance culture, and on the implications of ancient Greece for wider theories about literacy: Oral Tradition and Written Record in Ancient Athens (CUP 1989) and Literacy and Orality in Ancient Greece (CUP 1992).

From 2001-3, she was a co-director with Prof. Drew Gerstle of workshops on Performance literature within the interdisciplinary SOAS/UCL AHRB Centre for African and Asian literatures; and joined the UNESCO Literacy & Social Development Workshop, in Berlin 1997.

She also has research interests in Greek law and society, the relation of rhetoric and Athenian democracy, Greek relations with Persia and Greek ideas about ‘the barbarian’, and on historiography, mainly Herodotus and Thucydides and most recently the local histories of the Greek city-states. Herodotus in Context: Ethnography, Science and the Art of persuasion (CUP 2000) examines the ‘father of history’ and his ethnographic explorations in the contemporary context of early medical and philosophical thought. Polis Histories, Collective Memories and the Greek World (CUP 2019) investigates the extensive local histories as a cultural & political phenomenon of the Greek world.



For further information, please contact Michele Bianconi ( or Philomen Probert (

Ancient Anatolia Network