The Medes expanded their domain at the expense of Anatolian kingdoms, culminating in the Battle of the Eclipse on 28 May 585 BC with the
Lydians. The eclipse (first contact, 18h 10m local time; maximum eclipse, 90% total, 19h 02m, just before sunset; last contact 19h 52m, after sunset), supposedly predicted by the philosopher Thales, ended the battle and the war. The balance of power between Media, Babylonian, Lydia, and Egypt was generally maintained until a new king came to the throne of Persia, a vassal of Media, in 559.
|KINGS OF LYDIA
|Battle of the Eclipse, 585
KINGS OF PHRYGIA
Overrun by Cimmerians, annexed by Lydia, 695-626
Lydia entering the scene of Great Power conflict brings Western Anatolia back on the stage of history, for the first time since the fall of the
Hittites. Lydia itself has a long legendary history, supposedly dating back to
Herakles, but it is not dateable until the time of Gyges. One other Anatolian kingdom, although its history is poorly known and hardly dateable and it is overrun early by the Cimmerians (who would perform the same service for
Urart.u), is Phrygia, which is noteworthy, not only because its identity survives into the Roman period (having originated back in the 11th century, at least), but because two noteworthy legends were associated with it. All of its reported kings are named
Midas and Gordios. Which is which in the legends is a good question. With one Midas, however, we get the story of the "Midas Touch," that the king wished for, and received, the power to turn anything to gold by touching it. Unfortunately, this was an unconditional power, and there was no way he could touch anything, even food or family, without turning them to gold. So it was a power that would grieve and then starve him. With some Gordios we have a more historical account. The king is supposed to have woven an gigantic knot, attended with the prophecy that the man who could undo it would conquer the world. When
Alexander the Great arrived, beheld the knot, and was told of the prophecy, he simply drew his sword and cut the knot. Alexander did, more or less, conquer the world, and we are left with an expression, "cutting the knot," which is probably used most often without awareness of its origin. The knot, however, may not be named after an eponymous king, but after the capital of Phrygia,
(Gordium). This was not far west of Angora, the capital of Galatia. Galatia was founded by Celts who invaded Greece in 279 and entered Anatolia by 278. Most of Phrygia was overrun in this invasion/migration and so came to be overlain by Galatia.