History is made with clues, facts may follow later. Here I am proposing that the ancient city of Sardis ‘rich in gold’ of king Croesus (ruled 561 – 547 BC) – the archetypal tycoon of antiquity – may be connected in some way with the Island of Sardinia, the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and not only because of the similar name.
I presented my thesis last night, the 30 of May 2014 at a packed conference at the Museum of Medical Science of Hong Kong, while introducing Sardinia and the books of Grazia Deledda together with Ciriaco Offeddu and some professors coming from Sardinia.
First of all we should mention that not much is known about ancient Sardis (today in Turkey, a small town called Sard) the capital of Lydia. We know something a bit detailed about Sardis only because of Erodotus (V century BC). According to legends the god Dionysus was born there and the descendants of Eracles ruled it. Erodotus tells us something but not much and, by the way, we cannot call him a very trustable historian. We know that coinage with precious metals was first used there and that Sardians were great horsemen. The city was conquered by Cyrus the Great in the VI century and by Athenians in the V century. Then by Alexander the Great. It is mentioned in St. John’ Book of Revelation.
Sardinia’s original name (dating from 1500BC) was Ichnusa. This comes from combining the word “island” (“nusa”) with “Hyskos” perhpas after the tribe who rose to power in the 17th century BC and ruled areas of Egypt before invading Sardinia. The Hyksos formed a dynasty in Egypt but were later expelled. There is a tradition that some of them settled in Sardinia, indeed not a so far fetched possibility, after all the great island of Sardinia lays just a week’s sailing from Egypt.
The bronzes of Alaca Huyuk, visible on the right, are 5.000 years old, those from Sardinia are 3500 years old. The same civilization of Alaca Huyuk was shared by old Sardis, of which in that time nothing is known. It may well be that the mysterious Hyskos, always called ‘Asians’ in Egyptian hieroglyphs may be Sardians. Excavations were carried out in Sardis starting in 1930 by Harvard University, and perhaps we’ll know more about its past in the future.
The Hyksos are credited to have passed the war chariot to the Egyptian.
Tacitus describes the expulsion of the Jews under Claudius, and he speaks of “four thousand of the freed-men, or Libertine class,” as banished to Sardinia. I quote this only as a proof that Sardinia absorbed a great deal of foreign blood and they were integrated without leaving a trace of their arrival.