What Are the Contributions of the Lydians?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 10, 2020 5:34:48 AM ET

The major contributions of the Lydians include being the first people to use metallic coinage and establish permanent retail shops. The Lydians, who made their home in western Anatolia, arose in the seventh century B.C. and were conquered by the Persians around 540 B.C.


Herodotus said that the Lydians were a commercial people, which helps explain the economic nature of their most important contributions. Of particular importance is the Lydians' use of gold and silver coinage issued by their government. Using coinage was quickly adopted by the Greek people and helped to begin a commercial revolution in Greece in the sixth century that radically transformed their civilization.

Coinage helped to make commerce easier in the ancient world. It replaced previous systems that revolved around barter or weighing silver that made commerce more difficult to conduct. Coinage gave traders an easier way to set prices for their goods and services.

The first coins created by the Lydians were about the size of a bean. They were created by using a naturally occurring mixture of gold and silver known as electrum. The Lydians helped to ensure that each coin was equal in value by making them the same weight and ensuring that the amount of silver in each coin was the same.