The last words of king Croesus are a phrase that is still used today, while the name of the king is synonymous with someone who is excessively rich.
When Solon uttered the phrase to the king of Lydia, Croesus was so caught up with his wealth and arrogance that he never realized its meaning — or never bothered to — until he was one step away from his death.
The disturbing phrase is “Count no man happy until the end is known.” Or “Μηδένα προ του τέλους μακάριζε” in Greek.
The wealthy empire of Lydia
The true story of king Croesus of Lydia is intertwined with legend and myth. Historians Herodotus and Pausanias wrote about him and his reign, while he is also considered a descendant of Hercules in mythology.
He reigned from approximately 560 to 546 BC, conquering all the Greek cities of mainland Ionia in Asia Minor, including Ephesus and Miletus.
He was a member of the Mermnad dynasty, succeeding to the throne of his father, Alyattes, after a struggle with his half brother, Pantaleon.