Sardes, a titular see of Lydia, in Asia Minor, probably the ancient Hyde of Homer (Iliad, II, 844; XX, 385), at the foot of Mount Tmolus; see also Strabo (XIII, iv, 5); Pliny (Hist. nat., v, 29); Stephen of Byzantium, s.v. The name Sardes, which replaced that of Hyde, seems to have been derived from the Shardani, a people mentioned in the cuneiform inscriptions as inhabiting this region. At an early period Sardes was the capital of the Lydians, an early dynasty of whom reigned from 766 to 687 B.C.; a second, that of Mermnades founded by Gyges in 687 B.C., reigned until 546 B.C. Its last king, the celebrated Croesus, was dethroned by Cyrus. Thenceforth it was the residence of the Persian satraps, who administered the conquered kingdom. The capture of the city by the Ionians and the Athenians in 498 B.C. was the cause of wars between the Persians and Greeks. In 334 it surrendered without a struggle to Alexander the Great, after whose death it belonged to Antigonus until 301, when it fell into the power of the Seleucides. Antiochus III having been defeated at Magnesia by the Romans 190 B.C., Sardes was incorporated with the Kingdom of Pergamus, then with the Roman Empire, becoming the capital of the Province of Lydia. The famous river Pactolus flowed through its agora, or forum.
In the Apocalypse (iii, 1-3) a letter is written to the Church of Sardes by St. John, who utters keen reproaches against it and its bishop. Among its martyrs are mentioned the priest Therapon, venerated May 27, and Apollonius (July 10). Among its bishops, of whom Le Quien (Oriens Christ., I, 859-66) gives a long list, were St. Meliton (second century), writer and apologist; St. Euthymius, martyred for the veneration of images (December 26, 824); John, his successor, who also suffered for the Faith; Andronicus, who made several attempts for the reunion of the Churches. As religious metropolis of Lydia, Sardes ranked sixth in the hierarchy. As early as the seventh century (Gelzer, “Ungedruckte Texte der Notitiae episcopatuum”, 537), it had 27 suffragans, which number scarcely varied until the end of the tenth century. At the beginning of the fourteenth century the town, which was still very populous, was captured and destroyed by the Turks. In 1369 it ceased to exist, and Philadelphia replaced it as metropolis (Waechter, “Der Verfall des Griechentums in Kleinaim XIV Jahrhundert”, 44-46). Since then it has been a Greek titular metropolitan see. At present, under the name of Sart, it is but a miserable Turkish village in the sandjak of Saroukhan, and the vilayet of Smyrna. Not one well-preserved and important monument is found among the very extensive ruins.