- Croesus, the last king of Lydia, reigned from about 560 to 546 B.C. He was reputed to be the wealthiest man in the world, and from this reputation we have the eponym Croesus, meaning an extremely wealthy man. He had subjugated the Ionian cities and made the Greeks in Asia Minor tributary to him. The fame of his power and wealth drew many of the wisest Greeks to his court at Sardis, among them Aesop and Solon. His interview with Solon was celebrated in antiquity. In reply to Croesus's question, "Who is the happiest man you have ever seen?" Solon taught the king that no man should be deemed happy till he finishes his life in a happy way.In a war with Cyrus, king of Persia, the army of Croesus was defeated, and his capital, Sardis, was taken. Croesus was condemned by the conqueror to be burned to death. As he stood before the pyre, the warning of Solon came to his mind, and he thrice uttered the name Solon. Cyrus inquired who it was whom he called on. Upon hearing the story, he reprieved his victim, and not only spared his life but made him his friend. Croesus survived Cyrus and, in a show of his friendship in return, accompanied Cambyses, son of Cyrus, in his expedition against Egypt.In Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn said, "Rich as creosote." Tom replied, "Rich as. Croesus, you mean."
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.