If you’d like to look this up on Google – or in your dictionary if you have a low threshold of Internet access – you will find that ‘croceus’ is an adjective that describes something as saffron coloured or golden yellow. Saffron is the yellow stuff that is collected from crocuses. It’s actually the pollen, so can be collected even from purple or white flowers. There are frescos from the Minoan period on the Greek island of Santorini that show crocus pollen being harvested, it’s been going on for ages. Just a note here, once again this plant comes from the Balkans, this time it wasn’t the British who stole it. Around 1650 the Holy Roman Emperor’s ambassador in Constantinople sent a few bulbs to his friend in Holland. Interestingly, the flowers that the saffron is collected from are autumn flowering plants, not the early spring varieties we are used to.
Croesus on the other hand, was the king of a little bit of Asia Minor that had a river, flowing through the capital city, that was overflowing with gold. This made King Croesus very rich. By the standards of any time we mean very, very rich. He went down in history for two things. Firstly: As we’ve already mentioned, he was very rich. Secondly: The Oracle at Delphi told him, if he attacked the Persians he would be destroying a great empire. So, he attacked – lost the battle, was captured – and his empire was destroyed.
I think he could probable get his money back on that one.