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Ancient Region of Anatolia
Caria (Καρία)
Theater in Caunos
Location Southwestern Anatolia
State existed: 11-6th c. BC
Language Carian
Biggest city Halicarnassus
Roman province Asia
Location of Caria in Anatolia

Caria (from Luwian Karuwa meaning "steep country", Ancient Greek, Καρία) was a region of western Anatolia extending along the coast from mid-Ionia (Mycale) south to Lycia and east to Phrygia. The Ionian and Dorian Greeks colonized the west of it and joined the Carian population in forming Greek-dominated states there. The eponymous inhabitants of Caria were known as Carians, and they had arrived in Caria before the Greeks. They were described by Herodotos as being of Minoan descent,[1] while the Carians themselves maintained that they were Anatolian mainlanders intensely engaged in seafaring and were akin to the Mysians and the Lydians. The Carians did speak an Anatolian language, which does not necessarily reflect their geographic origin, as Anatolian once may have been widespread. Also closely associated with the Carians were the Leleges, which could be an earlier name for Carians or for a people who had preceded them in the region and continued to exist as part of their society in a reputedly second-class status.


Municipalities of Caria

Map of ancient Caria showing cities
Carian cities in white. This map depicts the current rivers and coastline and certain features have changed over the years, notably Miletus, Heracleia, and Myus were on the south side of a gulf and Priene on the north side; the river Maeander has since filled in the gulf. Also politically Telmessos, Miletus, and Kalynda were sometimes considered Carian and sometimes not

Cramer's detailed catalog of Carian towns in classical Greece is based entirely on ancient sources.[2] The multiple names of towns and geomorphic features, such as bays and headlands, reveal an ethnic layering consistent with the known colonization.

Coastal Caria

Coastal Caria begins with Didyma south of Miletus,[3] but Miletus had been placed in the pre-Greek Caria. South of it is the Iassicus Sinus (Güllük Körfezi) and the towns of Iassus and Bargylia, giving an alternative name of Bargyleticus Sinus to Güllük Körfezi, and nearby Cindye, which the Carians called Andanus. After Bargylia is Caryanda or Caryinda, and then on the Bodrum Peninsula Myndus (Mentecha or Muntecha), 56 miles (90 km) miles from Miletus. In the vicinity is Naziandus, exact location unknown.

On the tip of the Bodrum Peninsula (Cape Termerium) is Termera (Telmera, Termerea), and on the other side Ceramicus Sinus (Gökova Körfezi). It "was formerly crowded with numerous towns."[4] Halicarnassus, a Dorian Greek city, was planted there among six Carian towns: Theangela, Sibde, Medmasa, Euranium, Pedasa or Pedasum, and Telmissus. These with Myndus and Synagela (or Syagela or Souagela) constitute the eight Lelege towns. Also on the north coast of the Ceramicus Sinus is Ceramus and Bargasus.

On the south of the Ceramicus Sinus is the Carian Chersonnese, or Triopium Promontory (Cape Krio), also called Doris after the Dorian colony of Cnidus. At the base of the peninsula (Datça Peninsula) is Bybassus or Bybastus from which an earlier names, the Bybassia Chersonnese, had been derived. It was now Acanthus and Doulopolis ("slave city").

South of the Carian Chersonnese is Doridis Sinus, the "Gulf of Doris" (Gulf of Symi), the locale of the Dorian Confederacy. There are three bays in it: Bubassius, Thymnias and Schoenus, the last enclosing the town of Hyda. In the gulf somewhere are Euthene or Eutane, Pitaeum, and an island: Elaeus or Elaeussa near Loryma. On the south shore is the Cynossema, or Onugnathos Promontory, opposite Symi.

South of there is Peraea, a section of the coast under Rhodes. It includes Loryma or Larymna in Oedimus Bay, Gelos, Tisanusa, the headland of Paridion, Panydon or Pandion (Cape Marmorice) with Physicus, Physca or Physcus, also acalled Cressa (Marmaris). Beyond Cressa is the Calbis River (Dalyan River). On the other side is Caunus (near Dalyan), with Pisilis or Pilisis and Pyrnos between.

Then follow some cities that some assign to Lydia and some to Caria: Calynda on the Indus River, Crya, Carya, Carysis or Cari and Alina in the Gulf of Glaucus (Katranci Bay or the Gulf of Makri), the Glaucus River being the border. Other Carian towns in the gulf are Clydae or Lydae and Aenus.

Inland Caria

At the base of the east end of Latmus near Selimiye was the district of Euromus or Eurome, possibly Europus, formerly Idrieus and Chrysaoris (Stratonicea), apparently the ethnic center of non-Hellenic Caria. The name Chrysaoris once applied to all of Caria; moreover, Euromus was originally settled from Lycia. Its towns are Tauropolis, Plarassa and Chrysaoris. These were all incorporated later into Mylasa. Connected to the latter by a sacred way is Labranda. Around Stratonicea is also Lagina or Lakena as well as Tendeba and Astragon.

Further inland towards Aydin is Alabanda, noted for its marble and its scorpions, Orthosia, Coscinia or Coscinus on the upper Maeander and Halydienses, Alinda or Alina. At the confluence of the Maeander and the Harpasus is Harpasa (Arpaz). At the confluence of the Maeander and the Orsinus, Corsymus or Corsynus is Antioch on the Maeander and on the Orsinus in the mountains a border town with Phrygia, Gordiutichos ("Gordius' Fort") near Geyre. Founded by the Leleges and called Ninoe it became Megalopolis ("Big City") and Aphrodisias, sometime capital of Caria.

Other towns on the Orsinus are Timeles and Plarasa. Tabae was at various times attributed to Phrygia, Lydia and Caria and seems to have been occupied by mixed nationals. Caria also comprises the headwaters of the Indus and Eriya or Eriyus and Thabusion on the border with the small state of Cibyra.

Pre-Hellenic states and people

The name of Caria appears in a number of early languages: Hittite Karkija (a member state of the Assuwa league, ca. 1250 BC), Babylonian Karsa, Elamite and Old Persian Kurka. Allegedly, the region received the name of Caria from Car, an ancestral hero of the Carians.

Sovereign state hosting the Greeks

Caria arose as a Neo-Hittite kingdom around the 11th century BC.The coast of Caria was part of the Dorian hexapolis (six-cities) when the Dorians arrived after the Trojan War in the last and southernmost waves of Greek migration to western Anatolia's coastline and occupied former Mycenaean settlements such us Knidos and Halicarnassos (present-day Bodrum). Herodotus, the famous historian was born in Halicarnassus during the 5th century BC. But Greek colonization touched only the coast and the interior remained Carian organized in a great number of villages grouped in local federations.

The Iliad records that at the time of the Trojan War, the city of Miletus belonged to the Carians, and was allied to the Trojan cause.

Lemprière notes that "As Caria probably abounded in figs, a particular sort has been called Carica, and the words In Care periculum facere, have been proverbially used to signify the encountering of danger in the pursuit of a thing of trifling value." The region of Caria continues to be an important fig-producing area to this day, accounting for most fig production in Turkey, which is the world's largest producer of figs.

Lydian province

Persian satrapy

Caria was then incorporated into the Persian Achaemenid empire as a satrapy in 545 BC. The most important town was Halicarnassus, from where its sovereigns reigned. Other major towns were Latmus, refounded as Heracleia under Latmus, Antiochia, Myndus, Laodicea, Alinda and Alabanda.

Halicarnassus was the location of the famed Mausoleum dedicated to Mausolus, a satrap of Caria between 377353 BC by his wife, Artemisia. The monument became one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and from which the Romans named any grand tomb a mausoleum.

Macedonian kingdom

Caria was conquered by Alexander III of Macedon in 334 BC with the help of the former queen of the land Ada of Caria who had been dethroned by the Persian Empire and actively helped Alexander in his conquest of Caria on condition of being reinstated as queen. After their capture of Caria, she declared Alexander as her heir.

Roman province

As part of the Roman Empire the name of Caria was still used for the geographic region but the territory administratively belonged to the province of Asia. During the administrative reforms of the 4th century this province was abolished and divided into smaller units. Caria became a separate province as part of the Diocese of Asia.

Dissolved by Constantinople

In the 7th century provinces were abolished and the new theme system was introduced.

Traces in modern Turkey

The Greek population of the coast of Anatolia persisted through the fall of Constantinople in 1453 and went on under the Ottoman Empire. In the early 20th century as a result of various social conflicts and power vacuum, the Ottoman Empire came under the rule of the Three Pashas who first socially and then militarily attacked populations they considered foreign. The Greeks of the western coast suffered pogroms and were reduced to second-class citizens.

The Ottoman Empire fought on the losing side in World War I and lost sovereignty to the Entente Powers. They were not long under the Entente, conducted a Turkish War of Independence resulting in a new Turkish Republic under the presidency of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk starting in 1923. As a result of the Treaty of Lausanne, there occurred a Population exchange between Greece and Turkey, the entire remaining Greek population of western Anatolia was sent to Greece.

The exchange ended a 3000-year Greek presence in Anatolia; however, modern Turkey cherishes the ruins and culture of ancient times, having turned much of the coast into national parks and granting licenses to western archaeologists. Many of the names remain intact or they have been converted to local tongue; for example, Caria:Geyre; Myndos: Menteşe.

See also


  1. ^ The Histories, Book I Section 171.
  2. ^ Cramer (1832), pages 170-224.
  3. ^ Page 170.
  4. ^ Page 176.


  • Bean, George E. (1971). Turkey beyond the Maeander. London: Frederick A. Praeger. ISBN 0874710383. 
  • Cramer, J.A. (1832). Geographical and Historical Description of Asia Minor; with a Map: Volume II. Oxford: University Press. Section X Caria.  Downloadable Google Books.
  •  Wikisource-logo.svg Herodotus: History of Herodotus on Wikisource

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CARIA, an ancient district of Asia Minor, bounded on the N. by Ionia and Lydia, on the W. and S. by the Aegean Sea, and on the E. by Lycia and a small part of Phrygia. The coast-line consists of a succession of great promontories alternating with deep inlets. The most important inlet, the Ceramic Gulf, or Gulf of Cos, extends inland for 70 m., between the great mountain promontory terminating at Myndus on the north, and that which extends to Cnidus and the remarkable headland of Cape Krio on the south. North of this is the deep bay called in ancient times the Gulf of Iasus (now known as the Gulf of Mendeliyah), and beyond this again was the deeper inlet which formerly extended inland between Miletus and Priene, but of which the outer part has been entirely filled up by the alluvial deposits of the Maeander, while the innermost arm, the ancient Latmic Gulf, is now a lake. South of Cape Krio again is the gulf known as the Gulf of Doris, with several subordinate inlets, bounded on the south by the rugged promontory of Cynossema (mod. Cape Alupo). Between this headland and the frontier of Lycia is the sheltered bay of Marmarice, noted in modern times as one of the finest harbours of the Mediterranean.

Almost the whole of Caria is mountainous. The two great masses of Cadmus (Baba-dagh) and Salbacum (Boz-dagh), which are in fact portions of the great chain of Taurus (see Asia Minor), form the nucleus to which the whole physical framework of the country is attached. From these lofty ranges there extends a broad tableland (in many parts more than 3000 ft. high), while it sends down offshoots on the north towards the Maeander, and on the west towards the Aegean. Of these ranges the summit of Mt Latmus alone reaches 4500 ft.

The coast is fringed by numerous islands, in some instances separated only by narrow straits from the mainland. Of these the most celebrated are Rhodes and Cos. Besides these are Syme, Telos, Nisyros, Calymnos, Leros and Patmos, all of which have been inhabited, both in ancient and modern times, and some of which contain excellent harbours. Of these Nisyros alone is of volcanic origin; the others belong to the same limestone formation with the rocky headlands of the coast. The country known as Caria was shared between the Carians proper and the Caunians, who were a wilder people, inhabiting the district between Caria and Lycia. They were not considered to be of the same blood as the Carians, and were, therefore, excluded from the temple of the Carian Zeus at Mylasa, which was common to the Carians, Lydians and Mysians, though their language was the same as that of the Carians proper. Herodotus (i. 172) believed the Caunians to have been aborigines, the Carians having been originally called Leleges, who had been driven from the Aegean islands by the invading Greeks. This seems to have been a prevalent view among the Greek writers, for Thucydides (i. 8) states that when Delos was "purified" more than half the bodies found buried in it were those of "Carians." Modern archaeological discovery, however, is against this belief; and the fact that Mysus, Lydus and Car were regarded as brothers indicates that the three populations who worshipped together in the temple of Mylasa all belonged to the same stock. Homer (Il. x. 428-429) distinguishes the Leleges (q.v.) from the Carians, to whom is ascribed the invention of helmet-crests, coats of arms, and shield handles.

A considerable number of short Carian inscriptions has been found, most of them in Egypt. They were first noticed by Lepsius at Abu-Simbel, where he correctly inferred that they were the work of the Carian mercenaries of Psammetichus. The language, so far as it has been deciphered, is "Asianic" and not Indo-European.

The excavations of W.R. Paton at Assarlik (Journ. Hell. Studies, 1887) and of F. Winter at Idrias have resulted in the discovery of Late-Mycenaean and Geometric pottery. Caria, however, figured but little in history. It was absorbed into the kingdom of Lydia, where Carian troops formed the bodyguard of the king. Cnidus and Halicarnassus on the coast were colonized by Dorians. At Halicarnassus (q.v.) the Mausoleum, the monument erected by Artemisia to her husband Mausolus, about 360 B.C., was excavated by Sir C. T. Newton in 1857-1858 . Cnidus (q.v.) was excavated at the same time, when the "Cnidian Lion," now in the British Museum, was found crowning a tomb near the site of the old city (C. T. Newton, History of Discoveries at Cnidus, Halicarnassus and Branchidae). On the border-land between Caria and Lydia lay other Greek cities, Miletus, Priene, and Magnesia (see articles s.v.), colonized in early times by the Ionians. Inland was Tralles (mod. Aidin), which also had an Ionic population, though it never belonged to the Ionic confederacy (see Tralles). The excavations of the English in 1868-1869 , of the French under O. Rayet and A. Thomas in 1873, and more recently of the Germans under Th. Wiegand and Schrader in 1895-1898 have laid bare the site of the Greek Priene, and the same has been done for the remains of Magnesia ad Maeandrum by French excavators in 1842-1843 and the German expedition under K. Humann in 1891-1893 . A German expedition under Th. Wiegand carried on excavations at Miletus (see articles on these towns).

In the Persian epoch, native dynasts established themselves in Caria and even extended their rule over the Greek cities. The last of them seems to have been Pixodarus, after whose death the crown was seized by a Persian, Orontobates, who offered a vigorous resistance to Alexander the Great. But his capital, Halicarnassus, was taken after a siege, and the principality of Caria conferred by Alexander on Ada, a princess of the native dynasty. Soon afterwards the country was incorporated into the Syrian empire and then into the kingdom of Pergamum.

See W. M. Ramsay, "Historical Geography of Asia Minor" (R.G.S. iv., 1890); W. Ruge and E. Friedrich, Archaologische Karte von Kleinasien (1899); Perrot and Chipiez, History of Art in Phrygia, Lydia, Caria and Lycia (Eng. trans., 1892); A. H. Sayce, "The Karian Language and Inscriptions" (T.S.B.A. ix. I, 1887); P. Kretschmer, Einleitung in die Geschichte der griechischen Sprache, pp. 376-384 (1896). For the coinage see NUMISMATICS. (A. H. S.)

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also caria



Wikipedia has an article on:



From Ancient Greek Καρία (Karia).

Proper noun




  1. A historical region in the southwest corner of Asia Minor.


  • Russian: Кария ru(ru) (Karija) f.


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