Caria 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. Carians were described by Herodotus as being of Minoan descent, while he reports that the Carians themselves maintained that they were Anatolian mainlanders intensely engaged in seafaring and were akin to the Mysians and the Lydians. The Carians spoke Carian, a native Anatolian language closely related to Luwian. Also closely associated with the Carians were the Leleges, which could be an earlier name for Carians.
WHO WERE CARIANS ?
The Carians were the ancient inhabitants of Caria in southwest Anatolia.
It is not clear when the Carians enter into history. The definition is dependent on corresponding Caria and the Carians to the "Karkiya" or "Karkisa" mentioned in the Hittite records. Bronze Age Karkisa are first mentioned as having aided the Assuwa League against the Hittite King Tudhaliya I. Later in 1323 BC, King Arnuwandas II was able to write to Karkiya for them to provide asylum for the deposed Manapa-Tarhunta of "the land of the Seha River", one of the principalities within the Luwian Arzawa complex in western Anatolia. This they did, allowing Manapa-Tarhunta to take back his kingdom. In 1274 BC, Karkisa are also mentioned among those who fought on the Hittite Empire side against the Egyptians in the Battle of Kadesh. Taken as a whole, Hittite records seem to point at a Luwian ancestry for the Carians and, as such, they would have lost their literacy through the Dark Age of Anatolia.
The relationship between the Bronze Age "Karkiya" or "Karkisa" and the Iron Age Caria and the Carians is complicated, despite having western Anatolia as common ground, by the uncertainties regarding the exact location of the former on the map within Hittite geography. Yet, the supposition is suitable from a linguistic point-of-view given that the Phoenicians were calling them "KRK" in their abjad script and they were referred to as krka in Old Persian.
The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, painting by Ferdinand Knab. The mausoleum is accepted as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Homer & Old Testament
The Carians next appear in records of the early centuries of the first millennium BC; Homer's writing about the golden armour or ornaments of the Carian captain Nastes, the brother of Amphimachus and son of Nomion, reflects the reputation of Carian wealth that may have preceded the Greek Dark Ages and thus recalled in oral tradition.
In some translations of Biblical texts, the Carians are mentioned in 2 Kings in Hebrew. They are also named as mercenaries in inscriptions found in ancient Egypt and Nubia, dated to the reigns of Psammetichus I and II. They are sometimes referred to as the "Cari" or "Khari". Carian remnants have been found in the ancient city of Persepolis or modern Takht-e-Jamshid in Iran.
Ancient copy of the cult image of a local goddess hellenized as Aphrodite at Aphrodisias
Carian soldier of the Achaemenid army c. 480 BC. Tomb of Xerxes
Coastal Caria begins with Didyma south of Miletus, 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) from Miletus. In the vicinity is Naziandus, exact location unknown.
On the tip of the Bodrum Peninsula (Cape Termerium) is Termera, and on the other side Ceramicus Sinus (Gökova Körfezi). It "was formerly crowded with numerous towns." 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 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 Datça peninsula
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 the Rhodian 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, Amos, Physca or Physcus, also called 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 Lycia and some to Caria: Calynda on the Indus River, Crya 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.
İnscription in Carian
At the base of the east end of Latmus near Euromus, and near Milas where the current village Selimiye is, was the district of Euromus or Eurome, possibly Europus, formerly Idrieus and Chrysaoris (Stratonicea). The name Chrysaoris once applied to all of Caria; moreover, Euromus was originally settled from Lycia. Its towns are Tauropolis, Plarasa and Chrysaoris. These were all incorporated later into Mylasa. Connected to the latter by a sacred way are Labraunda and Sinuri. Around Stratonicea is also Lagina as well as Panamara, Tendeba and Astragon.
Further inland towards Aydın is Alabanda, noted for its marble and its scorpions, Orthosia, Coscinia or Coscinus on the upper Maeander and Alinda. To the east is the religious centre Hyllarima. 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.
The Pages about Carian Cities mentioned in this website are as follows. Click & Go.