, Ancient Greek
) was a region of western Anatolia
extending along the coast from mid-Ionia
) south to Lycia
and east to Phrygia
. The Ionian
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, 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
Cramer's detailed catalog of Carian towns in classical Greece
is based entirely on ancient sources. The multiple names of towns and geomorphic features, such as bays and headlands, reveal an ethnic layering consistent with the known colonization.
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
(Mentecha or Muntecha), 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. 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, Syagela or Souagela, where the tomb of Car is located, 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.
At the base of the east end of Latmus
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 Pelasgi 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
and Old Persian Kurka
. According to some accounts, the land was originally called "Phoenicia", because a Phoenician
colony settled there in early times. Allegedly, the region would have then received the name of Caria
, a legendary early king 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, having been proverbially used to signify the encountering of danger in the pursuit of a thing of trifling value."
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
Halicarnassus was the location of the famed Mausoleum dedicated to Mausolus, a satrap of Caria between 377–353 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.
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.
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 CE 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.
Subsequently the three pashas were removed from power, court-martialed and sentenced to death in absentia but meanwhile the Ottoman Empire had been 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.
Atatürk set about resolving the ethnic difficulties he inherited, making the decision to westernize Turkey and seeking the assistance of westerners, notably of president Woodrow Wilson. Together they hammered out a border between Turkey and the new state of Armenia. Part of the difficulty was to make the border ethnically tidy; that is, with Turks on one side and Armenians on the other, and the same difficulties applied to the border between Turkey and Greece. As a result of the Treaty of Lausanne a decision was made to tidy the border by moving populations to either side of it. In the resulting Population exchange between Greece and Turkey the population of Greeks in western Anatolia greatly diminished, as did the population of Turks on the Aegean Islands and mainland 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. Modern Turkish scholarship also is significant. Many of the names remain intact or they have been converted to local tongue; for example, Caria:Geyre; Myndos: Menteşe.
- Bean, George E. (1971). Turkey beyond the Maeander. London: Frederick A. Praeger. ISBN 0874710383.
- Cramer, J.A. Geographical and Historical Description of Asia Minor; with a Map: Volume II. Oxford: University Press. Downloadable Google Books.
History and Culture of Ancient Caria
Black and White Photos of Carian Cities