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Caria (Greek Καρία, καρες/καρικοι kares/karikoi") was a region of Asia Minor, situated south of Ionia, and west of Phrygia Major and Lycia. Their name appears in a number of contemporary languages: Babylonian karsa, Elamite and Old Persian kurka. The Classical Greeks claimed that Caria was originally colonised by Ionian Greeks, but Homer knew that their claim to be indigenous was correct, and recorded that they were allied with Troy. Modern linguistics very tentatively suggest that the Carian language belongs to the Anatolian subfamily of the Indo-European languages, related to indigenous archaic languages spoken in Lycia and Lydia. The inference is that, if the Carians had arrived in their country from the Ionian coast, their language would have been closer to Greek.

About 545 BC independent Caria was incorporated into the Persian Achaemenid empire as the satrapy of Karka.

It was originally called Phoenicia, because a Phoenician colony settled there in early times. Afterwards it is said to have received the name of Caria from Car, one of their early kings.

The most important town was Halicarnassus, where its sovereigns reigned. Other major towns were Heraclea, Antioch, Myndus, Laodicea and Alabanda. Halicarnassus was the location of the famed Mausoleum of Maussollos, one of the Seven Wonders of the World and from which the Romans named any grand tomb a mausoleum.

A group of mercenaries called Carians appear in inscriptions found in Ancient Egypt and Nubia during the reigns of Psammetichus I and II, as well as clearly mentioned at 2 Kings 11:4, and possibly at Samuel 8:18, 15:18 and 20:23.

This region was conquered by Alexander the Great in 334 BC.

Lempriere 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."

Melankomas of Caria, an ancient Olympic boxer (See Ancient Greek Athletes)

History and culture of ancient Caria

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