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As Karer was in the ancient part of the non-Greek population in the southern West Asia Minor called. In historical times they lived mainly in the hinterland of Miletus , the region of Caria (today south-west Turkey).


The Carians are already mentioned by the poet Homer in the 8th century BC. Mentioned several times BC . They are said to have been allies of the Trojans during the Trojan War . Homer has called this since the 15th century BC. Chr. Greek populated Miletus on the Anatolian west coast Carian dominated, or Carians. According to the Athenian historian Thucydides and other ancient authors, the Carians are said to have lived on Crete and the Aegean islands and were very experienced sailors. The Cretan King Minos later subjugated them or expelled them to Asia Minor. This version of the prehistory of the Carians is also known by the Greek ethnologist Herodotus , who goes on to say that their original name was Leleges and that they were only expelled from the islands by the Dorians and Ionians . However, the Carians themselves believed they were the indigenous people of western Asia Minor.

The local deity of the Carians was Zeus Stratios ("god of war"), Zeus Karios ("god of Caria") or Zeus Labraundos , who was an attribute of the Amazon ax (Labrys) , which the Greek hero Heracles had originally taken from the Amazon queen Hippolyte . The main shrines of the god were in the city of Mylasa and in the nearby mountain town of Labraunda . The ancient Roman teacher Claudius Aelianus wrote around 200 AD that the Carians were the first to turn the war into a business and work as paid soldiers ( mercenaries ).

Archaeologically , the Carians can only be grasped through their inscriptions . Such have been found in southern western Asia Minor as well as in Egypt (for example in Naukratis ). That fits with the Greek tradition, according to the Eastern Ionians and Carians in the 7th century BC. Served as mercenaries in Egypt (see also Pharaoh Psammetich I ). In gratitude, they were given permission to settle in Egypt, and so the Milesian colony of Naukratis came into being, and the Karer people also helped found it. This clarifies that the non-Greek inscriptions from western Asia Minor and the area of ​​Naukratis, which could not be read for a long time, are Carian.

By the discovery of a bilingual in Kaunos , a long bilingual inscription in Greek and Carian , succeeded the British Egyptologist John D. Ray in the late 1990s to decode the Carian language in part: It belongs to the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European languages and appears with the Luwian language to be more closely related.


  • Herodotus: Historiae 1, 171 ff.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Homer: Iliad 2, 867.
  2. Homer: Iliad 2, 868.
  3. Thucydides: The Peloponnesian War 1.4.
  4. Herodotus: Historien 1, 171.
  5. Herodotus 1, 171.
  6. Aaron J. Atsma: Cult of Zeus (3): III) Mylasa & Labranda. In: The Theoi Project: Greek Mythology. 2008, accessed January 10, 2013 (English, translated original source).