Caria, an ancient country situated in the S. W. extremity of Asia Minor, separated from Phrygia and Lydia by the Cadmus and Messogis mountains. It was intersected by low mountain chains, running far out into the sea, and forming several spacious bays. Among the headlands were Mycale or Trogilium, opposite Samos; Posidium, on which stood Miletus; the long tongue of land on the south side of which was Halicarnassus; and the longer one at the outer extremity of which was Cnidus. The chief river was the Mseander. The valleys between the mountain chains were fertile, producing corn, grapes, oil, and figs. The Carians, according to Herodotus, were not the aboriginal inhabitants of the region, but a branch of the Pelasgic race, originally seated in the islands of the AEgean. When Minos had formed a navy and subdued the AEgean isles, he transplanted them to Asia Minor. In after times Greek colonies repelled the Carians from their coasts, and built cities on their promontories, the northern of which were then reckoned parts of Ionia, and the southern formed the territory called Doris; while the Lydian kings, Alyattes and Croesus, subdued the inland country.

On the overthrow of the Lydian monarchy, Caria became subject to Persia, under a line of vassal kings and queens, including the two Artemisias, and ending with Ada, who had been deposed by the Persians, but was restored to the government by Alexander the Great. (See Halicarnassus.) Later the territory was successively annexed to the kingdoms of Egypt and of Syria. After the Romans had vanquished Antiochus, they gave Caria to the Rhodians and Attalus in reward of their fidelity and services as allies; and on the conclusion of the Mithridatic war they ultimately annexed it to their proconsular province of Asia. The considerable cities of the country, Halicarnassus, Mylassa, Cnidus, and Miletus, were the work of Greeks, not of Carians. The Carians had the same religion as the Lydians and Mysians. Their language was accounted barbarous by the Greeks.