Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Peoples of the empire: The Carians

Geographical definition
Caria (Luwian Karuwa, O.P. Karkâ) lay in southwestern Anatolia, overlapping with southern Ionia and bordering Lydia in the north and Lycia in the south.  It was a hilly country with many fortified hilltops but few large cities and little arable land.  It is the homeland of Herodotus, who was a Graeco-Carian descended from Doric colonists.  Being on the frontier of the Greek world, Caria is one of the better-documented Achaemenid provinces.

Caria was an ancient state, noted by the Hittites as a member of the Assuwa league c. 1250 BC (traditional chronology), and said to have sided with the Trojans in the Iliad, which may corroborate the identification of Troy with fellow Assuwan state Taruisa.  During the early Iron Age, the coast was colonized by Ionic and Doric Greeks, who occupied such cities as Cnidus and Halicarnassus (hometown of Herodotus, whose father, Lyxos or Lyxes, appears to have a native Carian name).  Herodotus claims that the Ionians, for whom Gregory Crane believes the historian had some disdain, colonized Miletus by killing Carian men and forcibly marrying Carian women, for which their wives refused to sit at the table with their new husbands or call them by name.  Due to the poverty of the country, many Carians in the Iron Age went overseas to serve as mercenaries in lands such as Judea and Egypt, in which capacity they were still fighting when Cambyses invaded Egypt in the 520s.

The Lydian king Alyattes subjugated Caria in the early 6th century.  Herodotus says that after Cyrus the Great conquered Lydia, his general Harpagus had to re-conquer the Lydians' dependents, including the Carians and Greeks of western Anatolia.  Halicarnassus became the Persian administrative capital.

Caria does not appear in the Behistun inscription, but does appear in Darius' inscriptions at Persepolis (where they bring a bull in tribute) and Naqš-e Rostam.  Jona Lendering believes that the country may have retained a degree of autonomy.  The Carians joined in the Ionian Revolt of 499, and, although suffering defeats at the battles of the Marsyas and Labraunda of 497, ambushed and destroyed the Persian army led by Darius' son-in-law Daurises in 497 or 496.  This battle led to a stalemate of a year or two in the region before the disintegration of the Ionian forces at the Battle of Lade in 494 led to the collapse of the wider revolt, and most of Caria capitulated to the empire that year.

Herodotus says that Caria sent seventy ships to the second Persian invasion of Greece.  Five of these, originating from Halicarnassus, Cos, Nisyros and Calydna, were commanded by the famous Queen Artemisia, who (against the majority of his officers' opinions) advised Xerxes against attacking at Salamis and being drawn into the Allied Greeks' trap.  Although he apparently regarded her opinion as sound, he chose not to follow it, and she took part in the battle nonetheless.  According to Herodotus, during the chaos at Salamis when many Persian ships were retreating, Artemisia managed to convince the Allied Greeks that she had defected by ramming and sinking an imperial ship commanded by King Damasitheos of Calynda (not to be confused with the aforementioned Calydna) who may have been a political rival of hers.  It is said that Xerxes, watching from a hillside, was similarly confused and believed that Artemisia was attacking the enemy, causing him to utter than his men had become women and his women men.

Afterward she counseled Xerxes to leave Greece; this time her advice was followed, and she conveyed several of the king's sons to Ephesus in Ionia.

The Delian League conquered parts of Caria in 469-466, but these lands reverted to Persia in 412 in the midst of the Peloponnesian War.  In the meantime, Herodotus published his Histories there c. 440.

In the early 4th century, a native Carian satrapal dynasty was founded by Hecatomnus of Mylasa (391-377).  The next of the so-called Hecatomnids was his son Mausolus, who fought against Ariobarzanes and other rebels during the Satraps' Revolt in 365 but defected to the rebels soon after.  While the revolt was defeated, Artaxerxes III reinstalled Mausolus as satrap, and the region became a nearly de facto independent state.  When Mausolus died in 353, a magnificent above-ground tomb was built for him, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Mausoleum.

Mausolus was first succeeded by his sister Artemisia, who fought off an invasion by nearby Rhodes but died in 351.  Artemisia was succeeded by her brother Idrieus.  At the behest of Artaxerxes, Idrieus raised Greek mercenaries to put down a rebellion in Cyprus amidst the widespread revolts of the early 340s.  He died of disease in 344, and was succeeded by his sister Ada.  Ada's younger brother Pixodarus seized the throne from her in 340, but she retained the inland fortress of Alinda.  Pixodarus died in approximately 334 and was succeeded by his son-in-law Orontobates, a Persian.

In this momentous year, Alexander III of Macedon invaded Asia Minor and defeated an assemblage of satrapal armies at the Battle of the Granicus.  Ada still held Alinda, and allied herself with Alexander, giving him a foothold on the road to Persia.  However, Orontobates and Memnon of Rhodes (who had commanded the imperial Greek mercenaries at Granicus) held Halicarnassus for a time, driving Alexander's forces back with catapults.  When the Macedonians breached the city's walls, Memnon retreated and set the city on fire as he left.  The city's citadel held out for a while longer before surrendering.

(An interesting historical footnote is that Orontobates' wife may have been Ada II, the daughter of Pixodares whose hand was earlier sought by Alexander.  Although Orontobates held some towns elsewhere in Caria until 333, he was unable to stop Alexander passing through Caria.  An officer by the same name, who may well have been the same man, was present at the Battle of Gaugamela in 331.  We do not know his ultimate fate.  Memnon went on to campaign against Alexander's footholds in the Aegean, but died of illness in 333.)
Alexander reinstated Ada as satrap, and she legally adopted him so that rule of the land would pass to him on her death.

After Alexander's death, Caria changed hands rapidly between the Diadochi, finally winding up with the Seleucids by the middle of the third century BC.  The Romans would conquer it in the 2nd century, dividing up Caria between Rhodes and the province of Asia.  In the meantime, I have been unable to learn what became of the native Carian people, but it seems reasonable to think that they became hellenized over the centuries.

The Carians were polytheists whose religion was apparently found compatible with that of the Greeks.  Their supreme god was Mylasa ("Carian Zeus"), a war god whose temple was located in the city of the same name.  Aside from the Carians themselves, only Lydians and Mysians (whom the Carians considered kindred peoples) were admitted to this temple.

Caria may be the homeland of the goddess Hecate, patroness of paths and crossroads, whom the Greeks regarded as fearful deity of witchcraft.  The fact that Hecate's parentage and place in the Greek pantheon is especially inconsistent is cited as evidence that she was of foreign origin.  The Greeks sometimes explained that she was a Titan who sided with the Olympians during the Titanomachy and thus was not banished to the underworld.  In another story, she was a priestess who insulted Artemis and was induced to commit suicide.

In any case, she had a major shrine in Lagina, east of Mylasa.  Herodotus identified Hecate with Athena, though she was elsewhere regarded as a separate figure.  A priestess of Hecate/Athena held office in Pedasa near Halicarnnasus, and would spontaneously grow a beard when the city was in imminent danger.  Well, that's what they say.

A shrine to the mortal Endymion, shepherd-astronomer and beloved of Selene, existed at Mount Latmus near Miletus, where it was said that Zeus had put him into an eternal sleep.

Carian was a Luwic language (related to Luwian), being a branch of the IE Anatolian subfamily.  It was written in a variety of scripts adapted from the Phoenicians.  As of the Achaemenid period, Carians would have spoken a mix of their native language, Doric Greek on the coasts and Ionic Greek in the north.

Carian clothing is a bit ambiguous.  At Persepolis, the Carian delegation (right, second row from bottom) are depicted with smooth legs that tend to indicate fitted trousers, long-sleeved tunics, simple headbands, and cloaks or shawls wrapped around the body.  They wear low shoes, but the image I've examined is a bit too low-contrast to describe their type   The Carian at Naqš-e Rostam wears a tunic with short, wide sleeves and a square, hanging cloak which is perhaps a Greek-style chlamys, and has clearly-muscled, bare legs.  I cannot make out whether he wears a headband or shoes.  A Doric-style peplos would probably be an acceptable choice at least for Graeco-Carian women.

Herodotus states that the Carians invented shields with handles; previously all peoples carried shields on telamons (neck straps).  I don't put much stock in this statement, but it may be that the Carians invented the porpax-antelabe system in which the forearm is placed through a porpax (armband) in the middle of the shield and the hand holds a grip just behind the shield's rim (antelabe, "before-lip").  At Persepolis, the Carian carries a round shield in such a manner which looks pretty much like a Greek Argive shield.

Herodotus also claims that the Greeks also copied the Carian practice of putting symbols on their shields and crests on their helmets (if the latter is in any sense true, it must have happened long before our period - Greeks had worn crested helmets since the Bronze Age), and that the Carians' equipment was like that of the Greeks except for their drepana kai egcheirida, which A.D. Godley translates as "scimitars and daggers"; from my research drepana normally means "sickles."  At Naqš-e Rostam the Carian carries a long sword with wide branched pommel and a circular chape with a bar above it, possibly similar to Greek ones, apparently on a shoulder belt.  The Persepolitan relief has a short spear, which is little taller than himself (probably no more than six feet/183cm) with a leaf-shaped head.

There are a few good sources for Greek-style equipment.  Manning Imperial has probably the best all-around reputation for quality and variety, selling fully- and semi-finished aspides and aspis cores, as well as helmets, thorakes and spearheads.  Deepeeka makes some deeceent items as well, although scrutiny should be paid to each given item.  Heck, just check out Matt Amt's page for more.

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