these words the Father of History, Herodot of Halicarnassos,
introduces in his Histories his fellow Karian, Skylax
of Karyanda, todays Gölköy.
mentioned expedition of Skylax (or Skulax)
reaches modern times through a copy of his Periplus (Greek for “Sea Voyage”). In the antiquity, Peripli were coastal pilot books, based on ships’ logs and guiding
mariners through coastlines, continents, countries, islands
describing winds, waves, shoals, wells and other relevant
nautical information. The Periplus of Skylax of Karyanda was
written down about a century after the expedition.
to the Periplus, Skylax follows the Asian coastline
until Oman. Without entering the Persian Golf, he follows
the Arabian Peninsula into the Red Sea up to the Sinai Peninsula.
pilot books in medieval times were called Portoloni.
As Peripli and Portoloni based on ships’ logs,
thus on primary information, they represent valuable documents
in the history of science.
Antiquity as today, Karia was an infertile soil and the life
standard was lower than in, say Pamphilia or Mesopotamia.
Karian men (and occassonally women, see Queen Artemisia) dealt
with this natural obstacle by specializing as professional
soldiers and seamen. Skylax, too, was a professional,
who had worked his way up within the Persian ranks. The Karians
had some important discoveries in martial arts, too. Again
Herodot reports, that the shield handle and the crested helmet
were some of them. It should be
emphasized that an improvement from the shoulder strapped
shield to the handled shield, as trivial this may sound today,
changed the fate of ancient battles decisively.
to the crested helmet they had introduced to the Antiquity,
the Karians were nicknamed by contemporates as “the roosters”.
were these “Roosters”?
The following has been summarized from Jona Lendering.
Kingdom of Karia was mentioned first during the Old Assyrian
and the Hethite period (1800 – 1200 BC)
was called by the Hethites Karkissa and by the Persians The Satrapy of Karkâ. After a rather long period of darkness,
Karia is picked up again by Homeros. In his Catalogue of
Ships Homeros mentiones that the Karians live at Miletos and the Mycale Peninsula and discloses an important
fact about them: The Karians fought the Tojan Wars on the
side of the Anatolian Trojans.
is rather important as it supports, opposite to the common
view, that Miletos was not a Greek town, that the Karians
were no immigrants from the Ionian islands, and that the Karians
were indigenious – as they strangely kept emphasizing at all
occasions themselves. Modern linguistic research also shows
that Karian is member of the Indo-European language family
and related to Hethitian.
also mentiones that the inhabitants of Miletos speak Greek
with a Karian accent. Even
Herodot personally displays his distinct Karian background:
His father’s name, Lyxes, is based on the popular Karian
mentioned are the mountain bastions of the Karians, not much
is said though about their urban settlements. Like in other
similar geographic areas where mountains hamper contact between
various valleys they developed numerous different scripts
and tried to write with several variations of the Phoenician
were united, though, by religion. Mylasa was one of their
most holy centres where a local god of war, the Karian
Zeus in the grecified version, was worshipped.
war was worshipped by the Karians and this brings us back
to the Karians as martial artists. As mentioned above, the
natural conditions of the homeland had led the Karians to
become professional soldiers, not unlike the Swiss or the
Gurkhas and other mountain people of today.
Karian mercenaries got their fame especially as warriors of
the Egyptian Pharaohs. Like all men fighting for money, they
did not hesitate, though, to change fronts repeatedly when
the conditions were favourable. Thus, from time to time they
served the Egyptian Pharaohs, the Greeks or the Persians –
whoever could come up with the best conditions.
the Great mentiones about Karian Settlements as far away as
Babel. These were outposts guarding the Silk Road.