CARIA kâr’ ĭ ə (Καρία). Caria lies in SW Asia Minor, a fertile area of genial climate cut off by coastal hills from the Aegean seaboard. The Carians, to judge from scant and elusive references in ancient writers, were once a notable people who exercised considerable sea power in the 8th cent. b.c., and extended some form of imperial control over part of the Aegean area. How their naval supremacy fell is not known, but in the early days of recorded history the Carians were noted chiefly as good mercenary troops. The area was a separate satrapy under Persia, and appears to have been involved in the Ionian revolt against Pers. rule. The Hellenization of the region was swift in the 3rd and 2nd centuries b.c., but it was one of those remote areas where control was difficult for the Syrian Seleucids, and Caria frequently changed hands in the westward ebb and flow of power. In 129 b.c. it became part of the province of Asia. In 1 Maccabees 5:23 it is mentioned as an area to which Rome sent communications at the time of her first support for the Jews.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

A country in the Southwest of Asia Minor which extended on the North to Lydia, on the East to Phrygia, on the South to Lycia, and the West to the Aegean Sea. Its borders, however, like those of most of the ancient countries of Asia Minor, were never definitely fixed; hence, the difficulty presented by the study of the political divisions. The general surface of the country is rugged, consisting of mountainous ridges running across it, and terminating as promontories jutting into the sea. Its history consists chiefly of that of its practically independent cities of which Miletus (Ac 20:15-20) and Cnidus (Ac 27:7) are the chief. For some time previous to 168 BC it had lost its independence, and belonged to the island of Rhodes, but in that year Rome made it again free. According to 1 Macc 15:23, Caria was one of several places to which the Roman senate in 139-138 BC sent letters in favor of the Jews, a fact showing that its population was mixed. Its coast cities, however, were peopled chiefly by Greeks. In 129 BC Caria became a part of the Roman province of Asia, and from that date its history coincides with that of the province. Though Paul and others of the apostles traversed Caria in their missionary journeys, only its cities are mentioned by name in that connection.