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Carian Armourers—the Growth of a Tradition*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 December 2013

A. M. Snodgrass
University of Edinburgh
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One of the more persistent and widespread minor traditions in ancient literature represents the Carians as the great military innovators and practitioners of early times. It is one of several ‘Carian’ traditions, in which this people is given a greater importance than it seems historically possible to allow, and which at one time led certain scholars to believe that the Aegean Bronze Age civilisation as a whole was Carian in origin. This particular example can be checked, up to a point, from the evidence of archaeological discoveries; and the experiment may prove worth making, both as a supplement to the archaeological record, and as a test case for the value and quality of such traditions. In its more extreme version, the Carians are credited with the actual invention of various military devices: this, as I hope to show, is unlikely to be true. But there is a milder form of the tradition, which states that the Carians habitually used these devices. This version may in part arise from the vaguer wording of certain ancient authorities, but as it stands it is quite acceptable.

Research Article
Copyright © The Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies 1964

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1 Compare the alleged early Carian settlements on the Greek mainland (Pausanias i 40.6: Strabo vii 321–2; viii 374), and the Carian Thalassocracy, also improbably early on one account (Myres, , JHS xxvi (1906) 107–9Google Scholar). More plausible is the tradition of bachelor Ionian settlers marrying Carian women when founding Miletus (Hdt. i 146.2).

2 E.g. Köhler, U. in Ath. Mitt. iii (1878) 8 ff.Google Scholar: F. Dümmler and F. Studniczka, ibid. xii (1887) 1–17.

3 The nearest approach is MissLorimer, 's discussion, BSA xlii (1947) 128–32.Google Scholar

4 xiv 661.

5 Schol. A on Iliad viii 193 (quoted in Et. Magn. 489, 39): Et. Gud. 297, 43: Eustathius 367, 25 (cf. 707, 60).

6 Fr. 15 Bergk (54 Diehl, Z 34 Lobel and Page).

7 Iliad iii 337 (Paris), xv 481 (Teukros), xvi 138 (Patroklos): Odyssey xxii 124 (Odysseus).

8 The equation between ὄχανον and the stricter term πόρπαξ is expressly made by the Scholiast on Iliad viii 193: MissLorimer, (BSA xlii (1947) 128–30)Google Scholar has shown that it is valid for the earlier writers and that only later, perhaps through confusion, are the two differentiated.

9 It is, however, possible that Herodotus' acquaintance with the texts would derive from oral recitation.

10 i 171.2: Cf. ii 123.1: vii 152.3.

11 Lorimer, , Homer and the Monuments 193 n. 1.Google Scholar

12 Diog. Laert. v 47.

13 Ephoros frs. 2–5 (Jacoby): F. Gr. H. 2C, pp. 41–2.

14 I do not think that the distinction between ‘καταδέξαντες’ in the first two instances, and ‘ποιησάμενοι’ in the third, can be pressed, as was held by Chase, George H., HSCP xiii (1902) 62 n. 3.Google ScholarMissLorimer, (BSA xlii (1947) 131Google Scholar) suggests that ‘ἐπιδέεσθαι’ is a curious word to use for the attach ment of a crest: yet it is so used in, e.g., Aristophanes, , Frogs 1039Google Scholar, and the archaeological evidence for other methods is only very rarely available.

15 Nat. Hist. vii 200.

16 Ox. Pap. x no. 1241, p. 106, col. iv, lines 28–30. The verb used is again ‘καταδεῑξαι’, which makes it likely that Herodotus is the source for the statement.

17 Et. Magn. 489, 39: Et. Gud. 297, 43 ‘Καριοεργέος ὀχώνοιο’.

18 So Lorimer, , Homer and the Monuments 193 n. 1.Google Scholar

19 Ibid. 173–80, 183–5. This account, though out of date in some respects, is adequate for our present purpose.

20 De Nat. An. xii 30.

21 367, 25 and 707, 60.

22 Strat. vii 3.

23 Artaxerxes, x 11.

24 Hesperia, Suppl. viii (1949) 79–80.

25 Die Vögel, ed. Schroeder, O. (Berlin, 1927), 39.Google Scholar

26 Ibid. 38.

27 Schroeder's attempt (op. cit., 41) to salvage the meaning ‘helmet-crests’ here, by taking ἐπὶ as not locative but modal, is not really successful. The parallel phrase he cites in Euripides, , Phoenissae 1467Google Scholar, is itself ambiguous in the same way; and it is very doubtful whether οἰκέω could be used in the sense required, to ‘remain’ or ‘be continually’.

28 So too may the remark in Artemidorus, , Onirocritica iv 24Google Scholar: ‘Sic enim et diaulodromos gallus fit, per aulam enim currit’. The etymology is rightly ridiculed, but the remark shows that the cock, presumably on account of its crest, actually was given this name.

29 Ach. 572 ff., 1072 ff.

30 Newiger, H.-J., Metapher und Allegorie (Zetemata 16 (1957) 85–6).Google Scholar On the other side, Rogers, B. B. (The Birds of Aristophanes (1906) 38)Google Scholar reasonably argued that the Carians did in fact live habitually on hilltops, but had to admit that this was a ‘curious coincidence’.

31 v 8.6: v 8.10.

32 ii 11.8: x 34.25. Cf. the Scholia, on Birds 292Google Scholar, and Pollux iii 151.

33 Although, as Crosby says, both διαύλιον and διαυλέω are used in a musical sense. Cf. n. 28, above.

34 Acharnians 85 f. and Hdt. i 133: 524 f. and Hdt. i 1–4: Birds 552, 1124 f. and Hdt. i 178–9: and perhaps 961–2 and Hdt. viii 77. See Wells, J., Studies in Herodotus 169 ff.Google Scholar

35 BSA 1 (1955) 267–70.

36 AJA lxii (1958) 297–306.

37 Praktiká 1898, 100: Rhomaios, K. A., Deltion xii (1929) 181223.Google Scholar

38 So Gomme, , Historical Commentary on Thucydides i 107Google Scholar: Long, op. cit., 304 f.

39 See the brief survey in Long, op. cit., 301–2: and add Maiuri, A., Parola del Passato xiii (1948) 1115Google Scholar: Bean, G. E. and Cook, J. M., BSA lii (1957) 58146Google Scholar: Cook, J. M. in Archaeological Reports for 1959–60 50–4.Google Scholar

40 Cf. Bean and Cook, op. cit., 96–7 on Halikarnassos.

41 JHS viii (1887) 66–77: BSA 1 (1955) 116–8, 147, 165–7.

42 JHS xvi (1896) 202, 244 f.: BSA 1 (1955) 123–5, 149, 165–7. But to these we must now add the site of lasos, recently excavated by D. Levi. See Annuario, n.s., xxiii–xxiv (1961–2), 505–71, and especially the prehistoric cemetery, described ibid., 555 f., which produced Protogeometric pottery but no arms, apart from a bronze axe. A Protogeometric tomb at Dirmil is described in AJA lxvii (1963) 357–61.

43 Desborough, , Protogeometric Pottery 218–21.Google Scholar

44 Kretiká Khroniká iv (1950) 117 n. 73: Clara Rhodos i (1928) 123–4.

45 At Assarlik, cremation had been the universal rite. Thereafter, the rite seems to be uncertain, although according to a recent authority (Akurgal, E., Die Kunst Anatoliens, 162Google Scholar), cremation still remained the rule: this could mean that Thucydides is specifically referring to cremation. Among the types of tomb, cist-graves in enclosures, chamber tumuli and rock-cut tombs are all known (BSA 1 (1955) 165–7). Long (op. cit.) suggests that Thucydides mistook Mycenaean chamber tombs for Carian tumuli, but the differences were patent. Mycenaean chamber tombs have now been found in Caria, , AJA lxvii (1963) 353–7.Google Scholar

46 In Early Greek Armour and Weapons (Edinburgh, 1964).

47 E.g. Lorimer, , BSA xlii (1947) 131.Google Scholar

48 Homer and the Monuments 229 ff., fig. 5, pl. 15.1–4.

49 King, L. W., Bronze Reliefs from the Gates of Shalmeneser pls. 37 ff.Google Scholar

50 Iraq xvi (1954) pl. 2.2A-C.

51 E.g. Sendschirli iii pl. 39: Iraq xvi (1954) 7, fig. 7 (Maraş): Oriens i (1948), pl. 9 A (Karatepe): Carchemish i pl. B 2.

52 Cf. Boardman, J., BSA lii (1957) 29Google Scholarad fin.

53 E.g. on the bronze relief from Knossos (Brock, , Fortetsa pls. 115, 168Google Scholar), the Hunt Shield from the Idaean Cave (Kunze, , Kretische Bronzereliefs pls. 10 f., Beilage 1Google Scholar), and perhaps a terracotta from Amyklai, , Ath. Mitt. lv (1930)Google Scholar Beilage 42.2 and 43.2.

54 BCH lxxxi (1957) 356–67, figs. 39–43, pl. 1.

55 Handbuch der Archäologie (ed. Otto, W.) i pl. 170.2 (Berlin).Google Scholar

56 Lachish iii 98, 387, pl. 39.1.

57 Barnett, R. D. and Falkner, M., The Sculptures of Tiglath-Pileser III pls. 36, 42.Google Scholar

58 E.g. on a bronze relief from Kavousi (Kunze, op. cit., 218, fig. 31): terracotta votive shields from Tiryns, (Homer and the Monuments pls. 9, 10)Google Scholar: figurine from Olympia, Olympia IV (Die Bronzen), pl. 15 no. 247.

59 Barnett and Falkner, op. cit., 32, 39, pl. 73.

60 Thureau-Dangin, F. et al. , Til-Barsib, pl. 49Google Scholar, bottom.

61 See e.g. King, L. W., JHS xxx (1910) 327–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

62 At Athens (Reichel, W., Homerische Waffen 2, 110, n. 1)Google Scholar and Argos (supra, n. 54).

63 Benton, S., BSA xlviii (1953) 340.Google Scholar

64 Athens, Benaki Mus.: BSA xlii (1947) pl. 19: Eretria, , BSA lii (1957), pl. 3 AGoogle Scholar, a vase which is given by MissDavison, J. M., Attic Geometric Workshops, 6773Google Scholar, to the Attic workshop of the ‘Sub-Dipylon Hand’, perhaps as early as c. 725.

65 The only alleged precedent, on an Egyptian relief of the New Kingdom, was found to be based on an inaccurate drawing: Homer and the Monuments, 151–2, pl. 6.1. It is worth noting that another late literary tradition ascribed the invention of the shield to Argives, and indeed the hoplite shield was certainly known at some periods by the name Dion. Hal. i 21. 1: Pausanias viii 50.1: Ox. Pap. x no. 1241, p. 106, ll. 14 ff.: Pindar, fr. 95 (Bowra)— but it is not certain that shields in particular are meant here. See Kunze, E., Olympische Forschungen ii 216Google Scholar for a discussion of this question.

66 Assyria: Layard, , Nineveh and Babylon 193–4.Google ScholarUrartu, : Iraq xii (1950) 143Google Scholar, fig. 8, pls. 9, 10; Piotrovskii, B. B., Karmir-Blur iii (Erivan, 1955) 27Google Scholar, fig. 17, pls. 1, 12, 13.

67 Ventris, and Chadwick, , Documents 136, 319–20.Google Scholar Cf. Homer and the Monuments 370, 380: Dunbabin, T. J., The Greeks and their Eastern Neighbours 58.Google Scholar

68 v. 88.1.

69 Phrygia also may possibly come into the picture, since a Phrygian ivory found at Gordion, and dating from before the Cimmerian sack of c. 68o, shows a mounted warrior with a crested helmet and shield (non-hoplite), very close to the early Greek types: AJA lxiv (1960) 240, pl. 60, fig. 25c. But it is perhaps likelier that the ivory is Greek-inspired.

70 See now Bowra, C. M. in Mnemosyne xiv 2 (1961) 97110CrossRefGoogle Scholar: and add an even earlier possible example from Dendra, , AE 1957Google Scholar, παράρτημα p. 17.

71 The first representation is perhaps on the Hymettos amphora, CVA Berlin i pls. 43–4 (c. 675): the earliest actual examples, from Kavousi, , Annuario xiii–xiv (19301931) 88Google Scholar, fig. 31.

72 See Homer and the Monuments 154–5, to which many more recent examples may be added.

73 Thiersch, H., AA xxviii (1913) 47 ff.Google Scholar: Kunze, E., Olympiabericht vii 118.Google Scholar

74 Kübler, K., Kerameikos iv 27.Google Scholar

75 Ridgeway, W., The Early Age of Greece i 421.Google Scholar

76 Tò Ergon 1959, 56: cf. Archaeological Reports for 1961–2 17.

76A von Merhart, G., Jahrbuch des Römisch-Germanisch Zentralmuseums zu Mainz iii (1956) 28 ff.Google Scholar; Müller-Karpe, H., JdI lxxvii (1962) 62.Google Scholar

77 Compare Heibig, W., Homerische Epos 1 (1884) 248.Google Scholar

78 ii 152. Cf. Diodoros i 66: Ephoros fr. 12 (Jacoby): Strabo xiv 662, The Carians reappear in Herodotus as mercenaries in Cyprus in later days: v. 111–12.

79 Homer and the Monuments 197–8.

80 Hdt. ii 151.2.

81 It is hardly mere chance that the Carian Thalassocracy was dated to a similar period in the Canons of Eusebius (who gives ‘730–671 b.c.’) and Jerome (‘720–671’): Myres, , JHS xxvi (1906) 107.Google Scholar See also Schulten, A., Rhein. Mus. lxxxv (1936) 293Google Scholar for an optimistic estimate of Carian merchant enterprise, based on place-names in Morocco.

82 See Boardman, J., BSA lii (1957) 25–7.Google Scholar

83 Thus Paton, and Myres, , JHS xvi (1896) 267Google Scholar, attribute the whole hoplite panoply to the Carians.

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