Mountainous region in SW Asia Minor south of the Maeander, with Greek cities (Cnidus and Halicarnassus) occupying the salient peninsulas and mixed communities on the shores of the gulfs. Until the 4th cent. bc the pastoral Carians lived mainly in hilltop villages grouped under native dynasties (some of which paid tribute to the Athenian empire in the 5th cent.), the principal seat being Mylasa. See also mausolus.