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The Carian language was an Anatolian language spoken in the southwest of Anatolian (modern Turkey) up to about the 1st Century AD. It was probably a descendant of the Luwian language and was closely related to Lydian.

The Carian alphabet appears in a about 100 pieces of graffiti inscriptions left by Carian mercenaries who served in Egypt. A number of clay tablets, coins and monumental inscriptions have also been found. It was possibly derived from the Phoenician alphabet. The decipherment of the Carian alphabet was started in the 1960s by Vitaly Shevoroshkin, and was continued by Ignacio J. Adiego and Diether Schuerr in the 1990s. The pronunciation of some of the letters remains a mystery.

Notable features

Carian alphabet

This chart shows the Carian alphabet from Kaunos, which is the most complete version. Kaunos was a Carian city near what is now Dalyan is Muğla Province is the south west of Turkey. It was known as Kbid in Carian, Khbide in Lycian, Καῦνος in Ancient Greek, and Caunus in Latin.

Carian alphabet

Download a Carian alphabet chart (Excel)


Information about Carian

Information about the Caria region and the Carian people

Anatolian languages

Carian, Hittite, Lycian, Lydian


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