Car (Greek mythology)

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Car or Kar (Greek: Κάρ) is a name in Greek mythology that refers to two characters who may or may not be one and the same.[1]

Car of Megara[edit]

According to Pausanias, Car was the king of Megara and the son of Phoroneus (and Cerdo).[2] His tomb was located on the road from Megara to Corinth.[3] The acropolis at Megara derived its name Caria from him.[4]

Car of the Carians[edit]

Herodotus mentions a (probably) different Car, brother of Lydus and Mysus; the three brothers were believed to have been the ancestral heroes and eponyms of the Carians, the Lydians and the Mysians respectively.[5] This Car was credited by Pliny the Elder with inventing the auspicia.[6]

Car was also said to have founded the city Alabanda, which he named after Alabandus, his son by Callirhoe (the daughter of the river god Maeander). In turn, Alabandus's name is said to have been chosen in commemoration of his Car's victory in a horse fight— according to the scholar Stephanus of Byzantium, "Alabandos" was the Carian word for "winner in a horse fight".[7] Another son of Car, Idrieus, had the city Idrias named after himself.[8]

The tomb of Car was in the Carian city Souangela, giving that city its name— according to Stephanus, "Souangela" meant "tomb of the king" in Carian.[9]


  1. ^ Smith, p. 607. CAR (Καρ), a son of Phoroneus, and king of Megara, from whom the acropolis of this town derived its name Caria. (Paus. i. 39. § 4, 40. § 5). His tomb was shown as late as the time of Pausanias, on the road from Megara to Corinth, (i. 44. § 9). Another mythical personage of the name of Car, who was a brother of Lydus and Mysus, and was regarded as the ancestral hero of the Carians, is mentioned by Herodotus, (i. 171.) [L. S.]
  2. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1. 39. 4; 1. 40. 6
  3. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1. 44. 6
  4. ^ Stephanus of Byzantium s. v. Karia
  5. ^ Herodotus, Histories, 1. 171
  6. ^ Pliny, Naturalis Historia, 7. 82
  7. ^ Stephanus of Byzantium s. v. Alabanda
  8. ^ Stephanus of Byzantium s. v. Idrias
  9. ^ Stephanus of Byzantium s. v. Souaggela