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Levant
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{{short description|Geographic and cultural region consisting of the eastern Mediterranean between Anatolia and Egypt}}{{About||Latin Catholics in the Ottoman Empire|Levantines (Latin Christians)|other uses|Levant (disambiguation)|and|Names of the Levant}}{{distinguish|Levante (disambiguation){{!}}Levante|Levent}}{{pp-semi|small=yes}}







factoids
; {{harvnbEncarta>2009Oxford Dictionaries#336733Gagarinp=247}}}}{{legendCountries and regions sometimes included in the 21st century}}| label1 = Countries and regionsCyprus}}{{flagJordan}}{{flagPalestine}}{{flagTurkey}} (Hatay Province)Broad definition may also include:{{flag|Egypt}}{{flag|Greece}}{{flag|Iraq}}{{flag|Cyrenaica}}{{flag|Turkey}} (whole territory)| label2 = PopulationPopulation of 44,550,926 found by adding all the countries' populations (Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Hatay Province)}}| label3 = Demonym| data3 = Levantine| label4 = LanguagesLevantine Arabic, Hebrew language>Hebrew, Neo-Aramaic languages, Circassian language>Circassian, Armenian language, Kurdish language>Kurdish, Turkish language, Domari language>Domari, Greek| label5 = Time ZonesEastern European Time>EET) (Turkey and Cyprus)| label6 = Largest citiesclass=nowrap Damascus >Amman Aleppo >Beirut Gaza City >Jerusalem |Tel Aviv }}}}The Levant ({{IPAc-en|l|ə|ˈ|v|æ|n|t}}) is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean, primarily in Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the historical region of Syria. In its widest historical sense, the Levant included all of the eastern Mediterranean with its islands;{{harvnb|Oxford Dictionaries|2015}}. that is, it included all of the countries along the Eastern Mediterranean shores, extending from Greece to Cyrenaica.{{harvnb|Encarta|2009|loc="Levant"}}The term entered English in the late 15th century from French. It derives from the Italian Levante, meaning "rising", implying the rising of the sun in the east, and is broadly equivalent to the term Al-Mashriq (, {{IPAc-ar|a|l|m|a|ʃ|r|i|q|}}),{{harvnb|Gagarin|2009|p=247}}; {{harvnb|Naim|2011|p=921}};
  • Amy Chua (2004), World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability p. 212;
  • Mandyam Srinivasan, Theodore Stank, Philippe-Pierre Dornier, Kenneth Petersen (2014), Global Supply Chains: Evaluating Regions on an EPIC Framework – Economy, Politics, Infrastructure, and Competence: “EPIC” Structure – Economy, Politics, Infrastructure, and Competence, p. 3;
  • Ayubi, Nazih N. (1996), Over-stating the Arab State: Politics and Society in the Middle East p. 108;
  • David Thomas, Alexander Mallett (2012), Christian-Muslim Relations. A Bibliographical History. Volume 4 (1200-1350), p. 145;
  • Jeff Lesser (1999), Negotiating National Identity: Immigrants, Minorities, and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil p. 45 meaning "the east, where the sun rises".{{sfn|Naim|2011|p=921}}
In the 13th and 14th centuries, the term levante was used for Italian maritime commerce in the Eastern Mediterranean, including Greece, Anatolia, Syria-Palestine, and Egypt, that is, the lands east of Venice. Eventually the term was restricted to the Muslim countries of Syria-Palestine and Egypt. In 1581, England set up the Levant Company to monopolize commerce with the Ottoman Empire. The name Levant States was used to refer to the French mandate over Syria and Lebanon after World War I. This is probably the reason why the term Levant has come to be used more specifically to refer to modern Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, and Cyprus. Some scholars mistakenly believed that it derives from the name of Lebanon. Today the term is often used in conjunction with prehistoric or ancient historical references. It has the same meaning as "Syria-Palestine" or Ash-Shaam (, {{IPA|/ʔaʃ-ʃaːm/}}), the area that is bounded by the Taurus Mountains of Turkey in the North, the Mediterranean Sea in the west, and the north Arabian Desert and Mesopotamia in the east.BOOK, Margreet L. Steiner, Ann E. Killebrew, The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Levant: C. 8000-332 BCE,weblink 2014, OUP Oxford, 978-0-19-921297-2, 35, The western coastline and the eastern deserts set the boundaries for the Levant... The Euphrates and the area around Jebel el-Bishrī mark the eastern boundary of the northern Levant, as does the Syrian Desert beyond the Anti-Lebanon range's eastern hinterland and Mount Hermon. This boundary continues south in the form of the highlands and eastern desert regions of Transjordan, Typically, it does not include Anatolia (also called Asia Minor), the Caucasus Mountains, or any part of the Arabian Peninsula proper. Cilicia (in Asia Minor) and the Sinai Peninsula (Asian Egypt) are sometimes included.The term Levant was widely used to describe the region from the 18th to the mid-19th centuries, and has had steady but lower usage since the late 19th century;Google Ngram Viewer plot several dictionaries consider it to be archaic today.LEVANT archaic The eastern part of the Mediterranean with the islands and neighbouring countries. New Oxford Dictionary of English, 2nd ed., revised, 2005.LEVANT, THE. A general term formerly given to the E shores of the Mediterranean Sea from W Greece to Egypt. The Penguin Encyclopedia, revised 2nd ed., 2004.LEVANT, (vieilli) Le Levant: les pays, les régions qui sont au levant (par rapport à la France) et spécialt. les régions de la Méditerrranée orientale. Le Nouveau Petit Robert de la langue française, (1993 revised ed.). Both the noun Levant and the adjective Levantine are now commonly used to describe the ancient and modern culture area formerly called Syro-Palestinian or Biblical: archaeologists now speak of the Levant and of Levantine archaeology;Thomas Evan Levy, Historical Biblical Archaeology and the Future: The New Pragmatism, Routledge, 2016 {{isbn|1134937466}}. Thomas E. Levy, "The New Pragmatism", p. 8: "after 1994, it is possible to see an increase in the use of the less geographically specific and more political [sic] neutral words 'Levant' or 'Levantine' in scholarly citations.... It is important to highlight the pedigree of the term 'Syro-Palestinian' and its gradual replacement by the term 'Levant' or 'Levantine' because the latter is a more culturally and politically neutral term that more accurately reflects the tapestry of countries and peoples of the region, without assuming directionality of cultural influence.". Aaron A. Burke, "The Archaeology of the Levant in North America: The Transformation of Biblical and Syro-Palestinian Archaeology" p. 82ff: "A number of factors account for the gradual emergence during the past two decades of what is now widely identified as Levantine archaeology in North America... a growing consensus regarding the appropriate terminology... archaeological field research in the Levant"William G. Dever, The Lives of Ordinary People in Ancient Israel: When Archaeology and the Bible Intersect, 2012, {{isbn|0802867014}}, p. 249: "Today, however, the discipline is often called Palestinian, Syro-Palestinian, or Levantine archaeology."Ann E. Killebrew, Margreet Steiner, The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Levant: c. 8000-332 BCE (title), 2013 {{isbn|9780199212972}} {{doi|10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199212972.001.0001}}Google search results food scholars speak of Levantine cuisine;Mark Gasiorowski, The Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa, 2016 {{isbn|081334994X}}, p. 5: "...today the term Levantine can describe shared cultural products, such as Levantine cuisine or Levantine archaeology"Google search results and the Latin Christians of the Levant continue to be called Levantine Christians.Michel Elias Andraos, "Levantine Catholic Communities in the Diaspora at the Intersection of Many Identities and Worlds", in Michael L. Budde, Scattered and Gathered: Catholics in Diaspora, 2017 {{isbn|1532607091}} p. 24: "The word 'Levantine' in the title is used on purpose instead of the 'Middle East' or the 'Near East'.... I use 'Levantine' more than the two other designations, because this is the term being used more often nowadays by Christian communities in the Middle East to describe their shared identity as al-maseeheyoun al-mashriqeyoun, Levantine Christians"The Levant has been described as the "crossroads of western Asia, the eastern Mediterranean, and northeast Africa", and the "northwest of the Arabian plate".Egyptian Journal of Geology - Volume 42, Issue 1 - Page 263, 1998 The populations of the LevantWEB,weblink Ancient Ashkelon - National Geographic Magazine, Ngm.nationalgeographic.com, 2002-10-17, 2011-10-17, NEWS,weblink BBC News, The state of Israel: Internal influence driving change, 2011-11-06, share not only the geographic position, but cuisine, some customs, and history. They are often referred to as Levantines.Orfalea, Gregory The Arab Americans: A History. Olive Branch Press. Northampton, MA, 2006. Page 249

Etymology

{{see also|Names of the Levant}}File:Médaille commémorative de Syrie-Cilicie.jpg|thumb|upright|French medal commemorating the war in CiliciaCiliciaThe term Levant, which appeared in English in 1497, originally meant the East in general or "Mediterranean lands east of Italy".WEB,weblink Levant, Dictionary.com, Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2012-07-27, It is borrowed from the French levant "rising", referring to the rising of the sun in the east, or the point where the sun rises.Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition The phrase is ultimately from the Latin word levare, meaning 'lift, raise'. Similar etymologies are found in Greek Ἀνατολή (Anatolē, cf. Anatolia), in Germanic Morgenland (literally, "morning land"), in Italian (as in "Riviera di Levante", the portion of the Liguria coast east of Genoa), in Hungarian Kelet, in Spanish and Catalan Levante and Llevant, ("the place of rising"), and in Hebrew (, mizrāḥ). Most notably, "Orient" and its Latin source oriens meaning "east", is literally "rising", deriving from Latin orior "rise".BOOK, Balme, Maurice, Morwood, James, Oxford Latin Course Part III, Chapter 36, 19, 2nd, The notion of the Levant has undergone a dynamic process of historical evolution in usage, meaning, and understanding. While the term "Levantine" originally referred to the European residents of the eastern Mediterranean region, it later came to refer to regional "native" and "minority" groups.WEB,weblink Journal of Levantine Studies, The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, 30 January 2014, The term became current in English in the 16th century, along with the first English merchant adventurers in the region; English ships appeared in the Mediterranean in the 1570s, and the English merchant company signed its agreement ("capitulations") with the Ottoman Sultan in 1579.{{harvnb|Braudel|p={{page needed|date=April 2017}} }}. The English Levant Company was founded in 1581 to trade with the Ottoman Empire, and in 1670 the French (:fr:Compagnie du Levant|Compagnie du Levant) was founded for the same purpose. At this time, the Far East was known as the "Upper Levant".(File:Constantinople c. 1909.jpg|thumb|left|Postcard bearing a French stamp inscribed Levant)In early 19th-century travel writing, the term sometimes incorporated certain Mediterranean provinces of the Ottoman empire, as well as independent Greece (and especially the Greek islands). In 19th-century archaeology, it referred to overlapping cultures in this region during and after prehistoric times, intending to reference the place instead of any one culture. The French mandate of Syria and Lebanon (1920–1946) was called the Levant states.

Geography and modern-day use of the term

File:Levant - Satellite.png|thumb|Satellite view of the Levant including Cyprus, Syria, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and the Northern Sinai]]Today, "Levant" is the term typically used by archaeologists and historians with reference to the history of the region. Scholars have adopted the term Levant to identify the region due to it being a "wider, yet relevant, cultural corpus" that does not have the "political overtones" of Syria-Palestine.{{efn|"Nevertheless, despite such a well-reasoned basis for the identification of Levantine archaeology, the adoption of this term by many scholars has been, for the most part, simply the result of individual attempts to consider a wider, yet relevant, cultural corpus than that which is suggested by the use of terms like Canaan, Israel, or even Syria-Palestine. Regardless of the manner in which the term has come into common use, for a couple of additional reasons it seems clear that the Levant will remain the term of choice. In the first place scholars have shown a penchant for the term Levant, despite the fact that the term ‘Syria-Palestine’ has been advocated since the late 1970s. This is evident from the fact that no journal or series today has adopted a title that includes ‘Syria-Palestine’. However, the journal Levant has been published since 1969 and since 1990, Ägypten und Levante has also attracted a plethora of papers relating to the archaeology of this region. Furthermore, a search through any electronic database of titles reveals an overwhelming adoption of the term ‘Levant’ when compared to ‘Syria-Palestine’ for archaeological studies. Undoubtedly, this is mostly due to the fact that ‘Syria-Palestine’ was a Roman administrative division of the Levant created by Hadrian (Millar 1993). The term ‘Syria-Palestine’ also carries political overtones that inadvertently evoke current efforts to establish a full-fledged Palestinian state. Scholars have recognized, therefore, that—for at least the time being—they can spare themselves further headaches by adopting the term Levant to identify this region" {{harv|Burke|2010|p=}}{{page needed|date=April 2017}} }}{{efn|"At the beginning of this Introduction I have indicated how difficult it is to choose a general accepted name for the region this book deals with. In Europe we are used to the late Roman name 'Palestine,' and the designation 'Palestinian Archaeology' has a long history. According to Byzantine usage it included CisJordan and TransJordan and even Lebanon and Sinai. In modern times, however, the name 'Palestine' has exclusively become the political designation for a restricted area. Furthermore, in the period this book deals with a region called 'Palestine' did not yet exist. Also the ancient name 'Canaan' cannot be used as it refers to an older period in history. Designations as: 'The Land(s) of the Bible' or 'the Holy Land' evoke the suspicion of a theological bias. 'The Land of Israel' does not apply to the situation because it never included Lebanon or the greater part of modern Jordan. Therefore I have joined those who today advocate the designation 'Southern Levant.' Although I confess that it is an awkward name, it is at least strictly geographical." {{harv|Geus|2003|p=6}}}} The term is also used for modern events, peoples, states or parts of states in the same region,e.g., "The Levant Crisis: Syria, Iraq, and the Region", Australian National University weblink; Center for Strategic and International Studies, "Egypt and the Levant", 2017 weblink; Michael Kerr, Craig Larkin, eds., The Alawis of Syria, 2015 {{isbn|9780190458119}} namely Cyprus, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Turkey are sometimes considered Levant countries (compare with Near East, Middle East, Eastern Mediterranean and Western Asia). Several researchers include the island of Cyprus in Levantine studies, including the Council for British Research in the Levant,WEB, Sandra Rosendahl,weblink Council for British Research in the Levant homepage, Cbrl.org.uk, 2006-11-28, 2010-07-05, the UCLA Near Eastern Languages and Cultures department,Biblical and Levantine studies, UCLA Journal of Levantine StudiesJOURNAL, About JLS, Journal of Levantine Studies,weblink and the UCL Institute of Archaeology,The Ancient Levant, UCL Institute of Archaeology, May 2008 the last of which has dated the connection between Cyprus and mainland Levant to the early Iron Age. Archaeologists seeking a neutral orientation that is neither biblical nor national have used terms such as Levantine archaeology and archaeology of the Southern Levant.Dever, William G. "Syro-Palestinian and Biblical Archaeology", pp. 1244-1253.Sharon, Ilan "Biblical archaeology" in Encyclopedia of Archaeology Elsevier.While the usage of the term "Levant" in academia has been restricted to the fields of archeology and literature, there is a recent attempt to reclaim the notion of the Levant as a category of analysis in political and social sciences. Two academic journals were recently launched: Journal of Levantine Studies, published by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and The Levantine Review, published by Boston College.The word Levant has been used in some translations of the term ash-Shām as used by the organization known as ISIL, ISIS, and other names, though there is disagreement as to whether this translation is accurate.NEWS, Irshaid, Faisal, Isis, Isil, IS or Daesh? One group, many names,weblink BBC, 21 July 2018, 2 December 2015,

History

Politics and religion

(File:A) Prince of Lebanon, Moslem of Damascus.jpg|thumb|Old Levantine Custom, Syrian and Lebanese men.)The largest religious group in the Levant are the Muslims and the largest cultural-linguistic group are Arabs, due to the Muslim conquest of the Levant in the 7th century and subsequent Arabization of the region.BOOK, Kennedy, Hugh N., Hugh N. Kennedy, 2007, The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In,weblink Da Capo Press, 376, 978-0306817281, BOOK, Lapidus, Ira M., Ira M. Lapidus, 13 October 2014, 1988, A History of Islamic Societies,weblink 3rd, Cambridge University Press, 70, 978-0521514309, Other large ethnic groups in the Levant include Jews, Kurds, Turks, Turkmens, Assyrians and Armenians.BOOK,weblink Ethnic Groups of Africa and the Middle East: An Encyclopedia, 26 May 2014, 9781598843620, Shoup, John A, 2011-10-31, The majority of Muslim Levantines are Sunni with Alawi and Shia minorities. There are also Jews, Christians, Yazidi Kurds, Druze, and other smaller sects. WEB, The Gulf/2000 Project, School of International and Public Affairs of Columbia University, Levant (al-Shaam) - Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine and Jordan Religious Composition,weblink 2017, 2018-08-31, Until the establishment of the modern State of Israel in 1948, Jews lived throughout the Levant alongside Muslims and Christians; since then, almost all have been expelled from their homes and sought refuge in Israel.There are many Levantine Christian groups such as Greek, Oriental Orthodox (mainly Syriac Orthodox, Coptic, Georgian, and Maronite), Roman Catholic, Nestorian, and Protestant. Armenians mostly belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church. There are Levantines or Franco-Levantines who are mostly Roman Catholic. There are also Circassians, Turks, Samaritans, and Nawars. There are Assyrian peoples belonging to the Assyrian Church of the East (autonomous) and the Chaldean Catholic Church (Catholic).WEB, The Gulf/2000 Project, School of International and Public Affairs of Columbia University, Christian Population of Middle East in 2014,weblink 2017, 2018-08-31, In addition, this region has a number of sites that are of religious significance, such as Al-Aqsa Mosque,NEWS, The Holy Land, Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Qur’an, Sunnah and other Islamic Literary Source, Mustafa Abu Sway,weblink Central Conference of American Rabbis, yes,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20110728001911weblink">weblink 2011-07-28, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre,WEB, Sacred-destinations.com, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, Jerusalem,weblink 2010-02-21, 2012-07-07, and the Western WallFrishman, Avraham; Kum Hisalech Be’aretz, Jerusalem, 2004 in Jerusalem.

Language

(File:Map Arabic in the Levant.jpg|alt=|thumb|Map representing the distribution of the Arabic dialects in the area of the Levant.)Most populations in the Levant speak Levantine Arabic (, {{transl|ar|Šāmī}}), usually classified as the varieties North Levantine Arabic in Lebanon, Syria, and parts of Turkey, and South Levantine Arabic in Palestine and Jordan. Each of these encompasses a spectrum of regional or urban/rural variations. In addition to the varieties normally grouped together as "Levantine", a number of other varieties and dialects of Arabic are spoken in the Levant area, such as Levantine Bedawi Arabic and Mesopotamian Arabic.WEB, 2018-07-21, Jordan and Syria,weblink Ethnologue, Among the languages of Israel, the official language is Hebrew; Arabic was until July 19, 2018, also an official language.NEWS, 2018-07-21, Israeli Law Declares the Country the ‘Nation-State of the Jewish People’,weblink The Arab minority, in 2018 about 21% of the population of Israel, speaks a dialect of Levantine Arabic essentially indistinguishable from the forms spoken in the Palestinian territories.Of the languages of Cyprus, the majority language is Greek, followed by Turkish (in the north). Two minority languages are recognized: Armenian, and Cypriot Maronite Arabic, a hybrid of mostly medieval Arabic vernaculars with strong influence from contact with Greek, spoken by approximately 1000 people.BOOK, Versteegh, Kees, Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, 2011, Brill Publishers, Brill, 978-90-04-14976-2, 541, Some communities and populations speak Aramaic, Greek, Armenian, Circassian, French, or English.{{citation needed|date=November 2015}}

See also

Overlapping regional designations Sub-regional designations Other Other places in the east of a larger region

Notes

{{reflist|group=lower-alpha}}

References

{{Reflist}}

Bibliography

  • {{citation |last=Braudel |first=Fernand |author-link=Fernand Braudel |title=The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Phillip II |date= |publisher= |isbn= |page=}}{{full citation needed|date=April 2017|reason=Not enough to identify the source, or the page from the source, if cited in something else then }}
  • {{citation |last=Burke |first=Aaron |year=2010 |chapter=The Transformation of Biblical and Syro-Palestinian Archaeology |title=Historical Biblical Archaeology and the Future: The New Pragmatism |editor-first=Thomas Evan |editor-last=Levy |location=London |publisher=Equinox}}
  • {{citation |ref={{harvid|Encarta|2009}} |publisher=Microsoft |title=Encarta |date=2009 |chapter=Levant}}
  • {{citation|last=Geus|first=C. H. J. de|title=Towns in Ancient Israel and in the Southern Levant |year=2003 |publisher=Peeters Publishers |isbn=978-90-429-1269-4 |page=6}}
  • {{citation |last=Gagarin |first=Michael |date=31 December 2009 |title=Ancient Greece and Rome |volume=1 |publisher=Oxford University Press, Incorporated|isbn=978-0-19-517072-6 |page=247}}
  • {{citation |last=Naim |first=Samia |year=2011 |chapter=Dialects of the Levant |editor-last=Weninger |editor-first=Stefan |display-editors=etal |title=The Semitic Languages: An International Handbook |location=Berlin/Boston |publisher=Walter de Gruyter |page=921}}
  • {{citation |ref={{harvid|Oxford Dictionaries|2015}} |title=Oxford Dictionaries Online |chapter=Levant |publisher=Oxford University Press }}

Further reading

  • Julia Chatzipanagioti: Griechenland, Zypern, Balkan und Levante. Eine kommentierte Bibliographie der Reiseliteratur des 18. Jahrhunderts. 2 Vol. Eutin 2006. {{ISBN|3-9810674-2-8}}
  • Levantine Heritage site. Includes many oral and scholarly histories, and genealogies for some Levantine Turkish families.
  • Philip Mansel, Levant: Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean, London, John Murray, 11 November 2010, hardback, 480 pages, {{ISBN|978-0-7195-6707-0}}, New Haven, Yale University Press, 24 May 2011, hardback, 470 pages, {{ISBN|978-0-300-17264-5}}

External links

{{Sister project links |voy=Levant |n=no |q=no |s=no |b=no |v=no}} {{Regions of Asia}}

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