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Cyprus
Cyprus
Israel
Israel
Iraq
Iraq
Jordan
Jordan
Lebanon
Lebanon
Palestine Syria
Syria
Turkey
Turkey
( Hatay Province ) Broader definition

* Egypt
Egypt
* Greece
Greece
* Cyrenaica ( Libya
Libya
) * Turkey
Turkey
(whole territory)

POPULATION 44,550,926

DEMONYM Levantine

LANGUAGES Levantine Arabic , Hebrew
Hebrew
, Aramaic , Armenian , Circassian , Greek , Kurdish , Ladino , Turkish

TIME ZONES UTC+02:00 (EET ) ( Turkey
Turkey
and Cyprus
Cyprus
)

LARGEST CITIES

* Damascus
Damascus
* Amman
Amman
* Aleppo
Aleppo
* Baghdad
Baghdad
* Beirut
Beirut
* Gaza * Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv

The LEVANT (/ləˈvænt/ ; Arabic
Arabic
: المشرق _/ʔal-maʃriq/_) is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean . In its narrowest sense it is equivalent to the historical region of Syria
Syria
. In its widest historical sense, the Levant
Levant
included all of the eastern Mediterranean with its islands, that is, it included all of the countries along the Eastern Mediterranean shores, extending from Greece
Greece
to Cyrenaica .

The term _Levant_ entered English in the late 15th century
15th century
from French. It derives from the Italian _Levante_, meaning "rising", implying the rising of the sun in the east. As such, it is broadly equivalent to the Arabic
Arabic
term _ Mashriq
Mashriq
_, meaning "the land where the sun rises". In the 13th and 14th centuries, the term _levante_ was used for Italian maritime commerce in the Eastern Mediterranean, including Greece, Anatolia
Anatolia
, Syria-Palestine , and Egypt, that is, the lands east of Venice . Eventually the term was restricted to the Muslim
Muslim
countries of Syria-Palestine and Egypt. In 1581, England set up the Levant Company to monopolize commerce with the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
. The name _ Levant
Levant
States_ was used to refer to the French mandate over Syria
Syria
and Lebanon
Lebanon
after World War I
World War I
. This is probably the reason why the term _Levant_ has come to be used synonymously with Syria-Palestine. Some scholars misunderstood the term thinking that it derives from the name of Lebanon. Today the term is typically used in conjunction with prehistoric or ancient historical references. It has the same meaning as Syria-Palestine or the region of Syria
Syria
(Arabic : الشام /ʔaʃ-ʃaːm/), that is, it means an area bounded by the Taurus Mountains
Taurus Mountains
of Turkey
Turkey
in the North, the Mediterranean Sea in the west, and the north Arabian Desert and Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
in the east. It does not include Anatolia
Anatolia
(the former Asia
Asia
Minor, now Asian Turkey; although at times Cilicia
Cilicia
may be included), the Caucasus
Caucasus
Mountains, or any part of the Arabian Peninsula proper. The Sinai
Sinai
Peninsula (Asian Egypt) is sometimes included.

The Levant
Levant
has been described as the "crossroads of western Asia
Asia
, the eastern Mediterranean, and northeast Africa
Africa
", and the "northwest of the Arabian plate ". The populations of the Levant
Levant
share not only the geographic position, but cuisine, some customs, and a very long history . They are often referred to as _Levantines_.

CONTENTS

* 1 Etymology * 2 Geography and modern-day use of the term * 3 History * 4 Politics and religion * 5 Language * 6 See also * 7 Notes * 8 References * 9 Further reading * 10 External links

ETYMOLOGY

See also: Names of the Levant French medal commemorating the war in Cilicia
Cilicia
, which was initially part of the French mandate .

The term _Levant_, which appeared in English in 1497, originally meant the East
East
in general or "Mediterranean lands east of Italy". 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. The phrase is ultimately from the Latin
Latin
word _levare,_ meaning 'lift, raise'. Similar etymologies are found in Greek Ἀνατολή (_Anatolē_, _cf._ Anatolia
Anatolia
), in Germanic _Morgenland_ (literally, "morning land"), in Italian (as in "Riviera di Levante", the portion of the Liguria coast east of Genoa
Genoa
), in Hungarian _Kelet_, in Spanish and Catalan _Levante_ and _Llevant_, ("the place of rising"), and in Hebrew
Hebrew
(_mizrah _). Most notably, "Orient" and its Latin
Latin
source _oriens_ meaning "east", is literally "rising", deriving from Latin _orior_ "rise".

The notion of the Levant
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.

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. The English Levant Company was founded in 1581 to trade with the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
, and in 1670 the French Compagnie du Levant
Levant
was founded for the same purpose. At this time, the Far East was known as the "Upper Levant".

In early 19th-century travel writing , the term sometimes incorporated certain Mediterranean provinces of the Ottoman empire
Ottoman empire
, as well as independent Greece
Greece
(and especially the Greek islands
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
Syria
and Lebanon
Lebanon
(1920–1946) was called the Levant
Levant
states.

GEOGRAPHY AND MODERN-DAY USE OF THE TERM

Satellite view of the Levant
Levant
including Cyprus
Cyprus
, Syria
Syria
, Israel
Israel
, Jordan
Jordan
, Lebanon
Lebanon
, Palestine and the Northern Sinai
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
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. The term is also occasionally employed to refer to modern events, peoples, states or parts of states in the same region, namely Cyprus
Cyprus
, Egypt
Egypt
, Iraq
Iraq
, Israel
Israel
, Jordan
Jordan
, Lebanon
Lebanon
, Palestine , Syria
Syria
, and Turkey
Turkey
are sometimes considered Levant
Levant
countries (compare with Near East
East
, Middle East
East
, Eastern Mediterranean and Western Asia ). Several researchers include the island of Cyprus
Cyprus
in Levantine studies, including the Council for British Research in the Levant , the UCLA
UCLA
Near Eastern Languages and Cultures department, _ Journal of Levantine Studies _ and the UCL Institute of Archaeology, the last of which has dated the connection between Cyprus
Cyprus
and mainland Levant
Levant
to the early Iron Age
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 .

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
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 .

ISIL has adopted the term "Levant" within the English translation of their self-designation .

HISTORY

Main articles: History of the Middle East
East
, Prehistory of the Levant , History of the ancient Levant , History of Palestine , and History of Israel
Israel

POLITICS AND RELIGION

_ This section NEEDS ADDITIONAL CITATIONS FOR VERIFICATION . Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources . Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (June 2013)_ _(Learn how and when to remove this template message )_

The largest religious group in the Levant
Levant
are the Muslims and the largest cultural-linguistic group are Arabs
Arabs
, due to the Muslim conquest of the Levant
Levant
in the 7th century and subsequent Arabization of the region. Other large ethnic groups in the Levant
Levant
include Jews , Kurds , Turkmens , Assyrians and Armenians
Armenians
.

The majority of Levantines are Sunni , Salafi
Salafi
, nondenominational or Shia Muslim
Muslim
. There are also Jews
Jews
, Christians
Christians
, Yazidi Kurds , Alawites , Nizari , Druze
Druze
, and Ismailis .

Until the establishment of the modern State of Israel
Israel
in 1948, Jews lived throughout the Levant
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 and Oriental Orthodox, Maronite
Maronite
, Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
, and Protestant . Armenians mostly belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church
Armenian Apostolic Church
. There are Levantines or Franco-Levantines who are mostly Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
. There are also Circassians , Turks , Samaritans
Samaritans
, and Nawars . There are Assyrian peoples belonging to the Assyrian Church of the East
East
(autonomous) and the Chaldean Catholic Church (Catholic).

LANGUAGE

Most Levantine populations speak Levantine Arabic , also known as Mediterranean Arabic
Arabic
(شامي, Šāmī). In Israel, the primary language is Hebrew
Hebrew
; Arabic
Arabic
is an official language, and the Arab minority speaks a dialect of Levantine Arabic essentially indistinguishable from the forms spoken in the Palestinian territories. In Cyprus, the majority language is Greek, followed by Turkish, and then a dialect of Levantine Arabic , Cypriot Maronite Arabic
Arabic
. Some communities and populations speak Aramaic , Greek , Armenian , Circassian , French , or English .

August Jochmus (freiherr von Cotignola)'s _The Syrian War and the Decline of the Ottoman Empire, 1840-1848: In Reports, Documents, and Correspondences, Etc, Volume 1_, published in 1883, stated that Italian was previously the most common western European language in the Levant, but that it was being replaced by French.

SEE ALSO

* Middle East
East
portal

OVERLAPPING REGIONAL DESIGNATIONS

* Fertile Crescent
Fertile Crescent
* Mashriq
Mashriq
* Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
* Near East
East
and Middle East
East
* Western Asia

SUB-REGIONAL DESIGNATIONS

* Southern Levant

OTHER

* French post offices in the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
("Levant" stamps) * History of the Levant * Islamic State of Iraq
Iraq
and the Levant
Levant
(Referred to in current events as ISIL or ISIS) * Levantines (Latin Christians) , Catholic Europeans in the Levant * Levantine Sea

_Other places in the east of a larger region_

* Levante, Spain * Riviera di Levante , Italy

NOTES

* ^ Population of 44,550,926 found by adding all the countries' populations ( Cyprus
Cyprus
, Israel
Israel
, Jordan
Jordan
, Lebanon
Lebanon
, Syria
Syria
, Palestine and Hatay Province )

* ^

"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
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
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’ is, correctly speaking, the title for 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
Levant
to identify this region" (Burke 2010 , p. .) * ^

"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
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 Cis Jordan
Jordan
and Trans Jordan
Jordan
and even Lebanon
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 Hold Land' evoke the suspicion of a theological bias. 'The Land of Israel' does not apply to the situation because it never included Lebanon
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" (Geus 2003 , p. 6).

* ^ Gagarin 2009 , p. 247; _Encarta_ 2009 , "Levant"; Oxford Dictionaries 2015 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ _H_ _I_ _J_ _K_ Gagarin 2009 , p. 247

* ^ Gagarin 2009 , p. 247; 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
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

* ^ _A_ _B_ Oxford Dictionaries 2015 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _Encarta_ 2009 , "Levant" * ^ Naim 2011 , p. 921. * ^ Margreet L. Steiner; Ann E. Killebrew (2014). _The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Levant: C. 8000-332 BCE_. OUP Oxford. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-19-921297-2 . 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 * ^ _A_ _B_ The Ancient Levant, UCL Institute of Archaeology, May 2008 * ^ Egyptian Journal of Geology - Volume 42, Issue 1 - Page 263, 1998 * ^ "Ancient Ashkelon - National Geographic Magazine". Ngm.nationalgeographic.com. 2002-10-17. Retrieved 2011-10-17. * ^ "The state of Israel: Internal influence driving change". _BBC News_. 2011-11-06. * ^ Orfalea, Gregory The Arab Americans: A History. Olive Branch Press. Northampton, MA, 2006. Page 249 * ^ _A_ _B_ Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary. "Levant". _Dictionary.com_. Retrieved 2012-07-27. * ^ Oxford English Dictionary , 2nd edition * ^ Balme, Maurice; Morwood, James. "Chapter 36". _Oxford Latin Course Part III_ (2nd ed.). p. 19. * ^ "Journal of Levantine Studies". The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute . Retrieved 30 January 2014. * ^ Braudel , p. . * ^ Sandra Rosendahl (2006-11-28). "Council for British Research in the Levant
Levant
homepage". Cbrl.org.uk. Retrieved 2010-07-05. * ^ Biblical and Levantine studies, UCLA
UCLA
* ^ "About JLS". _Journal of Levantine Studies_. * ^ Dever, William G. "Syro-Palestinian and Biblical Archaeology", pp. 1244-1253. * ^ Sharon, Ilan "Biblical archaeology" in _Encyclopedia of Archaeology_ Elsevier. * ^ Kennedy, Hugh N. (2007). _The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In_. Da Capo Press. p. 376. ISBN 978-0306817281 . * ^ Lapidus, Ira M. (13 October 2014) . _A History of Islamic Societies_ (3rd ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 70. ISBN 978-0521514309 . * ^ Shoup, John A (2011-10-31). _Ethnic Groups of Africa
Africa
and the Middle East: An Encyclopedia_. ISBN 9781598843620 . Retrieved 26 May 2014. * ^ Jochmus, August freiherr von Cotignola). _The Syrian War and the Decline of the Ottoman Empire, 1840-1848: In Reports, Documents, and Correspondences, Etc, Volume 1_. A. Cohn , 1883. p. RA3-PA179.

REFERENCES

* Braudel, Fernand , _The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Phillip II_ * Burke, Aaron (2010), "The Transformation of Biblical and Syro-Palestinian Archaeology", in Levy, Thomas Evan, _Historical Biblical Archaeology and the Future: The New Pragmatism_, London: Equinox * "Levant", _Encarta_, Microsoft, 2009 * Geus, C. H. J. de (2003), _Towns in Ancient Israel
Israel
and in the Southern Levant_, Peeters Publishers, p. 6, ISBN 978-90-429-1269-4 * Gagarin, Michael (31 December 2009), _Ancient Greece
Greece
and Rome_, 1, Oxford University Press, Incorporated, p. 247, ISBN 978-0-19-517072-6

* Naim, Samia (2011), "Dialects of the Levant", in Weninger, Stefan; et al., _The Semitic Languages: An International Handbook_, Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, p. 921 * "Levant", _Oxford Dictionaries Online_, 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

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