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Rûm (Arabic pronunciation: [ˈruːmˤ]; singular Rûmi), also transliterated as Roum (in Koine Greek Ῥωμαῖοι, Rhomaioi, meaning "Romans"; in Arabic الرُّومُ ar-Rūm; in Persian and Ottoman Turkish روم Rûm; in Turkish: Rum), is a generic term used at different times in the Muslim world to refer to:
- ethnocultural minorities such as the various Christian denominations (called al-Rûm) living in the Near East and their descendants, notably the Antiochian Greek Christians who are members of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch and the Melkite Greek Catholic Church of Syria, Lebanon, Northern Israel, occupied Palestine and the Hatay Province in Southern Turkey whose liturgy is still based on Koine Greek
- more generally, to Greek Orthodox constituents of the Ottoman Empire and later citizens of Turkey (Rûmi or Rûm in the broader sense, through this use is disappearing with the quasi-extinction of Greek communities in Izmir, Istanbul, Cappadocia, and the Black Sea coast)
- geographical areas such as the Balkans and Anatolia, generally to the Eastern Roman Empire in particular or to the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm in Medieval Turkey
The name derives from Ῥωμαῖοι, Rhomaioi: "Romans". It refers to the Byzantine Empire, which was then simply known as the "Roman Empire" and had not yet acquired the designation "Byzantine", an academic term applied only after its dissolution. The city of Rome itself is known in modern Arabic as Rūmā روما (in Classical Arabic Rūmiyah رومية). The Arabic term Rûm is found in the pre-Islamic Namara inscription and later in the Quran. In the Sassanian period (pre-Islamic Persia) the word Hrōmāy-īg (Middle Persian) meant "Roman" or "Byzantine", which was derived from Rhomaioi.
The Qur'an includes Surat Ar-Rum (the sura dealing with "the Romans", sometimes translated as "The Byzantines"). The people, known today as Byzantine Greeks, were inhabitants of the Roman Empire and called themselves Ρωμιοί or Ῥωμαῖοι Rhomaioi, Romans. The term "Byzantine" is a modern designation to describe the Eastern Roman Empire, particularly after the major political restructuring of the seventh and eighth century. The Arabs, therefore, naturally called them "the Rûm", their territory "the land of the Rûm" and the Mediterranean "the Sea of the Rûm". They called Ancient Greece by the name "Yūnān" (Ionia) and ancient Greeks "Yūnānīm" (similar to Hebrew "Yavan" [יוון] for the country and "Yevanim" [יוונים] for the people). Ancient Romans were called "Rūm" or sometimes "Latin'yun" (Latins).
Rûm as a name
Al-Rūmī is a nisbah designating people originating in the Byzantine Roman Empire or lands that formerly belonged to Byzantine Roman Empire, especially Anatolia. Historical people so designated include the following:
- Suhayb ar-Rumi, a companion of Muhammad
- Mawlānā Jalāl-ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī (Rumi), the 13th-century Persian poet
- Qāḍī Zāda al-Rūmī, 14th-century mathematician
- Tadj ol-Molouk Ayrumlu, Former Queen of Iran
The Greek surname Roumeliotis stems from the word Rûm borrowed by Ottomans.
Rûm in geography
Later, because Muslim contact with the Byzantine Empire most often took place in Asia Minor (the heartland of the state from the seventh century onward), the term Rûm became fixed there geographically and remained even after the conquest by the Seljuk Turks so their territory was called the land of the Seljuks of Rûm or the Sultanate of Rûm. But as the Mediterranean was "the Sea of the Rûm", so all peoples on its north coast were called sweepingly "the Rûm".
After the conquest of Constantinople, Mehmed II declared himself Kayser-i Rum, literally "Caesar of the Romans". During the 16th century, the Portuguese used "rume" and "rumes" (plural) as a generic term to refer to the Mamluk-Ottoman forces they faced then in the Indian Ocean.
Under the Ottoman Empire's Millet system, Greeks were in the "Rum Millet" (Millet-i Rum). In today's Turkey, Rum are the Turkish citizens of Greek ethnicity. The term "Urums", also derived from the same origin, is still used in contemporary ethnography to denote Turkic-speaking Greek populations. "Rumeika" is a Greek dialect identified mainly with the Ottoman Greeks.
Chinese, during the Ming dynasty, referred to the Ottomans as Lumi (魯迷), derived from Rum or Rumi. The Chinese also referred to Rum as Wulumu 務魯木 during the Qing dynasty. The modern Chinese name for the city of Rome is Luoma (羅馬).
There are differing opinions among Islamic scholars regarding the identity of Rûm in the modern day. Various books have been written on the topic and the relevance of the identity of Rûm in Islamic eschatology caused much debate to take place regarding the issue.
Musa Cerantonio, in his book 'Which Nation does Rūm in the Aḥādīth of the Last Days refer to?', suggests that the title of Rûm was passed from the Roman Empire based in Italy to the Byzantine Empire, then to the Ottoman Empire when the Ottomans defeated the Byzantines, and openly proclaimed to be the inheritors of Rome and its leader Mehmed II called himself the Caesar of Rome (Qaysar al-Rûm), and the title of Rûm was then passed to the successors of Rûm, the modern Republic of Turkey. The book argues that the definition of Rûm has never been defined by ethnicity, geography or religion but that Rûm was always understood to be a political term and that it was only by conquest and succession that a nation would become the inheritors of the title of Rûm.
- Rum Millet
- Antiochian Greek Christians
- Rûm Province, Ottoman Empire
- Rumelia, from Turkish Rum eli meaning 'country of the Romans'
- Erzurum, from the Turkish pronunciation of Arabic أرض روم arḍ Rūm, 'Land of the Romans'
- Edirne Ciğeri, a Turkish meat dish also referred to as "Rumeli Ciğeri"
- Rumi calendar, a calendar based on the Julian Calendar, used by the Ottoman Empire after Tanzimat
- Mawlānā, great Persian poet who is sometimes referred to as Rumi
- Rumiye-i Suğra, or Little Rûm (Rome), is the name of the region in Ottoman Empire which included Tokat, Amasya, and Sivas
- Rumçi, another term used to refer to the Greeks during the Ottoman times
- Romaniote Jews
- Byzantine Empire
- Roma (disambiguation)
- Rûm, Nadia El Cheikh, The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Vol. VIII, ed. C.E. Bosworth, E. Van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs and G. Lecomte, (Brill, 1995), 601.
- Nadia Maria El-Cheikh, Byzantium Viewed by the Arabs, (Harvard University Press, 2004), 24.
- Ozbaran, Salih, "Ottomans as 'Rumes' in Portuguese sources in the sixteenth century", Portuguese Studies, Annual, 2001
- The "Rumi Topi" of Hyderabad, by Omair M. Farooqui
- "Which Nation does Rūm in the Aḥādīth of the Last Days refer to?"
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Duncan Black MacDonald (1911). "Rum, a very indefinite term in use among Mahommedans at different dates for Europeans generally and for the Byzantine empire in particular". In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Durak, Koray (2010). "Who are the Romans? The Definition of Bilād al-Rūm (Land of the Romans) in Medieval Islamic Geographies". Journal of Intercultural Studies. 31 (3): 285–298. doi:10.1080/07256861003724557.
- Kafadar, Kemal (2007). "Introduction: A Rome of One's Own: Reflections on Cultural Geography and Identity in the Lands of Rum". Muqarnas. 24: 7–25. JSTOR 25482452.