Talk:Levantines (Latin Christians)

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Merge[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
To merge in Italian Lenantine

I support the merge, and I think that the merged article should be named "Levantines" . Personally I don't know any source which use the terminology "Italo-Levantines" or "French-Levantines". In Istanbul then I know personally several Levantines of Italian origin, and they describe themselves as "Levantini". Alex2006 (talk) 09:34, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

They should not be merged as "Levantines", since this refers to indigenous Levantines as well, which would be the primary subject. FunkMonk (talk) 00:09, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
In general thw word "Levantine", above all when used as adjective ("A levantine Arab") refers to the Levant, while in strict sense ("The Levantines from Istanbul"), refers to the European inhabitants of the Levant, as explained by the article. At least, this is the usage of the word in Italian, German and French. I think that the article should explain this in the introduction, and then deal with the European Levantines. Please check the articles on Wikipedia de and Wikipedia fr. Alex2006 (talk) 06:16, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
Alessandro57, the "Franco-" part refers not to France, but to the Franks. "Frank" was the local name for Latin Christians. Here's a dictionary definition in Greek:
φραγκολεβαντίνος ... (παρωχ.) για άτομο δυτικοευρωπαϊκής καταγωγής, που έχει γεννηθεί και κατοικεί σε χώρα της εγγύς Ανατολής· λεβαντίνος (Babiniotis Dictionary)
frankolevantinos... (historical) a person of western European origin who was born in and lives in a country of the near East; Levantine (which word refers back to francolevantine).
Just to confuse things, the word 'Franco-Levantine' can also be used to refer to things connecting France and the Levant. One can see both senses interspersed in the examples found in Google Books. --Macrakis (talk) 18:21, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
Hallo Makrakis, I know what the suffix Franco- means (in Turkey many things are a la Franga or a la Turca),but you got the point. The used word in Italian, German and French is "Levantine" and the usage Franco-levantine (correct in Greek, if I understand you), let arise false interpretations (as the title of the correspondent article in the Italian wikipedia). I know at least five Levantines in Istanbul, and they call themselves "Levantini", not "Franco-levantini". The usage Franco-Levantine in this context creates just a mess. Please have a look at the German article, which - as usual in Wikipedia world - is according to me more precise than the English one. Alex2006 (talk) 10:17, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Both "Levantine" and "Franco-Levantine" are problematic names, but I believe "Franco-Levantine" is clearer and less ambiguous.
"Levantine" is problematic because it refers to the Levant in general, and the peoples of the Levant in general -- in fact, this is the only meaning given by the OED. Even when talking about "Levantine merchants", this may refer to Latin Christians in particular or to Ottoman merchants in general (cf. Mathieu Grenet, "A Business alla Turca?: Levantine Trade and the Representation of Ottoman Merchanges in Eighteenth-Century European Commercial Literature" [1]; also http://books.google.com/books?id=PeE_ZP25FIcC&pg=PA171&dq=%22levantine+merchant%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=m5FkT_3mLJPAtgfknvn9DQ&ved=0CDcQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22levantine%20merchant%22&f=false). Because of this ambiguity, I think Levantine has to remain a disambiguation page. Even a title like "Levantine people" is ambiguous.
It's true that "Franco-Levantine" can mean not just "Latin Christian in the East", but also "pertaining to French and Levantine matters". But that seems like an unlikely confusion, especially when used as a substantive.
As for what Franco-Levantines in Istanbul call themselves, this is a relatively minor criterion. This is the English-language Wikipedia, and we need to determine what an appropriate name in English is. What's more, there have been Levantines in all parts of the Ottoman Empire, not just Istanbul. --Macrakis (talk) 13:28, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Hallo Makrakis,
that's the main point: we don't have to determine anything, we have to use the name which is used in the research about the subject. This morning I went to the central library (3,000,000 books) and I searched the database: the word franco-levantine (with or without "-") gave 0 hits. Then, since I find the subject (with or without prefix :-)) interesting, I lended a book about the subject: Author: Oliver Schmitt, Titel(guess what? :-)): "Levantiner", 518 pages, printed in 2005. At the end of the book there are 18 pages of bibliography, about 700 books: there are books about Levantini, Levantiner, Levantines, but NONE about Franco-levantines. This word (as you said) has been borrowed from Greek, but according to what I read is not used by the academia.
About Levantines in the Empire, the author says that they were present above all in Istanbul and Smyrna, the communities in the other cities of the Empire were tiny (in Saloniky 133 in 1840,in Bursa 44 also in 1840, etc.).
In conclusion, I think that the prefix Franco- should disappear, and the article should be renamed in a way that can be decided (maybe: Levantines (Ottoman Empire)? Bye Alex2006 (talk) 17:24, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
You may well be right that Levantine is more common than Franco-Levantine in English. The problem, of course, with the term "Levantines" is that it is ambiguous by itself, so the article title would have to be something like Levantines (Latin Christians) or some such. For example, I see that Egyptian Jews have been characterized as "Levantines"" "Ambivalent Levantines: Literary constructions of Egyptian Jewish identity".[2] Indeed, "Levantines" often refers to Middle Easterners in general.... --Macrakis (talk) 18:28, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Hallo Makrakis, I have another good idea: let's disambiguate so: Levantines (Franks). So we save goat and cabbage (Italian way of saying :-)) and don't create a second "case Sant'Antoine" (the church of Sant'Antonio on Istiklal, built by an Italian architect with Italian money and officiated by Italian friars which, thanks to its Turkish name - "Sen Antuan" - appears now on the guides of half world as "the French church of Istanbul") What do you think about it? Of course also your proposal is very good...Bye Alex2006 (talk) 18:32, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Sure, something like Levantines (Franks) or Levantines (Latin Christians) would be fine by me. I prefer the second, because "Franks" is obscure and obsolete in English in this sense (though of course not in Turkish, Greek, etc.). --Macrakis (talk) 23:47, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Ok Makrakis, I will do it! I started reading the book, which supports your choice. Actually I did not know it, but among the Levantines there are also the Catholic Greeks of the Archipelago, which emigrated en masse to Constantinople and Smyrna after the Greek revolution... About the Egyptian Jews which you remember (the author deals with them in the first chapter, devoted to the origin of the name "Levantine", he writes that in that context "levantine" is used as adjective, i.e. Levant's Jews and not as noun. Bye, Alex2006 (talk) 09:01, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
And - of of course - I support the merge.
Interesting -- I trust you'll incorporate some of what you learn from the book into the article. Weren't there also important populations of Latin Christians in Aleppo and Alexandria (Egypt)? --Macrakis (talk) 15:38, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
Of course, but I will need some time to finish the book, it is written microscopically :-) Two years ago I visited SS. Pietro e Paolo in Istanbul: it is the church of the Levantines in Galata and is quite interesting to read the gravestones in its small cemetery, most of them in Italian and related to Levantines of Italian, Maltese and Dalmatian ascent.
I agree with you about the necessity to cover the Levantine population in Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. By the way, one of the best friend of my grandparents on mother's side was a Levantine from Alexandria. Born in 1895, perfectly bilingual (Italian & French), emigrated to Rome in the thirties, she told me a lot of stories of that gilded age (for the Levantines, of course :-)). Bye Alex2006 (talk) 16:34, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Italians should certainly be merged, without the Italians we would have only a small French community (now several hundred in and around İzmir) as "Latins". On the other hand, not all Lavantines are/were Latins, as in the case of British subjects of the Ottoman Empire. --78.178.36.168 (talk) 09:43, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

No, all the Levantines were Latin. British subjects remained British, with strong ties to the U.K. The Levantines lost their ties with their homeland quite soon, only to recover therm when it was about time to flee. You can read about it the masterful work of Oliver Schmitt, "Levantiner", appeared some years ago. Alex2006 (talk) 17:09, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

What exactly does Wikipedia mean by Latin Christians?[edit]

I would disagree that Latin Christians mean Roman Catholics. There are 22 churches in the Roman Catholic Church that aren't considered Latin. It is unlikely a Maronite would be called a Latin Christian. Clr324 (talk) 05:36, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

As I wrote in my edit comment, "Latin" has here an ethnical meaning, not religious. If you think that this is confusing, we should change also the title of the article. Actually, I always thought that this was imprecise, since many Levantines are Roman Catholic Greeks, so they are not "Latin" (i.e., coming from Latin Europe) in strict sense, but rather they were historically subject of a Latin power (Venice or Genoa). One thing is clear: all Levantines are Roman Catholics by definition: a Maronite is not a Levantine. About that you can read "Levantiner - Lebenswelten und Identitäten einer ethnokonfessionellen Gruppe im osmanischen Reich im „langen 19. Jahrhundert“ by Oliver Jens Schmitt, appeared in 2005, which is the standard work about this group. Alex2006 (talk) 05:46, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
So Latin Christian means Romance-speaking or Latin-influenced Christian? Clr324 (talk) 05:52, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
Exactly. :-) As Schmitt writes, they are an ethnoconfessional group, defined as being Roman Catholics of "Latin" descend living in the territory of the former ottoman empire. If you go to Istanbul, you will notice that their churches, like for example Sen Antuan or St. Mary Draperis, are all Roman Catholic. Alex2006 (talk) 06:05, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
Are there any Eastern Catholic churches though? Clr324 (talk) 23:12, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
Not among the Levantines. Levantines of Latin descend (Italian, French) are of course all Roman Catholics. Greek Levantines are called Franco-Levantines because of their Roman Catholic faith. Alex2006 (talk) 03:46, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The problem is not just "what Wikipedia" means by the term Levantines (Latin Christians), the sourcing of most of the statements in the article is very weak to non-existent. I have requested citations in a couple of cases to get the article on a path to being cleaned up. N2e (talk) 22:45, 21 August 2014 (UTC)