Talk:Syria (region)

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Creation[edit]

Once, i hope you agree to my edits to the lead. I think they are reasonable and constructive. Further i would challenge your redirects from "Historic Syria" or "Syria (historic region)" to here, because in my understanding "historic" region is a strictly irredentist (nationalist) term, used for "Historic Syria", "Historic Turkey", "Historic Israel" - to emphasize the greatest period of expansion and hence claiming the peak territories in nationalist attitude. I would like to redirect all "historic" Syrias to the "Greater Syria" article, or at least disambiguate them. do you agree? Greyshark09 (talk) 19:41, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

Thanks Greyshark, those are helpful edits.
As to the question of the use of the term "historical", I have a different perspective - to my mind it is not intended to suggest a nationalist perspective of "historical rights" or similar, rather that the term is only used today when referring to the region in a historical context. We do it in the Palestine article (see "This article is about the historical geographic region.") For example, noone would talk about Israel today as being in the region of Syria, but people would talk about Byzantine Palaestina Prima or Ottoman Mutasarrifate of Mount Lebanon as being in the region of Syria. How would you prefer we make that nuance clear?
As to the redirects, for the sake of simplicity could we agree to differ and send them to the disambiguation page?
Oncenawhile (talk) 20:39, 1 June 2013 (UTC)
Nuances, so i assume we resolve this by making "Historic Syria" a disambig page (differing "Syria (region)" and "Greater Syria"), it that agreed?Greyshark09 (talk) 20:55, 1 June 2013 (UTC)
Fine for me - i'd send them to Syria (disambiguation) which already includes both. Oncenawhile (talk) 21:41, 1 June 2013 (UTC)
Case closed. Good work.Greyshark09 (talk)

Ambiguous terms[edit]

from the article:

According to the Syrian Orthodox Church, "Syrian" (sūriy سوري) used to mean "Christian" in early Christianity. In English, "Syrian" historically meant a Syrian Christian (as in, e.g., Ephraim the Syrian). Following the declaration of the Syrian Arab Republic in 1936, the term "Syrian" became to designate citizens of that state regardless of ethnicity. The adjective "Syriac" (suryāni سرياني) has come into common use since as a demonym to avoid the ambiguity of "Syrian".

Ironically, the meaning of this is ambiguous. The first sentence is attributed to a church with no citation. Who within the church says this? It then comments on the use of both an English word and an Arabic word in "early Christianity". "Early Christianity" is an extremely broad term, but I doubt that many of the very early Christians spoke English or Arabic. For example, Ephrem the Syrian was clearly a Middle Aramaic (viz "Syriac") speaker, perhaps also literate in Greek or Latin. So, we get no sense of who would be using these English and Arabic terms to refer to whom. Then we are told about the use of the English term after the founding of the modern state of Syria; but perhaps it is meant to instead imply the use of the aforementioned Arabic term in addition or instead. We are then given a different pair of English and Arabic words without being told who uses them or which concept they refer to.

Anyone with additional insight into how these terms are used would do well to clean this up a bit.—Greg Pandatshang (talk) 22:49, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

There are two different etymologies given for the Arabic "ash-sham", as well as the same information, repeated in detail, about it not being related the son of Noah (Shem) and its distinction from Yemen. This should be rewritten with reference to a reliable source. TomS TDotO (talk) 07:48, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

Regarding Sham, or Syria, it had always seemed clear to me that it must be related to Shams, or Sun, since Syria lies at the East of the Mediterranean, and is thus the land of the rising sun, as the French also called it the Levant. It is true that Syria lies to the north of Arabia, and thus to the left when facing the rising sun. However, this does not exclude the Sun meaning, on the contrary, if Sham also means left or north, it confirms it. Also, when facing the Sun's place in the south from, say, Egypt, then Syria is also to the east and to the left hand. In early times there were also different usages in different dialects and so on. Old school etymology tends to overlook obvious similarities and focus on blindly on slight differences. I believe this tendency is dying out and is being replaced by a more diffuse acceptance of ancient roots. If one could go back far enough, it would not be surprising if Shem and son were also related to Sun. JPLeonard (talk) 06:49, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

Move discussion in progress[edit]

There is a move discussion in progress on Talk:Syria which affects this page. Please participate on that page and not in this talk page section. Thank you. —RMCD bot 19:58, 29 November 2014 (UTC)

Maronite Christians[edit]

@HD86:, re this edit, where does Salibi say the Maronites brought the name back into use? I think that is wrong. Oncenawhile (talk) 13:13, 10 August 2015 (UTC)

Also, where does he write "and was adopted officially by the Ottoman government before the turn of the 20th century"? Oncenawhile (talk) 13:28, 10 August 2015 (UTC)

I read this information several years ago. I thought it was in this book. Did you read carefully in the book? Anyways, you can definitely find it in other sources if you just try to read in sources (it is always easier on Wikipedia to delete information than to read in sources).
It is certain that the Ottomans used the word "Surya" officially before the end of the 19th century. The Vilayet of Damascus was officially called the Vilayet of Surya already in the late 19th century.--HD86 (talk) 01:43, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
That's true. The official yearbooks used the name Suriye by the 1870s at the latest. An example is here. We need a source that states it, though. It is also plausible that the Arabic and Turkish documents didn't always use the same name. Zerotalk 02:18, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
How about this. It says the name was official from 1865. Zerotalk 02:21, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
Yes this is good.
I have looked again in the book A House of Many Mansions. This book does indeed have the things which I wrote in the article. The book talks about the emergence of "Syrian nationalism" in the 19th century and the author makes it clear that it was the Maronite Christians of Lebanon who invented that idea. It seems that User:Oncenawhile never actually looked in the book. He looked in the single page which I mentioned in the citation, and he then proceeded to deleting the things which I wrote.--HD86 (talk) 18:04, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

Cilicia and Syria[edit]

It is not true that Syria in Late Antiquity included Cilicia. I am sure the Muslims considered Cilicia part of ash-Sham, but the Byzantines and Romans had varying opinions on this matter. If I had the time I would have pointed this out in the articles with citations, but I cannot do that.--HD86 (talk) 01:57, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

Sham in Akkadian[edit]

@Attar-Aram syria: Sham (بالمدة آ شآم) means sky. if you ask any Syrian about (بلاد الشآم), he would reply that it means "sky land". the origin of this etymology comes from the Akkadian texts in which the meaning can be easily interpreted in Hebrew ! CadAPL (talk) 00:34, 27 April 2017 (UTC)

Im a Syrian. But folk myth has nothing to do with reality. This is the Arabic name, and it means according to most opinions: the left, in contrast to Yemen (the right). Now, did the Arabs adopted this word from Akkadian ? If there is an academic source to prove it, then I will be happy.--Attar-Aram syria (talk) 01:05, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
First of all, Who said that Sham is an Arabic word ?! every Arabic word could be simplified and taken back to its triliteral root, so can you do that to Sham? The left in Arabic is (يسار) or (شمال), which comes from that the east is the front (ancient Semitics used to say قدام, you can check Cadmus etymology) so the left is North (شمال) ! however, it seems that Arabs have really raped the history of Syria, how sad !! CadAPL (talk) 20:03, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
I said its the Arabic name not word. Now, you need an academic source by a linguist that connect the Arabic name to an Akkadian root. Thats how Wiki work. (I remember reading that Sham is taken from شؤم which is what the "left" inspire in Arabs).--Attar-Aram syria (talk) 20:52, 27 April 2017 (UTC)