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When was the last time the Syrians fought?

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Omar al Hashim View Drop Down
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    Posted: 21 Sep 2009 at 17:57
I've been trying to count back, when was the last time (before the last 60 years) Syrians actually fought in their own armies?
The armies defending Syria have been comprised of (counting back)
Ottoman Turks,
Mamlukes,
Arabs (as opposed to Syrians)
Romans,
Macedonians,
Persians
Babylonians
Assyrians

Which brings me far enough back that my history runs out. Perhaps Syrians fight in Assyrian or Selucid armies? Or are we looking even earlier?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 2009 at 20:38

Define a Syrian I guess.

Who were the Maccabees fighting against? Hellenised Syrians?

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 2009 at 21:44
If neither Arabs nor Assyrians qualify as Syrians. then I have no idea what a Syrian is.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2009 at 02:06
Does running away count as fighting?
Originally posted by 2 Kings 7 2 Kings 7 wrote:

 4If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.

 5And they rose up in the twilight, to go unto the camp of the Syrians: and when they were come to the uttermost part of the camp of Syria, behold, there was no man there.

 6For the LORD had made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host: and they said one to another, Lo, the king of Israel hath hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us.

 7Wherefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents, and their horses, and their asses, even the camp as it was, and fled for their life.

Originally posted by 2 Samuel 10 2 Samuel 10 wrote:

 6And when the children of Ammon saw that they were a stench before David, the children of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Bethrehob and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand footmen, and of King Maacah a thousand men, and of Ishtob twelve thousand men.

   
 7And when David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the host of the mighty men.

   
 8And the children of Ammon came out and set up in battle array at the entrance to the gate; and the Syrians of Zoba, and of Rehob, and Ishtob, and Maacah were by themselves in the field.

   
 9When Joab saw that the front of the battle line was against him before and behind, he chose from all the choice men of Israel and put them in array against the Syrians;

   
 10and the rest of the people he delivered into the hand of Abishai his brother, that he might put them in array against the children of Ammon.

   
 11And he said, "If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt help me; but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then I will come and help thee.

   
 12Be of good courage, and let us play the man for our people and for the cities of our God; and the LORD do that which seemeth to Him good."

   
 13And Joab drew nigh, and the people who were with him, unto the battle against the Syrians; and they fled before him.

   
 14And when the children of Ammon saw that the Syrians had fled, then fled they also before Abishai and entered into the city. So Joab returned from the children of Ammon, and came to Jerusalem.

 
(King James version)   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2009 at 14:19

Originally posted by gcle gcle wrote:

Define a Syrian I guess.

Originally posted by Reg Reg wrote:

If neither Arabs nor Assyrians qualify as Syrians. then I have no idea what a Syrian is.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Amarnamap.png"

Referring to this map, the brown area are roughly the Syrians. Which is also roughly the modern state. Arabs are not Syrians, as far as I can tell Syrians were only called Arabs since Ottoman times, probably because they speak Arabic now. (Generally anyway, the whole what defines an Arab thing now is a bit vague and there is plenty of admixture) As far as I mean in this conversation (and forum) Arabs are from the peninsular.

Assyrians I'm not so sure about. The grey area on the map is Assyria, which is certainly not Syria, but the neo-Assyrian empire did rule all of Syria. I'm not sure whether Syria was an integral part of the Empire or an area subjected to the peoples from modern northern Iraq. Who exactly was fighting in the armies.

Originally posted by gcle gcle wrote:

Who were the Maccabees fighting against? Hellenised Syrians?

The Selucids, who were in theory macedonian, but by that time I'm fairly sure that most of their soliders weren't macedonian. I think this is a strong contender, but it would depend on whether they drew most of their troops from Persia and Iraq (where their capital cities were).
Originally posted by gcle gcle wrote:

Does running away count as fighting?

I'd say so. I didn't ask when they'd last won a war. What time period is that talking about?

Its pretty crazy our only contenders are so long ago - not exactly a warlike people.



Edited by Omar al Hashim - 22 Sep 2009 at 14:22
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2009 at 15:50

Here is the thing Omar. Nearly 70% of present day "syrians" are Arabs, 20% are of semitic stock and the rest are Kurds and others. Syria as a name only appeared to general use in the 1860s. Before that the region was known officially and still is as Sham (semetic root of the word shamal or north since all semites came from Arabia).

Arabs have been living in Syria since the 2nd century BC. Semites have been living there since 3000 BC and were the majority since c. 1500 BC and before.
 
 So again, the question, who are the "syrians" you referring to?
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2009 at 15:57
Quote Here is the thing Omar. Nearly 70% of present day "syrians" are Arabs, 20% are of semitic stock and the rest are Kurds and others. Syria as a name only appeared to general use in the 1860s. Before that the region was known officially and still is as Sham (semetic root of the word shamal or north since all semites came from Arabia).
Syria is the Latin word.
I'm not sure what genetics actually means, you can use them to make whatever point you wish.
By Syrians I mean the people who are living and descendents of people living in Syria [or Sham if you prefer]. I'm not really interested in their ethnic heritage.
 
PS.
Wait, are you saying 20% are semitic non-Arab, 70% Arab, and the rest Kurd and others? This seems the most logical way to interpret that sentence, unless your saying that 80% of syrians are not semitic, and 50% of syrians are non-semitic arabs.


Edited by Omar al Hashim - 22 Sep 2009 at 16:03
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2009 at 16:30
Syria is a latin word that came from the Assyrian word "Assur", the land of the Assyrians which is logical since Assyrians ruled the place long before the Romans.
 
For the natives, Sham was the word and still is to this day. Syria was revived by the Turks first and retained by the new regimes.
 
As for the numbers above, the 70% is the amount of Bedouins or people of bedouin extraction in Syria.
 
The 20% is the amount of people living in traditionally semitic but non Arab majority areas like the coast.
 
The 10%, well, the kurds are about 8% of the population (officially, there are about 12% actually since many don't have citizenship) while the rest is a gestimation.
 
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Edited by Al Jassas - 22 Sep 2009 at 16:34
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2009 at 20:54

The Biblical name for the area (in later translations than the King James) is Aramaea, hence 'Aramaic'. The Aramaeans lived around Damascus. I don't think Assyria had anything to do with it, other than that the Assyrians conquered the area for a while, and Herodotus muddled them up (it's Greek before it's Latin).

Omar, the time period for the Bible passages I quoted is usually assumed to be around 1000 BCE,  before the Assyrian wolf came down on the fold, and well before the Babylonian exile.



Edited by gcle2003 - 22 Sep 2009 at 20:55
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote azimuth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Sep 2009 at 13:34
since this sub forum is pre 550 BC i guess people who lived in syria that time are the ones to be considered 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Sep 2009 at 20:52
Chapter 33 of the Cambridge Ancient History (vol 2 part 2) includes a lot of stuff about Syrians fighting with one lot after another (Jews, Assyrians, Hittites...)
 
Not that you'll want to buy a copy, but a reasonable library should have it.
 
though I don't know what hoops you will have to go through. (I haven't tried it.)


Edited by gcle2003 - 23 Sep 2009 at 20:59
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SPQR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Oct 2009 at 05:37
Heck one question I have is when is the last time the Swiss fought? lol
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Oct 2009 at 16:28
Napoleonic wars I think.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Oct 2009 at 00:11
Originally posted by SPQR SPQR wrote:

Heck one question I have is when is the last time the Swiss fought? lol
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Oct 2009 at 00:24
I don't think the people thre were ever actually Assyrians - Assyrians were from Northern Iraq.  The name Syria is a new designationl. The fact is that, as gcle pointed out, most inhabitants spoke Aramaic before the Greco-Roman colonisation.  And Al Jassas rightly states there has also been an Arab presence there for thousands of years.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Killabee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 May 2010 at 05:06
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

Here is the thing Omar. Nearly 70% of present day "syrians" are Arabs, 20% are of semitic stock and the rest are Kurds and others. Syria as a name only appeared to general use in the 1860s. Before that the region was known officially and still is as Sham (semetic root of the word shamal or north since all semites came from Arabia).

Arabs have been living in Syria since the 2nd century BC. Semites have been living there since 3000 BC and were the majority since c. 1500 BC and before.
 
 So again, the question, who are the "syrians" you referring to?
 
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If 70% of Syrian are Bedouin descent, How do you explain genetic-wise, Levantine (be it Lebanese, Jordanian) do not cluster with Arabian(Bedouin, Saudi, Yemeni), rather they form their own cluster?



I understand there were Arab presence in Levant before Islam (Ghassanid and Nabataean) and Damascus was once served as the capital of the Arab Caliphate (Umayyads). I don't believe the Arab migration was huge enough to make a dynamic change of demographic of Syria.


Edited by Killabee - 09 May 2010 at 05:09
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 May 2010 at 05:48

Hello Killabee

 
Well one has to ask first about the statistical soundness of the study? I mean Damascus barely represent 5% of the total Syrian population and the study most likely was conducted there.
 
My numbers are based on estimates (done by other people of course) taken from the Syrian census. Several provinces in Syria are almost exclusively populated by Bedouins or their descendents and there are millions of them who migrated to cities.
 
Also, and this is a very important point people seem to forget, not all bedouins hail from the same semetic group. According to traditions Arabs are either Yemenis or Adnani and this is well reflected in the genetics of societies deemed to be "pure" when you realise that the haplogroup isn't uniform.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Killabee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 May 2010 at 07:52
Al Jassas,

The study not only covers the area of Levant but the entire area of Middle-East. Surprisingly,even Jordanian (according to CIA statistic, 50% are Bedouin) and Iraqi who have the most affinity to Gulf Arab distance vastly from Saudi, Yemeni and Bedouin from the genetic point of view. So it is more likely a myth that Iraqi and Levantine are mostly descend from  Arab in terms of genealogy . For the most part, They are indigenous people with admixture with the Arab. They are called Arab now because the term Arab has shifted to more of ethnolinguistic and cultural than racial one.


Edited by Killabee - 09 May 2010 at 08:10
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 May 2010 at 08:10
Hello Killabee and I forgot to say this, welcome back!
 
Again is this study actually statistically representative of all the people of the levant? 
 
The answer is definitely no, again look at the "semetic" Haplogroups (J1 and J2) and you will find that they represent roughly 70% of all Arabs in the levant and nearly 90% of Arabs in the Peninsula which in itself a rough proof that most people of the levant are of Bedouin origin (since as I mentioned above bedouins traditionally come from several distinct groups not one):
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Killabee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 May 2010 at 08:22
Thanks Al-Jassas. Haplogroup J are also found in high frequency among non-Arabic groups such as Nubian, Copts, Beja, Dargins... It can hardly be associated with unique Arab genetic marker. If anything, it probably stemmed from Proto-Semitic or other related group.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 May 2010 at 08:46
This can be easily explained by both local legend (in which many of those peoples actually claim Arab descent) as well as the proto-semetic element since Arab migrations began over a 1000 years before Islam (the Assyrians mention them joining a battle in Syria back in the 700s BC).
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 May 2010 at 14:05
"Syria" is a relatively new term that was confused by Greeks, who, basically, applied it to the whole Fertile Crescent including Phoenicia, Assyria, Palestine etc.
 
Perhaps, it was caused by the fact that lingua franca at the whole region was Aramaic and that it had established such position during the times Assyrian empire. The original indegenous "real" Assyrian language i.e. Akkadian was complitely replaced by Aramaic and became the official language of the Assyrian empire some time around the 8th century BC.
 
In the eyes of the outside Ancient Greek observers the political entity of Assyrian empire became confused with the lingua franca of that empire and they applied the term "Syrians" to all the inhabitants of the region who spoke Aramaic language.
 
The language itself however was first spoken among Arameans, Semitic nomades who settled in large numbers in the territory roughly corresponding to today's Syria and centering around Damascus. Arameans kingdoms around Damascus are usually referred as "Aram" in Bible.
 
Later, due the said Greek confusion that was strenghten by the fact that a large province in the region was named by Romans as "Syria" as well, Arameans and Aram from the Old Testaments got translated as "Syrians" and "Syria" respectively.
 
The proper name for those guys, however, would be probably still Arameans and Aram...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 May 2010 at 15:38
Yeah, and speaking about the last time the Syrians i.e. Arameans fought. Seems that it was in 732 BC when Assyrians conquered Aram and annexed it to their empire.
 
The account is almost comlitely based on the Old Testament.
 
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