Malta, officially known as the Republic of Malta, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies 80 km south of Italy,284 km east of Tunisia, the country covers just over 316 km2, with a population of just under 450,000, making it one of the worlds smallest and most densely populated countries. The capital of Malta is Valletta, which at 0.8 km2, is the smallest national capital in the European Union, Malta has one national language, which is Maltese, and English as an official language. John and British, have ruled the islands, King George VI of the United Kingdom awarded the George Cross to Malta in 1942 for the countrys bravery in the Second World War. The George Cross continues to appear on Maltas national flag, the country became a republic in 1974, and although no longer a Commonwealth realm, remains a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations. Malta was admitted to the United Nations in 1964 and to the European Union in 2004, in 2008, Catholicism is the official religion in Malta.
The origin of the term Malta is uncertain, and the modern-day variation derives from the Maltese language, the most common etymology is that the word Malta derives from the Greek word μέλι, honey. The ancient Greeks called the island Μελίτη meaning honey-sweet, possibly due to Maltas unique production of honey, an endemic species of bee lives on the island. The Romans went on to call the island Melita, which can be considered either as a latinisation of the Greek Μελίτη or the adaptation of the Doric Greek pronunciation of the same word Μελίτα. Another conjecture suggests that the word Malta comes from the Phoenician word Maleth a haven or port in reference to Maltas many bays, few other etymological mentions appear in classical literature, with the term Malta appearing in its present form in the Antonine Itinerary. The extinction of the hippos and dwarf elephants has been linked to the earliest arrival of humans on Malta. Prehistoric farming settlements dating to the Early Neolithic period were discovered in areas and in caves.
The Sicani were the tribe known to have inhabited the island at this time and are generally regarded as being closely related to the Iberians. Pottery from the Għar Dalam phase is similar to found in Agrigento. A culture of megalithis temple builders either supplanted or arose from this early period, the temples have distinctive architecture, typically a complex trefoil design, and were used from 4000 to 2500 BCE. Animal bones and a knife found behind an altar stone suggest that temple rituals included animal sacrifice. Tentative information suggests that the sacrifices were made to the goddess of fertility, the culture apparently disappeared from the Maltese Islands around 2500 BC. Archaeologists speculate that the builders fell victim to famine or disease
Islam is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion which professes that there is only one and incomparable God and that Muhammad is the last messenger of God. It is the worlds second-largest religion and the major religion in the world, with over 1.7 billion followers or 23% of the global population. Islam teaches that God is merciful, all-powerful, and unique, and He has guided mankind through revealed scriptures, natural signs, and a line of prophets sealed by Muhammad. The primary scriptures of Islam are the Quran, viewed by Muslims as the word of God. Muslims believe that Islam is the original and universal version of a faith that was revealed many times before through prophets including Adam, Abraham, Moses. As for the Quran, Muslims consider it to be the unaltered, certain religious rites and customs are observed by the Muslims in their family and social life, while social responsibilities to parents and neighbors have been defined. Besides, the Quran and the sunnah of Muhammad prescribe a comprehensive body of moral guidelines for Muslims to be followed in their personal, political, Islam began in the early 7th century.
Originating in Mecca, it spread in the Arabian Peninsula. The expansion of the Muslim world involved various caliphates and empires, most Muslims are of one of two denominations, Sunni or Shia. Islam is the dominant religion in the Middle East, North Africa, sizable Muslim communities are found in Horn of Africa, China, Mainland Southeast Asia, Northern Borneo and the Americas. Converts and immigrant communities are found in almost every part of the world, Islam is a verbal noun originating from the triliteral root s-l-m which forms a large class of words mostly relating to concepts of wholeness, submission and peace. In a religious context it means voluntary submission to God, Islām is the verbal noun of Form IV of the root, and means submission or surrender. Muslim, the word for an adherent of Islam, is the active participle of the verb form. The word sometimes has connotations in its various occurrences in the Quran. In some verses, there is stress on the quality of Islam as a state, Whomsoever God desires to guide.
Other verses connect Islām and dīn, Today, I have perfected your religion for you, I have completed My blessing upon you, still others describe Islam as an action of returning to God—more than just a verbal affirmation of faith. In the Hadith of Gabriel, islām is presented as one part of a triad that includes imān, Islam was historically called Muhammadanism in Anglophone societies. This term has fallen out of use and is said to be offensive because it suggests that a human being rather than God is central to Muslims religion
Characene, known as Mesene or Meshan, was a kingdom within the Parthian Empire located at the head of the Persian Gulf. Its capital, Charax Spasinou, was an important port for trade between Mesopotamia and India, and provided facilities for the city of Susa further up the Karun River. Characene was part of the Sassanid Empire and was located primarily within the part of present-day Iraq. At one point Characene included Tylos, the country of Bahrain. Characene was founded around 127 BC under Aspasine, known in classical writings as Hyspaosines, after the Parthian conquest, Characene remained a semi-autonomous country with its own kings. Its tenure as a kingdom ended with the fall of the Parthian Empire. The kings of Characene are known mainly by their coins, consisting mainly of silver tetradrachms with Greek and these coins are dated after the Seleucid era, providing a secure framework for chronological succession. Charax, the capital of Characene, was founded by Alexander the Great, the city was constructed on an artificial mound to protect the site from the floodwaters of the nearby rivers.
The new town served as a commercial port for the eastern capital of Babylon. Charax flourished under the Seleucid Empire, controlling the trade in the Persian Gulf and it was a center for pearl diving. The Roman emperor Trajan visited Charax in 116 AD during his invasion of Parthia, after it was destroyed by a flood, Charax was rebuilt by Seleucid king Antiochus III the Great and was briefly called Antiochia. After the Parthian invasion of Mesopotamia in 141 AD, Charax became independent, the state kept its independence and sometimes joined the Romans in their struggle against the common enemy, the Parthian king. In his Natural History, Pliny the Elder praises the port of Charax, The embankments extend in length a distance of nearly 4½ kilometers and it stood at first at a distance of 1¾ km from the shore, and even had a harbor of its own. A famous Characenian, a man named Isidore, was the author of a treatise on Parthian trade routes, the inhabitants of Palmyra had a permanent trading station in Characene.
In 221-22 AD, an ethnic Persian, Ardašēr, who was satrap of Fars, led a revolt against the Parthians, according to Arab histories, he defeated Characene forces, killed its last ruler, rebuilt the town, and renamed it Astarābād-Ardašīr. The area around Charax that had been the Characene state was known by the Aramaic/Syriac name Maysān. Charax continued, under the name Maysān, with Persian texts making various mention of governors throughout the fifth century, a Nestorian Church was mentioned there in the sixth century. The Charax mint appears to have continued throughout the Sassanid empire and into the Umayyad empire, minting coins as late as AD715
The Hamdanid dynasty was a Shia Muslim Arab dynasty of northern Iraq and Syria. They descended from the ancient Banu Taghlib Christian tribe of Mesopotamia, the Hamdanid dynasty was founded by Hamdan ibn Hamdun, when he was appointed governor of Mardin in SE Anatolia by the Abbasid Caliphs in 890. His son Abdallah was in turn appointed governor of Mosul in northern Iraq and his sons were installed as governors in Mosul and Aleppo. The rule of Hassan Nasir al-Dawla, governor of Mosul and Diyar Bakr, was sufficiently tyrannical to cause him to be deposed by his own family and his lineage still ruled in Mosul, a heavy defeat by the Buyids in 979 notwithstanding, until 990. After this, their area of control in northern Iraq was divided between the Uqaylids and the Marwanids, ali Sayf al-Dawla Sword of the State ruled Northern Syria from Aleppo, and became the most important opponent of the Christian Byzantine Empires re-expansion. His court was a centre of culture, thanks to its nurturing of Arabic literature, to stop the Byzantine advance, Aleppo was put under the suzerainty of the Fatimids in Egypt, but in 1003 the Fatimids deposed the Hamdanids anyway.
The Hamdanid Dynasty of Mesopotamia and North Syria 254–404/868–1014, histoire de la dynastie des Hamdanides de Jazîra et de Syrie. Freytag, G. W. Geschichte der Dynastien der Hamdaniden in Mosul und Aleppo, freytag, G. W. Geschichte der Dynastien der Hamdaniden in Mosul und Aleppo. The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates, The Islamic Near East from the 6th to the 11th Century
Kairouan (Arabic, القيروان Qeirwān, known as al-Qayrawan, is the capital of the Kairouan Governorate in Tunisia. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site, the city was founded by the Umayyads around 670. The holy Mosque of Uqba is situated in the city, in 2014, the city had about 186,653 inhabitants. The name (Arabic, القيروان Al-Qairuwân is an Arabic version, of the Persian word کاروان kârvân, meaning military/civilian camp (kâr, caravan, or resting place. Kairouan, the capital of Kairouan Governorate, lies south of Sousse,50 km from the east coast,75 km from Monastir and 184 km from Tunis, the city of Kamounia was located where Kairouan now stands. It had housed a Byzantine garrison before the Arab conquest, there occurred a mass conversion of the Berbers to Islam. Kharijites or Islamic outsiders who formed an egalitarian and puritanical sect appeared and are present on the island of Djerba. In 745, Kharijite Berbers captured Kairouan, which was already at time a developed city with luxuriant gardens.
Power struggles continued until Ibrahim ibn al-Aghlab recaptured Kairouan at the end of the 8th century, in 800 Caliph Harun ar-Rashid in Baghdad confirmed Ibrahim as Emir and hereditary ruler of Ifriqiya. Ibrahim ibn al-Aghlab founded the Aghlabid dynasty which ruled Ifriqiya between 800 and 909, the new Emirs embellished Kairouan and made it their capital. It soon became famous for its wealth and prosperity, reaching the levels of Basra and Kufa, the Aghlabites built the great mosque and established in it a university that was a centre of education both in Islamic thought and in the secular sciences. Its role can be compared to that of the University of Paris in the Middle Ages, in the 9th century, the city became a brilliant focus of Arab and Islamic cultures attracting scholars from all over the Islamic World. In that period Imam Sahnun and Asad ibn al-Furat made of Kairouan a temple of knowledge, the Aghlabids built palaces and fine waterworks of which only the pools remain. The Aghlabite pacified the country and conquered Sicily in 827, in 893, through the mission of Abdullah al Mahdi, the Kutama Berbers from the west of the country started the movement of the Shiite Fatimids.
The year 909 saw the overthrow of the Sunni Aghlabites who ruled Ifriqiya, governing again from Kairouan, the Zirids led the country through another artistic and agricultural heyday. Some 1,700 years of intermittent but continual progress was undone within a decade as in most part of the country the land was laid to waste for nearly two centuries. In the 13th century under the prosperous Hafsids dynasty that ruled Ifriqiya and it is only under the Husainid Dynasty that Kairouan started to find an honorable place in the country and throughout the Islamic world. In 1881, Kairouan was taken by the French, after which non-Muslims were allowed access to the city, the community disbanded in 1270 CE when the Hafsids forbade non-Muslims from living in the city, the remaining Jews were forced to convert to Islam or to leave
The Rashidun Caliphate was the Islamic caliphate in the earliest period of Islam, comprising the first five caliphs—the Rightly Guided or Rashidun caliphs. It was founded after Muhammads death in 632 CE, after Muhammads death in 632 CE, the Medinan Ansar debated which of them should succeed him in running the affairs of the Muslims while Muhammads household was busy with his burial. Umar and Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah pledged their loyalty to Abu Bakr, with the Ansar, Abu Bakr thus became the first Khalīfatu Rasūli l-Lāh successor of the Messenger of God, or caliph, and embarked on campaigns to propagate Islam. First he would have to subdue the Arabian tribes which had claimed that although they pledged allegiance to Muhammad and accepted Islam, as a caliph, Abu Bakr was not a monarch and never claimed such a title, nor did any of his three successors. Rather, their election and leadership were based upon merit, as for the fifth Caliph, ‘Alis son Al-Hasan, as a son of Fatimah, he was a grandson of Muhammad.
Furthermore, according to other hadiths in Sunan Abu Dawood and Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, towards the end times, Abu Bakr, the oldest companion of Muhammad, was caliph for only 2 years before he died. When Muhammad died, Abu Bakr and Umar, his two companions, were in the Saqifah meeting to select his successor while the family of Muhammad was busy with his funeral, controversy among the Muslims emerged about whom to name as Caliph. There was disagreement between the Meccan followers of Muhammad who had emigrated with him in 622 and the Medinans who had become followers, the Ansar, considering themselves being the hosts and loyal companions of Muhammad, nominated Sad bin Ubadah as their candidate for the Caliphate. In the end, Muhammads closest friend, Abu Bakr, was named the khalifa or Successor of Muhammad, a new circumstance had formed a new, untried political formation, the caliphate. Troubles emerged soon after Muhammads death, threatening the unity and stability of the new community, Apostasy spread to every tribe in the Arabian Peninsula with the exception of the people in Mecca and Medina, the Banu Thaqif in Taif and the Bani Abdul Qais of Oman.
In some cases, entire tribes apostatised, others merely withheld zakat, the alms tax, without formally challenging Islam. Many tribal leaders made claims to prophethood, some made it during the lifetime of Muhammad, the news of his death reached Medina shortly after the death of Muhammad. The apostasy of al-Yamama was led by another supposed prophet, many tribes claimed that they had submitted to Muhammad and that with Muhammads death, their allegiance was ended. Caliph Abu Bakr insisted that they had not just submitted to a leader, the result of this situation was the Ridda wars. Abu Bakr planned his strategy accordingly and he divided the Muslim army into several corps. The strongest corps, and the force of the Muslims, was the corps of Khalid ibn al-Walid. This corps was used to fight the most powerful of the rebel forces, other corps were given areas of secondary importance in which to bring the less dangerous apostate tribes to submission. After a series of successful campaigns Khalid ibn Walid defeated Musaylimah in the Battle of Yamama, the Campaign on the Apostasy was fought and completed during the eleventh year of the Hijri
The Nasrid dynasty was the last Muslim dynasty in Spain, ruling the Emirate of Granada from 1238 until 1492. The Nasrid dynasty rose to power after the defeat of the Almohad Caliphate in 1212 at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, the most visible evidence of the Nasrids is the Alhambra palace complex built under their rule. When Abu l-Hasan Ali the reigning amir was ousted by his son Abu Abd Allah Mumhamed XII, Abu l-Hasan Ali retreated to Málaga and civil war broke out between the competing factions. Christians took full advantage of this and continued capturing Muslims strongholds, muhammed XII was caught by Christian forces in 1483 at Lucena. He was freed after he swore an oath of allegiance to Ferdinand, Abu l-Hasan Ali finally abdicated in favor of his brother Sad al-Zaghal and a power struggle with Abu Abd Allah continued. Sad prevailed in the struggle but was forced to surrender to the Christians. Abu Abd Allah was given a lordship in the Alpujarras mountains, the family tree below shows the genealogical relationship between each sultan of the Nasrid dynasty.
It starts with their ancestor, Yusuf al-Ahmar. Daughters are omitted, as are sons whose descendants never reigned, during times of rival claims to the throne, the family tree generally recognizes the sultan who controlled the city of Granada itself and the Alhambra palace. Al-Andalus Alhambra Romance of Abenamar Fernández Puertas, from the Ninth Century to Yusuf I. L’Espagne musulmane au Temps des Nasrides, entre la historia y la leyenda. Cortés Peña, Antonio Luis, Bernard
The Senussi or Sanussi are a Muslim political-religious tariqa and tribe in Libya and the Sudan region founded in Mecca in 1837 by the Grand Senussi, the Algerian Muhammad ibn Ali as-Senussi. Senussi was concerned with what it saw as both the decline of Islamic thought and spirituality and the weakening of Muslim political integrity, from 1902 to 1913 the Senussi fought French colonial expansion in the Sahara and the Kingdom of Italys colonisation of Libya beginning in 1911. In World War I, they fought the Senussi Campaign against the British in Egypt, during World War II, the Senussi tribe provided vital support to the British Eighth Army in North Africa against Nazi German and Fascist Italian forces. The Grand Senussis grandson became king Idris of Libya in 1951, in 1969, Idris I was overthrown by a military coup led by Muammar Gaddafi. The Senussi order has been closed to Europeans and outsiders, leading reports of their beliefs. Though it is possible to gain insight from the lives of the Senussi sheikhs further details are difficult to obtain.
Muhammad ibn Ali as-Senussi, the founder of the order and a proponent of Sufism, was born in Algeria near Mostaganem and was named al-Senussi after a venerated Muslim teacher. He was a member of the Walad Sidi Abdalla tribe, and was a sharif tracing his descent from Fatimah, the pious scholar was forceful in his criticism of the Egyptian ulama for what he perceived as their timid compliance with the Ottoman authorities and their spiritual conservatism. He argued that learned Muslims should not blindly follow the four classical madhhabs, not surprisingly, he was opposed by the ulama as unorthodox and they issued a fatwa against him. Senussi went to Mecca, where he joined Ahmad ibn Idris al-Fasi, the head of the Khadirites, a religious fraternity of Moroccan origin. On the death of al-Fasi, Senussi became head of one of the two branches into which the Khadirites divided, and in 1835 he founded his first monastery or zawiya, at Abu Qubays near Mecca. Due to Wahhabi pressure Senussi left Mecca and settled in Cyrenaica, Libya in 1843, there he was supported by the local tribes and the Sultan of Wadai and his connections extended across the Maghreb.
The Grand Senussi did not tolerate fanaticism and forbade the use of stimulants as well as voluntary poverty, lodge members were to eat and dress within the limits of Islamic law and, instead of depending on charity, were required to earn their living through work. He accepted neither the wholly intuitive ways described by some Sufi mystics nor the rationality of some of the ulama, rather. The Bedouin tribes had no interest in the ecstatic practices of the Sufis that were gaining adherents in the towns. In 1855 Senussi moved farther from direct Ottoman surveillance to Jaghbub and he died in 1860, leaving two sons, Mahommed Sherif and Mohammed al-Mahdi, who succeeded him. Sayyid Muhammad al-Mahdi bin Sayyid Muhammad as-Senussi was fourteen when his father died, the successors to the sultan of the Abu Qubays, Sultan Ali and the Sultan Yusef, continued to support the Senussi. Under al-Mahdi the zawiyas of the order extended to Fez, Constantinople, in the Hejaz members of the order were numerous
Shirvanshah, spelled as Shīrwān Shāh or Sharwān Shāh, was the title of the rulers of Shirvan, located in modern Azerbaijan, from the mid-9th century to the early 16th century. The title remained in a family, the Yazidids, an originally Arab but gradually Persianized dynasty. The Shirvanshah established a state in Shirvan. The title Shirvanshah dates back to pre-Islamic times, ibn Khordadbeh mentions the Shirvanshah as one of the local rulers who received their title from the first Sassanid emperor, Ardashir I. From the late 8th century, Shirvan was under the rule of the members of the Arab family of Yazid ibn Mazyad al-Shaybani and his descendants, the Yazidids, would rule Shirvan as independent princes until the 14th century. By origin, the Yazidids were Arabs of the Shayban tribe and belonged to high ranking generals, in the chaos that engulfed the Abbasid Caliphate after the death of the Caliph al-Mutawakkil in 861, the great-grandson of Yazid b. Mazyad Shaybani, Haytham ibn Khalid, declared independent and assume the ancient title of Shirvanshah.
The dynasty continuously ruled the area of Shirvan either as an independent state or a state until the Safavid times. A translation of important work into English language was published by the orientalist Vladimir Minorsky in 1958. We can discern the progressive Persianisation of this originally Arab family, according to Encyclopedia of Islam, After the Shah Yazid b. Ahmad, Arab names give way to Persian ones like Manūčihr, Ḳubādh, Farīdūn, according to Vladimir Minorsky, the most likely explanation of the Iranicisation of this Arab family could be marriage link with the family of the ancient rulers of Shabaran. He further states, The attraction of a Sassanian pedigree proved stronger than the recollection of Shaybani lineage. The coat of arms with two lions could be a reminder of the story of Bahrām Gur in Shahnama where Bahrām had to claim the crown from between two lions to be recognized as the king. In 1120 King David IV of Georgia, entered the neighbouring Shirvan and took the town of Qabala and In 1124, David finally conquered Shirvan.
In 1167, George III of Georgia marched to defend his vassal Shah Akhsitan of Shirvan against the Khazar and Kipchak assaults and strengthened the Georgian dominance in the area. Early in the 1190s, the Georgian government began to interfere in the affairs of the Ildenizids and of the Shirvanshahs, aiding rivaling local princes and reducing Shirvan to a tributary state. The Ildenizid atabeg Abu Bakr attempted to stem the Georgian advance, although Abu Bakr was able to resume his reign a year later, the Ildenizids were only barely able to contain further Georgian forays. Shirvanshahs built many defensive castles across all of Shirvan to resist many foreign invasions, Shirvan was greatly devastated by Mongol invasion in 1235, from which it was not able to fully recover for the next century
Emirate of Crete
The Emirate of Crete was a Muslim state that existed on the Mediterranean island of Crete from the late 820s to the Byzantine reconquest of the island in 961. Although the emirate recognized the suzerainty of the Abbasid Caliphate and maintained ties with Tulunid Egypt. A group of Andalusian exiles conquered Crete in c.824 or in 827/828, the Byzantines launched a campaign that took most of the island back in 842 and 843 under Theoktistos, but the reconquest was not completed and was soon reversed. Later attempts by the Byzantine Empire to recover the island failed, and for the approximately 135 years of its existence, the emirate was one of the major foes of Byzantium. Crete commanded the sea lanes of the Eastern Mediterranean and functioned as a forward base, the emirates internal history is less well-known, but all accounts point to considerable prosperity deriving not only from piracy but from extensive trade and agriculture. The emirate was brought to an end by Nikephoros Phokas, who launched a campaign against it in 960–961.
Crete had been the target of Muslim attacks since the first wave of the Muslim conquests in the mid-7th century and it had suffered a first raid in 654 and again in 674/675, and parts of the island were temporarily occupied during the reign of the Umayyad Caliph al-Walid I. At some point in the half of the reign of Byzantine Emperor Michael II. These exiles had a history of wanderings behind them. Traditionally they have described as the survivors of a failed revolt against the emir al-Hakam I of Córdoba in 818. In the aftermath of its suppression, the citizens of the Córdoban suburb of al-Rabad were exiled en masse, the exact chronology of the Andalusians landing in Crete is uncertain. Following the Muslim sources, it is dated to 827 or 828. Byzantine sources however seem to contradict this, placing their landing soon after the suppression of the revolt of Thomas the Slav. Under the terms of their agreement with Ibn Tahir, the Andalusians, historian Warren Treadgold estimates them at some 12,000 people, of whom about 3,000 would be fighting men.
According to Byzantine historians, the Andalusians were already familiar with Crete and they claim that the Muslim landing was initially intended as a raid, and was transformed into a bid for conquest when Abu Hafs himself set fire to their ships. However, as the Andalusian exiles had brought their families along, the first expedition, under Photeinos, strategos of the Anatolic Theme, and Damian, Count of the Stable, was defeated in open battle, where Damian was killed. The next expedition was sent a year and comprised 70 ships under the strategos of the Cibyrrhaeots Krateros and it was initially victorious, but the overconfident Byzantines were routed in a night attack. Krateros managed to flee to Kos, but there he was captured by the Arabs, makrypoulias suggests that these campaigns must have taken place before the Andalusians completed their construction of Chandax, where they transferred the capital from the inland site of Gortyn
Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a unitary parliamentary republic in Europe. Located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Austria, San Marino, Italy covers an area of 301,338 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate and Mediterranean climate. Due to its shape, it is referred to in Italy as lo Stivale. With 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth most populous EU member state, the Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom, which eventually became a republic that conquered and assimilated other nearby civilisations. The legacy of the Roman Empire is widespread and can be observed in the distribution of civilian law, republican governments, Christianity. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, exploration, Italian culture flourished at this time, producing famous scholars and polymaths such as Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo and Machiavelli. The weakened sovereigns soon fell victim to conquest by European powers such as France and Austria.
Despite being one of the victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil. The subsequent participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in defeat, economic destruction. Today, Italy has the third largest economy in the Eurozone and it has a very high level of human development and is ranked sixth in the world for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military and diplomatic affairs, as a reflection of its cultural wealth, Italy is home to 51 World Heritage Sites, the most in the world, and is the fifth most visited country. The assumptions on the etymology of the name Italia are very numerous, according to one of the more common explanations, the term Italia, from Latin, was borrowed through Greek from the Oscan Víteliú, meaning land of young cattle. The bull was a symbol of the southern Italic tribes and was often depicted goring the Roman wolf as a defiant symbol of free Italy during the Social War. Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus states this account together with the legend that Italy was named after Italus, mentioned by Aristotle and Thucydides.
The name Italia originally applied only to a part of what is now Southern Italy – according to Antiochus of Syracuse, but by his time Oenotria and Italy had become synonymous, and the name applied to most of Lucania as well. The Greeks gradually came to apply the name Italia to a larger region, excavations throughout Italy revealed a Neanderthal presence dating back to the Palaeolithic period, some 200,000 years ago, modern Humans arrived about 40,000 years ago. Other ancient Italian peoples of undetermined language families but of possible origins include the Rhaetian people and Cammuni. Also the Phoenicians established colonies on the coasts of Sardinia and Sicily, the Roman legacy has deeply influenced the Western civilisation, shaping most of the modern world