Justin was a Latin writer who lived under the Roman Empire. Nothing is known of Justin's personal history, his name appearing only in the title of his work, he must have lived after Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus, whose work he excerpted, his references to the Romans and Parthians' having divided the world between themselves would have been anachronistic after the rise of the Sassanians in the third century. His Latin appears to be consistent with the style of the second century. Ronald Syme, argues for a date around AD 390 before the compilation of the Augustan History, dismisses anachronisms and the archaic style as unimportant, as he asserts readers would have understood Justin's phrasing to represent Trogus' time, not his own. Justin was the author of an epitome of Trogus' expansive Liber Historiarum Philippicarum, or Philippic Histories, a history of the kings of Macedonia, compiled in the time of Augustus. Due to its numerous digressions, this work was retitled by one of its editors, Historia Philippicae et Totius Mundi Origines et Terrae Situs, or Philippic History and Origins of the Entire World and All of its Lands.
Justin's preface explains that he aimed to collect the most important and interesting passages of that work, which has since been lost. Some of Trogus' original arguments are preserved in various other authors, such as Pliny the Elder. Trogus' main theme was the rise and history of the Macedonian Empire, like him, Justin permitted himself considerable freedom of digression, producing an idiosyncratic anthology rather than a strict epitome. Justin's history was much used in the Middle Ages, when its author was sometimes mistakenly conflated with Justin Martyr; this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Justin". Encyclopædia Britannica. Cambridge University Press. Syme, Ronald, "The Date of Justin and the Discovery of Trogus", Historia, No. 37, pp. 358–371. An early edition of the Epitome from the Bavarian State Library Justin's Epitome at The Latin Library, Corpus Scriptorum Latinorum, & Itinera Electronica Watson's 1853 translation at CSL, the Tertullian Project, & Attalus Arnaud-Lindet's 2003 translation at CSL Correa's 2003 partial translation at CSL Prologi of Pompeius Trogus's work at the Tertullian Project
The Seleucid Empire was a Hellenistic state ruled by the Seleucid dynasty which existed from 312 BC to 63 BC. Seleucus received Babylonia and from there expanded his dominions to include much of Alexander's near-eastern territories. At the height of its power, the Empire included central Anatolia, the Levant and what is now Kuwait and parts of Pakistan and Turkmenistan; the Seleucid Empire became a major center of Hellenistic culture – it maintained the preeminence of Greek customs where a Greek political elite dominated in the urban areas. The Greek population of the cities who formed the dominant elite were reinforced by immigration from Greece. Seleucid expansion into Anatolia and Greece halted abruptly in the early 2nd century BC after decisive defeats at the hands of the Roman army. Seleucid attempts to defeat their old enemy. Having come into conflict in the East with Chandragupta Maurya of the Maurya Empire, Seleucus I entered into an agreement with Chandragupta whereby he ceded vast territory west of the Indus, including the Hindu Kush, modern-day Afghanistan, the Balochistan province of Pakistan and offered his daughter in marriage to the Maurya Emperor to formalize the alliance.
Antiochus III the Great attempted to project Seleucid power and authority into Hellenistic Greece, but his attempts were thwarted by the Roman Republic and by Greek allies such as the Kingdom of Pergamon, culminating in a Seleucid defeat at the 190 BC Battle of Magnesia. In the subsequent Treaty of Apamea in 188 BC, the Seleucids were compelled to pay costly war reparations and relinquished claims to territories west of the Taurus Mountains; the Parthians under Mithridates I of Parthia conquered much of the remaining eastern part of the Seleucid Empire in the mid-2nd century BC, while the independent Greco-Bactrian Kingdom continued to flourish in the northeast. However, the Seleucid kings continued to rule a rump state from Syria until the invasion by Armenian king Tigranes the Great in 83 BC and their ultimate overthrow by the Roman general Pompey in 63 BC. Contemporary sources, such as a loyalist degree from Ilium, in Greek language define the Seleucid state both as an empire and as a kingdom.
Seleucid rulers were described as kings in Babylonia. Starting from the 2nd century BC, ancient writers referred to the Seleucid ruler as the King of Syria, Lord of Asia, other designations, he refers to either Alexander Balas or Alexander II Zabinas as a ruler. Alexander, who conquered the Persian Empire under its last Achaemenid dynast, Darius III, died young in 323 BC, leaving an expansive empire of Hellenised culture without an adult heir; the empire was put under the authority of a regent in the person of Perdiccas, the territories were divided among Alexander's generals, who thereby became satraps, at the Partition of Babylon, all in that same year. Alexander's generals jostled for supremacy over parts of his empire. Ptolemy, a former general and the satrap of Egypt, was the first to challenge the new system. Ptolemy's revolt led to a new subdivision of the empire with the Partition of Triparadisus in 320 BC. Seleucus, "Commander-in-Chief of the Companion cavalry" and appointed first or court chiliarch received Babylonia and, from that point, continued to expand his dominions ruthlessly.
Seleucus established himself in Babylon in 312 BC, the year used as the foundation date of the Seleucid Empire. The rise of Seleucus in Babylon threatened the eastern extent of Antigonus I territory in Asia. Antigonus, along with his son Demetrius I of Macedon, unsuccessfully led a campaign to annex Babylon; the victory of Seleucus ensured his claim of legitimacy. He ruled not only Babylonia, but the entire enormous eastern part of Alexander's empire, as described by Appian:Always lying in wait for the neighboring nations, strong in arms and persuasive in council, he acquired Mesopotamia, Armenia,'Seleucid' Cappadocia, Parthia, Arabia, Sogdia, Arachosia and other adjacent peoples, subdued by Alexander, as far as the river Indus, so that the boundaries of his empire were the most extensive in Asia after that of Alexander; the whole region from Phrygia to the Indus was subject to Seleucus. In the region of Punjab, Chandragupta Maurya founded the Maurya Empire in 321 BC. Chandragupta conquered the Nanda Empire in Magadha, relocated to the capital of Pataliputra.
Chandragupta redirected his attention back to the Indus and by 317 BC he conquered the remaining Greek satraps left by Alexander. Expecting a confrontation, Seleucid marched to the Indus, it is said that Chandragupta himself fielded an army of 9,000 war elephants. Mainstream scholarship asserts that Chandragupta received vast territory, sealed in a treaty, west of the Indus, including the Hindu Kush, modern day Afghanistan, the Balochistan province of Pakistan. Archaeologically, concrete indications of Mauryan rule, such as the inscriptions of the Edicts of Ashoka, are known as far as Kandahar in southern Afghanistan. According to Appian: He [Sel
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers from the same family in the context of a feudal or monarchical system, but sometimes appearing in elective republics. Alternative terms for "dynasty" may include "family" and "clan", among others; the longest-surviving dynasty in the world is the Imperial House of Japan, otherwise known as the Yamato dynasty, whose reign is traditionally dated to 660 BC. The dynastic family or lineage may be known as a "noble house", which may be styled as "royal", "princely", "ducal", "comital" etc. depending upon the chief or present title borne by its members. Historians periodize the histories of numerous nations and civilizations, such as Ancient Egypt and Imperial China, using a framework of successive dynasties; as such, the term "dynasty" may be used to delimit the era during which a family reigned, to describe events and artifacts of that period. The word "dynasty" itself is dropped from such adjectival references; until the 19th century, it was taken for granted that a legitimate function of a monarch was to aggrandize his dynasty: that is, to expand the wealth and power of his family members.
Prior to the 20th century, dynasties throughout the world have traditionally been reckoned patrilineally, such as under the Frankish Salic law. In nations where it was permitted, succession through a daughter established a new dynasty in her husband's ruling house; this has changed in some places in Europe, where succession law and convention have maintained dynasties de jure through a female. For instance, the House of Windsor will be maintained through the children of Queen Elizabeth II, as it did with the monarchy of the Netherlands, whose dynasty remained the House of Orange-Nassau through three successive queens regnant; the earliest such example among major European monarchies was in the Russian Empire in the 18th century, where the name of the House of Romanov was maintained through Grand Duchess Anna Petrovna. In Limpopo Province of South Africa, Balobedu determined descent matrilineally, while rulers have at other times adopted the name of their mother's dynasty when coming into her inheritance.
Less a monarchy has alternated or been rotated, in a multi-dynastic system – that is, the most senior living members of parallel dynasties, at any point in time, constitute the line of succession. Not all feudal states or monarchies were/are ruled by dynasties. Throughout history, there were monarchs. Dynasties ruling subnational monarchies do not possess sovereign rights; the word "dynasty" is sometimes used informally for people who are not rulers but are, for example, members of a family with influence and power in other areas, such as a series of successive owners of a major company. It is extended to unrelated people, such as major poets of the same school or various rosters of a single sports team; the word "dynasty" derives from Latin dynastia, which comes from Greek dynastéia, where it referred to "power", "dominion", "rule" itself. It was the abstract noun of dynástēs, the agent noun of dynamis, "power" or "ability", from dýnamai, "to be able". A ruler from a dynasty is sometimes referred to as a "dynast", but this term is used to describe any member of a reigning family who retains a right to succeed to a throne.
For example, King Edward VIII ceased to be a dynast of the House of Windsor following his abdication. In historical and monarchist references to reigning families, a "dynast" is a family member who would have had succession rights, were the monarchy's rules still in force. For example, after the 1914 assassinations of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his morganatic wife Duchess Sophie von Hohenberg, their son Duke Maximilian was bypassed for the Austro-Hungarian throne because he was not a Habsburg dynast. Since the abolition of the Austrian monarchy, Duke Maximilian and his descendants have not been considered the rightful pretenders by Austrian monarchists, nor have they claimed that position; the term "dynast" is sometimes used only to refer to agnatic descendants of a realm's monarchs, sometimes to include those who hold succession rights through cognatic royal descent. The term can therefore describe distinct sets of people. For example, David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon, a nephew of Queen Elizabeth II through her sister Princess Margaret, is in the line of succession to the British crown.
On the other hand, the German aristocrat Prince Ernst August of Hanover, a male-line descendant of King George III of the United Kingdom, possesses no legal British name, titles or styles. He was born in the line of succession to the British throne and was bound by Britain's Royal Marriages Act 1772 until it was repealed when the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 took effect on 26 March 2015. Thus, he requested and obtained formal permission from Queen Elizabeth II to marry the Roman Catholic Princess Caroline of Monaco in 1999. Yet, a clause of the English Act of Settlement 1701 remained in effect at that time, stipulating that dynasts who
Lucius Licinius Lucullus was an optimate politician of the late Roman Republic connected with Lucius Cornelius Sulla. In the culmination of over twenty years of continuous military and government service, he became the main conqueror of the eastern kingdoms in the course of the Third Mithridatic War, exhibiting extraordinary generalship in diverse situations, most famously during the Siege of Cyzicus, 73–72 BC, at the Battle of Tigranocerta in Armenian Arzanene, 69 BC, his command style received unusually favourable attention from ancient military experts, his campaigns appear to have been studied as examples of skillful generalship. Lucullus returned to Rome from the east with so much captured booty that the whole could not be accounted, poured enormous sums into private building and aquaculture projects which shocked and amazed his contemporaries by their magnitude, he patronized the arts and sciences lavishly, transforming his hereditary estate in the highlands of Tusculum into a hotel-and-library complex for scholars and philosophers.
He built the horti Lucullani, the famous Gardens of Lucullus, on the Pincian Hill in Rome, in general became a cultural innovator in the deployment of imperial wealth. He died during the winter of 57-56 BC. and was buried at the family estate near Tusculum. The conquest agnomen of Ponticus is sometimes falsely appended to his name in modern texts. In ancient sources it is only attributed to his consular colleague Marcus Aurelius Cotta after the latter's capture and brutal destruction of Heraclea Pontica during the Third Mithridatic War. Lucullus was included in the biographical collections of Roman leading generals and politicians, originating in the biographical compendium of famous Romans published by his contemporary Marcus Terentius Varro. Two biographies of Lucullus survive today, Plutarch's Lucullus in the famous series of Parallel Lives, in which Lucullus is paired with the Athenian aristocratic politician and Strategos Cimon, # 74 in the slender Latin Liber de viris illustribus, of late and unknown authorship, the main sources for which appear to go back to Varro and his most significant successor in the genre, Gaius Julius Hyginus.
Lucullus was a member of the prominent gens Licinia, of the family, or stirps, of the Luculli, which may have been descended from the ancient nobility of Tusculum. He was grandson of Lucius Licinius Lucullus, son of Lucius Licinius Lucullus, convicted for embezzlement and exiled in 102/1 from his Sicilian command of 103-2; the family of his mother Caecilia Metella was one of the most powerful of the plebeian nobilitas, was at the height of its success and influence in the last quarter of the 2nd century BC when Lucullus was born. She was the youngest child of Lucius Caecilius Metellus Calvus, half-sister of two of the most important members of the Optimates of their time, Quintus Caecilius Metellus Numidicus, Lucius Caecilius Metellus Dalmaticus, the father of Sulla's third wife Caecilia Metella, his first known military service was as tribune of soldiers serving in Sulla's army in Campania during the bellum Italicum, when he is said to have distinguished himself for daring and intelligence.
Lucullus was elected Quaestor in winter 89-88 at the same elections in which Sulla was returned as Consul with his friend Quintus Pompeius Rufus, whose son was married to Sulla's eldest daughter, Cornelia. Lucullus was the Quaestor mentioned as the sole officer in Sulla's army who could stomach accompanying the Consul when he marched on Rome. In autumn of the same year Sulla sent Lucullus ahead of him to Greece to take over the command of the Mithridatic War in his name; as the Roman siege of Athens was drawing towards a successful conclusion, Sulla's strategic attention began to focus more on subsequent operations against the main Pontic forces, combating Mithridates' control of the sea lanes. He sent Lucullus to collect such a fleet as may be possible from Rome's allies along the eastern Mediterranean seaboard, first to the important but disturbed states of Cyrene and Ptolemaic Egypt. Lucullus set out from the Piraeus in mid winter 87-6 BC with three Greek yachts and three light Rhodian biremes, hoping to evade the prevailing sea power of the Pontic fleets and their piratic allies by speed and taking advantage of the worst sailing conditions.
He made Crete, is said to have won over the cities to the Roman side. From there he crossed to Cyrene where the famous Hellenic colony in Africa was in dire condition following a vicious and exhausting civil war of nearly seven years' duration. Lucullus' arrival seems to have put a belated end to this terrible conflict, as the first official Roman presence there since the departure of the proconsul Caius Claudius Pulcher, who presided over its initial administrative incorporation into the Roman Republic in 94 BC, he sailed to Egypt to try and secure ships from king Ptolemy IX Soter II. In Alexandria, Ptolemaic Egypt's capital, he was well received. Ptolemy had decided to sail a safe course between Pontus. From Alexandria Lucullus sailed to Cyprus; the Rhodians supplied him with additional ships. Rhodos was famous for the marine acumen of its sailors. In the waters near Rhodos Lucullus' fleet defeated a Mithridatic contingent, he secured Cnidus and Cos, drove the Mithridatic military from Chios, attacked Samos.
From there he would work his
Appian of Alexandria was a Greek historian with Roman citizenship who flourished during the reigns of Emperors of Rome Trajan and Antoninus Pius. He was born c. 95 in Alexandria. After holding the chief offices in the province of Aegyptus, he went to Rome c. 120, where he practised as an advocate, pleading cases before the emperors. It was in 147 at the earliest that he was appointed to the office of procurator in Egypt, on the recommendation of his friend Marcus Cornelius Fronto, a well-known litterateur; because the position of procurator was open only to members of the equestrian order, his possession of this office tells us about Appian's family background. His principal surviving work was written in Greek in 24 books, before 165; this work more resembles a series of monographs than a connected history. It gives an account of various peoples and countries from the earliest times down to their incorporation into the Roman Empire, survives in complete books and considerable fragments; the work is valuable for the period of the civil wars.
The Civil Wars, five of the books in the corpus, concern the end of the Roman Republic and take a conflict-based view and approach history. Despite the apparent lack of sources for his works, his books 13–17 of the Roman History are the only comprehensive description of these nine momentous centuries of the Roman Empire. Little is known of the life of Appian of Alexandria, he wrote an autobiography, completely lost. Information about Appian is distilled from his own writings and a letter by his friend Cornelius Fronto. However, it is certain that Appian was born around the year AD 95 in Alexandria, the capital of Roman Egypt. Since his parents were Roman citizens capable of paying for their son's education, it can be inferred that Appian belonged to the wealthy upper classes, it is believed. In the introduction to his Roman History, he boasts "that he pleaded cases in Rome before the emperors." The emperors he claims to have addressed must have been either Hadrian or Marcus Aurelius and Antoninus Pius, for Appian remained in Egypt at least until the end of the reign of Trajan.
In the letter of Cornelius Fronto, it is revealed that a request on behalf of Appian to receive the rank of procurator occurred during the co-regency of Marcus Aurelius and his brother Lucius Verus between 147 and 161. Although Appian won this office, it is unclear whether it was an honorific title; the only other certain biographical datum is that Appian's Roman History appeared sometime before 162. This is one of the few primary historical sources for the period. Appian began writing his history around the middle of the second century AD. Only sections from half of the original 24 books survive today; the most important remnants of Appian's work are the five books on the Civil Wars—books 13–17 of the Roman History. These five books stand out because they are the only comprehensive, meticulous source available on an significant historical period, during which Roman politics were in turmoil because of factional strife. Notable is this work's ethnographic structure. Appian most used this structure to facilitate his readers' orientation through the sequence of events, which are united only by their relationship to Rome.
A literary example of this can be found from Appian's Civil Wars. It states, "And now civil discord broke out again worse than and increased enormously…so in the course of events in the Roman empire was partitioned…by these three men: Antony and the one, first called Octavius…shortly after this division they fell to quarrelling among themselves…Octavius…first deprived Lepidus of Africa…and afterward, as the result of the battle of Actium, took from Antony all the provinces lying between Syria and the Adriatic gulf." One might expect that a historical work covering nine centuries and countless different peoples would involve a multitude of testimonials from different periods. However, Appian's sources remain uncertain, as he only mentions the source of his information under special circumstances, he may have relied on one author for each book, whom he did not follow uncritically, since Appian used additional sources for precision and correction. At our present state of knowledge questions regarding Appian’s sources cannot be resolved.
Appiani Alexandrini Historia Publio Candido interprete Ac praeterea Anonymi Compendium historiae ab excessu Constantini usque ad Ioannem XXIII. World Digital Library. Retrieved 2014-02-28. Editio princeps, 1551 Schweighäuser, 1785 Bekker, 1852 Ludwig Mendelssohn, 1878–1905, Appiani Historia Romana, Bibliotheca Teubneriana Paul Goukowsky, 1997–, Appien. Histoire romaine, Collection Budé. Carsana, Chiara. Commento storico al libro II delle Guerre Civili di Appiano. Pisa: Edizioni ETS, 2007. 309 pp.. English translationsW. B. 1578 – William Barker – used by Shakespeare J. D, 1679 Horace White, 1899. Books XIII–XVII, trans. John Carter, Harmondsworth, 1996 William Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, Vol. 1, pp. 247–248 Works written by or about Appian at Wikisource Appian's Foreign Wars at Livius.org Appian's Civil Wars at La
The Emesan dynasty called Sempsigerami or Sampsiceramids, were a ruling Roman client dynasty of priest-kings in Emesa, Syria Province. Iamblichus, the famous Neoplatonist philosopher of the Third century, was one of their descendants. Emesa was famous for the worship of the strong ancient pagan cult El-Gebal known as Elagabal; the city was renowned for El-Gebal’s place of worship the Temple of the Sun. El-Gebal was worshipped in the form of a conical black stone. El-Gebal means God of the Mountain. Most sources declare the family to be of Arab origin; some authors, advise not to make this judgement since some of their attested kings had Aramaic names like Sampsiceramus and Iamblichus. Other kings, namely Azizus and Sohaemus, had clear Arab names, Iamblichus, was referred to as "Phylarch of the Arabs" by Cicero. In any case, it is agreed upon that Emesa and its surrounding had a strong presence of Arabic-speaking people at the time. Sampsiceramus I was the founding Priest-King of the Emesene dynasty who lived in the 1st century BC and was a tribal chieftain or Phylarch.
The ancestors of Sampsiceramus I were Bedouins who had travelled the Syrian terrain, before deciding to settle in the Orontes Valley and South of the Apamea region. Sampsiceramus I, his family and his ancestors in Syria had lived under the Greek rule of the Seleucid Empire. Sampsiceramus I was a son of Aziz. In Emesa and Greek were spoken languages and Latin was commonly spoken in the city. Through the rule and influence of the Seleucid dynasty and Greek settlement in the Seleucid Empire, Emesa was assimilated into the Greek language and culture of the Hellenistic period. Hence, Sampsiceramus I and his ancestors became Hellenized through the Greek rule of Syria and the surrounding territories; the father of Sampsiceramus I, Aziz known as Azizus the Arab and Azizus the Phylarch of the Arabs was an ally to the last Seleucid Greek Monarchs of Syria. Aziz is associated with the rule of the Seleucid Kings Philip I Philadelphus and his brother Demetrius III Eucaerus. Aziz may have assisted Philip I some years before about 87 BC, in the defeat of Demetrius III who ended his days in Parthian exile.
Aziz assisted in putting the last Seleucid King, Philip II Philoromaeus, the son of Philip I on the throne, by arranging to meet him and putting the Diadem on his head. However Philip II saw that Aziz befriended him in order to murder him to gain a portion of a divided Syrian Kingdom, fled to Antioch. Sampsiceramus I, like his father, continued as an ally to the last Seleucid Greek Monarchs of Syria. Like his father, Sampsiceramus I was known as the Phylarch of the Arabs. By this time, the Seleucid Empire had become weak and always appealed to the Roman Republic to help solve political or succession problems. Around 64 BC, the Roman General and Triumvir, Pompey had reörganised Syria and the surrounding countries into Roman provinces. Pompey had installed client kings in the region. Among these was Sampsiceramus I; the Roman politician Marcus Tullius Cicero, nicknamed Pompey ‘Sampsiceramus’ to make fun of Pompey’s pretensions as an eastern potentate. At the request of Pompey, Sampsiceramus I captured and killed in 64 BC, the second last Seleucid King Antiochus XIII Asiaticus.
After the death of Antiochus XIII, Sampsiceramus I was confirmed in power and his family was left to rule the surrounding region under Roman suzerainty. Client rulers such as Sampsiceramus I could police routes and preserve the integrity of Rome without cost to Roman manpower or to the Roman treasury. Emesa was added to the domains of Sampsiceramus I, but the first Emesene capital was Arethusa, a city north of Emesa, along the Orontes River; the kingdom of Sampsiceramus I was the first of Rome’s client kingdoms on the desert’s fringes. The kingdom’s boundaries extended from the Beqaa Valley in the West to the border of Palmyra in the East, from Yabrud in the South to Arethusa in the North and Heliopolis. During his reign, Sampsiceramus I built a castle at Shmemis on top of an extinct volcano and rebuilt the city of Salamiyah which the Romans incorporated in the ruled territory. In time, Sampsiceramus I established and formed a powerful ruling dynasty and a leading kingdom in the Roman East, his Priest-King dynasty ruled from 64 BC until at least 254.
When Sampsiceramus I died in 48 BC, he was succeeded by son, Iamblichus I. In his reign, the prominence of Emesa grew after Iamblichus I established it as the new capital of the Emesene dynasty; the economy of the Emesene Kingdom was based on agriculture. With fertile volcanic soil in the Orontes Valley and a great lake, as well as a dam across the Orontes south of Emesa, which provided ample water, Emesa’s soil was ideal for cultivation. Farms in Emesa provided wheat and olives. Emesa in antiquity was a wealthy city; the city was a part of a trade route from the East, heading via Palmyra that passed through Emesa on its way to the coast. An example on how wealthy Emesa was, ancient pieces of jewellery have been found at the necropolis of Tell Abu Sabun, suggests that the engineering work demanded to be constructed along the lake. ]Apart from Antioch a important city for the Romans, this port city, prospered under its Roman vassal rulers. Each year neighbourhood princes and rulers sent generous gifts honoring and celebrating Emesa’s cult and its Temple of the Sun.
The priesthood of the cult of El-Gebal in Emesa was
Syria the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon to the southwest, the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, Israel to the southwest. A country of fertile plains, high mountains, deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Syrian Arabs, Armenians, Kurds, Circassians and Turks. Religious groups include Sunnis, Alawites, Isma'ilis, Shiites, Salafis and Jews. Sunni make up the largest religious group in Syria. Syria is a unitary republic consisting of 14 governorates and is the only country that politically espouses Ba'athism, it is a member of one international organization other than the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement. In English, the name "Syria" was synonymous with the Levant, while the modern state encompasses the sites of several ancient kingdoms and empires, including the Eblan civilization of the 3rd millennium BC. Aleppo and the capital city Damascus are among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
In the Islamic era, Damascus was the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt. The modern Syrian state was established in mid-20th century after centuries of Ottoman and a brief period French mandate, represented the largest Arab state to emerge from the Ottoman-ruled Syrian provinces, it gained de-jure independence as a parliamentary republic on 24 October 1945, when Republic of Syria became a founding member of the United Nations, an act which ended the former French Mandate – although French troops did not leave the country until April 1946. The post-independence period was tumultuous, a large number of military coups and coup attempts shook the country in the period 1949–71. In 1958, Syria entered a brief union with Egypt called the United Arab Republic, terminated by the 1961 Syrian coup d'état; the republic was renamed into the Arab Republic of Syria in late 1961 after December 1 constitutional referendum, was unstable until the 1963 Ba'athist coup d'état, since which the Ba'ath Party has maintained its power.
Syria was under Emergency Law from 1963 to 2011 suspending most constitutional protections for citizens. Bashar al-Assad has been president since 2000 and was preceded by his father Hafez al-Assad, in office from 1971 to 2000. Since March 2011, Syria has been embroiled in an armed conflict, with a number of countries in the region and beyond involved militarily or otherwise; as a result, a number of self-proclaimed political entities have emerged on Syrian territory, including the Syrian opposition, Tahrir al-Sham and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Syria is ranked last on the Global Peace Index, making it the most violent country in the world due to the war, although life continues for most of its citizens as of December 2017; the war caused more than 470,000 deaths, 7.6 million internally displaced people and over 5 million refugees, making population assessment difficult in recent years. Several sources indicate that the name Syria is derived from the 8th century BC Luwian term "Sura/i", the derivative ancient Greek name: Σύριοι, Sýrioi, or Σύροι, Sýroi, both of which derived from Aššūrāyu in northern Mesopotamia.
However, from the Seleucid Empire, this term was applied to The Levant, from this point the Greeks applied the term without distinction between the Assyrians of Mesopotamia and Arameans of the Levant. Mainstream modern academic opinion favours the argument that the Greek word is related to the cognate Ἀσσυρία, Assyria derived from the Akkadian Aššur; the Greek name appears to correspond to Phoenician ʾšr "Assur", ʾšrym "Assyrians", recorded in the 8th century BC Çineköy inscription. The area designated by the word has changed over time. Classically, Syria lies at the eastern end of the Mediterranean, between Arabia to the south and Asia Minor to the north, stretching inland to include parts of Iraq, having an uncertain border to the northeast that Pliny the Elder describes as including, from west to east, Commagene and Adiabene. By Pliny's time, this larger Syria had been divided into a number of provinces under the Roman Empire: Judaea renamed Palaestina in AD 135 in the extreme southwest.
Since 10,000 BC, Syria was one of the centers of Neolithic culture where agriculture and cattle breeding appeared for the first time in the world. The following Neolithic period is represented by rectangular houses of Mureybet culture. At the time of the pre-pottery Neolithic, people used vessels made of stone and burnt lime. Finds of obsidian tools from Anatolia are evidences of early trade relations. Cities of Hamoukar and Emar played an important role during Bronze Age. Archaeologists have demonstrated that civilization in Syria was one of the most ancient on earth preceded by only those of Mesopotamia; the earliest recorded in