Kingdom of Israel (Samaria)
According to the Hebrew Bible, the Kingdom of Israel was one of two successor states to the former United Kingdom of Israel and Judah. Historians refer to the Kingdom of Israel as the "Northern Kingdom" or as the "Kingdom of Samaria" to differentiate it from the Southern Kingdom of Judah. For their parallel history see History of ancient Judah. Modern scholarship, incorporating textual criticism and archaeology, has challenged the biblical account that the northern kingdom of Israel broke off from a united monarchy with the southern kingdom of Judah, suggesting instead that the northern civilization of Israel developed independently of Judah, that it first reached the political, economic and architectural sophistication of a kingdom under the Omride dynasty around 884 BCE; the Kingdom of Israel existed from 930 BCE until 720 BCE, when it was conquered by the Neo-Assyrian Empire. The major cities of the kingdom were Shechem and Shomron. In the Hebrew Bible, the Kingdom of Israel has been referred to as the "House of Joseph".
It is frequently referenced as Ephraim, the tribe whose territory housed the capital cities and the royal families. It has been referred to as "Israel in Samaria". According to the Hebrew Bible, the territory of the Kingdom of Israel comprised the territories of the tribes of Zebulun, Asher, Dan, Ephraim and Gad, its capital was Samaria according to the Book of Isaiah. The United Kingdom of Israel and Judah is said to have existed from about 1030 to about 930 BCE, it was a union of all the twelve Israelite tribes living in the area that presently approximates modern Israel and the other Levantine territories including much of western Jordan, western Syria. After the death of Solomon in about 931 BCE, all the Israelite tribes except for Judah and Benjamin refused to accept Rehoboam, the son and successor of Solomon, as their king; the rebellion against Rehoboam arose after he refused to lighten the burden of taxation and services that his father had imposed on his subjects. Jeroboam, not of the Davidic line, was sent forth from Egypt by the malcontents.
The Tribe of Ephraim and all Israel raised the old cry, "Every man to his tents, O Israel". Rehoboam fled to Jerusalem, in 930 BCE, Jeroboam was proclaimed king over all Israel at Shechem. After the revolt at Shechem at first only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David, but soon after the tribe of Benjamin joined Judah. The northern kingdom continued to be called the Kingdom of Israel or Israel, while the southern kingdom was called the Kingdom of Judah. 2 Chronicles 15:9 says that members of the tribes of Ephraim and Simeon fled to Judah during the reign of Asa of Judah. Both Eusebius and Josephus place the division in 997 BCE – lunar dates of Venus can be mistaken as 64 years later. Shechem was the first capital of the Kingdom of Israel. Afterwards it was Tirzah. King Omri built his capital in Samaria, which continued as such until the destruction of the Kingdom by the Assyrians. During the three-year siege of Samaria by the Assyrians, Shalmaneser V died and was succeeded by Sargon II of Assyria, who himself records the capture of that city thus: "Samaria I looked at, I captured.
Thus, around 720 BCE, after two centuries, the kingdom of the ten tribes came to an end. Today, among archaeologists, Samaria is one of the most universally accepted archaeological sites from the biblical period At around 850 BCE, the Mesha Stele, written in Old Hebrew alphabet, records a victory of King Mesha of Moab against king Omri of Israel and his son Ahab. For the first sixty years, the kings of Judah tried to re-establish their authority over the northern kingdom, there was perpetual war between them. For the following eighty years, there was no open war between them, for the most part, they were in friendly alliance, co-operating against their common enemies against Damascus; the conflict between Israel and Judah was resolved when Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, allied himself with the house of Ahab through marriage. Jehosophat's son and successor, Jehoram of Judah, married Ahab's daughter Athaliah, cementing the alliance. However, the sons of Ahab were slaughtered by Jehu following his coup d'état around 840 BCE.
In c. 732 BCE, Pekah of Israel, while allied with Rezin, king of Aram, threatened Jerusalem. Ahaz, king of Judah, appealed to the king of Assyria, for help. After Ahaz paid tribute to Tiglath-Pileser Tiglath-Pileser sacked Damascus and Israel, annexing Aram and territory of the tribes of Reuben and Manasseh in Gilead including the desert outposts of Jetur and Nodab. People from these tribes including the Reubenite leader, were taken captive and resettled in the region of the Khabur River system. Tiglath-Pilesar captured the territory of Naphtali and the city of Janoah in Ephraim and an Assyrian governor was placed over the region of Naphtali. According to 2 Kings 16:9 and 15:29, the population of Aram and the annexed part of Israel was deported to Assyria. Israel continued to exist within the reduced territory as an independent kingdom until around 720 BCE, when it was again invaded by Assyria and the rest of the population deported; the Bible relates that the population of Israel was exiled, becoming known as the Ten Lost Tribes, leaving only the Tribe of Judah, the Tribe of Simeon, the Tribe of Benjam
The Levant is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean in Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the historical region of Syria. In its widest historical sense, the Levant included all of the eastern Mediterranean with its islands; the term entered English in the late 15th century from French. It derives from the Italian Levante, meaning "rising", implying the rising of the sun in the east, is broadly equivalent to the term Al-Mashriq, meaning "the east, where the sun rises". In the 13th and 14th centuries, the term levante was used for Italian maritime commerce in the Eastern Mediterranean, including Greece, Syria-Palestine, Egypt, that is, the lands east of Venice; the term was restricted to the Muslim countries of Syria-Palestine and Egypt. In 1581, England set up the Levant Company to monopolize commerce with the Ottoman Empire; the name Levant States was used to refer to the French mandate over Syria and Lebanon after World War I.
This is the reason why the term Levant has come to be used more to refer to modern Syria, Palestine, Israel and Cyprus. Some scholars misunderstood the term thinking. Today the term is used in conjunction with prehistoric or ancient historical references, it has the same meaning as "Syria-Palestine" or Ash-Shaam, the area, bounded by the Taurus Mountains of Turkey in the North, the Mediterranean Sea in the west, the north Arabian Desert and Mesopotamia in the east. It does not include Anatolia, the Caucasus Mountains, or any part of the Arabian Peninsula proper. Cilicia and the Sinai Peninsula are sometimes included; the term Levant was used to describe the region from the 18th to the mid-19th centuries, has had steady but lower usage since the late 19th century. Both the noun Levant and the adjective Levantine are now used to describe the ancient and modern culture area called Syro-Palestinian or Biblical: archaeologists now speak of the Levant and of Levantine archaeology; the Levant has been described as the "crossroads of western Asia, the eastern Mediterranean, northeast Africa", the "northwest of the Arabian plate".
The populations of the Levant share not only the geographic position, but cuisine, some customs, history. They are referred to as Levantines; the term Levant, which appeared in English in 1497 meant the East in general or "Mediterranean lands east of Italy". It is borrowed from the French levant "rising", referring to the rising of the sun in the east, or the point where the sun rises; the phrase is from the Latin word levare, meaning'lift, raise'. Similar etymologies are found in Greek Ἀνατολή, in Germanic Morgenland, in Italian, in Hungarian Kelet, in Spanish and Catalan Levante and Llevant, in Hebrew. Most notably, "Orient" and its Latin source oriens meaning "east", is "rising", deriving from Latin orior "rise"; the notion of the Levant has undergone a dynamic process of historical evolution in usage and understanding. While the term "Levantine" referred to the European residents of the eastern Mediterranean region, it came to refer to regional "native" and "minority" groups; the term became current in English in the 16th century, along with the first English merchant adventurers in the region.
The English Levant Company was founded in 1581 to trade with the Ottoman Empire, in 1670 the French Compagnie du Levant was founded for the same purpose. At this time, the Far East was known as the "Upper Levant". In early 19th-century travel writing, the term sometimes incorporated certain Mediterranean provinces of the Ottoman empire, as well as independent Greece. In 19th-century archaeology, it referred to overlapping cultures in this region during and after prehistoric times, intending to reference the place instead of any one culture; the French mandate of Syria and Lebanon was called the Levant states. Today, "Levant" is the term used by archaeologists and historians with reference to the history of the region. Scholars have adopted the term Levant to identify the region due to it being a "wider, yet relevant, cultural corpus" that does not have the "political overtones" of Syria-Palestine; the term is used for modern events, states or parts of states in the same region, namely Cyprus, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine and Turkey are sometimes considered Levant countries.
Several researchers include the island of Cyprus in Levantine studies, including the Council for British Research in the Levant, the UCLA Near Eastern Languages and Cultures department, Journal of Levantine Studies and the UCL Institute of Archaeology, the last of which has dated the connection between Cyprus and mainland Levant to the early Iron Age. Archaeologists seeking a neutral orientation, neither biblical n
Ahab was the seventh king of Israel since Jeroboam I, the son and successor of Omri, the husband of Jezebel of Sidon, according to the Hebrew Scriptures. The Hebrew Bible presents Ahab as a wicked king, he is criticised for following the ways of his wife Jezebel, killing his subject Naboth, leading the nation of Israel into idolatry. The existence of Ahab is supported outside the Bible. Shalmaneser III documented 853 BC that he defeated an alliance of a dozen kings in the Battle of Qarqar. Ahab became king of Israel in the thirty-eighth year of Asa, king of Judah, reigned for twenty-two years, according to 1 Kings. William F. Albright dated his reign to 869–850 BC, while E. R. Thiele offered the dates 874–853 BC. Most Michael D. Coogan has dated Ahab's reign to 871–852 BC. Omri seems to have been a successful military leader. During Ahab's reign, conquered by his father, remained tributary. Ahab was allied by marriage with Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. Only with Aram Damascus is he believed to have had strained relations.
Ahab married the daughter of the King of Tyre. 1 Kings 16–22 tells the story of Ahab and Jezebel, indicates that Jezebel was a dominant influence on Ahab, inciting him to abandon Yahweh and worship and institute the religion of Baal in Israel. Ahab lived in Samaria, the royal capital established by Omri, built a temple and altar to Baal there, he was succeeded by Ahaziah and Jehoram, who reigned over Israel until Jehu's revolt of 842 BC. The Battle of Qarqar is mentioned in extra-biblical records, was at Apamea, where Shalmaneser III of Assyria fought a great confederation of princes from Cilicia, Northern Syria, Israel and the tribes of the Syrian desert, including Ahab the Israelite and Hadadezer. Ahab's contribution was estimated at 10,000 men. In reality, the number of chariots in Ahab's forces was closer to a number in the hundreds. If, the numbers are referring to allies it could include forces from Tyre, Judah and Moab; the Assyrian king claimed a victory, but his immediate return and subsequent expeditions in 849 BC and 846 BC against a similar but unspecified coalition seem to show that he met with no lasting success.
According to the Tanakh, Ahab with 7,000 troops had overthrown Ben-hadad and his thirty-two kings, who had come to lay siege to Samaria, in the following year obtained a decisive victory over him at Aphek in the plain of Sharon at Antipatris. A treaty was made whereby Ben-hadad restored the cities which his father had taken from Ahab's father, trading facilities between Damascus and Samaria were granted. Jezreel has been identified as Ahab's fortified cavalry base. In the Biblical text, Ahab has five important encounters with prophets: The first encounter is with Elijah, whom Ahab refers to as "the troubler of Israel", in which Elijah predicts a drought; this encounter ends with Elijah victorious over the official Baal prophets of Israel in a contest held for the sake of the Israelites and their king, Ahab. The contest ends when Elijah's God consumes the offering which the Baal worshipers could not induce their god to touch, after which Elijah slaughters the Baal prophets; the second encounter is between Ahab and an unnamed prophet in 1 Kings 20:22.
The third is again between Ahab and an unnamed prophet who condemns Ahab for his actions in a battle that had just taken place. The fourth is when Elijah confronts Ahab over Ahab's and Jezebel's execution of Naboth and usurpation of the latter's ancestral vineyard. Upon the prophet's remonstration, Ahab displayed sincere remorse; the fifth encounter is with Micaiah, the prophet who, when asked for advice on a military campaign, first assures Ahab he will be successful and gives Ahab a glimpse into God's plan for Ahab to die in battle. Three years war broke out east of the Jordan River, Ahab with Jehoshaphat of Judah went to recover Ramoth-Gilead from the Arameans. During this battle, Ahab disguised himself; the Hebrew Bible says. But the Septuagint adds that pigs licked his blood, symbolically making him unclean to the Israelites, who abstained from pork. Ahab was succeeded by his sons and Jehoram. Jezebel's death, was more dramatic than Ahab's; as recorded in 2 Kings 9:30-34, Jezebel was confronted by Jehu who had her servants throw her out the window, causing her death.
1 Kings 16:29 through 22:40 contains the story of Ahab's reign. This reign is one which faces opposition from several prophets of Yahweh throughout as well as various consequences because of his marriage to Jezebel, because of his worship of Baal, disobedience to prophetic warnings and words, because of the murder of Naboth; the murder of Naboth, an act of royal encroachment, stirred up popular resentment just as the new cult aroused the opposition of the Israelite prophets, including Elijah and Micaiah. Indeed, he is referred to, for this and other things, as
Ammon was an ancient Semitic-speaking nation occupying the east of the Jordan River, between the torrent valleys of Arnon and Jabbok, in present-day Jordan. The chief city of the country was Rabbah or Rabbath Ammon, site of the modern city of Amman, Jordan's capital. Milcom and Molech are named in the Hebrew Bible as the gods of Ammon; the people of this kingdom are called "Children of Ammon" or "Ammonites". The Ammonites occupied the northern Central Trans-Jordanian Plateau from the latter part of the second millennium BC to at least the second century CE. Ammon maintained its independence from the Neo-Assyrian Empire through tribute to the Assyrian king, at a time when nearby kingdoms were being raided or conquered; the Kurkh Monolith lists the Ammonite king Baasha ben Ruhubi's army as fighting alongside Ahab of Israel and Syrian allies against Shalmaneser III at the Battle of Qarqar in 853 BC as vassals of Hadadezer, the Aramaean king of Damascus. In 734 BC the Ammonite king Sanipu was a vassal of Tiglath-Pileser III, Sanipu's successor Pudu-ilu held the same position under Sennacherib and Esarhaddon.
An Assyrian tribute-list exists from this period, showing that Ammon paid one-fifth as much tribute as Judah did. Somewhat the Ammonite king Amminadab I was among the tributaries who suffered in the course of the great Arabian campaign of Assurbanipal. Other kings attested to in contemporary sources are Barachel and Hissalel, the latter of whom reigned about 620 BCE. Hissalel is mentioned in an inscription on a bottle found at Tel Siran, Jordan along with his son, King Amminadab II, who reigned around 600 BCE. Archaeology and history indicate; this contradicts the view, dominant for decades, that Transjordan was either destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar II, or suffered a rapid decline following Judah's destruction by that king. Newer evidence suggests. Little mention is made of the Ammonites through the Persian and early Hellenistic periods, their name appears, during the time of the Maccabees. The Ammonites, with some of the neighboring tribes, did their utmost to resist and check the revival of the Jewish power under Judas Maccabaeus.
The Hasmonean dynast Hyrcanus founded Qasr Al Abd, was a descendant of the Seleucid Tobiad dynasty of Tobiah, mentioned by Nehemiah as an Ammonite from the east-Jordanian district. The last notice of the Ammonites is in Justin Martyr's Dialogue with Trypho, in the second century, where it is affirmed that they were still a numerous people; the first mention of the Ammonites in the Bible is in Genesis 19:37-38. It is stated there that they descended from Ben-Ammi, a son of Lot through with his younger daughter who plotted with her sister to intoxicate Lot and in his inebriated state, have relations to become pregnant. Ben-Ammi means "son of my people". After the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the daughters of Lot wanted to have a child and carried out a plot to intoxicate him and had relations, resulting in Ammon and his half brother, being conceived and born; this narrative has traditionally been considered literal fact, but is now interpreted as recording a gross popular irony by which the Israelites expressed their loathing of the morality of the Moabites and Ammonites, although it is doubtful that the Israelites would have directed such irony to Lot himself.
The Ammonites settled to the east of the Jordan, invading the Rephaim lands east of Jordan, between the Jabbok and Arnon, dispossessing them and dwelling in their place. Their territory comprising all from the Jordan to the wilderness, from the River Jabbok south to the River Arnon, it was accounted a land of giants. Shortly before the Israelite Exodus, the Amorites west of Jordan, under King Sihon and occupied a large portion of the territory of Moab and Ammon; the Ammonites were driven from the rich lands near the Jordan and retreated to the mountains and valleys to the east. The invasion of the Amorites separated the two kingdoms of Ammon and Moab. Throughout the Bible, the Ammonites and Israelites are portrayed as mutual antagonists. During the Exodus, the Israelites were prohibited by the Ammonites from passing through their lands; the Ammonites soon allied themselves with Eglon of Moab in attacking Israel. The Ammonites maintained their claim to part of Transjordan, after it was occupied by the Israelites who obtained it from Sihon.
During the days of Jephthah, the Ammonites occupied the lands east of the River Jordan and started to invade Israelite lands west of the river. Jephthah became the leader in resisting these incursions; the constant harassment of the Israelite communities east of the Jordan by the Ammonites was the impetus behind the unification of the tribes under Saul. King Nahash of Ammon lay siege to Jabesh-Gilead; this led to an alliance with Saul and The Israelites, led by Saul relieved the siege and defeated the Ammonite king resulting in the formation of the Israelite Kingdom. During the reign of King David, the Ammonites humiliated David's messengers, hired the Aramean armies to attack Israel; this ended in a war and a year-long siege of Rabbah, the capital of Ammon. The war ended with all the Ammonite cities being conquered and plundered, the inhabitants being killed or put to forced labor at David's command; when the Arameans of Damascus city-state deprived the Kingdom of Israel of their possessions east of the Jordan, the Ammon
Hadadezer. He and Irhuleni of Hamath led a coalition of eleven kings at Qarqar, he fought Shalmaneser six other times, twice more with the aid of Irhuleni and the rest of the coalition that fought at Qarqar. He may be the king mentioned in the Stele of Zakkur. According to an inscription of the Assyrian king Shalmanesser III, Hadad-Ezer was succeeded by Hazael. List of Syrian monarchs Timeline of Syrian history Aramean kings
Assyria called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamian kingdom and empire of the ancient Near East and the Levant. It existed as a state from as early as the 25th century BC until its collapse between 612 BC and 609 BC - spanning the periods of the Early to Middle Bronze Age through to the late Iron Age. From the end of the seventh century BC to the mid-seventh century AD, it survived as a geopolitical entity, for the most part ruled by foreign powers such as the Parthian and early Sasanian Empires between the mid-second century BC and late third century AD, the final part of which period saw Mesopotamia become a major centre of Syriac Christianity and the birthplace of the Church of the East. A Semitic-speaking realm, Assyria was centred on the Tigris in Upper Mesopotamia; the Assyrians came to rule powerful empires in several periods. Making up a substantial part of the greater Mesopotamian "cradle of civilization", which included Sumer, the Akkadian Empire, Babylonia, Assyria reached the height of technological and cultural achievements for its time.
At its peak, the Neo-Assyrian Empire of 911 to 609 BC stretched from Cyprus and the East Mediterranean to Iran, from present-day Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus to the Arabian Peninsula and eastern Libya. The name "Assyria" originates with the Assyrian state's original capital, the ancient city of Aššur, which dates to c. 2600 BC - one of a number of Akkadian-speaking city-states in Mesopotamia. In the 25th and 24th centuries BC, Assyrian kings were pastoral leaders. From the late 24th century BC, the Assyrians became subject to Sargon of Akkad, who united all the Akkadian- and Sumerian-speaking peoples of Mesopotamia under the Akkadian Empire, which lasted from c. 2334 BC to 2154 BC. After the Assyrian Empire fell from power, the greater remaining part of Assyria formed a geopolitical region and province of other empires, although between the mid-2nd century BC and late 3rd century AD a patchwork of small independent Assyrian kingdoms arose in the form of Assur, Osroene, Beth Nuhadra, Beth Garmai and Hatra.
The region of Assyria fell under the successive control of the Median Empire of 678 to 549 BC, the Achaemenid Empire of 550 to 330 BC, the Macedonian Empire, the Seleucid Empire of 312 to 63 BC, the Parthian Empire of 247 BC to 224 AD, the Roman Empire and the Sasanian Empire of 224 to 651 AD. The Arab Islamic conquest of the area in the mid-seventh century dissolved Assyria as a single entity, after which the remnants of the Assyrian people became an ethnic, linguistic and religious minority in the Assyrian homeland, surviving there to this day as an indigenous people of the region. Assyria was sometimes known as Subartu and Azuhinum prior to the rise of the city-state of Ashur, after which it was Aššūrāyu, after its fall, from 605 BC through to the late seventh century AD variously as Achaemenid Assyria, referenced as Atouria, Ator and sometimes as Syria which etymologically derives from Assyria according to Strabo, Assyria and Asōristān. "Assyria" can refer to the geographic region or heartland where Assyria, its empires and the Assyrian people were centered.
The indigenous modern Eastern Aramaic-speaking Assyrian Christian ethnic minority in northern Iraq, north east Syria, southeast Turkey and northwest Iran are the descendants of the ancient Assyrians. As Babylonia is called after the city of Babylon, Assyria means "land of Asshur"Etymologically, Assyria is connected to the name of Syria, with both being derived from the Akkadian Aššur. Theodor Nöldeke in 1881 was the first to give philological support to the assumption that Syria and Assyria have the same etymology, a suggestion going back to John Selden. A 21st-century discovery of the Çineköy inscription confirmed that Syria, being a Greek corruption of the name Assyria, is derived from the Assyrian term Aššūrāyu. In prehistoric times, the region, to become known as Assyria was home to a Neanderthal culture such as has been found at the Shanidar Cave; the earliest Neolithic sites in what will be Assyria were the Jarmo culture c. 7100 BC, the Halaf culture c. 6100 BC, the Hassuna culture c. 6000 BC.
The Akkadian-speaking people who would found Assyria appear to have entered Mesopotamia at some point during the latter 4th millennium BC intermingling with the earlier Sumerian-speaking population, who came from northern Mesopotamia, with Akkadian names appearing in written record from as early as the 29th century BC. During the 3rd millennium BC, a intimate cultural symbiosis developed between the Sumerians and the Akkadians throughout Mesopotamia, which included widespread bilingualism; the influence of Sumerian on Akkadian, vice versa, is evident in all areas, from lexical borrowing on a massive scale, to syntactic and phonological convergence. This has prompted scholars to refer to Sumerian and Akkadian in the third millennium BC as a sprachbund. Akkadian replaced Sumerian as the spoken language of Mesopotamia somewhere after the turn of the 3rd and the 2nd millennium BC, although Sumerian continued to be used as a sacred, ceremonial and scientific language in Mesopotamia until the 1st century AD, as did use of the Akkadian cuneiform.
The cities of A
Damascus is the capital of the Syrian Arab Republic. It is colloquially known in Syria as aš-Šām and titled the "City of Jasmine". In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major cultural center of the Levant and the Arab world; the city has an estimated population of 1,711,000 as of 2009. Located in south-western Syria, Damascus is the center of a large metropolitan area of 2.7 million people. Geographically embedded on the eastern foothills of the Anti-Lebanon mountain range 80 kilometres inland from the eastern shore of the Mediterranean on a plateau 680 metres above sea level, Damascus experiences a semi-arid climate because of the rain shadow effect; the Barada River flows through Damascus. First settled in the second millennium BC, it was chosen as the capital of the Umayyad Caliphate from 661 to 750. After the victory of the Abbasid dynasty, the seat of Islamic power was moved to Baghdad. Damascus saw a political decline throughout the Abbasid era, only to regain significant importance in the Ayyubid and Mamluk periods.
Today, it is all of the government ministries. As of 2018, Damascus has witnessed repeated conflicts and has been considered by Mercer as one of the most unfavorable places to live; the name of Damascus first appeared in the geographical list of Thutmose III as / T-m-ś-q in the 15th century BC. The etymology of the ancient name "T-m-ś-q" is uncertain, it is attested as Imerišú in Akkadian, T-m-ś-q in Egyptian, Dammaśq in Old Aramaic and Dammeśeq in Biblical Hebrew. A number of Akkadian spellings are found in the Amarna letters, from the 14th century BC: Dimasqa, Dimàsqì, Dimàsqa. Aramaic spellings of the name include an intrusive resh influenced by the root dr, meaning "dwelling". Thus, the English and Latin name of the city is "Damascus", imported from originated from "the Qumranic Darmeśeq, Darmsûq in Syriac", meaning "a well-watered land". In Arabic, the city is called Dimašqu š-Šāmi, although this is shortened to either Dimašq or aš-Šām by the citizens of Damascus, of Syria and other Arab neighbors and Turkey.
Aš-Šām is an Arabic term for "Levant" and for "Syria". Baalshamin or Ba'al Šamem, was a Semitic sky-god in Canaan/Phoenicia and ancient Palmyra. Hence, Sham refers to. Damascus was built in a strategic site on a plateau 680 m above sea level and about 80 km inland from the Mediterranean, sheltered by the Anti-Lebanon mountains, supplied with water by the Barada River, at a crossroads between trade routes: the north-south route connecting Egypt with Asia Minor, the east-west cross-desert route connecting Lebanon with the Euphrates river valley; the Anti-Lebanon mountains mark the border between Lebanon. The range has peaks of over 10,000 ft. and blocks precipitation from the Mediterranean sea, so that the region of Damascus is sometimes subject to droughts. However, in ancient times this was mitigated by the Barada River, which originates from mountain streams fed by melting snow. Damascus is surrounded by the Ghouta, irrigated farmland where many vegetables and fruits have been farmed since ancient times.
Maps of Roman Syria indicate that the Barada river emptied into a lake of some size east of Damascus. Today it is called Bahira Atayba, the hesitant lake, because in years of severe drought it does not exist; the modern city has an area of 105 km2, out of which 77 km2 is urban, while Jabal Qasioun occupies the rest. The old city of Damascus, enclosed by the city walls, lies on the south bank of the river Barada, dry. To the south-east and north-east it is surrounded by suburban areas whose history stretches back to the Middle Ages: Midan in the south-west and Imara in the north and north-west; these neighborhoods arose on roads leading out of the city, near the tombs of religious figures. In the 19th century outlying villages developed on the slopes of Jabal Qasioun, overlooking the city the site of the al-Salihiyah neighborhood centered on the important shrine of medieval Andalusian Sheikh and philosopher Ibn Arabi; these new neighborhoods were settled by Kurdish soldiery and Muslim refugees from the European regions of the Ottoman Empire which had fallen under Christian rule.
Thus they were known as al-Muhajirin. They lay 2–3 km north of the old city. From the late 19th century on, a modern administrative and commercial center began to spring up to the west of the old city, around the Barada, centered on the area known as al-Marjeh or the meadow. Al-Marjeh soon became the name of what was the central square of modern Damascus, with the city hall in it; the courts of justice, post office and railway station stood on higher ground to the south. A Europeanized residential quarter soon began to be built on the road leading between al-Marjeh and al-Salihiyah; the commercial and administrative center of the new city shifted northwards towards this area. In the 20th century, newer suburbs developed north of the Barada, to some extent to the south, invading the Ghouta oasis. In 1956–1957 the new neighborhood of Yarmouk bec