Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Byzantium Empire

 

 

The shared genetic heritage of Jews and Palestinians

The Times recently carried this unusual report on an Israeli Jew (Tsvi Misinai, a retired computer expert) who’s hoping to prove that Palestinians are descended from Jews.

Apparently, he thinks that proving this will help to stop the bloodshed. His idea is that modern Jews are descended from emigration in the first few centuries of the Christian era. The Jews who stayed put in Palestine converted to Islam, and became Palestinian Arabs. There’s hope that genetic tests might be able to prove this.

There is good news and bad news on that score.

Hammer_2000_Jew_Arab_YchromosomeThe good news is that the genetics of Arabs  (Palestinians?) and Jews have been pretty extensively researched.

The classic study dates to 2000, from a team lead by Michael Hammer of University of Arizona. They looked at Y-chromosome haplotypes – this is the genetic material passed from father to son down the generations.

What they revealed was that Arabs and Jews are essentially a single population, and that Palestinians are slap bang in the middle of the different Jewish populations (as shown in this figure).

Another team, lead by Almut Nebel at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, took a closer look in 2001. They found that Jewish lineages essentially bracket Muslim Kurds, but they were also very closely related to Palestinians.

In fact, what their analysis suggested was that Palestinians were identical to Jews, but with a small mix of Arab genes – what you would expect if they were originally from the same stock, but that Palestinians had mixed a little with Arab immigrants. They conclude:

We propose that the Y chromosomes in Palestinian Arabs and Bedouin represent, to a large extent, early lineages derived from the Neolithic inhabitants of the area and additional lineages from more-recent population movements. The early lineages are part of the common chromosome pool shared with Jews (Nebel et al. 2000). According to our working model, the more-recent migrations were mostly from the Arabian Peninsula…

So, as far as male lineage goes, the genetic story is very clear. Palestinians and Jews are virtually indistinguishable.

Women are a bit more tricky

Up until last year, the matrilineal heritage of Jews also seemed pretty clear. Analysis of elements in mitochondrial DNA (which is passed from mother to daughter) seemed to show that Jewish populations around Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East were derived from at least 8 unrelated ‘founding mothers’.

Where they came from wasn’t clear, but the most likely explanation was that they were from local populations that bred with immigrant Jewish males. Their offspring became absorbed into the Jewish community.

In 2008, a more sophisticated analysis was published that made use of whole mitochondrial DNA sequences. They found no evidence for the genetic bottle necks that indicate founding mothers in the large Jewish populations.

Instead, they found a complicated picture with a very diverse gene pool suggesting intermarriage both with local populations and other Jewish groups.

The overall conclusion is that the female Jewish line deviates a lot more from the Palestinian heritage than the male line, but the heritage is still there.

So that’s the good news.

Jews and Palestinian Arabs are blood brothers – although this close genetic relationship probably stems from pre-Judaic times, rather than any more recent conversion of Palestinian Jews to Islam.

And the bad news?

This basic story has been known for the best part of a decade now. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, it hasn’t lead to the warring sides laying down their weapons and engaging in a group hug. This is a religious conflict, not a genetic one.

Mr Misinai is, sadly, on a hiding to nothing.

M. F. Hammer (2000). Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations share a common pool of Y-chromosome biallelic haplotypes Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 97 (12), 6769-6774 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.100115997

A NEBEL, D FILON, B BRINKMANN, P MAJUMDER, M FAERMAN, A OPPENHEIM (2001). The Y Chromosome Pool of Jews as Part of the Genetic Landscape of the Middle East The American Journal of Human Genetics, 69 (5), 1095-1112 DOI: 10.1086/324070

M THOMAS (2002). Founding Mothers of Jewish Communities: Geographically Separated Jewish Groups Were Independently Founded by Very Few Female Ancestors The American Journal of Human Genetics, 70 (6), 1411-1420 DOI: 10.1086/340609

Doron M. Behar, Ene Metspalu, Toomas Kivisild, Saharon Rosset, Shay Tzur, Yarin Hadid, Guennady Yudkovsky, Dror Rosengarten, Luisa Pereira, Antonio Amorim, Ildus Kutuev, David Gurwitz, Batsheva Bonne-Tamir, Richard Villems, Karl Skorecki (2008). Counting the Founders: The Matrilineal Genetic Ancestry of the Jewish Diaspora PLoS ONE, 3 (4) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0002062

Note: All the people living in Greater Syria (Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan… and basically those living on the western side of the Euphrates River, including part of modern Turkey and Kurdistan) are one people that witnessed countless foreign invasions, religious diversification, intensive migrations to neighbouring countries,  but remained mostly autonomous and prosperous. Until the advent of the colonial powers that physically tried to split the land and invented imaginary borders.

During the long Byzantium Empire, most Christian sects considered Heretics and the Jews fled west of the Euphrates River to Persia Kingdom and to the Arabic Peninsula. After the Arabic invasion, many refugees returned to their homeland, either converted to Islam or not converted.

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Easter or Ishtar: Same pagan and beautiful celebration of fertility

Most of the Christian religious ceremonies and customs were inherited from the pagan Empires, particularly Byzantium, after Christianity was recognized as an official religion. More than a century elapsed (year of 425) before Christianity became majority or over 50% of the population and spread in many sects.

The Oriental sects carried on the customs and traditions of the Land of the Levant (Near-East region), while the Christian in Rome emulated traditions relevant to the pagan Rome Empire.

For example, this year, the Christian Orthodox Church will celebrate Easter a full month after the Catholics or on May 3.

The stories would like us to believe that Jesus was tried, crucified and resurrected within the span of a week. This is not possible:

1. The Roman judicial procedures were exhaustive and well-oiled.

2. Jesus was not considered a Jew by the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem

3. Jesus was born and lived in the administrative Tyr district, which included Upper Galilee, and thus, the trial process needed far more time to prosecute….

Photo
Whether Easter is taken from Ishtar or a German Goddess Eoster, most Christian ceremonies and customs have roots in previous pagan traditions. Culture and civilization are a continuation process and build upon previous mankind habits and routines.

Do Not curse a God you don’t worship.

Written in the Aramaic language of Tadmor (Syria) over 2,500 years ago on a pagan Temple.

كُتب على أحد المعابد في تدمر باللغة الآرامية التدمرية عبارة:" لا تشتم إلهاً لا تعبده"..<br /><br /><br /><br />
هذه العبارة التي كتبت قبل ألفين وخمس مائة عام تقريباً، لم يكتبها عبثاً أجدادنا الذين تباهوا بتعدد آلهتهم، بل إنهم عندما حفروها على الصخر، هم أرادوها رسالة لتقرأها كل الاجيال<br /><br /><br /><br />
التي كانت ستولد على أرض سورية الجميلة الملونة..<br /><br /><br /><br />
 لماذا "إلها لا تعبده" ؟؟<br /><br /><br /><br />
 لأنك عندما تشتم إله الآخر (دينه ، طائفته ، عشيرته ..إلخ)، فإنك بذلك الفعل تخلق منه عدواً. إنك بذلك تحشره في زاوية ضيقة وتبعث لديه كل الاحساس البدئي بالدفاع عن النفس ..شتم دين الآخر او طائفته او اتجرأ على القول (قناعاته)، يوقظ المشاعر الماقبل مدنية، ويخرب المجتمعات ويفكك الأوطان ..<br /><br /><br /><br />
منقول

Peace words‎’s photo.

كُتب على أحد المعابد في تدمر باللغة الآرامية التدمرية عبارة:” لا تشتم إلهاً لا تعبد

هذه العبارة التي كتبت قبل ألفين وخمس مائة عام تقريباً، لم يكتبها عبثاً أجدادنا الذين تباهوا بتعدد آلهتهم، بل إنهم عندما حفروها على الصخر، هم أرادوها رسالة لتقرأها كل الاجيال
التي كانت ستولد على أرض سورية الجميلة الملونة..
لماذا “إلها لا تعبده” ؟؟
لأنك عندما تشتم إله الآخر (دينه ، طائفته ، عشيرته ..إلخ)، فإنك بذلك الفعل تخلق منه عدواً. إنك بذلك تحشره في زاوية ضيقة وتبعث لديه كل الاحساس البدئي بالدفاع عن النفس ..شتم دين الآخر او طائفته او اتجرأ على القول (قناعاته)، يوقظ المشاعر الماقبل مدنية، ويخرب المجتمعات ويفكك الأوطان ..
منقول

Syria: A fractured central power since antiquity

Since antiquity, Syria stretched from south Turkey to actual Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and Gaza.  Syria was called “Bilad el Sham” (North of Mecca region) during the Arab/Islam Empires. It was located between the Mediterranean Sea over a stretch of 700 km of coastal shore, starting from the northern mountain chain of Al Loukam (inside current Turkey) to the borders of the Sinai Desert.

The inland of Syria is divided by two parallel mountain chains from north to south. The western mountain chain is barely 100 km from the sea at its widest.

The fertile valley between the two mountain chains stretching for 1,000 km starts from the city of Meresh (Anatolia) to Aqaba on the Red Sea.

Syria had three distinct sets of City-States:

First set of cities along the sea-shore;

Second set of cities in the valley and along internal, non-navigable rivers such as Al Assy, Litany… studded by cities such as Hama, Homs, Baalbek, Anjar, Damascus… and

Third set of cities bordering the desert and the western part of the Euphrates River.

Syria, located between the sea and the desert, attracted land trades coming from rich Yemen (southern region of the Arabic Peninsula) with powerful centers in Moeen, Sabaa, Kotban, Awssan, Hadramout….  These centers of commerce sent forward land caravans toward Syria via strategic trade cities such as Mecca, Thoumud, Medina, all the way to desert City-States in the southern province of Syria.

Kingdoms such as Adomim, Mouabit, Ambat (Petra)…were located in the strategic southern Syrian province, where most land trade converged before heading north to Damascus, or going west to Gaza and Egypt.

For example, the Christian tribe of Ghassassina (originally from Yemen) had expanded over many desert City-States and became almost a prosperous empire during the 5th and 6th century AC.  This tribe paid allegiance to the Byzantium Empire.

By the 7th century, many “Arabic” tribes had transplanted branches or clans to the central Syrian province (Damascus).  These tribes were Tyme, Aamel, Bahrea, Thaalabat

Maritime and land routes converged from three continents.

This land was invaded by almost every war-like empires (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greek, Roman, Byzantium, Arab/Islamic, Ottoman, western mandated powers as France and England).

The main characteristic of Syria is that it is easy to conquer, but hardly any empire managed to administer it.  All these war-like empires relied on third-party tribes or alliance of tribes to collect taxes and maintain a semblance of central power.

When empires with navy powers were at war, such as Egypt and Byzantium, the port cities in Syria suffered trade “embargo” and gave way to higher prosperity to inland cities, and vice versa.

For example, during 11 centuries, the various Arab/Islam empires failed to effectively govern Syria, even the Umayyad Dynasty with Damascus as Capital.

The complex topography of the land inhibited the unification of the various tribes and communities, though it facilitate incursions of foreign powers.  Warrior empires could easily occupy Syria once they crossed the first mountain chains or desert, but they could not administer the land due to the multitude of local cultures and sense of retaining self-autonomy on mountain hills

The social structure of Syria resulted from two natural characteristics:

First, tribes living on mountain chains and hills, mostly labeled “heretics” by orthodox religious sects (both Christian and Moslem) and opposing any central power for administration of their communities. These tribes were armed, warrior, and could rely on support coming from their mother tribes in the Arabic Peninsula.

Second, sedentary peasant tribes, which settled in the fertile valley and along rivers, were mostly cooperative with central powers, regardless how far the Capital was located.

The first kinds of mountain settled tribes exhibited the major problems for any unification and centrally administered empire. They demanded their share from looting expeditions, since they were the warriors.  Consequently, the sedentary cities were frequently harassed and looted, vying for survival means and self-autonomy in customs and traditions. (Read note #1 for further details on various sects and how Syria was administered during the Arab/Islamic Empires).

Every city and its environs was governed by an Emir, the leader of tribe that participated in one of the countless expeditions against another Emir. More often than not, an Emir would bribe juvenile delinquents, seeking some action and food, and constitute his local militia to tame and harass recalcitrant tribes.

As soon as the Emir receive fresh troops from central government, his first decision is to eradicate the local militia, and restore law and order for trades. The “Shabab” militias in Syrian cities, hired by the regime are repeating Syria history: The fate of these militia is pretty gloomy…

During the reign of Mehemet Ali to Egypt (starting in 1805), his son Ibrahim led the army to within 200 km from Istanbul: The Ottoman Empire was ripe to fall to the army of Ibrahim.  The western nations wanted to let the Ottoman Empire survive for some period, and a deal was struck to allow Mehemet Ali rule Syria, in addition to Sudan and the Arabic Peninsula.

The empire of Egypt stretched from the region of Adana in Turkey to all Sudan. It is recorded that Ibrahim said: “I will lead my army as far as people speak Arabic...”  The region of Adana is the most strategic military area: Troops have to cross a tiny treacherous route in order to pass the high mountain chain toward the valley of Syria. Actually, historic Syria included the southern part of Anatolia, all the way to current Dyar Bakr…

Note 1: Ibrahim Mehemet Ali governed Syria for 8 years.  This was the best period of prosperity and security that the Syrian enjoyed in its history.  For the first time in its history, Syria had a central power and administered from Damascus. Still, the Syrian revolted several times because Ibrahim forced upon them military service and forced labor…

Note 2: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/are-you-curious-how-syria-upheaval-will-unfold-must-know-history-of-syria-between-7th-and-11th-centuries/

Note 3:  This article was inspired by a chapter of “Syria under Islam, (1977)” by late history academics Kamal Salibi, and translated from English to Arabic by Kamal Khoury

No women representation? “The Arab League represents half the Arabs…”: Who is Hoda Sha3rawi?

In “Letters from Egypt, 1863“, the British Lucie Duff-Gordon wrote that the Christian copt of higher Egypt were far more stringent in wearing the veil than the Moslem women.

Wearing the veil was a symbol of higher social status, regardless of religion, even in the Arabic Peninsula during the Prophet Muhammad time.

Wearing the veil was a tradition inherited from the strict Christian Byzantium Empire that ruled the Near East from 325 AC to 650.

Summer 1923 was a turning point for women liberation in Egypt:  Hoda Shaarawi was returning from a women conference in Rome, and stepped out of a train in Cairo.  As she landed, Hoda removed her veil and threw it on the ground saying: “No more veil”.

Her companion Saiza Nabarawi imitated the gesture and all the women waiting in the train station followed suit.

Note 1:  The Arab League does not represent the “Arabs”.

It represent the stability of the regimes of dictators and absolute monarchs.  With the fall of the oligarchies in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya…we expect the representatives to the League of the “liberated States” to be capable and acknowledge the engaged women.

The “Arab States” will be democratic or not, depending on the engaged women.  We expect the women representatives not to be exclusively the mouth speakers of their respective governments, but to shoulder the aspiration of all women, according to the UN definition of human rights, and human development indicators, and be the vanguard to what is meant by democracy, fair and equitable election laws…

Note 2:  Article inspired from the French book “12 women of the Orient who changed history” by Gilbert Sinoue.  I have reviewed a book on Hoda Shaarawi by another author (maybe Fatima Mernisi)

Note 3:  Iqbal, mother of Hoda and second wife to Muhammad Sultan, was Circassian by origin (from the Caucasus region). Russia invaded the Caucasus to expand on the detriment of the Ottoman Empire.

Iqbal was sent to Istanbul and at the age of 10 was dispatched to Cairo,  Her uncle Youssef Sabri was a military officer, but the wife of her uncle refused to admit this poor relative.  Consequently, Iqbal was raised by relatives of her mother.

Iqbal was behind Hoda getting education and enjoying liberty for expressing opinions and getting involved.

Lacking a National identity? Is it a big deal?

We don’t need to unite under an identity:  All national identities everywhere were invariably built and sustained on myths, historical falsehood, and faked stories.

What we need is to be unified under the banners of civil rights, human rights, sustainable environment, equitable and fair election laws and regulations, civil marriage, linked to fast communication technologies, access to social platforms, freedom of expression, laws not discriminating among genders, versatile opportunities to jobs and to applying our expertise, affordable education system, national health system…

What we need is to unify against any State invading our borders, bombing our infrastructure, humiliating us, destabilizing our society and economy.

What we need is to unify against any political current that has proven to work against democratic representations, racial demagoguery, sectarian political ideology.

What identity are we claiming?  

Are we to emulate other Nations that based their “identity” on myths and falsehood?

What nation has gained an identity without a strong army and suffered millions of soldiers fallen in battlefields for fictitious claims?

Youth sacrificed to institute a Nation and never taken seriously because they are viewed as just meat for the canon and a burden to a stable political system…

There are sections in Lebanon (mostly Christian Maronites) advancing the French mandatory alternative of a “Phoenician” ancestors.  Currently, there are Lebanese testing their blood for DNA evidences of any physical “Phoenician inheritance“.

A few are wary that they won’t be found to have any Phoenician stain, strain and be caste off as “strangers”.  What a load of crap.

The Phoenicians ruled the Mediterranean Sea in 1,200 BC and the string of their City-States extended from southern Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, up to Haifa in Palestine.  The Phoenicians were famous for maritime trade and commerce and established many trading centers around the Sea.  The written language has been around for 3,000 years, but the Phoenicians in the City-State of Byblos are credited for inventing the alphabet (currently in use with slight modifications.)

Before the Phoenicians and afterward, the Near East region of the Mediterranean (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine) has been invaded by a dozen warrior empires, many invaded us repeatedly.

For example, the empires in Iraq (Akkad, Babylon, Assyria), Egypt, Persia under various dynasties (at least four of them), Greece, Roman, Byzantium, Arabic, Ottoman, and finally the colonial powers of France and Britain.

All these warrior empires didn’t build anything worth showing as representative of civilization until they invaded our region and rounded off and hoarded the educated and master craftsmen to their capitals.

We are a region of multiple identities if we have to rely on occupation empires.

How about we identify with education and craftsmanship?  I love this identity.  Let us focus on affordable efficient schooling system; let us encourage technical and craftsmanship schooling system; let us focus on building commercial ships; let us invest in railways and fast communication facilities; let us open up to knowledge facilities all over the world.

I love this identity; let us get to work and planning.

Another sections of Lebanese, mostly Moslem-Sunnis, would like to have an Arabic identity and pushing it too far to claiming that we are from the Arabic Peninsula. Are we Arabs?  What that means?

The Islamic Arabic army that came from the Arabic Peninsula to fight the Byzantium Empire and later the Persian Empire barely numbered 7,000 men of war.  The other three-forth of the army that backed and supplemented the “Arabic army” was constituted from people and tribes living in Syria, Iraq, and Jordan wanting to defeat the Byzantium unforgiving Orthodox Church and domination.  How can we be descendant of the sparsely populated Arabic Peninsula?

The “Arabic identity” group would claim that our culture and civilization is Islamic Arabic. How that?

The cultural development during the Arabic Empire was shouldered by the scholars in Syria, Iraq, and Iran and they were mostly Christians. They would like to rely on the Arabic language as basis for our identity.  Excellent idea.

Let us prove that the Arabic language is a viable foundation; let us infuse a new spirit in that dying language; let us translate the worthy manuscripts; let us invent new terms that have no religious connotation and spread the Arabic language as a universal language, valid to sustaining modern civilization with fresh brains and advanced sciences and technologies.  I will be for it and will support it vehemently.

There are other factions wanting to claim that we are Moslems.  How about the dozen minority religious sects?  Are we to agree on a theocratic identity?

Turkish Ataturk cancelled the caliphate in 1925 and there is no caliphate anymore, anywhere.  Tiny Lebanon has 19 recognized self-autonomous religious communities running our civil life.  Let us get real.

A theocratic State will never pass and will never find unity for identity.

Should we hide behind a reality of disparate communities to establish the concept of plurality community government?  Should 19 wrong identities constitute a valid identity?

What we need is to be unified under the banners of civil rights, human rights, sustainable environment, equitable and fair election laws and regulations, civil marriage, linked to fast communication technologies, access to social platforms, freedom of expression, laws not discriminating among genders, versatile opportunities to jobs and expertise, affordable education system, national health system…

What we need is to unify against any State invading our borders, bombing our infrastructure, humiliating us, destabilizing our society and economy.  

What we need is to unify against any political current that has proven to working against democratic representations, racial demagoguery, sectarian political ideology.

“Beryte (Beirut) School of law” by Joy Tabet

In the previous two articles, I recounted the story of Beirut (Lebanon), confirming its status as the Roman Empire city for teaching laws and generating professors of jurisprudence between 150 to 556 AC.

Beirut was the “Mother and wet-nurse of laws“.  This article is providing details on the 5 most famous jurists in the second and third century who acceded to the highest functions in administration and governance in the Roman Empire and Byzantium Empire.

The Roman Emperial Constitution called “law of citations” ordered judges to applying the opinions of the five illustrious jurists.  When there is equality in alternative opinions then, it was Papinian opinion that prevailed.

Gaius (110-180) produced the course in law school called “Institutes”; it was a manual in 4 volumes exposing the Roman laws for civil rights.  He commented on the “Twelve Tables” code in seven books.  The doctrine of Gaius was authority to judges in the second and third centuries.

Armilius Papinian (142-212) was born in Homs (Syria).  Cervidius Scaevola was his law teacher and emperor Septimus Severus was his schoolmate and relative.  He was named “Lawyer of the treasury” by Emperor Marcus Aurelius and then became the prefect of the magistrate (the first dignitary of the Empire).  Emperor Septimus died in 211 and asked Papinian to guide his two sons Caracalla and Geta.

A year later, Caracalla assassinated Geta and demanded of Papinian to justify to the senate and the people the murder.  Papinian refused saying: “It is easier to commit parricide than to justifying it.  It is worse than a new parricide to accusing an innocent victim.”  Papinian was assassinated by a praetorian guard of Caracalla.  He was considered the “primus” among the other four illustrious classic masters of laws.

The doctrine of Papinian constituted the curriculum of the third years in law school; only 8 out of 19 books of “responses” were taught in that year.  In a period where slaves were considered chattel Papinian stated the principle of “Equality to all and liberty for each individual” almost 1,800 years before the UN universal declaration on human rights in 1948.

Julius Paulus was born in Tyr (Lebanon) and became a member of the “Emperor council”.  He ruled the Empire with the Emperor grand mother Julia Maesa as Emperor Alexander Sevirus was under age.  He wrote 236 works and was the most prolific among the classic jurists.  Of all his production, only the “fragments” in the “Digeste” and 5 books addressed to his son remain.  The 23 books of “Responses” were taught at the 4th year in law school.  There are over 2,000 citations of Paulus in the Digeste.

Domitius Ulpian (170-228) was born in Tyr (Lebanon) and lived in Beirut.  He succeeded Papinian as head of the law school and taught jurisprudence in Rome for a while.  He revised laws to reforming the Roman society and to limiting the dictatorship and vast privileges of the Praetorian Guards.

Even Emperor Alexander Severus could not protect Ulpian from the wrath of the praetorian guards who assassinated Ulpian in the presence of the emperor.  Ulpian wrote 16 books called “Libri ad edictum” that were taught in the second year at law school.  Over the third of the Digeste are compilation of Ulpian opinions.  He contributed to Roman civil code more than all the combined Roman jurists.  He stated: “All mankind are equal in natural rights”

Herennius Modestinus was a famous jurisconsult under Emperor Alexander Severus (222-235).  He was the most brilliant disciple of Ulpian.  He became consul with emperor Probus (276-282) and wrote 92 books of laws.

Beirut was destroyed by earthquake in 556 and was finished up by a major fire.

In the beginning of the 20th century, Beirut was a quaint fishing and small port village.  The European consuls deserted Sidon in order to build an adequate merchant port in Beirut.  The civil war destroyed Beirut again and is being rebuilt according to commercial standards of high towers devoid of any Orient character or spirit.

You can no longer rent a small apartment in Beirut:  Oil money after the latest financial crash overvalued Real Estate by 600% within two years in Beirut and Lebanon.

Beirut: Wet Nurse of laws during Roman Empire. Part 1

A brief history:  Between 150 and 551 AC, the city of Beirut (Beryte) was the official Roman State law center and this recognition extended to the Byzantium Empire.

Beirut had the preferred law school for law students and the professors flocked from the four corners of the Empire.  There were 6 other law centers such as the ones in Rome, Constantinople, Athens, Alexandria, Caesar of Cappadocia, and Caesar of Palestine, but Beirut kept her high standing over four centuries as the main official law center.

Beirut was called “Mother of laws” and “The most magnificent city” during the Roman Empire.  Emperor Justinian I (527-566) attributed to Beirut the title of “wet-nurse of laws

Between 150 and 551, Beirut was the official location for posting law articles and saving the Constitutions and compilations of laws.

Comparative law studies is the immediate successor of the roman laws that was initiated and updated in Beirut.  In the 5th century, Beirut law school started to teach in both languages of Latin and Greek.

Paradoxically, the main language of the common people was the written language Syriac (Aramaic,  the language spoken by Jesus).  Another demonstration that written languages are the domain of the elite classes, and used as coded language for administrations and government of people.

The Common people had to suffer the consequences of not knowing the language of their dominating Masters; in this case either Latin or Greek.

Rome fell in 476 and Western Europe had to wait until the Crusader’s campaigns (1096-1291) for the Justinian civil code of laws the “Digeste” to be found and rediscovered and then applied in Europe starting in the 12th century.

In 551, an earthquake demolished the city of Beirut.  The law school was temporarily moved to Sidon. In 560, as the professors returned to Beirut then a huge fire burned the city again.  Beirut was still in ruin by 600.

As Islam Arab conquered the near east region in 635, Beirut recaptured its previous status as a law center but without the brilliance of previous periods. Beirut was compiling Islamic laws according to “Charia”.

During the last 7 Omayyad caliphs and the first two Abbassid caliphs (690 to 770) the Lebanese theologians (ulema) and judges (fakihs and cadis) were the cornerstones for the nascent Islamic jurisprudence.  Imam El Uzahi (707-774) from Baalbek and who studied in Beirut and lived was the most brilliant and most sought after fakih in his life.  His doctrine was applied in Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria for 200 years.

Then, the doctrines of Hanafi (Syria), the Chafii (Egypt), the Maliki (Andalusia and Northern Africa  took the ascendency.

Note: The next chapters will give details on the most famous law professors in ancient Beirut and a few current updates.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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