Friday, May 9, 2014

Not Arabs, but Hellenes

 Not Arabs, but Hellenes: Who are the Roum of the Levant?

The Roum or ‘Rum’ of the Levant are an ethno-cultural minority made up of the descendants of former Koine-Greek speaking Christians. This fragmented “Roum Nation” is most notably made up of the Greek Orthodox and Greek Catholic communities of Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and the Hatay province of Southern Turkey. Their name derives from the Greek word Ρωμιοί, meaning Romans; and refers to their Eastern Roman or ‘Byzantine’ heritage. Therefore, ‘Rum’, literally means ‘Eastern Roman’ or ‘Asian Greek’.