The Greek usage of the term Syria/Syrian

By: Hanna Hajjar

If Greeks called the Arameans as Syrians, how come they didn't call Aram the son of Sam as Syria?

Arameans argue that Greeks called the Arameans as Syrians, well the Greeks called ALL the population of the Middle East as Syrians, and not just the Arameans! And there were some 20 different ethnic groups that lived in Syria: Assyrians, Arameans, Phoenicians, Eblaits, Amorites, Hittites, Hurrians, Mitannis, Persians, Kassites, Chaldeans, Sumerians, Akkadians, Hebrews, Canaanites, and Arameans were one of them (a drop in the sea).

They always jump to the Greek Bible which replaced Syria for Aram, well here is a question to those Arameans who claim that Aram = Syria:

In the Greek version of the Bible, did Sam (Shem) have a son called Aram or Syria?

Genesis 10:22
The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram.

Here is the Greek translation:
Genesis 10:22
υἱοὶ Σημ Αιλαμ καὶ Ασσουρ καὶ Αρφαξαδ καὶ Λουδ καὶ Αραμ καὶ Καιναν

This is the word they used for Aram, "Αραμ" it actually reads "Aram" in Greek too, and spelled out as (Alpha, Rho, Alpha, Mu). How come they didn't call him Syria instead? That is if Syria really meant Aram!

Ironically, Ashur was written as "Ασσουρ" is spelled out as (Alpha, Sigma, Sigma, Omicron, Upsilon, Rho). and that is way much closer to Syria (than Aram is), because it was written as "Assur" with "s" rather than "sh".

And why do so called Arameans think of the Greeks as retards not to be able to pronounce Aram, so that they had to replace it with Syria?

All four letters of Aram exist in the Greek Alphabet, so they could have easily called them Aramos, and called their land Aramia. What was the logic behind the Greeks for calling the Arameans as Syrians.

The region of the land of Aram is also called Levant, how come the Arameans don't claim that Levant means Aramean too?

By the way the name of the Levant region was not changed from Land of Aram to Syria, because the Levant in the ancient world was never called the land of Aram, in Assyrian annals it was called Mat Hatti (or the land of Hittites), and earlier it was called Amurru (Land of Amorites). The only reference mentioned as the Land of Aram was in the Bible, and the Bible was written around 500 BC and after the fall of the Assyrian Empire. and also neither Chaldeans nor Persians called it Land of Aram.

In the Hebrew Old Testament they labeled part of the Levant as Aram, however it wasn't until the Hebrew Bible was translated to Greek that the term Aram was replaced with Syria, simply because by the time the translation was completed the Romans were ruling the Levant, and the Romans had established a province called Syria (covering most of the Levant region), so they retro-named the Land of Aram as Syria, and the Arameans as Syrians, although the ancient Arameans never used the term Syria or Syrians to label themselves. It was more like calling the indigenous people of the New World as Americans even though they called themselves Incas, Aztecs etc. and having never heard of the term America.

Another interesting think is that Armenians have a king called Aram, and the Greeks called him Aram too. So the bottom line is that Greeks were not stupid, and they could easily pronounce the word Aram, hence the only logical reason why the Greeks didn't call the Middle East as Aram (or Aramia) when they conquered it, is simply because there were no Arameans calling themselves Arameans living there, all Arameans have been Assyrianized, hence the Greeks called them Syrians which is short for Assyrians.

Here are Greek and Roman historians equating the term Syria/Syrian with Assyria/Assyrian

The Greek historian Herodotus stated in the 5th century BC that those called Syrians by the Greeks were called Assyrians by themselves and in the East:

"This people, whom the Hellenes call Syrians, are called Assyrians by the barbarians"

The Greek geographer Strabo (64 BC-21 AD) confirms Herodotus’ statement by writing that:

"When those who have written histories about the Syrian empire say that the Medes were overthrown by the Persians and the Syrians by the Medes, they mean by the Syrians no other people than those who built the royal palaces in Babylon and Ninus (Nineveh); and of these Syrians, Ninus was the man who founded Ninus (Nineveh), in Aturia (Assyria) and his wife, Semiramis, was the woman who succeeded her husband and founded Babylon..."

Justinus, the Roman historian wrote in 300 AD:

"The Assyrians, who were afterwards called Syrians, held their empire thirteen hundred years"