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Syrian slave, leader of a revolt on Sicily in 135-132 BCE. In the mid-third century, the Romans conquered Sicily, and it became a province, ruled by a praetor (governor). Rich Romans owned large country estates on the island, which was rich in corn, and the countryside was crowded by slaves. Sometimes they were prisoners of war, sometimes bought on the slave markets of the eastern Mediterranean (Rhodes and Delos). Often, these slaves belonged to the same ethnic group: e.g., Celtiberians, Syrians, or Thracians. Their living conditions were not altogether bad, but the fact that they were mixed with people who spoke the same language made it easy for gossip to spread. If something went wrong, every slave knew; when an insurrection was organized, it was easy to inform the people - and the Roman government could be surprised. [Read on]

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Fakhri Maluf
Fakhri Maluf or 'Brother Francis', as he became known, was born in the town of Mashrah, Leba­non, about thirty miles from Beirut, in 1913. Though poor, Fakhri’s family saw to his education, which was provided at home, in a small school that his father operated. In 1934, Fakhri graduated from the American University of Beirut with a Bachelor’s Degree in mathematics during which he joined Antun Saadeh's Syrian National Party. From 1934 to 1939, he taught physics at that same University. In 1939, he moved to the United States to attend the Univer­sity of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he received first an M.A. and, in 1942, a Ph.D. in philosophy. From 1942 to 1945, Dr. Maluf taught mathematics and science at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts. From 1945 to 1949, he taught philosophy, theology, and mathematics at Boston College. On the Feast of St. Andrew (Nov. 30) in 1940, Dr. Maluf' became a Catholic. (Although he came from an historic Cath­olic family, his father had become a Mason and raised the children with no religion.) In 1949, Dr. Maluf and two other professors at Boston College were dismissed from the faculty after charging the College, in a letter to Pope Pius XII and the Superior General of the Jesuit Order, with promoting the liberal doctrine of salvation outside the Church. That same year, Dr. Maluf became one of the pioneer members of the Order, the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, eventu­ally taking the vows of religion and the name Brother Francis, after Saint Francis Xavier. Since that time, Brother Francis continued to teach Sacred Scripture, philosophy, theology, science and mathematics at various levels. For many years he was the Superior of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary monastery in Rich­mond, New Hampshire. While in his 90s, he continued to give weekly lectures and oversee the publishing apostolate of Saint Benedict Center. On July 19, 2009, Brother Francis marked his 96th birthday. On September 5 of that year - a first Saturday - he went to his reward.
See: A Great Man Has Died

Fakhri Maluf: The Aphorist
      On Antun Saadeh

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Gregory the Syrian
Imagine being thrust suddenly from a life of quiet scholarship to the top position in the Western European church. That is what happened to Gregory. He was a scholar from Syria with a reputation for learning and holiness. Pope Gregory II died in February 731. As Gregory the Syrian followed the funeral procession through the streets, the Roman mob shouted that he should be made pope. Hands seized him and dragged him toward his destiny. Gregory was not consecrated until this day, March 18, 731, about a month later. Probably he had to await the approval of the secular authorities in Ravenna. If so, he was the last pope to seek their nod. Gregory would demonstrate courage and dignity as pope. Boniface was laboring among the Germanic tribes in northern Europe. Gregory supported this work, writing to him: "You are to teach them the service of the kingdom of God by persuading them to accept the truth in the name of Christ, the Lord our God. You will instill into their minds the teaching of the Old and New Testaments, doing this in a spirit of love and moderation, and with arguments suited to their understanding." He sent Willibald to help Boniface. Shocked when he learned that some who called themselves Christians sold their slaves to pagans for sacrifice, Gregory wrote, "Among other crimes committed in those parts you have mentioned this, that certain of the faithful sell their slaves to the pagans for sacrifices. Which thing, brother, we think should be corrected, and we do not think you should allow it to proceed further; for it is a disgrace and an impiety. To those therefore who have done these things you should mete out the same punishment as for homicide." Italy was harassed by the Lombards in those days. Gregory completed the restoration of Rome's walls as a defense. The Lombards were so strong that he found it necessary to solicit the aid of Charles Martel. Little help came from the Franks, however, because Charles was dying. In other action, Gregory made Egbert of York archbishop, thus making it official that England would have two metropolitans (the other was at Canturbury). He also confirmed the rights of certain eastern patriarchs. Shortly after Gregory was elevated to the primacy, Leo III, emperor of the East, decided that icons were idolatrous. He ordered them destroyed. Blood flowed. Gregory took the side of icons and made a special show of venerating them. He remonstrated with Leo and called synods that supported the use of icons. Leo sent ships to capture Gregory. Although advised to flee, Gregory refused. His courage took on superhuman overtones when a storm destroyed Leo's fleet. Leo had to content himself with seizing Italian lands. Gregory died in the midst of further political troubles on the Italian peninsula.

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Hammurabi (Akkadian Khammurabi, from Amorite Ammurapi, "The Kinsman is a Healer"; Ammu, paternal kinsman + Rapi, to heal; also transliterated Ammurapi, Hammurapi, or Khammurabi) was the sixth king of Babylon. Achieving the conquest of Sumer and Akkad, and ending the last Sumerian dynasty of Isin, he was the first king of the Babylonian Empire. Hammurabi reigned over the Babylonian Empire from 1792 BC until his death in 1750 BC (middle chronology; 1728-1686 BC short chronology; dates highly uncertain). He was born in 1810. It was he who first gave the city of Babylon hegemony over Mesopotamia. [Code of Hammurabi]

The Carthaginian general Hannibal (247-182 BCE) was one of the greatest military leaders in history. His most famous campaign took place during the Second Punic War (218-202), when he caught the Romans off guard by crossing the Alps.
See also:
1. Hannibal's Life
2. Heroism of Hannibal Barca
3. Hannibal Barca the Military Genius 
4. Hannibal's invasion of Italy
5. The Day the World Trembled

Hisham Sharabi
Professor Emeritus of History and Umar al-Mukhtar Umar_al-Mukhtar> Chair of Arab Culture at Georgetown University , where he was a specialist in European intellectual history and social thought. Sharabi spent his early years growing up in Jaffa, Palestine and Acre, Palestine  before attending American University in Beirut, where he graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy. He then traveled to study at the University of Chicago , where he completed an M.A. in Philosophy in 1949. Politically active from a young age, Sharabi then returned to serve as editor of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party’s monthly magazine al-Jil al-Jadid (The New Generation . Forced to flee to Jordan after the parties disbanding in 1949, Sharabi returned to the United States where he completed a Ph.D. in the history of culture, again at the University at Chicago. That same year, he began to teach at Georgetown University, where he gained full professorship in eleven years. He died of cancer at the American University of Beirut  hospital on January 13, 2005.
See: Hisham Sharabi, the Intellectual and Activist: Agonizing over Palestine

       The Passing of a Great Intellectual

Hannibal Gisco
Hannibal Gisco (circa 300-290 - 260 BCE) was a Carthaginian military commander in charge of both land armies and naval fleets during the First Punic War against Rome. His efforts proved ultimately unsuccessful and his eventual defeat in battle led to his downfall and execution. Hannibal Gisco should not be confused with Hannibal Barca, the Carthaginian leader of the Second Punic War. The details of Hannibal Gisco's early life and career are unknown. Hannibal Gisco's first appearance in the sources is in 261 BC, as the general in command of the garrison besieged by the Romans in Agrigentum. Despite the tenacity shown by Gisco and his men for months and the arrival of reinforcements led by Hanno, the city eventually fell into Roman hands. Gisco managed to escape to Carthage in the late stages of the battle. Apparently, this defeat - owing more to Roman persistence in siege than to any incompetence of his own - did not bar Gisco from continuing leadership. In the following year (260 BCE, Gisco returned as the admiral in charge of the Carthaginian fleet in the Straits of Messina. The Romans were about to launch their first naval fleet and Carthage had determined that this innovation should be thwarted. Gisco defeated and captured the Roman consul Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Asina in the Lipari encounter, but this victory was robbed of practical meaning with the bulk of the Roman fleet continuing to manoeuvre in the surrounding waters. Later in 260 BC, Gisco was to engage this fleet and to be the first Punic general to encounter the Roman corvus boarding device with its deadly effect. Confident in Carthage's superiority at sea, Gisco deployed his ships for the Battle of Mylae in the traditional long line arrangement. Although inexperienced in sea battle, the Romans led by consul Gaius Duilius heavily defeated the Carthaginian fleet, mainly due to the innovative use of land tactics in naval warfare. Having lost the confidence of his peers, Hannibal Gisco was subsequently executed for incompetence shortly afterwards, together with other defeated Punic generals.

Hasdrubal was the name of several Carthaginian generals, among whom the following are the most important: 1. The son-in-law of Hamilcar Barca, who followed the latter in his campaign against the governing aristocracy at Carthage at the close of the First Punic War, and in his subsequent career of conquest in Spain. After Hamilcar's death (228 BC) Hasdrubal, who succeeded him in the command, extended the newly acquired empire by skilful diplomacy, and consolidated it by the foundation of Carthago Nova (Cartagena) as the capital of the new province, and by a treaty with Rome which fixed the Ebro as the boundary between the two powers. He was killed by a Celtic assassin in 221 BC. 2. The second son of Hamilcar Barca, and younger brother of Hannibal. Left in command of Spain when Hannibal departed to Italy (218 BC), he fought for six years against the brothers Gnaeus and Publius Cornelius Scipio. He had on the whole the worst of the conflict, and a defeat in 216 BC prevented him from joining Hannibal in Italy at a critical moment; but in 212 BC he completely routed his opponents, both the Scipios being killed. He was subsequently outgeneralled by Scipio Africanus Major, who in 209 BC captured Carthago Nova and gained other advantages. In the same year he was summoned to join his brother in Italy. He eluded Scipio by crossing the Pyrenees at their western extremity, and, making his way thence through Gaul and the Alps in safety, penetrated far into Central Italy (207 BC). He was ultimately checked by two Roman armies, and being forced to give battle was decisively defeated on the banks of the Metaurus. Hasdrubal himself fell in the fight; his head was cut off and thrown into Hannibal's camp as a sign of his utter defeat.


Who's Who of Natural Syria

This section contains a list of individual Syrian Greats whose action or literary works have made a definite stamp on history. There are many other Syrian Greats who deserve to be on this list and will be added to it in due time. Contributors are welcome to nominate other "Greats" and to offer literary material in support of their nomination.
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