- I -
Iamblichus (ca. AD 245 - ca. 325) was a neoplatonist philosopher who determined the direction taken by later Neoplatonic philosophy, and perhaps western Paganism itself. He is perhaps best known for his compendium on Pythagorean philosophy. Iamblichus was the chief representative of Syrian Neoplatonism, though his influence spread over much of the ancient world. [Read on]

Ibn Al-Qalanisi
He descended from the Banu Tamim tribe, and was among the well-educated nobility of the city of Damascus. He studied literature, theology and law Sharia. He served as firstly a secretary in, and later the head of, the chancery of Damascus (the Diwan al-Rasa'il). He served twice as ra'is of the city, an office equivalent to mayor. His chronicle, the Dhail or Mudhayyal Ta'rikh Dimashq (Continuation of the Chronicle of Damascus) was an extension of the chronicle of Hilal bin al-Muhassin al-Sabi', covering the years 1056 to al-Qalanisi's death in 1160. This Chronicle is one of the few contemporary accounts of the First Crusade and its immediate aftermath from the Muslim perspective, making it not only a valuable source for modern historians, but also for later 12th-century chronicles, inclusing Ibn al-Athir.

Ithobaal I (or Ethbaal) (reigned 887 - 856 BC) was a king of Tyre who founded a new dynasty. During his reign, Tyre expanded its power on the mainland, making all of Phoenicia its territory as far north as Beirut, including Sidon, and even a part of the island of Cyprus. At the same time, Tyre also built new overseas colonies: Botrys (now Batrun) near Byblos, and Auza in Libya. Ithobaal held close diplomatic contacts with king Ahab of Israel. His daughter Jezebel married Ahab, and Phoenician influence in Samaria and the other Israelite cities was extensive.

Ibrahim Mitri Rihbani
Ibrahim Mitri Rihbani (1869-1944) was a priest, prolific writer, and a nationalist crusader for Syria before and after WWI. He hailed from Shweir but migrated and lived most of his life in the United States. He is best remembered for his his book The Syrian Christ.
See the Introduction to The Syrian Christ

- J -
Julia Domna
During the 3rd century AD Julia Domna was a Syrian girl, who at the age of 17 years, married 41 or 42- year- old Septimius Severus. Septimius later became the emperor of Rome and Julia became an empress. Although no philosophical writing has been attributed to her, she surrounded herself with sophist philosophers. She became famous for her "circle" of philosophers, studying with them, discussing with them, and, using her imperial powers, she protected philosophy and helped it to flourish. Julia Domna became known as "the philosopher Julia". [Read on]

Julia Maesa
Julia Maesa (about 170- about 226) was daughter of Julius Bassianus, priest of the sun god Heliogabalus, the patron god of Emesa, in the Roman province of Syria, and grandmother of the Roman emperor Elagabalus. As her younger sister Julia Domna, she was among the most important women ever to exercise power behind the throne in the Roman Empire.

John Of Damascus
Practically all the information concerning the life of John of Damascus available to us today, has been through the records of John, Patriarch of Jerusalem. Though these notes have served as the single source of biographical information, dating back to the 10th century, these writings have been noted by scholars as having an exuberant lack of detail from a historical point of view, and a bloated writing style. [Read on]

John of Ephesus
John of Ephesus (c.505-c.585), Syrian Monophysite historian, bishop of Ephesus. He became a leader of the Monophysites, and Byzantine Emperor Justinian, whose favor he enjoyed, set him over the Monophysite community in Constantinople. John suffered greatly in the persecution of his sect after 571. His Ecclesiastical History makes an unusual effort to avoid prejudice. It is especially valuable for the events of the 6th cent. He is also called John of Asia.

- K -
Khalil Hawi
(1919 - 1982) One of Lebanon's best-known twentieth-century poets. Born in Huwaya, Syria, where his Greek Orthodox Lebanese father was working, Khalil Hawi grew up in Shwayr, Lebanon. He studied philosophy and Arabic at the American University of Beirut, where he received a bachelor of arts in 1951 and a master of arts in 1955. After teaching for a few years, he obtained a scholarship to enroll at Cambridge University, in England, where he was awarded his Ph.D. in 1959. He then became a professor of Arabic literature at the American University in Beirut. Within a few years, he established himself as one of the leading avant-garde poets in the Arab world. His poetry relies heavily on symbols and metaphors and images, and it frequently has political and social overtones.
See: A Trip into Depression and Suicide

       A Graceful Poet from the Vineyards of Lebanon

Khalil Gibran

The God-man and the Antichrist
The Craver for a Masterpiece
Gibran's Self and Other Through Mythology
Ask What You Can Do for Your Country

- L -
Lucian of Samosata
THERE is no ancient biography of Lucian extant excepting an unsatisfactory sketch by Suidas; but we can gather many facts as to his life from his own writings. He expressly tells us that he was a Syrian, and that Samosata was his native place, the capital of Commagene, situated on the right or western bank of the Euphrates. He was probably born about the year 125 A.D., and his career extends over the greater part of the second century after the Christian era. He was of humble extraction; he tells us that his mother's family were hereditary sculptors. This fact is interesting as enabling us to suppose that he would examine with an accurate and critical eye the different statues which he saw and described in his various travels, and especially those in the great temple at Hierapolis. He tells us, however, that he proved but a sorry sculptor, and nothing was left him but to apply himself to the study of literature and to adopt the profession of a sophist. He could not even, according to his own account, speak pure Greek, and with the view of purifying his language he visited successively the rhetorical schools of Ionia and Greece proper, where he made the acquaintance of the Platonic philosopher Nigrinus, and no doubt contracted much of the admiration for Plato which reveals itself in his writings. We see him next at Antioch practising as a lawyer in the Courts; he enjoyed in this capacity such a reputation for oratory that he felt entitled to gratify his spirit of restlessness and intellectual curiosity by travel, and adopting the career of a travelling sophist. In this capacity he visited Syria, Phœnicia and Egypt, probably in the years 148 and 149 A.D. He tells us in the De Dea Syria that he had been at Hierapolis, Byblus, Libanus, and Sidon; and we know from his own description how carefully he inspected these great seats of Oriental beliefs. [Read on]
See also his:
"My Native Land"
De Dea Syria
Was he Syria's First Rhetorician?

Laodice I
Laodice I Queen of Syria is the daughter of Dght of Alexander III Princess of Syria, she is the mother of Laodice I Princess of Syria/ Laodice I became the queen of Syria after her mother's death.

Lucius Iulius Aurelius Septimius Vaballathus Athenodorus
Lucius Iulius Aurelius Septimius Vaballathus Athenodorus was son of Septimius Odaenathus, governor of Palmyra and his wife Septimia Zenobia. When his father was assassinated by his cousin Maconius, Vabalathus was made Prince of the Palmyrene Empire. The real power behind the throne was his mother Zenobia. His mother conquered Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Asia Minor and Lebanon; she even adopted the title of augustus for her son and herself. But the Roman emperor Aurelian came and sacked Palmyra and took his mother back to Rome  as a hostage.


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.
Page 4
I to L