As Levante (Italian for "Sunrise ", is allegorical for the " East" and the " Orient " ) is referred to in the broader sense, the countries of the eastern Mediterranean, therefore all lands lying east of Italy, especially the Greek peninsula and the Greek islands in the Aegean, the Mediterranean coastal areas of Turkey, Cyprus, Lebanon, Palestine, the historic Syria and Egypt.

In a narrower sense comprises the geographical name Levante coast and hinterland of the countries bordering the eastern Mediterranean coast, so the present states of Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories.



As the area of ​​origin of the Neolithic Revolution is often called the Levant, but fits in this context the term Fertile Crescent better, as happened essential steps of the Neolithic Revolution in the river basins of Euphrates and Tigris ( Mesopotamia ).

Middle Ages

From a European perspective the Levant received a special meaning, which were established long before the Crusades in the early Middle Ages with the Byzantine Empire and even the Seljuks by the intense trade relations with Italian city-states. The Levant was an important trading center for oriental goods that were brought across the Indian Ocean and the Asian caravan routes and you eintauschte such as cloth against European products. The Levantine trade contributed significantly to the wealth of cities like Marseille and Livorno or city-states like Genoa and Venice, but was severely disrupted by the expansion of the Ottoman Empire, where the Ottomans in the mid-15th century imposed a trade embargo. By developing new sea routes in the 15th and 16th centuries, the economic importance of the Levant fell sharply.

Modern Times

In more recent times makes the jihadist Salafist - organization Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS, ISIL or Daaisch ) talk with this name part of himself; it plans to establish an Islamic theocracy in roughly the area of the Levant and Iraq.

Figurative meaning

Dating from the Spanish and Italian word initially meant East (Spanish & Italian ) and rising (Italian & Spanish) or the east of Italy situated Mediterranean regions. Levan Tino was someone from the Levant, from the nearest parts of Western Asia Europe with Greece and Egypt; in the strict sense, the Asian coastal regions of the Mediterranean. As Levantines in the narrow sense was in the 19th century, who is of mixed European and Oriental origin or born there and educated descendants of Europeans and oriental mothers with their socio-economic special role in the commercial cities of the Orient as merchants and intermediaries between the Orient and Europe. In Italian ( il ) levantino also means torn (cracked human).

This conventional understanding of the Levant appears increasingly historically obsolete and are replaced by a broad cultural studies Levante concept, which are considered Levantine all Roman Catholic Christians in the Ottoman Empire.