Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Damascus and Galilee Addendum

Looking over what I posted about Damascus and Galilee, several things strike me as being not covered in enough depth:

Safed is the world center of rabbinic learning in 1560. Safed is almost entirely Jewish, and there are many rabbinical schools here, some of them tiny, and others world famous. It is particularly interesting as the world center for Kabbalistic studies. It is also an important crossroads town, and very wealthy. Toron is also primarily Jewish, and there are important Jewish populations in Damascus and Tiberias as well.

Though it appears from the map that the majority of the Emirate's population is in the Galilee. this is not true. This is due to the difference in land usage between the Outremer Christians and the Arabs. Damascus is an enormous city, and probably more than equals the entire population of Galilee. Most of the non-urban population of Damascus is in small villages throughout the area, none large enough to be noted. In Galilee, there are more large towns and fewer small villages, and though Tiberias is a city, it could be tucked into Damascus entire without anyone even noticing.

Galilee might be primarily Christian overall, but Gadara, Hattin, and Krak Yakub are mostly Muslim towns. Dara is on the Damascus side, but the town is half Christian. There are probably as many Christians in the city of Damascus as there are in the city of Tiberias. There is nothing mono-cultural here.

The Christians here are mostly of the Latin Church and Eastern Rite Catholic in the towns, and Coptic, Syriac, and Armenian Apostolic in the countryside. There are several pockets of Greek Orthodox here and there as well. Most Muslim are of the Sunni branch of thought, but there are Twelver Shi'ite and Ismaili pockets here and there, and Druze in the mountains near St. Mamas and Krak Yakub.


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