The Heritage of the Ghassanid Sovereignty in the treatment of “Royal Highness” by Expert Carmelo Curro’ Troiano

The subject of the sovereignty of the Ghassanian Principality is very similar to that raised for numerous other states which arose in Europe and Asia and which developed or became extinct during the Renaissance period. There are numerous Italian examples. It will be enough to mention the Farnese states (Parma, Piacenza, or Castro), those of Romagna, the Savoy possessions (Piedmont), and the Medici ones (Florence and then almost all of Tuscany). At the beginning of the transformation of the imperial or pontifical dominions into ever more autonomous dominions, eventually independent in fact, there were long periods of interregnum, disorganization, of local weakness on the part of the sovereign states, namely the Papacy and the Empire, whose less attention to government affairs in peripheral possessions favored the development of a mercantile, military or administrative social class capable of occupying government spaces in major cities and therefore of transmitting this temporary power to their children or grandchildren. The rebellions in Germany, the schism that divided the Catholic Church, and the interference of the Kings of France in the events of the Pontificate, represented elements of exceptional importance that allowed local families to be able to assume ever greater power in their regions.

It is clear that when the strengthening of sovereign power succeeded in imposing itself again on the entities that were within the domains recognized to them, the end of these brief lordships was general (the Bentivoglio in Bologna, the Baglioni in Perugia, and many others). In fact, it should not be forgotten that our ancestors were essentially legalists, and therefore the return of a state or a feudal state to the ancient lord was considered normal, even after a very long time from the end of his dominion; while in other cases the impossibility of intervening without dangers and without economic expenditure or the diplomacy of balances advised sovereign governments not to intervene directly, safeguarding only rights that were becoming more and more random and solvent. This is the case of Florence where the Empire continued for a long time to maintain a garrison during the principality of Cosimo but where in reality the Prince of Casa Medici ruled with his own ministers, often in hostility or in suspicion of the government of Charles V.

In these cases, one should not speak of half-sovereign sovereign states, since often the definitions within which we want to tighten the facts do not have a real comparison with reality.

When, for example, the Medici House was able to maintain control over Tuscany (and this lasted until Italian unity), without heavy imperial interventions, especially when Spain withdrew its garrisons from Florence and Livorno, we can speak of sovereignty; before being able to exercise this power (that is, until the Lord of Florence was subjected to imperial approval for every act of his) there is no valid and recognizable entity of International Law. Even if the Emperor will subsequently proclaim his high sovereignty over Florence (as over other Italian states), the Medici state will remain a body of international law, being able to control its territory and oppose any imperial actions by force. In short, sovereignty on paper remains on paper and not in practice, as Spanish or Sicilian sovereignty on the island of Malta will no longer be valid, once the Knights of Malta manage to control their own state by themselves and even reject the terrible assaults of the Turkish fleet, becoming, in fact, an independent state and no longer a vassal of the Kingdom of Sicily (Cf. C. CURRO ‘, The royal abuse in Catanzaro against the Jerusalemite Knights: the eighteenth-century intrusiveness in https://www.facebook.com/1436947459854075/posts/1444624765753011/

It must therefore be said that only true and false states exist since it is possible to include in this second group all those public entities to which the state title has been attributed to a political fiction in the course of history but which in reality cannot be considered as such, as they are not they had effective control over their population and territory and survived only thanks to the support of the troops of an occupying Power. This is the case of the self-styled Italian social republic that the Germans established in 1943 in Northern Italy, of the Slovak state, of the occupation governments installed in the territories conquered during the Second World War (Cf. R. QUADRI, Public International Law, Naples 1973, p. 434).

The same applies to the states protected by the Turkish Empire such as Moldavia or Wallachia, whose prince was appointed by the Sublime Porte but who could not become independent, so much so that the Ottoman government was able to depose them, imprison them, exile them, demonstrating that have full control of the territory of these principalities and that the Prince was just a kind of governor.

In the case of the Ghassanid states, we can associate the events of other European states such as northern Albania and Montenegro. Or the events of other territories in the Middle East, such as the vast, almost depopulated areas of the Arabian Peninsula and Libya, only officially placed under the authority of the Turkish government, where the founders of the most rigid Muslim religious brotherhoods founded seats for their schools, which in practice became autonomous from the central power and then authentic sovereign states.

These territories, located in mountainous or desert areas, and difficult to reach or control, were only nominally under the dominion of the Turkish Empire. It was uselessly said that Turkish high sovereignty would persist over states such as Yemen or Egypt. In reality, if the Treaty of London of 1840 still recognized the Ottoman Empire as having a prevalence of intervention in foreign policy and in the military field, in fact, Egypt was rapidly becoming independent, since nominal sovereignty in practice is insignificant compared to sovereignty. effective (Cf. F.F. DE MARTENS, La question égyptienne et le droit international, Brussels 1882). As for Yemen, there was talk of suzerainetè (Oberhoeit) of Turkey during the nineteenth century; but it is clear that this was a political and diplomatic fiction, very interesting for states like Germany which at that time were actively working to increase their influence in the Empire, since the South Arabian state, in its almost perfect isolation (and perhaps thanks to this condition) it was actually an independent political entity (Cf. R. QUADRI, L’ile de Camaran, in Revue égiptienne de Droit international, 1957, spec. 22 et seq.).

Montenegro managed to remain independent in a large part of its Orthodox bishopric and in vain the Government of Constantinople tried to implant its power there, eventually giving up and accepting the fait accompli of a state that had been able to maintain itself independent with its new dynasty.

In the long and alternating period of decline of the Byzantine Empire, while numerous Christian populations of the Middle East preferred to submit to Muslim rule rather than remain under that of Byzantium, in their truly oppressive eyes, there was no lack of autonomy and therefore of sovereignty for local potentates. , in particular when the prestige of some of their authoritative exponents made it impossible for the Byzantines or Arabs to control the territory.

The Ghassanid States, located along the border of the ancient Roman Empire, had been considered independent entities for centuries, thanks to the need for Rome to engage in long and difficult disputes with the Persian Empire and eagerness to maintain a peaceful hinterland along which to pass their military communication routes. This is the reason that kept public opinion, writers, and historians, in the belief that the ancestors and founders of the successive Ghassanid political entities were authentic kings (Cf. https://royalblog.org/2018/07/16/the-legal-reasons-for-the-use-of-the-royal-titles-by-the-el-chemor-family/?fbclid=IwAR32sLaI4Ln2Os3ykA5EO15lFK4HTnnrhcJlvCbX9QTYyjnzhb_2fXYC1BI ). The facts can in fact be interpreted under the dynastic point of view, according to the widespread custom in the world, whereby if territorial sovereignty collapses, depending on the situation on the ability of the most powerful Empires to extend their power over them, it does not fail instead. the real dignity which is fixed on certain families. In fact, there is a general opinion that even in the absence of sovereign status, the royal status cannot be diminished, despite political and military changes.

Let’s take the case of the Bourbons: in France, this family was deposed by the revolution of 1789 which established the republic; and in 1802 the Bonaparte family ascended to the throne in his place. However, no one has ever thought that the Bourbons had lost their royal status forever, so much so that in 1815 they were called to the throne again; and today, despite the Bonapartes and the republic having succeeded them again, neither public opinion nor the law disputes their royal status, and their use of having the Head of the Dynasty confer noble titles on the members of the Family. Even the Bourbons-Spain, supplanted by the Savoy, by the republic, by a Francoist monarchy without a sovereign, have always been considered characters to be honored and mentioned with the title of Royal Highness, until the establishment of the constitutional monarchy which gave them back the precise privileges of the Crown. Same situation in Italy. Here the ancient ruling families (Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Bourbon-Parma, Austria Este, Habsburg Lorraine), despite being replaced and exiled by the Savoy with Italian unity, and therefore by the republic, continue to maintain their royal status, their components are called “Royal Highnesses” (Imperial and Royal for the Habsburgs), the Heads of the Dynasties confer titles of chivalry (today recognized by the ceremonial of the republic), and in some cases noble titles.

At this point, we can consider that while for the rulers of Moldavia or Wallachia it should not be considered that we are in the presence of royal houses, due to their impossibility of controlling the governed states, for Montenegro or for the Ghassanids cohabiting with the Roman Empires and Byzantine, we can instead think favorably of the existence in a more or less long time, of the sovereign characteristics fixed in their houses, since there was a period of perfect sovereignty over territory and subjects, during which families reigned without external interference, allowing the descendants of the Princes to be defined Royal or Imperial Highnesses (due to their relatives), and not to be compared to nobles of important feudal vassal states.

Therefore, the royal dignity has not been exhausted for the simple reason of territorial conquest and absorption. Indeed, the presence of vast fiefdoms, large places of political and military influence even within other states, constitutes the demonstration of a power that has been transformed, adapted, as if to protect the personal dignity handed down to people even if in times different.

Carmelo Curro’ Troiano was born in Salerno (Italy) where he lives. Graduated in Political Science, International Law, and Modern Literature. He is a historian and journalist (registered in the professional register). He is an expert in Genealogy and Heraldry; his family trees are among the most crowded and complete that have been made in Italy. As a cultural popularizer, he is engaged in television broadcasts and numerous conferences throughout the country. He collaborates with high-level newspapers and periodicals (including Focus, Il Mattino, Roma, Cronache del Mezzogiorno, Cuadernos de Ayala). He has written many books and scientific publications on behalf of public bodies, municipalities, and parishes.

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“Ghassan post-Ghassan” and its current relevancy in the 21st century

“Ghassan post-Ghassan”  was the title of Professor Irfan Shahid’s essay about what happened with the Ghassanid Dynasty after the fall of the first Kingdom in the VII Century. The essay is in the Festschrift   “The Islamic World”, for Bernard Lewis, Darwin Press l989, pp.323=336.

Professor Shahid’s email (03/24/2012) to HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor wishing good luck in the restoration of the Ghassanid Royal Legacy

However, we’ll go a little beyond Professor Shahid’s account using not only his essay but also information from other sources. The Ghassanids had, over history, tremendous achievements in several areas but we’ll concentrate our essay on the ruling families that claimed to be part of the Ghassanid Dynasty.  

One might think that the subject is part of some obscure section of the past Arab history. However, the subject’s relevancy is amazingly current. In a recent Time Magazine article (April 16 2012, pg.24 – “A Region at War with Its History – Democracy struggles to survive in the Middle East for old and economic reasons”), journalist Fareed Zakaria, citing the paper written by Harvard Professor Erich Chaney, states that the lack of democracy experienced in the Arab world today is a direct consequence of the Muslim conquest initiated in the VII Century:

“He (Professor Chaney) NOTES THAT THE DEMOCRACY DEFICIT TODAY EXISTS IN LANDS THAT WERE CONQUERED BY ARAB ARMIES AFTER THE DEATH IN A.D. 632 OF THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD. Lands that the Arabs controlled in the 12th century remain economically stunted today. THIS CORRELATION IS NOT SIMPLY A COINCIDENCE. Scholars from Montesquieu to Bernard Lewis suggest that there was something in the political development of the Arab imperial system that seemed to poison the ground against economic pluralism. ARAB IMPERIAL CONTROL TENDED TO MEAN CENTRALIZED POLITICAL AUTHORITY, WEAK CIVIL SOCIETY, a dependent merchant class, and a large role for the state in the economy. Chaney documents the latter, showing that the government’s share of GDP is 7% higher on average in countries that were conquered by Arab armies than in those that were not.”
 http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2111248,00.html#ixzz1sPyNrAWh  

Important to mention again, that over five million Christian Ghassanids live today whithersoever dispersed around the globe. They are almost exactly the same people as their ancestors were fourteen centuries ago due to their interbreed relations.  

“While Ghassanid Christians clung to their identity as a minority and were interbreed [keeping the blood pure] because of the prohibition of marriage with non-Christians..” (Professor Doctor Yasmine Zahran, “Ghassan Resurrected”, 2006, p.149)

Bias, Ignorance, or Laziness?

After the Islamic conquest of the Arabic peninsula and the constitution of the Islamic regime called the “Caliphate”, every historian seems to overlook the minutiae of what actually was happening in the region after the “Levant”. Looking to any map of the region from the VII Century on, in any history book, we’ll see an inaccurate image of the Islamic control over the peninsula.  

The maps above give the impression that the Caliphates had a very cohesive control over the area which was absolutely NOT true.

“After the disappearance of the Ghassanid state, isolated Ghassanian Princes continued to reign in some oases and castles, along with Salihids and some other phylae.” (“Late Antiquity” – Bowesock/Brown/Grabar, Harvard University Press, 1999, p. 469)

Historians support not only this assertion but the fact that this practice was very common during all of the extension of the Islamic dominion over the region.  

“935[AD]… From this point, the caliphs no longer wield temporal power but retain merely a symbolic authority. Real power now resides with the local rulers, who establish dynasties in various parts of the empire.” (“Islam – A short history”- Karen Armstrong – 2002, p.xix)

“1118-1258[AD] Small dynasties now function independently, acknowledging the suzerainty of the Abbasid caliphate, BUT IN PRACTICE BOWING ONLY TO THE SUPERIOR POWER OF A NEIGHBOURING DYNASTY.” (Ibid. p. xxii)

So, it’s clear that all of these maps do not reflect the truth.  If we know that the caliphate no longer had temporal power, the suzerainty proclaimed by the small sovereignties (however short-lived) was merely an honorific courtesy.

It’s also clear that the Ghassanid Dynasty didn’t die after the battle of Yarmuk or the fall of the first Kingdom. The Dynasty would play a higher role in the highest throne on earth at the time: the Byzantine imperial purple.

Solidus with Byzantine Emperors Nikephoros and Staurakios from Royal Ghassanid origin

The Byzantine Empire

Since the elevation of the Ghassanid King Arethas (Al-Harith) V (reigned 528-569 AD), to many titles by Emperor Justinian I in 529 AD, like “King of all Arabs”,  the Imperial address (Axioma Basileus) and the “Archyphilarchia” of the Oriens (the Commander-in-chief of all Arab Armies of the Byzantine Federation), the Ghassanid Kings were elevated to the rank of “Patricians” of the Byzantine Empire, in other words, the highest rank of nobility or the ruling class within the Empire.  

“The term patrician (Latin: patricius, Greek: πατρίκιος) originally referred to a group of elite families in ancient Rome, including both their natural and adopted members. In the late Roman Empire, the class was broadened to include high council officials, and after the fall of the Western Empire it remained a high honorary title in the Byzantine Empire.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrician_(ancient_Rome)

After the fall of the first Kingdom in the VII Century, King Jabalah VI (reigned 628-638 AD) established a Government-in-exile in Constantinople, later moving to Anatolia.  

” Heraclius [Byzantine Emperor] received him [King Jabalah] with honor and bestowed upon him estates and palaces.” (Professor Yasmine Zahran, “Ghassan Resurrected” p. 13)

“Although little is known of Jabala’s activities after his emigration to Anatolia, his place in the history of the Ghassanids in the Middle Byzantine period is important, since it was he who established a strong Ghassanid presence in Byzantine Anatolia, one which lasted for many centuries. The climax of this presence was the elevation of one of his descendants to the purple and his establishment of a short-lived dynasty which might be described as the House of Nicephorus.” (“Ghassan post Ghassan” by Prof. Irfan Shahid, Festschrift  “The Islamic World – From classical to modern times”, for Bernard Lewis, Darwin Press l989, pg. 325)

“Nicephorus (A.D. 802-11) was a descendant of the Ghassanid [King] Jabala.” (Ibid.)

This assertion was even stronger not merely citing King Jabala as an ancestor, but the eponym of the Royal Ghassanid Dynasty using the name of King Jafna, the founder of the Ghassanid Kingdom. Therefore, we can conclude that Emperor Nicephorus (or Nikephoros) was not only citing his ascendancy but by using the term “Jafna” he was claiming to be the head of the Ghassanid Dynasty.

“…This valuable information comes from Tabari; see Tarik (Cairo, 1966), VIII, 307, when he speaks of [King] Jafna, the eponym of the Ghassanids, rather than [King] Jabala.” (Ibid. pg.334)

In spite of his short reign, he is considered a great Byzantine Emperor.

“He had been a high official in the previous reign (logothete, or minister of finance), and yet, in spite of his background in imperial finance, he played an important and vigorous role in the military and ecclesiastical history of Byzantium throughout the nine years of his reign.” (“Ghassan post Ghassan” by Prof. Irfan Shahid, Festschrift  “The Islamic World – From classical to modern times”, for Bernard Lewis, Darwin Press l989, pg. 325)

Like Roman Emperor Philip the Arab, according to many scholars a Ghassanid Sheikh himself and the first Christian Emperor of the Western Roman Empire, Nikephoros was a pioneer:

“… the first Arab Emperor to rule in Constantinople.” (Ibid.)

He was bold and obstinate like his other ascendant, Ghassanid King Al-Harith Bin Abu Chemor Al-Ghassani, who in the VII Century rebuffed the Prophet Mohammad after receiving his letter demanding his conversion to Islam. Right at the beginning of his reign, Emperor Nikephoros refused to recognize Charlemagne’s imperial title, assumed in 800 A.D.

“In 803 Nikephoros concluded a treaty, called the Pax Nicephori, with Charlemagne, but refused to recognize the latter’s imperial dignity.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikephoros_I

Unfortunately, as his reign, his Dynasty was also succinct. Nikephoros’ son Stauracius (also Staurakios) was crowned co-emperor in 803 AD, but after his father’s death, he reigned only for two months as sole emperor. The power then went to his brother-in-law, Emperor Michael I Rangabe who ruled from 811 until 813 AD with his wife, Nikephoros’ daughter Empress Procopia (later Saint Procopia). Procopia’s eldest son Theophylactos reigned as co-emperor with his father from 811 AD.

“The House of Nicephorus in the ninth century was represented both in the imperium (Empire) and in the ecclesia (Church). Another grandson of Nicephorus through Procopia, Nicetas (also Niketas), finally became Patriarch of Constantinople. As Ignatius (later Saint Ignatius), he twice became Patriarch, the first time from 847 until he was deposed in 858, and the second time, after being reinstated, for the period 867-77.” (“Ghassan post Ghassan” by Prof. Irfan Shahid, Festschrift  “The Islamic World – From classical to modern times”, for Bernard Lewis, Darwin Press l989, pg. 327)

“It was thus given to a grandson of Nicephorus the highest rank of the Byzantine ecclesia (later to be the highest rank of the whole Orthodox Church)…” (Ibid.)

St. Ignatius or Ignatios (Greek: Ιγνάτιος), (c. 797–877) Patriarch of Constantinople from July 4, 847 to October 23, 858 and from November 23, 867 to his death on October 23, 877.

Some scholars defend that Emperor Michael I and Prokopia could be ancestors to the later Byzantine Emperors of the Macedonian Dynasty. For example, David Hughes has theorized such a descent by which Prokopia’s son, Theophylaktos was father to a daughter, named Melissena. Melissena married Inger Martinakios. Inger was the father of Eudokia Ingerina.

“Eudokia (or Eudocia) Ingerina (Greek: Ευδοκία Ιγγερίνα) (c. 840 – c. 882) was the wife of the Byzantine emperor Basil I, the mistress of his predecessor Michael III, and the mother to both the Emperors Leo VI and Alexander and Patriarch Stephen I of Constantinople.”

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eudokia_Ingerina

That being true, would put Ghassanid Imperial and Royal blood on the purple throne again for almost another two hundred years.

The Nasrid Dynasty

After the fall of the first Kingdom, many Ghassanids migrated to Spain and founded a small city, a “Principality” there also called “Ghassan”.  

“Other Ghassanids emigrated to Umayyad Spain as part of the Jund of Damascus and settled in Andalusia in a qarya (village) near Granada that they called ‘Ghassan’, Cacin of today.”  (Professor Yasmine Zahran, “Ghassan Resurrected” p. 146)

“Cacín is a Spanish municipality belonging to the province of Granada in the autonomous community of Andalusia.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cac%C3%ADn 

City of Cacin (Ghassan) in Spain

“Most theories suggest that the name “Cacín” comes from an anthroponym since the eighth century there was an Arab tribe, “Gassin” (Ghassan), in Elvira influential in times of Abd al-Khaliq al-Gassani that was appointed qadi [Magistrate] of the kora (one of the territorial demarcations which were divided al-Andalus, the Arab Spain).” http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cac%C3%ADn

So, it’s clear that, by many different tentatives, the Ghassanid Princes tried to preserve their Kingdom in different places.

Rasulid coin

The Rasulid Dynasty

Several Ghassanids ceded to the pressure of being forced to convert to Islam. The Rasulid was a Muslim dynasty that ruled Yemen and Hadhramaut from 1229 to 1454 AD. The Ghassanids always were symbols of Christianity and resistance to the Muslim regime.

“Descent from the Royal Ghassanids was an honour to be claimed by many Christians as was the honour for Muslims in claiming descent from Quraysh, the tribe of the Prophet [Muhammad].” (Professor Doctor Yasmine Zahran, “Ghassan Resurrected”, 2006, p.149)

So, as far as prestige, the Ghassanids were to the Arab world the equivalents of the Habsburgs were to Europe. Today, both of Royal Houses of Hashemite (Jordan) and Alouite (Morocco) claim descendency from the Quraysh.  

So, it’s very ironic that the Rasulids so proudly invoked their descent claiming to be the heirs of the Ghassanid Dynasty. However, it’s known (and cited at the beginning of this essay) that there was a prohibition to any Ghassanid citizen to be from any other religion but Christianity and also to marry someone outside the Christian faith. So legally, the Rasulids Sultans, although legitimate descendants, couldn’t be the lawful heirs of the Ghassanid Dynasty.  

“…the Rasulids themselves were aware of their Ghassanid descent and were proud of it. The natural question arises: why would they have concocted such a lineage if they had not truly been descended from the Ghassanids of old? Furthermore, why would they, as Muslims, have chosen a descent from those Christian Ghassanids, whose last king had had that well-known encounter with Caliph ‘Umar, and who had gone over to ally himself with the chief enemy of Islam, the Byzantine Empire?” (“Ghassan post Ghassan” by Prof. Irfan Shahid, Festschrift  “The Islamic World – From classical to modern times”, for Bernard Lewis, Darwin Press l989, pg. 332)

The Sultans from the Burji Dynasty also claimed Ghassanid descent

The Burji Mamluks

The Burji dynasty المماليك البرجية ruled Egypt from 1382 until 1517. Although mainly of Circassian origin (not Arab), they claimed to be of Ghassanid Royal blood. Many Islamic scholars agreed with this assertion like Ibn Khaldun and Ibn Yas. Also P. Holt in his book “The Exalted Lineage of Ridwan Bey”, BSOAS (1959) pp. 221-30.    

The Burj Mamluk Sultans were, obviously, Muslims. For them, as for the Rasulids, the claim of being  Ghassanid (the most famous Christian Arab Dynasty) would be a matter of shame, not pride.

At the beginning of the XVI Century, they lost their throne to the Ottomans. However, they kept their prestige becoming an elite inside the Ottoman empire, like their ancestors in the Byzantine.  

“In 1517 the Ottoman Turks and their sultan Selim I defeated the Mamluks with the capture of Cairo on January 20. The center of power transferred from Cairo to Istanbul. However, the Ottoman Empire retained the Mamluks as an Egyptian ruling class, and the Mamluks and the Burji family succeeded in regaining much of their influence, but remained technical vassals of the Ottomans.”

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burji_dynasty

The Sovereign Christian Sheiks El Chemor

Concomitant with both the Rasulids and the Mamluks, we see several sovereign Christian Sheikhs ruling small Sheikhdoms in the region we know as Lebanon today.

It’s known and documented that the El Chemor Sheikhs descended directly from Ghassanid King El Chemor Jablah Ibn Aiham (ruled 632-638 CE), the last King of Ghassan:

 “It is a reputed deep-rooted allegation that the heads of Al-Chemor tribe are rooted from Bani Chemorwho are the Christian Kings of Ghassan which belong to [King] Al Jafna.” Father Ignatios Tannos El-Khoury, Historical Scientific Research: “Sheikh El Chemor Rulers of Al-Aqoura (1211-1633) and Rulers of Al-Zawiye (1641-1747)” Beirut, Lebanon, 1948, p.38

The Sheikhs El Chemor are known to rule  Al-Akoura (Byblos District, presently Lebanon) from 1211 to 1633A.D. and ruled as sovereigns the region of Zawiya from 1641 to 1747 A.D.

The Encyclopedia of the Maronite families of Lebanon, published by the prestigious Catholic Notre Dame University, in volume 4, mentions the El Chemor family

The text is very concise but confirms the chronicles of Maronite historian Patriarch Stephen Duaihy (1630-1704 CE) and the 1948’s book of historian Ignatios Tannos El Khoury, mentioning both sources as some of the many references.

Based on the reputation of the greatest Arab historian of the 17th Century, the Patriarch Estephan El Douaihy (1630-1704), the Sheiks El Chemor were related by marriage to the Hashemites (El-Hashem) of Al-Akoura. Therefore, they are related to the Royal Family of Jordan, who claims to be linked directly by blood with the Prophet Mohammad, the founder of Islam. In 1757, Sheik Antoun Chemor took his father’s (Sheik Gharios Chemor) first name as his family name, so, changing from “Chemor” to “Gharios”.

Suffering from persecution from the Muslims since the 7th Century, the Family found it impossible to bear the situation in the 19th Century with the tyranny of the Ottoman Empire forcing many members to escape to other continents.  

“… in modern times, thirteen centuries later were claimants of Ghassanid descent emigrated from Palestine and Lebanon to the new world.” (Professor Doctor Yasmine Zahran, “Ghassan Resurrected”, 2006, p.143)

The Gharios family was established in Brazil and registered as “Guerios”. After decades of struggle settling in a new continent, one branch of the family was able to restore the Imperial and Royal House of Ghassan being accredited internationally by the United Nations and legally recognized by the Government of the Lebanese Republic by Presidential decree number 5800/2019. More HERE

Important: Please, note in the document below, that a full investigation was conducted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior culminating with the approval by the Council of Ministers. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was fully aware of the Royal Houses’ international activities and goals having to issue a formal report (No.865/5 of March 6th, 2018) also, HRH Prince Gharios El Chemor was formally invited by the Lebanese Government to several official events (see certificate below signed by the former Minister of Foreign Affairs)

Sworn English Legal Translation of the Council of Ministers’ decision that has culminated with the Presidential Decree Download

The certificate above signed by the former Minister of Foreign Affairs stating the official participation of HRH Prince Gharios El Chemor at the Lebanese Diaspora Conference, an official governmental event

Ghassanid Royal Family was officially received by the President of Lebanon

The Emirate of Jabal Shammar (Chemor)

“The Emirate of Jabal Shammar (Arabicإمارةجبلشمر‎), also known as the Emirate of Haʾil (إمارةحائل)[1] or the Emirate of The House of Rashīd (إمارةآلرشيد), was a state in the Nejd region of Arabia, existing from the mid-nineteenth century to 1921.[2] Jabal Shammar in English is translated as the “Mountain of the Shammar“. Jabal Shammar’s capital was Ha’il.[2] It was led by a monarchy of the House of Rashīd. It included parts of modern-day Saudi ArabiaIraq and Jordan.” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emirate_of_Jabal_Shammar

The Maronite Encyclopedia of Families confirms the chronicles of Maronite historian Patriarch Stephen Duaihy (1630-1704 CE) and the 1948’s book of historian Ignatios Tannos El Khoury, mentioning both sources as some of the many references (see p. 2236, Encyclopedia of the Maronite Families, v.4, Notre Dame University) also stating that the El Chemor family and the El Shammar family of Saudi Arabia are the same. The way of writing the family name in Arabic is identical and there is absolutely no other family with this name in the whole Arab world. If that fact is true, there’s no harm to the Ghassanid Royal Claim since the El Shammar family is Muslim and there was a prohibition of Ghassanids to even marry non-Christians. (See Yasmine Zahran, “Ghassan Resurrected”, p. 150).

Some of them [Chemor/Shammar family] migrated to the north of the Arabian Peninsula, and they founded in year 905 A.D the capital of the Emirate of the Shammar. It remained with the takeover of [king] Abdul-Aziz Al Saud forces on all parts of the region in 2/11/1921 A.D, and the announcement of the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 23/9/1932 …” p. 2236, Encyclopedia of the Maronite Families, v.4, Notre Dame University

But such a statement makes the El Chemor family even more prestigious and Royal since that would make the Lebanese El Chemors cousins of the Emirs of Jabal Shammar (1836-1921 CE). The family has ruled virtually almost all of the Arabian Peninsula: the Christian Family has ruled the whole Levant (today Syria, Jordan, part of Iraq, and Lebanon) and the Muslim family has ruled the majority of today Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Iraq. Important to note that the El Chemor family of Lebanon (the heirs of all the Christian titles) doesn’t claim the Muslim titles and vice-versa.

“The Emirate of Jabal Shammar (Arabicإمارةجبلشمر‎), also known as the Emirate of Haʾil (إمارةحائل)[1] or the Emirate of The House of Rashīd (إمارةآلرشيد), was a state in the Nejd region of Arabia, existing from the mid-nineteenth century to 1921.[2] Jabal Shammar in English is translated as the “Mountain of the Shammar“. Jabal Shammar’s capital was Ha’il.[2] It was led by a monarchy of the House of Rashīd. It included parts of modern day Saudi ArabiaIraq and Jordan.” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emirate_of_Jabal_Shammar

Above: Map of the Emirate of Jabal Shammar

Above: Flags of the Emirate of Jabal Shammar

The emirate of Jabal Shammar (or Ha’il) is portrayed in the movie “Queen of the desert“(2017) by the acclaimed director Werner Herzog and starring the academy award winner Nicole Kidman.

Also, by that statement, the Sheikhs El Chemor of Lebanon are cousins of several Saudi Princes that descend from Princess Fahda bint Asi Al Shammar (El Chemor) wife of the founder of the Saudi Kingdom, King Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud. Amongst them, is the late King Abdullah (1924-2015) of Saudi Arabia, the son of Princess Fahda and King Ibn Saud.

Above: King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (1924-2015), according to the Maronite Encyclopedia, cousin of the El Chemors of Lebanon

Watch the documentary about the Ghassanid Dynasty from biblical times until the present days

Conclusion

So, when we talk about Ghassan, we’re not talking about a Dynasty and a people that only lived 14 Centuries ago, but a Dynasty that reigned from biblical times until 1921; and a people that kept its heritage by intermarrying, kept its religion and keep claiming its descent today, even under persecution. But above all, even not currently reigning, the Ghassanid Royal Family never stop respecting its duty and being relevant in the contemporary world as it was back then.

According to HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor, the current head of the dynasty:

“Titles, as a personal honor, are completely useless in the twenty-first century. The only real value of a title is if you can make it relevant today. A prince, even losing his rights, his duties remain. Royalty is service, the glamour and prestige are only a byproduct.”

HIRH Prince Sheikh Antonios El Chemor (1910-1971) headed the royal family until his premature death in 1971 at only 60 years old

This essay is dedicated to Professor Irfan Shahid

(1926-2016)

Irfan Shahid, also written Shahîd (born 1926 in Nazareth) in Arabic: عرفان شهيد, is Professor Emeritus at Georgetown University. Since 1982 he has been the Oman Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies.

Irfan Shahid was born to a Christian Arab family in Palestine. He received his B.A. from Oxford University in Classics and Graeco-Roman History and his Ph. D. from Princeton University in Arabic and Islamic Studies. He mainly published on the Arabs and the Greco-Roman world in the late antique and medieval times, classical and medieval Arabic poetry, and the Koran.

On March 20, 2010, Irfan Shahid was inducted as a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America. Fellows are the most distinguished scholars of medieval studies and are elected for advancing the field.

The professor passed away in 2016 at 90 years old.

Works:

    Byzantium and the Arabs in the Sixth Century, Volume 2, Part 1, 2002

    Byzantium and the Arabs in the Sixth Century, Volume 1, 1995

    Byzantium and the Arabs in the Fifth Century, 1989

    Byzantium and the Semitic Orient Before the Rise of Islam (Collected Studies Series: No.Cs270), 1988

    Byzantium and the Arabs in the Fourth Century, 1984

    Rome and the Arabs: A Prolegomenon to the Study of Byzantium and the Arabs, 1984

    Omar Khayyam, the philosopher-poet of medieval Islam, 1982

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irfan_Shahid

The Prince of Ghassan sends congratulations to UAE’s new president and Emir of Abu Dhabi

In my name, and in the name of the Imperial and Royal Family of Ghassan, I’d like to send our best wishes to the Al Nahyan family, and to all the Emirati around the world, for the election of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the Third President of the United Arab Emirates and the new Emir of Abu Dhabi. May Allah Bless and Guide His Highness.

HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor of Ghassan “de jure” Al=Numan VIII – Head of the Sovereign Imperial and Royal House of Ghassan

The Prince of Ghassan sends condolences for the passing of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan

In my name, and in the name of the Imperial and Royal Family of Ghassan, I’d like to send our deepest sentiments to the Al Nahyan family, and to all the Emirati around the world, for the premature passing of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Second President of the United Arab Emirates and Emir of Abu Dhabi. May Allah have mercy on him.

HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor of Ghassan “de jure” Al=Numan VIII – Head of the Sovereign Imperial and Royal House of Ghassan