A Note on Places and Peoples
I have used Roman names for cities throughout, except where I refer to the Islamic period. Thus I refer to Edessa, rather than Urhoy or Urfa.
The distinction between Syria and Mesopotamia presents a special problem. Syriac sources often use both terms to refer to a much wider area than the Roman provinces. Syria can stretch from Gaza to Edessa, while Mesopotamia (Syriac Beth Nahryn) can refer to the region from Armenia to the Persian Gulf, as well as the smaller region around Edessa, Nisibis, and Harran. This geographical imprecision is further complicated by ethnic terminology: Suryaye or Syrians are variously defined by family origin, language, homeland, or religion.
I retain these imprecise terms because they reflect the different ways that authors drew ethnic, linguistic, and geographical boundaries, but I will also refer to more precisely demarcated Roman provinces (e.g. Syria I and II, Osrhoene, Phoenicia Libanensis, etc.)