Accepted paper:

Is the "diplomatic formulary" relevant to understand Ethiopian medieval and modern charters?

Author:

Anais Wion (CNRS)

Paper short abstract:

The Ethiopian Christian kingdom has produced and preserved numerous land charters and other legal and administrative documents (12th until 19th c.). I analyze this documentation using the study of the “formulary”, i.e. of each of the formulas employed in the structure of a legal text document.

Paper long abstract:

The Ethiopian Christian kingdom has produced and preserved numerous land charters and other legal and administrative documents (12th until 19th c.). I analyze this documentation using the classical methods of medievalist diplomatic. One of these methods is the study of the "formulary", i.e. of each of the formulas employed in the structure of a legal text document. The first step of this study was to define the relevant fields and to find the good balance between being precise enough in order to select relevant pieces of text, but not too specific in order to let the reality of the Ethiopian texts impose itself. A set of seven "formulas" have been selected: invocation; subscription (which nominates and explicits its author and his legitimacy); motivation (the reasons for the act to be written); provision (what is the content of the act itself, its beneficiaries); list of persons (list of names usually considered as a corroboration and/or a dating system); clauses and sanctions. This contribution will present : - how this method has been employed on a coherent corpus (the Golden Gospel of Aksum Seyon) using the tools of the TEI-XML encoding standard - how it appears to be relevant and what are the results in term in historical analysis - what are the limits of this exercise or/and how it can be experimented further

panel P152
Administrative and legal documentation in pre-colonial Africa and beyond