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Publisher: Universität Hamburg, Hiob Ludolf Centre for Ethiopian Studies
Journal: Aethiopica
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: History; Ethiopian and Eritrean Studies, contracts; guaranty; land administration; land tenure; law; rim, ddc:960, ddc:900, ddc:090
The mäzgäb of Ḥamärä Noḫ, also known as the collection of documents preserved in the manuscript, London, British Library, Oriental 508 and edited by Guidi in 1906, comprises legal texts registered adjoining religious texts. This manuscript is a Four Gospel manuscript from the church of Ḥamärä Noḫ founded by Tewoflos in 1709. The accounts of the texts date from the 18th century, from the reign of aṣe Tewoflos to the reign of aṣe Gwalu, and take place in Gondär. One buyer who was very active in transactions around Ḥamärä Noḫ was Liqe Bätre. The contracts of sale in which he is named use complicated patterns and suggest a refined legal conception of land ownership, with the employ of the notion of rim. This type of tenure has received diverging interpretations by scholars. The study of Liqe Bätre’s contracts from Oriental 508 allows an understanding of rim as a type of tenure that may not include ownership of land. The justification for the exaggerated precaution of establishing guaranties in sales lies in the precarious tenure that this notion can imply.
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