Place names in the Chronicle of King Gälawdewos: a prototype geo-annotated text of the Ethiopic tradition
This is the first post in a series of introductory blogs from the 2017 Resource Development Grant recipients. More posts from the other projects will be uploaded over the coming weeks.
We are pleased to announce that the project entitled “Annotation of place names in the Chronicle of King Gälawdewos” a sister project of the Beta maṣāḥǝft: Manuscripts of Ethiopia and Eritrea, will run from now to September 2017 thanks to a grant from the Pelagios Commons Resource Development Grant.
The project Beta maṣāḥǝft: Manuscripts of Ethiopia and Eritrea (Schriftkultur des christlichen Äthiopiens: eine multimediale Forschungsumgebung) is a long-term project funded within the framework of the Academies’ Programme (coordinated by the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities) under survey of the Akademie der Wissenschaften in Hamburg. The project is hosted by the Hiob Ludolf Centre for Ethiopian Studies at the University of Hamburg. It aims at creating a virtual research environment that shall manage complex data related to predominantly Christian manuscript tradition of the Ethiopian and Eritrean Highlands.
To have a brief introduction about it you could have a look at this video:
Within this project we already have the initial dataset for a gazetteer of Ethiopian places (not only ancient). This initial dataset in TEI, inherited by the Encyclopaedia Aethiopica indexes is available on GIT but mainly contains modern places without coordinates. Although this is still largely in preparation, we will take this opportunity to align the places mentioned in the Chronicle with the relevant authority records. In this way we can both consolidate our encoding strategy and we can start building the initial sample dataset for further annotations. We can also setup the tools providing the data in the format required for sharing the information nicely.
Institutions records, with coordinates, referring to monasteries often with a very long tradition, have instead been inherited by the EthioSPaRe project and have coordinates which we display in a map like the one above, where each point can be expanded with the list of manuscripts there preserved.
An initial effort to test a geoJSON export of these records in the Pleiades model has been attempted and can be found here. We would like to improve and finalize this script as well to be able to offer reusable data about ancient Ethiopian places to the community.
The chronicle of King Gälawdewos
This project aims to annotate ancient places in the Chronicle of King Gälawdewos, an Ethiopian historical text of the XVI century, as a test case to figure out markup strategies for Ethiopic texts in fidal (the script e.g. of Gəʿəz and Amharic).
This text is a very important source for events involving the Ethiopian kingdom and Muslim invasions of the horn of Africa in the XVI century. Galāwdewos became emperor at the age of 18 in 1540 and his reign was marked by a successful struggle against ʾAḥmad b. ʾIbrāhīm al-Ġāzī. This is one of the first text being encoded in TEI within the Beta maṣāḥǝft project for its importance.
What we will do
The project benefits from the current interaction with other projects with geo data in the context of the ancient Christian Orient like the IslHornAfr project and especially the PATHs project which is building an Atlas of ancient places related to Coptic manuscript production, and we hope that the outcomes will foster further cooperations to improve digital resources for the study of the Near East.
The main tasks of the project involve:
- mark up in Beta maṣāḥǝft TEI XML files of the places mentioned in the first 50 paragraphs of the Chronicle of King Gälawdewos,
- the creation of test reference place records in Beta maṣāḥǝft for significant places annotated in the test corpus,
- the exposition via a REST XQ data API of these annotations as initial set of historical places of a gazetteer of ancient Ethiopian places.
This will be the first attempt to digitally represent Historical Geography of Ethiopia, and we hope it will also encourage more ground research on these topics and support the study of the ethiopic literary tradition.
We will publish all the places created and already existing in the Beta maṣāḥǝft project following the guidelines for the Pelagios Gazetteer Interconnection Format to make them available for further annotation and alignment in other projects and we will publish the annotations in original sources according to the Pelagios cookbook.
As mentioned we hope to complete an export in geoJSON allowing our place records to be integrated in Pleaides and we also currently align our places to Geonames or Wikidata and we look forward to discuss with the Pelagios communities topic of best ways of encoding these data in the text and publish the annotations for the benefit of all the community.
- Beyene, Solomon Gebreyes. “Chronicle of King Gälawdewos (1540-1559): Critical Edition and Annotated Translation.” Universität Hamburg, 2016.
- Beyene, Solomon Gebreyes. “The Chronicle of Emperor Gälawdewos (1540-1559): A Source on Ethiopia’s Mediaeval Historical Geography.” Essays in Ethiopian Manuscript Studies, Supplement to Aethiopica, 4 (2015): 109–18.
- Merid Wolde Aregay. “Southern Ethiopia and the Christian Kingdom, 1508-1708, with Special References to the Galla Migrations and Their Consequences.” University of London, 1971.
- Uhlig, Siegbert, and Alessandro Bausi, eds. Encyclopaedia Aethiopica. 5 vols. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2003-2014.