In each and every discourse on issues such as contact, evolution, transition, migration, integration and encounter, identity plays a central role. Being a manifold, uneasily describable object in itself, identity represents a very difficult object of study and many scholars from different disciplines of the human sciences (psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists, philosophers and linguists) have tried in recent years to give their contribution to the debate born around it. In the two meetings organized in Naples, April 14th 2015 and Turin, October 8-9th 2015 in the framework of the ATrA project, the issue has been discussed by archaeologists, linguists, philologists and anthropologists specifically adopting the perspective of observing and discussing identity through a reflection on its material manifestations in transitional contexts (be it in terms of language, of economical exchanges or of traditional handicraft). This book is a collection of selected papers from those meetings.
Ilaria Micheli, PhD in African Studies (2005), expert in linguistic anthropology, member of the Department of Juridical Sciences and Languages of the University of Triest. Since 2001 she works on the language and culture of the Kulango (Gur - Niger-Congo) of Côte d’Ivoire. In 2010 she studied the linguistic expressions and cultural representations of mental illness among the Gun (Gbe - Niger-Congo) of Benin and since December 2012 she’s been studying the language and Culture of the Okiek (Kalenjin - Nilo-Saharan) of Kenya. Since 2010 sh’s also working on problems of language-cognition-identity among the African immigrants in Italy. She has a particular interest in material culture, oral tradition and traditional medicine. She teaches African Languages and Cultures at the University of Venice “Cà Foscari” and African Identities in Transition at the University of Trieste.
Ethiopian literary tradition offers many opportunities to study how political
and social identities developed and changed through the centuries, even
though reading written documents entails the risk of being influenced by
the ideology of the cultural centers that built up the different narratives.
Among the possible examples, three case studies are herein presented: the
social structure of the first dwellers of the Ethiopian highlands as it emerges
from the inscriptions they left, the cultural identity of the kings of Aksum and
of the Zagwe dynasty, the enigmatic ethnogenesis of the Amḥara. The analysis
of the texts aims at giving interpretations based only upon philological
evidence and not influenced by old and modern preconceptions.
Brief analysis of the different values of some aromatic products, which Egypt
imported from African countries and became a fundamental part of the belief
system of ancient Egyptian religion. Scented trees and plants were particularly
important since they were used to evoke the Gods and recreate a sacred
space for them on Earth. Beautiful gardens, sensual pleasures and the divine
birth of pharaohs were all linked to the use of those foreign products, thereby
justifying their provisioning through commercial expeditions planned by the
crown over the centuries.
In questo lavoro si prova a delineare un’analisi preliminare del sistema
doganale esistente nella provincia romana d’Egitto nel primo secolo d.C.,
con particolare riguardo al commercio estero, gravitante attorno all’area del
Mar Rosso. Una serie di reperti, rinvenuti nel corso di un arco temporale
di parecchi decenni, forniscono la base di partenza, la evidence necessaria,
per iniziare a ricostruire nel dettaglio le dinamiche fiscali, ma anche sociali,
che determinavano questo tipo di commercio. L’analisi si propone di evidenziare
come il sistema doganale romano nella provincia d’Egitto fosse
ben organizzato e strutturato in maniera da rendere il più
efficiente possibile il processo di imposizione fiscale su un commercio molto
redditizio, come era quello con i popoli del remoto Oriente.
A brief excursus on hunting scenes dated to the Predynastic Period in Egypt
shows to what extent this elite activity has acted as driving force towards
the creation of a ruler ideology at the time of the emergence of the Ancient
Egyptian State. Far from being only a way to ensure food provisioning,
hunting dangerous animals in the desert assumed, at that time, huge
social and political value for a small group of people, whose desire was to
distinguish themselves and acquire control over the territory and their peers.
In the development of this ideology of power, it is possible to foresee the
most important characteristics of the pharaohs of historical period, such as
the representation of the ruler figure, the lack of realism in the depictions of
hunting scenes, the need to establish order over chaos and the connection
between defeating natural elements and prevailing over human opponents.
Il saggio ripercorre i passaggi storici dei modi dell’abitare e della morfologia
e struttura delle case tra i gruppi parlanti la lingua saho in Eritrea e in
Etiopia. Le ipotesi e ricostruzioni storiche proposte si basano sull’esame di
un ampio materiale documentario, scritto, orale e iconografico. Le etichette
linguistiche, i modi espressivi e la letteratura orale formalizzata permettono
di penetrare nella cultura e ideologia dell’abitare e nelle complesse dinamiche
della divisione sessuata degli spazi e del lavoro. L’esperienza pastorale, con
le transumanze da e verso il bassopiano dancalo, i suoi ritmi ed esigenze
tecniche, ha segnato profondamente per un lunghissimo periodo i modelli
abitativi. Sono descritte, con le loro variazioni locali o temporali, con attenzione al loro lessico specifico, le abitazioni mobili e temporanee, gli adattamenti
progressivi e creativi, nel passaggio a un agro-pastoralismo, verso
la casa fattoria dei contadini tigrinofoni, e infine i decisivi cambiamenti
materiali e ideologici verso nuovi modelli di casa e dell’abitare.