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Title: The Recently Published Ethiopic Inscriptions of King Ḥafilā (ΑΦΙΛΑC)
Subtitle: A Few Remarks
Author(s): BAUSI, Alessandro
Journal: Bibliotheca Orientalis
Volume: 75    Issue: 3-4   Date: 2018   
Pages: 285-295
DOI: 10.2143/BIOR.75.3.3285894

Abstract :
The recent publication in 2017 by Yohannes Gebreselassie and eventually by Norbert Nebes, with a commented translation and a comprehensive interpretive hypothesis, of two inscriptions in non-vocalized Ethiopic language written on bronze plaques that mention the Aksumite King Ḥafilā (ΑΦΙΛΑϹ), raises important issues concerning the linguistic and cultural-historical context of the two inscribed objects. Slightly at variance with the interpretation that privileges the Ethiopian-South Arabian connection, there appears to be evidence suggesting a closer relationship to the Aksumite linguistic and cultural context. The 'ǝlla-name of King Ḥafilā, 'Ǝlla 'Aygā, is traceable in Ethiopian medieval king lists. As a hypothesis towards a better understanding of these unique written artefacts of still uncertain location and provenance, an alternative translation and interpretation of the two inscriptions is provided and a typological parallel with Roman metal military diplomas as certificates of awards is tentatively and cautiously proposed.

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