Historiographie des Oromo / Oromo historiography


CFEE Monthly Seminar on Medieval and Post-Medieval History of Ethiopia, 2nd year (2014-2015)

3ème séance / 3rd session : Historiographie des Oromo / Oromo historiography, par / by Bertrand Hirsch (Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne/IMAF).

Mardi 13 janvier 2015, 14h-17h, Bibliothèque d’études éthiopiennes Berhanou Abebe (CFEE) / Tuesday, January 13th 2015, 2-5 PM, Berhanou Abebe Library of Ethiopian Studies (CFEE).

Two cycles of Ge’ez and Amharic texts on Oromo (18th-20th c.). Why History is, sometimes, against Philology

From I. Guidi (1907) to Getatchew Haile (2011), not forgetting A. Caquot (1957), a group of Ge’ez and Amharic texts concerning Oromo, written by Ethiopian Christian scholars, has been investigated and edited. G. Lusini has proposed to consider them as a corpus, divided in two categories : one composed by texts transmitted autonomously, could be assigned to the reign of King Za-Dengel and to the beginning of 17th c. ; a second corpus, made of texts inserted in historical compilations, seems to be more recent.
After analysing those texts and the manuscript tradition, a new interpretation is possible :
We have in fact here two cycles of texts, the first one could be called « the Zwāy Cycle » and the second « The Myth of Origin Cycle »

  • The « Zwāy Cycle » is most probably a creation of Menilek times under the supervision of Gabra Sellāsē and cannot date of the 17th c.
  • The « intertext » of this cycle is the Dersāna Rāgu’ēl.
  • The « Myth of Origin Cycle » is attested at least during the mid-eighteenth/mid-nineteenth period.

This case study will be the occasion to discuss the different approaches led sometimes by historians and philologists or why, sometimes, History has to fight against Philology.

Bertrand Hirsch est professeur d’histoire à l’Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, et membre de l’Institut des mondes africains (UMR 8171).

Bertrand Hirsch is professor of history at Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, and member of the Institut des mondes africains (UMR 8171).

Ce séminaire est organisé par le CFEE en partenariat avec le Centre Zer’a Ya’eqob d’études médiévales de l’Université de Debre Berhan / This seminar is organised in partnership with the Zer’a Ya’eqob Center for Medieval Studies, Debre Berhan University.

Organisateurs / Organisers : Anaïs Wion (CNRS, CFEE), Shiferaw Bekele (Addis Ababa University, History Dpt.), Deresse Ayenachew (Debre Berhan University, Zer’a Ya’eqob Center for Medieval Studies), Kindeneh Endeg (Addis Ababa University, Institute of Ethiopian Studies), Thomas Guindeuil (CFEE), Margaux Herman (IMAF).