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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Symbolism of Space in Ethiopia
Authors:Lagopoulos, Alexandros P.
Stylianoudi, M.G. Lily
Year:2001
Periodical:Aethiopica: International Journal of Ethiopian Studies
Volume:4
Pages:55-95
Language:English
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Subjects:space
symbols
physical planning
architecture
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://journals.sub.uni-hamburg.de/aethiopica/article/view/491/494
Abstract:This article examines the symbolism of space in Ethiopia. Using an anthropological approach and applying a systematic semiotic methodology of analysis to the Amhara text Ser atä mängesít, the 'first Ethiopian Constitution', the article penetrates the Ethiopian world view, which is articulated around a structured but flexible classification system. This system regulates, mainly through the royal, the religious-cosmic and anthropomorphic codes, the organization and form of the royal camp. The spatial model attached to the system has remained strikingly constant, in spite of certain modifications, for at least six centuries and was applied to all kinds of military camps; it also influenced the process of urbanization, since these camps were frequently the initial nuclei of later capitals and towns. Historically, this model resulted from the superimposition on an indigenous model of the Christian model of heavenly Jerusalem. The model had a wide scope: it was also applied to palaces, to churches starting in the sixteenth century or earlier, and to the country as a whole. The pivot and actual regulator of the model is the king, a legitimization strategy which reinforces his position of power and authority, both material and symbolic. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum.
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