Sonderforschungsbereich 950

Manuscript Cultures in Asia, Africa and Europe


09/2015manuscript of the month

Was there a slave trade in southern Arabia in pre-Islamic times?
How two twin girls were sold according to a Sabaean document
written on wood


Mon.script.sab. 1

Legal documents, trade agreements and other formal records documenting daily life in ancient southern Arabia have only been known to exist for a few decades. The inhabitants of this part of the Arabian Peninsula – Semitic-speaking tribes including the Sabaeans – did not write their correspondence in ink, but carved it on small pieces of wood, cigar-sized sections of either palm-leaf ribs or other kinds of wooden material. Virtually unlimited quantities of such matter were available as ‘waste’ from plantation work and were thus the simplest and cheapest materials on which to write that we know of, with the exception of potsherds. This unique manuscript culture existed in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula from the early years of the first millennium BCE right up to the sixth century CE, directly prior to the onset of Islam. The document shown here on a piece of juniper not only demonstrates the nature of legally binding documents in southern Arabia, but is also extremely important in terms of the region’s social history. The text states that two girls – twins, in fact – were handed over into the ownership and control of members of their own family. But why their own family, of all people?

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news

Natural Sciences and Technology in Manuscript Analysis - Programme online

The 2nd international conference 'Natural Sciences and Technology in Manuscript Analysis' will be held at CMSC from 29 February to 2 March 2016. The programme for the conference is now available for download. Participation in the conference is free, please register online.
Information and registration


New Petra Kappert Fellows in October 2015

Prof. Dr. Nikolay Dobronravin from the School of International Relations, St. Petersburg State University is a specialist in writing traditions in sub-Saharan Africa and early West African Islam. His research interests also cover Islam in diaspora in the Caribbean and West African manuscript collections in Europe. Professor Dobrionravin will stay at CSMC until the end of 2015.

Dr. Florinda De Simini is a postdoctoral researcher and adjunct professor for History of Ancient and Medieval India at the University L'Orientale, Naples. Her main areas of expertise are the study of medieval literature in Sanskrit, as well as the religious and ritual aspects characterizing the manuscript cultures of India. She is currently conducting research on rituals focusing on manuscripts in the Hindu traditions, and on the transmission and diffusion of the 'Śivadharma corpus'. Dr. De Simini will stay at CSMC until March 2016.


events

22 February 2016 4pm | Informal Talk
Prof. Dr. Jill Kraye
Warburg Institute, London
Marcus Aurelius and Seventeenth-Century Antwerp: Philosophy, Philology and Art in the Early Modern Republic of Letters
CSMC, Warburgstraße 26, room 2002


29 February - 2 March 2016 | Conference
Natural Sciences and Technology in Manuscript Analysis
The 2nd international conference 'Natural Sciences and Technology in Manuscript Analysis' will be held at CMSC from 29 February to 2 March 2016.
Participation is free, please register online.
Information and registration

CSMC, Warburgstraße 26


11 - 12 March 2016 | Workshop
Bonpo Manuscript Culture: Towards a Definition of an Emerging Field

CSMC, Warburgstraße 26


14 April 2016 6pm | Lecture
Dr. Pietro De Laurentis
Università di Napoli “L’Orientale”
Sun Guoting’s Shu pu and the Manuscripts from Dunhuang
CSMC, Warburgstraße 26, room 0001


29 - 30 April 2016 | Workshop
Typology of Multiple-Text Manuscripts

CSMC, Warburgstraße 26


27 - 28 May 2016 | Workshop
Paper as Writing Support for Maritime Southeast Asian Manuscripts

CSMC, Warburgstraße 26


9 - 12 November 2016 | Conference
The Emergence of Multiple-Text Manuscripts

CSMC, Warburgstraße 26