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Retour à Bilet : un cimetière musulman médiéval du Tigray oriental

Abstract : The existence of an isolated Muslim community established in the 10th-12th- centuries in Eastern Tigray, Ethiopia, has been well known for half a century, thanks to Madeleine Schneider (1925-2018) and her pioneering work on funerary stelae found in a place called Bilet. Recent discoveries by an Ethiopian-French archaeological mission, including the identification of the exact location of Bilet’s cemetery, have provided new evidence on its history, while increasing fourfold the corpus of Arabic inscriptions from Tigray. This documentation highlights the rootedness of Bilet’s Muslim community, which succeeded in surviving among the Christian communities of Tigray until at least the second half of the 13th century. Epitaphs adorning dozen of stelae in its cemetery evince Bilet community’s command of the main islamic cultural codes, including the use of Arabic, knowledge of the Quran, reference to the Hijra calendar and the adoption of (mainly) Arabic onomastics. These epitaphs also highlight connections between Bilet and other areas neighbouring the Red Sea basin and beyond. Eight funerary inscriptions of Bilet’s corpus, most of them previously unknown, are published in this paper.
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Contributor : Julien Loiseau Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, December 27, 2021 - 6:59:01 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, June 26, 2022 - 6:01:20 AM



Julien Loiseau. Retour à Bilet : un cimetière musulman médiéval du Tigray oriental. Bulletin d'Etudes Orientales, Institut Français du Proche-Orient (IFPO), 2020, pp.59-96. ⟨10.4000/beo.7202⟩. ⟨hal-03503404⟩



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