Bulakh Maria

Admonition on the transience of the world as a genre of old amharic poetry

Bulakh Maria (2018) "Admonition on the transience of the world as a genre of old amharic poetry ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia III : Filologiia, 2018, vol. 57, pp. 24-36 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturIII201857.24-36


This paper deals with four Old Amharic poetic texts that can be attributed to the genre of “admonition on the transience of the world”. The paper discusses in detail both the common features, uniting all the four texts, and the features that characterise only some of them. To the common features belong the style of rhymed prose, the genre of admonition addressed to the believer, the distinction between the speaker and listener. Among the parameters that point to more or less close links between the separate texts of admonition, the article discusses the rhyme, the presence and type of refrains that introduce new portions of the text, the degree of involvement of the speaker, the employment of the theme of “renouncing wealth” as the prevalent theme, the range of topics covered by the text, the existence of supplementary prosaic fragments. Finally, a preliminary assessment of the available hypotheses on the origin of the texts of admonition and their relationship is made. Two texts demonstrate extensive shared fragments and may go back to a common archtype. The third text is relatively independent, but it is also connected with one of the two fi rst texts by a shared fragment. The fourth text represents an independent work and is united with the others only by a shared theme and some principles of text structure. The existence of independent admonitions allows us to regard the “admonition on the transience of the world” as a specifi c genre. This genre is very likely to have been infl uenced in its origin by the European mediaeval literature on the contempt of the world that came to be known in Ethiopia due to the Catholic missionary activities in the 16th–17th centuries.


Ethiopia, Christianity in Ethiopia, Amharic language, Old Amharic, Old Amharic literature, Amharic literature, literature of Ethiopia, Amharic poetry, Amharic religious literature, literature on contempt of the world, mediaeval Christian literature


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Information about the author

Bulakh Maria

Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in Philology;
Place of work: Russian State University for the Humanities; 6 Miusskaya Sq., Moscow, 125993, Russian Federation; National Research University “Higher School of Economics”; 21/4 Staraya Basmannaya Str., Moscow, 105066, Russian Federation;
Post: research fellow;
ORCID: 0000-0001-5490-6674;
Email: mbulakh@mail.ru.

*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.


The preparation of the contribution was supported by RFBR/РФФИ (grant #17-06-00391).