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Bay'Ah "Homage": A Proto-Arab (South-Semitic) Concept

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Chapter Summary

An essential feature of the agreement named bayʿah is that both partles to the agreement-the person of power and authority as well as the person (or persons) of lower standing-are mutually bound to fulfil the agreement, and the agreement entails for both parties duties and obligations as well as privileges and rights. This chapter deals with a reciprocal relationship. But the concept implied in bayʿah and the term itself may even be pushed farther back into antiquity, if one pay attention to the fact that a cognate of tabiʿa &t;to follow&t;-a verb which is based on the root expressing the bayʿah &t;the allegiance (especially in warfare)&t;- exists in another of the South-Semitic languages. The Ethiopic etymon shows no trace of a concrete &t;physical&t; semantic aspect.

Keywords: bayʿah; Ethiopic etymon; South-Semitic languages



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