MrWagdM

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Phase I Variables (polity-based)

General variables

♠ RA ♣ Edward A L Turner; Agathe Dupeyron ♥ General description written by AD.

♠ Original name ♣ Ghana Empire I ♥ Wagadu. "Visitors from North Africa began referring to the Soninke state as Ghana, but the Soninke themselves and other Mande peoples know the ancient kingdom as Wagadu."[1] The Soninke "were the most northern of the Mande peoples, and they called their area Wagadu."[2]

♠ Alternative names ♣ Wagadu Middle Period; Ghana; Kingdom of Ghana; Ghana Empire; Cisse Dynasty; Soninke state; Awkar; Janawa; Aoukar ♥ "Ghana is a title given to their kings; the name of the region is Awkar."[3] Soninke. Wagadu.[4] "Ghana is a title given to their kings; the name of the region is Awkar."[5] Al-Zuhri (c1130-1155 CE) "considered Ghana the capital of the Janawa" [6]

"Wagadu, known to the Berber traders of the Saharan market centres as Aoukar. But the world came to know it by the title of its king, which was Ghana."[7]

♠ Peak Date ♣ 1025-1050 CE ♥

"Ghana reached its height in the early 11th century."[8]

At this time Awdaghust was a rich commercial city. [9]
Ghana/Soninke "took control" of Awdahust in the mid-11th century. "The Zanata traders of the city accepted Soninke authority." [10] Previously city de facto controlled by Sanhaja berbers.
Sanhaja berbers recapture Awdaghust as Almoravid dynasty [11] from 1054-c1100 CE

"About 1050 ... Ghana at heigh of its power."[12]

Temporal bounds

♠ Duration ♣ 700-1077 CE ♥

"...the Empire of Ghana, an influential confederation that consolidated power within large areas to the north and west of the Inland Niger Delta sometime after 500 C.E.."[13]

"the only area in which we can convincingly assert that a kingdom existed in the period under review was at the western edge of the Sudan, where the kingdom of Ghana was certainly in existence by +700 and could have been emerging for up to a thousand years."[14]

"Ecology, not conquest, brought about the fall of Ghana. The herds were too big, there were too many people." [15]

"In former times the people of this country professed paganism until the year 469/1076-1077 when Yahya b. Abu Bakr the amir of Masufa made his appearance."[16]

"With the decline of the Almoravids in the twelfth century, Ghana became the richest kingdom in the Sudan, but in the thirteenth century its former tributaries freed themselves from central control, and the kingdom disintegrated. The decline of Ghana gave rise to a number of small states among Soninke-speaking peoples." [17]

"L'empire du Ghana fut détruit par les Almoravides, qui s'emparerent de sa capitale, Ghana, en 1076-1077, mais la ville ne fut abandonnee qu'apres la conquete par le Mandingue Soundiata, vers 1240" The Ghana Empire was destroyed by the Almoravids, who seized the capital, Ghana, 1076-1077, but the city was not abandoned after the conquest by the Mandingo Sundiata, until 1240[18]


♠ Degree of centralization ♣ unitary state ♥

"The persistently arid conditions which for centuries had been a primary determinant of human population trends and movements in sub-Saharan Africa yielded to more amenable conditions around AD 300. Rainfall increased and became plentiful during the period up to about AD 1100, promoting the expansion of both local and long-distance trade networks. Population densities increased too - of both humans and livestock - and a conjunction of internal and external influences transformed the political structure of some ethnic groups from the age-set system which dispersed authority through the community to a system favouring centralized control and the formation of states."[19]

"the only area in which we can convincingly assert that a kingdom existed in the period under review was at the western edge of the Sudan, where the kingdom of Ghana was certainly in existence by +700 and could have been emerging for up to a thousand years."[20]

♠ Supra-polity relations ♣ alliance ♥

Berbers

Sanhaja culture also in Ghana Empire. "The Sanhaja were a desert people and spoke a regional variation of the Berber language. Like their North African relatives, they subdivided themselves into large clans ... In the Western Sahara in the 11th century, the Sanhaja founded the Almoravid dynasty of the Islamic Empire." [21] The Sanhaja Berbers lived in tents rather than permanent settlements. They guided and protected caravans, and raided. [22]
Zanata Berbers were the dominant traders in Awdaghust. They lived in the city. [23]

Supra-cultural relations

♠ preceding (quasi)polity ♣ Wagadu ♥ Awkar Confederation
♠ relationship to preceding (quasi)polity ♣ continuity ♥
♠ succeeding (quasi)polity ♣ Ghana II ♥ Wagadu Late Soninke Period
♠ Supracultural entity ♣ Mande ♥ "The dominant people of ancient Ghana were the Soninke."[24] "The dominant peoples of both the Ghana and Mali Empires ... were part of a huge, complex cultural group whose people, taken together, are known as Mande. " [25] Soninke are Mande peoples.
♠ scale of supra-cultural interaction ♣ ♥ km squared.

♠ Capital ♣ Kumbi Saleh ♥ Al-Zuhri (c1130-1155 CE) "considered Ghana the capital of the Janawa" [26] Royal capital of Ghana kingdom has yet to be found. Kumbi Saleh (Ghana) was trader's city. [27]

"In the course of Ghana's long history, the king's capital was undoubtably moved from one place to another."[28] The last capital was Kumbi Saleh, "about 320 kilometres north of modern Bamako. Here too there was a town where the king of Ghana lived, and another town nearby where the Muslim traders had their houses and stables."[29]

♠ Language ♣ Mande ♥ "The dominant peoples of both the Ghana and Mali Empires ... were part of a huge, complex cultural group whose people, taken together, are known as Mande. " [30]

General Description

The Kingdom of Ghana was the first documented empire of West Africa. Its dominant people, a northern Mande group known as the Soninke, called it 'Wagadu',[31] and Berber traders from the Sahara referred to it as 'Awkar'.[32] Spreading east and north from the Senegal River into modern-day Mauritania and Mali,[33] this polity started growing as a confederation from the 6th century CE.[34] From the 8th century onwards, geographers from North Africa and Spain such as Ibn Hawqal began to document the existence of Ghana in Arabic texts, fantasizing about its gold and resources.[35] The polity reached its peak in the mid-11th century:[36][37] at this stage, its influence spread over Awdaghust (or Aoudaghost) in the Sahara[38] and it encroached on the Niger Inland Delta.[39][40]

Population and political organization

The Wagadu empire comprised four provinces administered by a central government.[41] The king exerted direct authority over his kingdom; he was also head of the traditional religion and was revered as a god.[42] Wagadu society was highly hierarchical, distinguishing between the elite warrior class and the rest of the population: professional artisans including smiths, weavers, dyers and shoemakers; farmers and herders; and slaves.[43] These groups were further subdivided along clan lines.[44]
This period was a prosperous one for the Sudanese region, which produced millet, maize, yam, groundnuts, cotton, indigo and other crops.[45] Linked into a thriving exchange sphere that stretched north to North Africa and the Mediterranean,[46] the Sudanese population exported gold, slaves, hides, and ivory and imported copper, silver beads, dried fruit and cloth.[47] All exports and imports were taxed by the centralized state.[48] Trading outposts in Awdhagust and other Saharan towns facilitated fruitful exchange with Berbers and other groups from further afield.[49]
Population estimates are difficult to obtain for ancient Ghana. However, it is worth noting that its capital, the thriving trading city of Kumbi Saleh, covered 250 hectares and had a population of 15,000-20,000 people at its peak.[50] Archaeological investigations at the site have revealed two-storey stone buildings which may have contained stores on the ground floor, narrow streets with densely packed houses, a mosque, and extensive cemeteries.[51]

Social Complexity variables

♠ RA ♣ Edward A L Turner ♥

Social Scale

♠ Polity territory ♣ [350,000-400,000] ♥ in squared kilometers

Estimated from a map showing the Soninke homeland [52] and another map which shows Ghana also extending further east and south into the Niger Inland Delta region.[53]

"Among the provinces of Ghana is a region called Sama, the inhabitants of which are known as the Bukum. From that region to Ghana is four day's travel."[54]


♠ Polity Population ♣ [1,000,000-1,250,000] ♥ People.

Territory of "Gana" in 1000 CE included the Inland Delta region of Mali from Timbuktu to the tributaries/uplands, the eastern half of Mauritania and part of eastern Senegal.[55] We need an estimate of the population within this region. Using the McEvedy and Jones figure of 2 million by 1000 CE for the "Sahel States" (Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad) I will estimate about 1 million.

"Before the introduction of agriculture and animal husbandry the population of the area of the present-day Sahel states is unlikely to have exceeded 50,000: once pastoralism and agriculture had become well-established the population can hardly have been less than half a million. The chronology of the transition is as yet totally obscure, but there is no reason to postulate anything above the 50,000 line before 3000 BC or place the achievement of the half million later than 1000 BC. From this latter point a low rate of increase is all that is needed to bring the total to 1m by AD 1 and 2m by AD 1000." [56]


♠ Population of the largest settlement ♣ [15,000-20,000] ♥ Inhabitants.

Will assume estimate for Koumbi Saleh refers to this period since the same author earlier said that "Timbuktu was already a trading centre of notable size in the eighth century AD."[57] If we used the hectare coverage to provide an estimate 200 per ha for 250 hectares would give us 50,000 people. However, we do not know if all the hectares were occupied at the same time so will go with the previous numerical estimate for the same place made by the same author.

15,000-20,000

"occupied from the sixth to the eighteenth century AD and home to between 15,000 and 20,000 people when it was most densely inhabited."[58] -- when was Koumbi Saleh most densely inhabited?

250 hectares

Koumbi Saleh was a city in Ancient Ghana. "excavations and aerial surveys have revealed the remains of a large town covering an area of about 250 hectares with stone buildings, some of them two storeys high, the ground floors of which appear to have been used as stores for merchandise. The houses were close together, the streets narrow; there was a mosque, and extensive cemeteries." [59]

"The city of Ghana consists of two towns situated on a plain."[60]

"Le royaume couvrait les villes de Bokounou, Ouagadou et de Kaarta." The kingdom covered the cities of Bokounou , Ouagadou and Kaarta[61]

"Timbuktu was already a trading centre of notable size in the eighth century AD." "...its subsequent growth and status is almost entirely attributable to the salt that the Tuareg camel caravans brought to its markets. From the backs of camels the salt was transhipped to canoes for distribution through the hundreds of kilometres of navigable waters on the Niger River system."[62]


Hierarchical Complexity

♠ Settlement hierarchy ♣ 4 ♥ levels.

1. Capital town

2. Provincial town
"L’empire etait subdivise en royaumes et en provinces eux-memes morceles en villages et cantons." (The empire was divided into kingdoms and provinces themselves broken up into villages and townships).[63]
3. Small agricultural villages
"Sudanic societies were built on small agricultural villages or herding communities, sometimes but not always integrated into larger tribal and linguistic groups." [64]
"By about 100 B.C.E., the Soninke's ancestors began establishing small settled communities, and around 600 B.C.E. these grew into large villages administered by chieftains."[65]

♠ Administrative levels ♣ 4 ♥ levels.

1. King

According to oral tradition, the Cisse was the ruling clan of Wagadu. Ruler had the title "maghan." [66]
In earlier times there may have been "matrilineal descent (power passed to the son of the king's sister)" and "There might even have been instances of female chieftains." [67]
"Ghana is a title given to their kings"[68]


_Central court_

2. Head official of the General Council
"L’autorite du roi et de son gouvernement central s’exercait de façon directe sur le berceau originel du royaume soninke." (The authority of the king and his central government was exercised directly from the original birthplace of the Soninke kingdom).[69]
The most powerful aristocratic clans were collectively known as wago. "That term, and the name of the kingdom, Wagadu, are probably related. "Wagadu" is a contraction of wagadugu, which can be translated as "land of the wago"."[70]
"La societe etait organisee en clans. Le clan royal etait celui des Tounkara qui formaient avec trois autres clans l’aristocratie:( les Souba ou Magasouba étaient les guerriers du roi, les Kagoro qui formaient une elite militaire, les Magassi etaient les cavaliers du roi qui composaient la garde royale.). Ces clans qui constituent la noblesse fournissaient au roi, les grands dignitaires et hauts fonctionnaires de sa cour. On trouvait a la cour du roi, le gouvernement et le grand conseil dont les membres se recrutaient aussi bien dans l’aristocratie locale que chez les arabes et les lettres musulmans. On trouvait au sein de son gouvernement, les fils des rois vassaux, otages a la cour. La succession sur le trône se faisait d’oncle à neveu." (The society was organized in clans. The royal clan was that of Tounkara who formed with three other aristocratic clans: (the Souba or Magasouba were the warriors of the king, the Kagoro who formed a military elite, the riders were Magassi king composing the royal guard). These clans that make up the nobility provided the king, the great dignitaries and senior officials of his court. It was at the king's court, the government and the general council whose members were recruited in both the local aristocracy among Arab and Muslim scholars. It was within his government, son of the vassal kings, hostages to the court. The succession to the throne was uncle to nephew.[71]
3. Treasury official
"The king has a palace and a number of domed dwellings all surrounded with an enclosure like a city wall. ... The king's interpreters, the official in charge of his treasury and the majority of his ministers are Muslims."[72]
4. Scribes
"For the sake of administrative support, legitimization, and commercial contacts, the rulers of Kawkaw, Takrur, Ghana, and Bornu adopted Islam in the late tenth and eleventh centuries. Islam became an imperial cult and the religion of state and trading elites, while the agricultural populations maintained their traditional beliefs." [73]


"A Sudanic empire commonly had a core territory integrated by ethnic, linguistic, or similar ties and a larger sphere of power defined by the rule of a particular person or lineage over numerous subordinate families, castes, lineages, and village communities. The key political factor was not the control of territory but the relations that enabled the ruler to garner religious prestige, draw military support, and extract taxes or tributes. The kings were considered sacred persons and were believed to have divine powers. They did not appear in public and were not to be seen carrying out ordinary bodily functions such as eating. Around the kings were numerous officeholders who helped govern the realm and provincial and district chiefs often recruited from junior members of the noble families."[74]


_Regional government_


2. Princes (governors called fado) of a province
"L’empire etait subdivise en royaumes et en provinces eux-memes morcelés en villages et cantons." (The empire was divided into kingdoms and provinces themselves broken up into villages and townships).[75]
"Les princes avaient en charge la gestion des provinces tandis que les royaumes vassaux tels que Sosso, Diara et le Tékrour conservaient leur organisation initiale et se contentaient de verser un tribut annuel et d’apporter leur contribution sur le plan militaire en fournissant à l’empereur un contingent." (The princes had control over the management of the provinces while the vassal kingdoms such as Sosso, Diara and Tekrour retained their initial organization and were happy to pay an annual tribute and to contribute militarily by providing the Emperor a quota).[76]
According to oral tradition there were four provinces, whose governors/commanders (dual military and administrative powers implied) were known as fado. Ruler had the title "maghan." [77]
Al-Bakri 1068 CE: king's city had a governor [78]
"Among the provinces of Ghana is a region called Sama, the inhabitants of which are known as the Bukum. From that region to Ghana is four day's travel."[79]
3. Village chief
"L’empire etait subdivise en royaumes et en provinces eux-memes morceles en villages et cantons." (The empire was divided into kingdoms and provinces themselves broken up into villages and townships).[80]
4. Townships
"L’empire etait subdivise en royaumes et en provinces eux-memes morceles en villages et cantons." (The empire was divided into kingdoms and provinces themselves broken up into villages and townships).[81]


_Vassal Kingdoms_

2. King
Ahmad al-Yaqubi (d. 897) said Ghana's king had "lesser kings under his authority."[82]
Al-Bakri 1068 CE: king of Ghana had vassal kings [83]
"Les princes avaient en charge la gestion des provinces tandis que les royaumes vassaux tels que Sosso, Diara et le Tekrour conservaient leur organisation initiale et se contentaient de verser un tribut annuel et d’apporter leur contribution sur le plan militaire en fournissant à l’empereur un contingent." (The princes had control over the management of the provinces while the vassal kingdoms such as Sosso, Diara and Tekrour retained their initial organization and were happy to pay an annual tribute and to contribute militarily by providing the Emperor a quota).[84]
"On peut distinguer deux groupes composant le peuplement de l’empire: un au Nord et l’autre au Sud. Les gens du Nord se composent des tribus nomades berbères ou Touaregs (Les berbères Macmouda au sud du Maroc, les Zenata), les Sanhadja ( les Goddala, les Messoufa, les Lemtouma spécialistes du deésert.). Le groupe Sud comporte deux fractions: les Mazzara composés de Lebou, Wolof, Toucouleur, Sérères) et les Bafours (Soninke ou Ouakare, les Marka, les Bambaras, les Malinké, les Songhai.)." There can be distinguished two peoples within the empire ... Northerners consist of Berber Tuareg nomads (Berber Macmouda in southern Morocco, the Zenâta) and Sanhadja (the Goddala the Messoufa the Lemtouma specialists of the desert). The southern group included two fractions: the Mazzara composed of Lebu, Wolof, Toucouleur, Serere) and Bafour (Soninké or Ouakaré, Marka, Bambara, Malinke, Songhai ).[85]


♠ Religious levels ♣ [2-3] ♥ levels. Paganism.

1. King

"Their religion is paganism and the worship of idols. When their king dies they construct over the place where his tomb will be an enormous dome of acacia wood."[86]
2. Sorcerers
"In the king's town and not far from his court of justice, is a mosque where the Muslims who arrive at his court pray. Around the king's town are domed buildings and groves and thickets where the sorcerers of these people, men in charge of the religious cult, live."[87]
 ?. Heads of clans
"the basic social and political unit appears in the past to have been the small local group, bound together by ties of kinship. When a number of groups came together they formed a clan. The heads of local clans were usually responsible for certain religious rites connected with the land." [88]


Not Islamic until end of polity

"In former times the people of this country professed paganism until the year 469/1076-1077 when Yahya b. Abu Bakr the amir of Masufa made his appearance."[89]
"In Ghana king and commoners remained loyal to their ancestral religion." [90]
"For the sake of administrative support, legitimization, and commercial contacts, the rulers of Kawkaw, Takrur, Ghana, and Bornu adopted Islam in the late tenth and eleventh centuries. Islam became an imperial cult and the religion of state and trading elites, while the agricultural populations maintained their traditional beliefs." [91]

Islam in Kumbi-Saleh

"mosques and religious functionaries including imams, muezzins, Quran reciters, and scholars. The Muslims provided the ruler with interpreters and officials." [92]


King was supreme judge

"Au sommet de l’Etat, on a le roi; on le designe sous plusieurs appellations Kaya Maghan qui signifie roi de l’or en langue Ouakare, Tounka qui veut dire Seigneur ou Dieu. Ses pouvoirs etaient tres etendus: il etait le juge supreme. Il rendait la justice en tenant compte de l’appartenance religieuse. Ses sujets qui dans l’ensemble appartenaient à la religion traditionnelle etaient juges selon la coutume,les musulmans, eux, l’etaient sur la base du Coran." At the top of the state, was the King; means the under several names "Kaya Maghan" meaning gold king in language Ouakaré "Tounka" meaning Lord or God. His powers were very extensive: he was the supreme judge. He dispensed justice in the light of religious affiliation. His subjects in all belonged to the traditional religion were judged according to custom, Muslims, themselves, were based on the Koran.[93]


♠ Military levels ♣ [3-4] ♥ levels.

Only reference to professional and standing army in early West Africa is Askia Muhammed Toure (r.1493-1529 CE) of the Songhai Empire who "created a professional full-time army" [94] and "standing army"[95]

1. King

2. Loyal clan leaders inferred
3. intermediate level? inferred
4. Individual soldier

"The kingdoms which began to emerge in the Sudan about the end of the first millennium and the great 'empires' - Ghana, Mali, Songhai - which played so large a part in the medieval history of West Africa differed in many ways from the modern nation-state. One must not think of them as compact and homogenous units. 'The Sudanese Empire', Trimingham has pointed out, 'was an amorphous agglomeration of kin-groups having little in common except mythical recognition of a far-off suzerain.' Such empires had no precise boundaries, for 'the ruler was not interested in dominating territory as such, but in relationship with social groups upon whom he could draw to provide levies in time of war, servants for his courts and cultivators to keep his granaries full.'" [96]


Professions

♠ Professional military officers ♣ inferred absent ♥ Only reference to professional and standing army in early West Africa is Askia Muhammed Toure (r.1493-1529 CE) of the Songhai Empire who "created a professional full-time army" [97] and "standing army"[98] before Askia Muhammad of Songhay Empire "Chiefs, kings and emperors of earlier times had relied on simply 'calling up' their subjects, their vassals, or their allies. ... But these were temporary armies. They were amateur armies. They served for a campaign or a war, and then everyone went home again until the next one."[99]

♠ Professional soldiers ♣ inferred absent ♥ Only reference to professional and standing army in early West Africa is Askia Muhammed Toure (r.1493-1529 CE) of the Songhai Empire who "created a professional full-time army" [100] and "standing army"[101] before Askia Muhammad of Songhay Empire "Chiefs, kings and emperors of earlier times had relied on simply 'calling up' their subjects, their vassals, or their allies. ... But these were temporary armies. They were amateur armies. They served for a campaign or a war, and then everyone went home again until the next one."[102]

Distinction between people and army during Songhai period: "beginning with the reign of Askia Mohammad ... Instead of mass conscription, a permanent army was created; civilians who were not part of it could go about their business."[103]

The fado aristocracy, clans articulated around the person of the king included:

The Souba, a warrior class, also known as Magassouba, the kings' warriors.
The Ka-Goro, the elite 'village-breakers'
The Maga-Si, or kings' horsemen. The famous cavalry of Ghana. [104]

♠ Professional priesthood ♣ inferred present ♥ "In the king's town and not far from his court of justice, is a mosque where the Muslims who arrive at his court pray. Around the king's town are domed buildings and groves and thickets where the sorcerers of these people, men in charge of the religious cult, live."[105]

Salaried Imans but Islam was not the official religion of the polity

"In Ghana king and commoners remained loyal to their ancestral religion." [106] "The city of Ghana consists of two towns situated on a plain. One of those towns, which is inhabited by Muslims is large and possesses twelve mosques... There are salaried imams and muezzin, as well as jurists and scholars."[107]

"In the king's town and not far from his court of justice, is a mosque where the Muslims who arrive at his court pray. Around the king's town are domed buildings and groves and thickets where the sorcerers of these people, men in charge of the religious cult, live."[108]


Bureaucracy characteristics

♠ Full-time bureaucrats ♣ [absent; present] ♥

In Kumbi-Saleh there were "mosques and religious functionaries including imams, muezzins, Quran reciters, and scholars. The Muslims provided the ruler with interpreters and officials." [109] Imams or religious officials would not be full-time.

Al-Bakri described what might be an incipient bureaucratic center: "The king has a palace and a number of domed dwellings all surrounded with an enclosure like a city wall. ... The king's interpreters, the official in charge of his treasury and the majority of his ministers are Muslims."[110]

First explicit mention of "central bureaucracy" Askia Muhammed Toure (r.1493-1529 CE) who "supported by Mande clans ... created a ... central bureaucracy."[111] However, in the Mali Empire late 14th century government was characterised by rule of powerful government officials and a "puppet" monarch, which implies the presence of a full-time bureaucrats in the late 14th century. [112]

♠ Examination system ♣ inferred absent ♥

♠ Merit promotion ♣ ♥ unknown.

♠ Specialized government buildings ♣ inferred present ♥ Al-Bakri described what might be an incipient bureaucratic center: "The king has a palace and a number of domed dwellings all surrounded with an enclosure like a city wall."[113]

Law

♠ Formal legal code ♣ inferred present ♥

King was supreme judge. While his subjects were judged according to custom, Muslims were permitted to be judged according to the Koran.

"Au sommet de l’Etat, on a le roi; on le désigne sous plusieurs appellations Kaya Maghan qui signifie roi de l’or en langue Ouakare, Tounka qui veut dire Seigneur ou Dieu. Ses pouvoirs etaient tres etendus: il etait le juge supreme. Il rendait la justice en tenant compte de l’appartenance religieuse. Ses sujets qui dans l’ensemble appartenaient a la religion traditionnelle etaient juges selon la coutume,les musulmans, eux, l’etaient sur la base du Coran." At the top of the state, was the King; means the under several names "Kaya Maghan" meaning gold king in language Ouakare "Tounka" meaning Lord or God. His powers were very extensive: he was the supreme judge. He dispensed justice in the light of religious affiliation. His subjects in all belonged to the traditional religion were judged according to custom, Muslims, themselves, were based on the Koran.[114]


♠ Judges ♣ inferred present ♥ "The city of Ghana consists of two towns situated on a plain. One of those towns, which is inhabited by Muslims is large and possesses twelve mosques... There are salaried imams and muezzin, as well as jurists and scholars."[115] Whilst the state was pagan, Muslims were permitted to be judged according to the Koran.[116]

"In the traditional empire, justice was inseparable from religion. It was a compensatory punishment ritually administered to one who offended against social order."[117]

The cadi was a Muslim judge appointed by the king who "handled mainly common-law misdemeanors, disputes between citizens, or between citizens and foreigners."[118]

♠ Courts ♣ present ♥ "In the king's town and not far from his court of justice..."[119]

"In the traditional empire, justice was inseparable from religion. It was a compensatory punishment ritually administered to one who offended against social order."[120]

♠ Professional Lawyers ♣ present ♥ "Today they are Muslims and have scholars, lawyers, and Koran readers and have become pre-eminent in these fields. Some of their chief leaders have come to al-Andalus... They have traveled to Makka ... and returned to their land to spend large sums on the Holy War."[121] Whilst the state was pagan, Muslims were permitted to be judged according to the Koran.[122]


Specialized Buildings: polity owned

♠ irrigation systems ♣ present ♥ "Archaeological evidence affirms that the building of terraces and irrigation canals in sub-Saharan Africa pre-dates external influence..." [123]
♠ drinking water supply systems ♣ inferred absent ♥ Only wells. "The city of Ghana consists of two towns situated on a plain. ... In the environs are wells..."[124]
♠ markets ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ food storage sites ♣ present ♥ "Trimingham [said] 'the ruler was not interested in dominating territory as such, but in relationship with social groups upon whom he could draw to provide levies in time of war, servants for his courts and cultivators to keep his granaries full.'" [125]

Transport infrastructure

♠ Roads ♣ inferred present ♥ Ibn Battuta (14th century) on the African interior said: "there is no need to travel by caravan, for the roads are that secure."[126] road from Ghana (city) to Ghiyaru [127]
♠ Bridges ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Canals ♣ inferred absent ♥ Only mention of a canal was a project started by abandoned by a Songhai king.
♠ Ports ♣ present ♥ "The middle section of the Niger, linking Timbuktu to Djenne (about 400 km upstream), and to Gao (about the same distance downstream), was the busiest inland waterway in West Africa... With its development, water transport transformed the middle Niger into one of the great centres of indigenous trade in Africa. It encouraged the growth of specialized occupations, such as the building and operation of canoes; it lead to the development of specialized ports on the water-ways; and it contributed to the political and economic homogeneity of the region." [128] "Kabara was the true military and commercial port through which all goods were exported from Timbuktu, to Djenne, Mali, and the Upper Niger in general, or Tirekka, Gao, and Tademekka, Kukia and the Dendi country, that is, present-day Upper Dahomey (Benin)."[129]

Special purpose sites

♠ Mines or quarries ♣ present ♥ stone quarries, copper mines [130] Iron Age from 600 BCE in West Africa (e.g. Benue valley in Nigeria and upper Niger River) "the development and spread of the basic technologies of metal production and the forging and smithing of metal tools, notably in iron."[131]

Information

Writing System

♠ Mnemonic devices ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Nonwritten records ♣ present ♥ The Soninke people have oral traditions, such as the "Legend of Wagadu" which is told by gesere who are "professional storytellers and musicians." [132]
♠ Written records ♣ absent ♥ "There are no written records of any description to throw light on the history of West Africa before 900 A.D." [133] "The West Africans who laid the foundations of their medieval empires during the centuries before 900 C.E. did not develop a written language they could use to record historical events."[134] Oldest example of writing in West Africa c1100 CE tomb inscription at Gao.[135]
♠ Script ♣ absent ♥ "There are no written records of any description to throw light on the history of West Africa before 900 A.D." [136] "The West Africans who laid the foundations of their medieval empires during the centuries before 900 C.E. did not develop a written language they could use to record historical events."[137] Oldest example of writing in West Africa c1100 CE tomb inscription at Gao.[138]
♠ Non-phonetic writing ♣ absent ♥ "There are no written records of any description to throw light on the history of West Africa before 900 A.D." [139] "The West Africans who laid the foundations of their medieval empires during the centuries before 900 C.E. did not develop a written language they could use to record historical events."[140] Oldest example of writing in West Africa c1100 CE tomb inscription at Gao.[141]
♠ Phonetic alphabetic writing ♣ absent ♥ Classic Arabic of Koran."In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the first unambiguous evidence of North African or Islamic influences appears at Jenne-jeno in the form of brass, spindle whorls, and rectilinear houses. This occurs within a century of the traditional date of 1180 C.E. for the conversion of Jenne's king (Koi) Konboro to Islam, according to the Tarikh es-Sudan." [142] "There are no written records of any description to throw light on the history of West Africa before 900 A.D." [143] "The West Africans who laid the foundations of their medieval empires during the centuries before 900 C.E. did not develop a written language they could use to record historical events."[144] Oldest example of writing in West Africa c1100 CE tomb inscription at Gao.[145]

Kinds of Written Documents

♠ Lists, tables, and classifications ♣ absent ♥ "There are no written records of any description to throw light on the history of West Africa before 900 A.D." [146] "The West Africans who laid the foundations of their medieval empires during the centuries before 900 C.E. did not develop a written language they could use to record historical events."[147] Oldest example of writing in West Africa c1100 CE tomb inscription at Gao.[148]
♠ Calendar ♣ absent ♥ Koran. Classic Arabic of Koran."In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the first unambiguous evidence of North African or Islamic influences appears at Jenne-jeno in the form of brass, spindle whorls, and rectilinear houses. This occurs within a century of the traditional date of 1180 C.E. for the conversion of Jenne's king (Koi) Konboro to Islam, according to the Tarikh es-Sudan." [149] "There are no written records of any description to throw light on the history of West Africa before 900 A.D." [150] "The West Africans who laid the foundations of their medieval empires during the centuries before 900 C.E. did not develop a written language they could use to record historical events."[151] Oldest example of writing in West Africa c1100 CE tomb inscription at Gao.[152]
♠ Sacred Texts ♣ absent ♥ Koran. "There are no written records of any description to throw light on the history of West Africa before 900 A.D." [153] "The West Africans who laid the foundations of their medieval empires during the centuries before 900 C.E. did not develop a written language they could use to record historical events."[154] Oldest example of writing in West Africa c1100 CE tomb inscription at Gao.[155]
♠ Religious literature ♣ absent ♥ Koran. "There are no written records of any description to throw light on the history of West Africa before 900 A.D." [156] "The West Africans who laid the foundations of their medieval empires during the centuries before 900 C.E. did not develop a written language they could use to record historical events."[157] Oldest example of writing in West Africa c1100 CE tomb inscription at Gao.[158]
♠ Practical literature ♣ absent ♥ "There are no written records of any description to throw light on the history of West Africa before 900 A.D." [159] "The West Africans who laid the foundations of their medieval empires during the centuries before 900 C.E. did not develop a written language they could use to record historical events."[160] Oldest example of writing in West Africa c1100 CE tomb inscription at Gao.[161]
♠ History ♣ absent ♥ "There are no written records of any description to throw light on the history of West Africa before 900 A.D." [162] "The West Africans who laid the foundations of their medieval empires during the centuries before 900 C.E. did not develop a written language they could use to record historical events."[163] Oldest example of writing in West Africa c1100 CE tomb inscription at Gao.[164]
♠ Philosophy ♣ absent ♥ "There are no written records of any description to throw light on the history of West Africa before 900 A.D." [165] "The West Africans who laid the foundations of their medieval empires during the centuries before 900 C.E. did not develop a written language they could use to record historical events."[166] Oldest example of writing in West Africa c1100 CE tomb inscription at Gao.[167]
♠ Scientific literature ♣ absent ♥ "There are no written records of any description to throw light on the history of West Africa before 900 A.D." [168] "The West Africans who laid the foundations of their medieval empires during the centuries before 900 C.E. did not develop a written language they could use to record historical events."[169] Oldest example of writing in West Africa c1100 CE tomb inscription at Gao.[170]
♠ Fiction ♣ absent ♥ "There are no written records of any description to throw light on the history of West Africa before 900 A.D." [171] "The West Africans who laid the foundations of their medieval empires during the centuries before 900 C.E. did not develop a written language they could use to record historical events."[172] Oldest example of writing in West Africa c1100 CE tomb inscription at Gao.[173]


Money

♠ Articles ♣ present ♥ Barter "at the periphery of the African kingdoms, some backwards tribes, such as the Lem-Lem in Southwest Ghana, perhaps on the banks of the present-day Faleme River, had been carrying on barter trade since the Carthaginian period."[174] This was where, without any direct contact, Carthaginian and Arab traders exchanged their goods for gold dust. However, this simple form of economy was not characteristic of the economies of the polities of these times.[175] barter economy and no professional merchants. "The non-essential items and foreign durables found at sites remote from their point of origin were traded from village to village, in relays, as part of what was certainly a vigorous trade in essential goods between local centres." [176]
♠ Tokens ♣ suspected unknown ♥ "Contemporary shipping contracts indicate that the Portuguese introduced the cowrie shell to West African commerce just after 1515 at the latest" . Cowrie used as medium-of-exchange. [177] Cowrie shells functioned as money. "The shells can be accurately traded by weight, by volume, and by counting; their colour and lustre do not fade as their durability compares favourably with that of metal coins."[178] Cowries at Awdaghurst "in the ninth to tenth centuries.... trading in them in the north in the eleventh century." [179] "D. Robert thinks that Awdaghurst may have been the source of the copper wire used as 'currency' in Ghana."[180]
♠ Precious metals ♣ present ♥ Devisse (1988) commissioned an exact translation of Al Bakri's famous passages concerning gold which "brings a new solution to the to the interpretation of the pair tibr-dhahab." Ghali, the translator, found that tibr meant gold in rough state, compared to dhabab, which was gold in a worked state (refined gold). What do we make of Al Bakri's claim "the sovereign regulated the circulation of gold by keeping the nuggets, so that the metal did not depreciate through overabundance? ... The traditional distinction between nuggets and dust does not hold water. The real distinction is a different one: 'pure' gold, which by definition the ruler set aside for himself and which was intended for coinage, was dhabab." [181] However, gold not used for coinage: "no trace of a die or mint has been found south of the desert."[182]
♠ Foreign coins ♣ inferred present ♥ Cosmopolitan commerce centers: Timbuktu, Djenne, Biru, Soo, Ndob, Pekes and some others.[183] Currency "consisted of salt, cowries, or gold in either dust or pieces (of foreign or local mintage)."[184]
♠ Indigenous coins ♣ {absent; present} ♥ Gold not used for coinage: "no trace of a die or mint has been found south of the desert."[185] Currency "consisted of salt, cowries, or gold in either dust or pieces (of foreign or local mintage)."[186] According to Leo Africanus cowries used as currency for trading came from the Indian Ocean, via Persia.[187] According to al Bakri (11th century) 'The dinars they used were of pure gold and were called sola [bald] because they bore no imprints.' ... Thus these documents allow us to be sure of the use in Black Africa of imprinted gold coins, without, however, being able to know whether such imprints were effiges of local emperors or kings, or to know whether there was any generalized imperial currency minited apart from the mitkal standard."[188]
♠ Paper currency ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Postal System

♠ Couriers ♣ inferred present ♥ According to al-Bakri, the king of Ghana could "employ large numbers of messengers and other servants."[189]
♠ Postal stations ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ General postal service ♣ inferred absent ♥ literacy not widespread enough to make a general postal service for the public necessary.

Warfare variables

♠ RA ♣ Edward A L Turner ♥

Military Technologies

Military use of Metals

♠ Copper ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Bronze ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Iron ♣ present ♥ Iron Age from 600 BCE in West Africa (e.g. Benue valley in Nigeria and upper Niger River) "the development and spread of the basic technologies of metal production and the forging and smithing of metal tools, notably in iron."[190] "Iron-headed hoes, probably invented some time after iron-pointed spears."[191] "Iron also brought, from about 600 BC onwards, a new source of military power."[192] The Soninke possessed "superior iron weapons" [193]
♠ Steel ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Projectiles

♠ Javelins ♣ suspected unknown ♥ "clubs, bows and arrows, and spears" however they were most often used to acquire food [194]
♠ Atlatl ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Slings ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Self bow ♣ present ♥ "clubs, bows and arrows, and spears" however they were most often used to acquire food [195] archers of Samaqanda (town between Ghana and Ghiyaru) "are the best archers among the Sudan" [196] "The Bukum are very skillful archers and use poisoned arrows."[197]
♠ Composite bow ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Crossbow ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Tension siege engines ♣ absent ♥
♠ Sling siege engines ♣ absent ♥
♠ Gunpowder siege artillery ♣ absent ♥
♠ Handheld firearms ♣ absent ♥

Handheld weapons

♠ War clubs ♣ suspected unknown ♥ "clubs, bows and arrows, and spears" however they were most often used to acquire food [198]
♠ Battle axes ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Daggers ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Swords ♣ present ♥ "Behind the king stand ten pages holding shields and swords decorated with gold..." [199]
♠ Spears ♣ present ♥ spears in Ghana [200]
♠ Polearms ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Animals used in warfare

♠ Dogs ♣ inferred present ♥ guard dogs at the palace of the king [201]
♠ Donkeys ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Horses ♣ present ♥ "The earliest irrefutable evidence of horses in sub-Saharan Africa comes from the Arabic texts, beginning with the writings of Al-Muhallabi from about AD 985. By then, however, the horse was a highly valued prestige animal, and camels were the vehicle of trans-Saharan trade."[202] Soninke "acquired small horses brought from North Africa." The Soninke's possessed "superior iron weapons and horses" [203]
♠ Camels ♣ inferred present ♥ "Berber-speaking forebears of the present-day Tuareg are believed to have introduced camels to the Saharan trade routes, sometime between the second and fifth centuries AD... Camels extended both the volume and the radius of trade." "The Sanhaja people of the Western Sahara acquired large numbers of camels by the fourth and fifth centuries." [204]
♠ Elephants ♣ absent ♥

Armor

♠ Wood, bark, etc ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Leather, cloth ♣ [absent; present] ♥ "The Tuaregs wore puffed trousers, a tunic, a turban, and a litham."[205] 1000-1650 CE period: "body armor was rare. Among the cavalry empires of the Sahel and sudan, quilted horse and body armor were common but plate was rarely used."[206]
♠ Shields ♣ present ♥ "Behind the king stand ten pages holding shields and swords decorated with gold..." [207]
♠ Helmets ♣ [absent; present] ♥ Knights: "The princes of Black Africa who could afford to outfitted themselves in complete or partial armor like that of the knights of the Western Middle Ages."[208] "coat of mail and iron breastplate, helmet, boots, javelin ... all of it."[209] However, due to climate complete knightly armour not as common as in Europe and in fact Songhai Askia Bano died of suffocation.[210]
♠ Breastplates ♣ [absent; present] ♥ reference to an iron breastplate on Songhai askia 1588 CE.[211] Knights: "The princes of Black Africa who could afford to outfitted themselves in complete or partial armor like that of the knights of the Western Middle Ages."[212] "coat of mail and iron breastplate, helmet, boots, javelin ... all of it."[213] However, due to climate complete knightly armour not as common as in Europe and in fact Songhai Askia Bano died of suffocation.[214] 1000-1650 CE period: "body armor was rare. Among the cavalry empires of the Sahel and sudan, quilted horse and body armor were common but plate was rarely used."[215]
♠ Limb protection ♣ [absent; present] ♥ Knights: "The princes of Black Africa who could afford to outfitted themselves in complete or partial armor like that of the knights of the Western Middle Ages."[216] "coat of mail and iron breastplate, helmet, boots, javelin ... all of it."[217] However, due to climate complete knightly armour not as common as in Europe and in fact Songhai Askia Bano died of suffocation.[218]
♠ Chainmail ♣ [absent; present] ♥ Knights: "The princes of Black Africa who could afford to outfitted themselves in complete or partial armor like that of the knights of the Western Middle Ages."[219] "coat of mail and iron breastplate, helmet, boots, javelin ... all of it."[220] However, due to climate complete knightly armour not as common as in Europe and in fact Songhai Askia Bano died of suffocation.[221]
♠ Scaled armor ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Laminar armor ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Plate armor ♣ suspected unknown ♥ Knights: "The princes of Black Africa who could afford to outfitted themselves in complete or partial armor like that of the knights of the Western Middle Ages."[222] "coat of mail and iron breastplate, helmet, boots, javelin ... all of it."[223] However, due to climate complete knightly armour not as common as in Europe and in fact Songhai Askia Bano died of suffocation.[224] 1000-1650 CE period: "body armor was rare. Among the cavalry empires of the Sahel and sudan, quilted horse and body armor were common but plate was rarely used."[225]



Naval technology

♠ Small vessels (canoes, etc) ♣ present ♥ dugout canoes very old technology in West Africa - oldest found at Dufuna at least 6,400 ago.[226]
♠ Merchant ships pressed into service ♣ absent ♥
♠ Specialized military vessels ♣ inferred absent ♥ Songhay Empire: Askia Muhammad created a full-time navy on the Niger. Before him Sunni Ali had "Niger boatmen in his amateur military system."[227]

Fortifications

♠ Settlements in a defensive position ♣ present ♥ Built on a plain, the city was defended by a belt of hills that enabled it to control various points of access. This was the case of Niani, the ancient capital of Mali: located in a vast plain near the Sankarani, it was protected by a ring of hills leaving passageways between them. "Bâtie au milieu d'une plaine, la ville était défendue par une ceinture de collines qui permettaient un contrôle facile des voies d'accès. C'est le cas notamment de Niani, l'ancienne capitale du Mali: située au milieu d'une vaste plaine au bord du Sankarani, elle était protégée par un arc de cercle de collines laissant entre elles de larges passages." [228]
♠ Wooden palisades ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Earth ramparts ♣ [absent; present] ♥ Djenne had been "fortified by a system of ramparts, with a variable number of guarded gates. A fortified city was called a tata."[229]
♠ Ditch ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Moat ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Stone walls (non-mortared) ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Stone walls (mortared) ♣ inferred present ♥ According to Al Bakri, emperor of Ghana "lived in a stone castle, surrounded by a wall."[230] Idrisi, writing in 1150 CE, said it was a "fortified chateau, built in 1116, decorated with sculptures and paintings, and boasting glass windows."[231]
♠ Fortified camps ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Complex fortifications ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Long walls ♣ suspected unknown ♥ km.
♠ Modern fortifications ♣ absent ♥

Phase II Variables (polity-based)

Institutional Variables

♠ RA ♣ Edward A L Turner ♥

Limits on Power of the Chief Executive

Power distributed

♠ Constraint on executive by government ♣ inferred present ♥ "In 990 the Berber center of the Lemtunas, Aoudaghast, was governed by a Black farba who levied taxes, tariff duties, etc., in the name of the Emperor on the goods and merchandise of the city's population, made up almost exclusively of Berbers and Arabs; these two groups moreover hated each other at the time."[232] "...the Empire of Ghana, an influential confederation that consolidated power within large areas to the north and west of the Inland Niger Delta sometime after 500 C.E.."[233]
♠ Constraint on executive by non-government ♣ ♥
♠ Impeachment ♣ inferred absent ♥

Social Mobility

Status

Elite status

♠ elite status is hereditary ♣ present ♥ According to oral tradition, the Cisse was the ruling clan of Wagadu.[234] Especially from Songhay Askia the Great: "the rise of the 'king's men' ... appointed officials who were not members of the 'big families', and who were loyal only to the king their master."[235] "Ces trois grandes tribus guerrières - les fados ou classe de guerriers - formaient l'aristocratie au sein de laquelle étaient recrutés les hauts fonctonnaires et les grands dignitaires de la cour. Elles constituent la noblesse de race, car toutes sont issues de la grande famille des Wago dont le pays d'origine est Wagadou (il est à noter que la noblesse se dit wagheya)." These three great tribes of warriors - the fados, or warrior class- formed the aristocracy, from which state administrators and court dignitaries came from. They constitute the nobility through breeding, because all come from the Wago family, whose country of origin is Wagadou (it should be noted that the nobility is called wagheya).[236]

Religion and Normative Ideology

♠ RA ♣ Enrico Cioni; Edward A L Turner ♥

Deification of Rulers

♠ Rulers are legitimated by gods ♣ inferred present ♥

In West Africa "What emerges from the records of research, centrally, is that all these peoples awarded supreme power to an idea of God as controlling everything and everyone, but doing this indirectly through subordinate spiritual powers. From this governing concept they derived ... a ruling morality for everyday life: the power of God, they held, would always reward right behaviour and punish wrong behaviour."[237]

"Like the Europeans of the Middle Ages (AD 600-1350), Africans lived in an 'age of faith'. They believed, in short, that political authority came not from men or women but from God and the spirits. Those who exercised power on earth could do so, in other words, only if they were accepted as speaking and acting with the good will of their departed ancestors, who, in turn, were their protectors and helpers in the world of the spirits. Rulers could only rule if they were spiritually appointed to do so; and their subjects obeyed them not simply from respect for the king's power and law, but also for reasons of religion."[238]

♠ Rulers are gods ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Normative Ideological Aspects of Equity and Prosociality

♠ Ideological reinforcement of equality ♣ suspected unknown ♥

♠ Ideological thought equates rulers and commoners ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Ideological thought equates elites and commoners ♣ suspected unknown ♥

♠ Ideology reinforces prosociality ♣ [absent; present] ♥ In West Africa "What emerges from the records of research, centrally, is that all these peoples awarded supreme power to an idea of God as controlling everything and everyone, but doing this indirectly through subordinate spiritual powers. From this governing concept they derived ... a ruling morality for everyday life: the power of God, they held, would always reward right behaviour and punish wrong behaviour."[239]

♠ production of public goods ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Moralizing Supernatural Powers

♠ Moral concern is primary ♣ unknown ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is certain ♣ unknown ♥
♠ Moralizing norms are broad ♣ unknown ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is targeted ♣ unknown ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement of rulers ♣ unknown ♥
♠ Moralizing religion adopted by elites ♣ unknown ♥
♠ Moralizing religion adopted by commoners ♣ unknown ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement in afterlife ♣ unknown ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement in this life ♣ unknown ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is agentic ♣ unknown ♥

These data were reviewed by expert advisors and consultants. For a detailed description of these data, refer to the relevant Analytic Narratives, reference tables, and acknowledgements page. [240] [241] [242]

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