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Annabel Teh Gallop
Elevatio in Malay Diplomatics.
This article explores the extent to which the Islamic diplomatic practice of elevatio has permeated the chanceries of the Malay world in South East Asia. This honorific ‘elevation’ of a name or phrase from its normal position in the text to a more prominent position on the document, is described by V. Ménage in his seminal article published in 1985. In fact, no ‘true’ examples of elevatio can be found in the letters written in Malay, and although numerous examples illustrating the honorific elevation of the name of God can be documented in Malay seals from all over the archipelago, this practice appears to stem from a different source of authority. Nonetheless, a clear example of elevatio in a letter in Arabic from Sultan Alauddin Johan Sayah of Aceh serves to confirm that during the mid 18th century, the royal chancery of Aceh was fully aware of both principle and practice of this diplomatic nicety. Especially significant is the implication that different diplomatic traditions were deemed appropriate for documents in different languages issued from the same chancery, an important factor for consideration in any study of the diplomatic conventions of the Islamic world.
Keywords: Elevatio, Islamic diplomatics, Malay diplomatics, Aceh, Ternate, Malay seals.
- Annabel Teh Gallop ( : 095004963)