This article seeks both to model an approach to African and diasporic ethnonyms and to contribute to a long-running debate on the significance of “Mina”/ “Amina,” an ethnonym that was widespread throughout the Americas. In a narrow sense, it argues that the term “Amina,” as used in one key source, C.G.A. Oldendorp’s history of the Moravian missions in the Danish Caribbean, signified the Asante state, specifically, and not the broader pan-Akan identity implied in some sources, nor the narrower “Aquambo” identity that emerges from others. More broadly, it proposes that the proper historical contextualization of ethnonyms is essential to understanding the process of identity formation in the Diaspora.
As there are hardly any regulations on slavery to be found in early modern German positive law, the impression prevails until today that slave status did not exist in the Old Empire. In such cases, however, Roman law was regularly used as a subsidiary legal source. By studying the plethora of early modern commentaries on the Corpus iuris civilis, which adapted ancient law to contemporary needs, a wholly different picture emerges: Not only did slave status exist as a legal concept and was applied in practice, but by selecting, interpreting, and commenting on it, early modern jurists shaped and reshaped its concrete appearance. Controversies and mainstream positions thus become tangible, as do more profound shifts from religious toward racial alterity as criteria for enslaveability.