The Masai: ethnographic monograph of an East African Semite people
Berlin: Dietrich Reimer (Ernst Vohsen), 1910. 31, 456 p. [HRAF MS: 1, 44, 623 leaves]: ill., map
HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.:
HRAF, 1996. Computer File
This extensive ethnography of the Maasai people was written by a Captain in the German 'Protectorate Troops' who, in his capacity as a military officer spent more than 8 years among the Maasai. Part One contains a discussion on the origins of the Maasai and presents Merker's hypothesis that the Maasai are descendants of the nomadic Semites whose ancestral home was on the Arabian peninsula. Part one also identifies what Merkert considers to be the three branches of the Maasai people, the Wakuafi (Kwafi), the Asa, and the Maasai proper, and discusses the sequence of their migrations from the Arabian peninsula to their current location. Part Two contains a thorough ethnographic description of the Maasai proper and the Kwafti, while Part Three contains a briefer, somewhat sketchy ethnography of the Asa. In Part Four, the author compares Maasai myths and traditions with those of the Bible and with traditions from Babylonia. The remarkable similarity between the traditions of these three peoples is used as corroborating evidence for Merker's belief in the common origin of the ancient Israelites and the Maasai.
Document ID: fl12-018
English translation from German
Translation of: Die Masai: Etnographische Monographie eines Ostafrikanischen Semitenvolkes.. The original German text is not included.
Translated for the HRAF files by Frieda Schütze.
As the Asa are currently considered to be a branch of the Dorobo, information in Part Three has been indexed only for the FL06 Dorobo file.
1895 - ca. 1908
Helen Gunsher Bornstein ; John Beierle ; 1972
Kenya and Tanzania
Masai (African people)