The Kebra Nagast (var. Kebra Negast, Ge’ez, kəbrä nägäst), or the Book of the Glory of Kings, is an account written in Ge’ez of the origins of the Solomonic line. The Kebra nagast (Glory of Kings), written from to , relates the birth of Menelik—the son of Solomon and Makada, the queen of Sheba—who became. The Kebra Nagast, by E.A.W. Budge, [], full text etext at

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Yet Kaleb, possibly ‘a recent convert to Christianity’, is apparently supposed to have revived the latent ‘. Other historians to consider the evidence date parts of it as late as the end of the sixteenth century, when Muslim incursions and contacts with the wider Christian world made the Ethiopian Church concerned to assert its character and assert Jewish traditions.

It seems safe kibte reject the theory of the Kebra Nagasfs proposed sixth or seventh century origin, except in the case of the very basic information cited in KN 7.

Subsequent references to Nwgest in this chapter are all from the same article unless another source is cited. Still according to Shahid’s interpretation of events, it seems that with the accession of a Jewish king in Himyar, 52 matters came to a head.

As the Ethiopianist Edward Ullendorff explained in the Schweich Lectures”The Kebra Nagast is kibbre merely a literary work, but it is the repository of Ethiopian national and religious feelings.

Byzantium was still extant in Amda Seyon’s day, but this does not seem to be the Byzantium to which the author of the Kebra Nagast refers. Getatchew Haile, by elaborate explanations, tries to solve the problems in the calculations, but there are so many manifestly wrong dates in this text that it does not convince as a base for altering our ideas about the dating of Aksumite rulers, whether real or legendary.

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It was to be affirmed later also, by Kaleb’s son WYzeb. A graphic detail, mentioned incidentally in the Martyrium Arethae, section 38, best brings to light the hitherto obscure background negeest the convert.

Such material could have been employed by the writers of the Kebra Nagast, in later times, to add the final drama to their great work4. A barely comprehensible prophetic chapter, the last KN in the book, attributed to the Armenian saint Gregory the Illuminator, is devoted to Kaleb and to his sons Israel and Gabra Masqal:. Other differences could be temporarily sunk to serve this urgent need. Neither of these names, ‘Enya and Finhas, one would expect from a contemporary writer of the sixth century.

Implications in Ethiopian Catholic Church today. As for the ‘victory inscription’ of Kaleb, which for Shahid is ‘that of a victorious Israelite king It is true that it has often been assumed that the Solomon-Sheba story was known in ancient times in Ethiopia.

We seem to be very far from the definite assertion of Johnson: Gadla Pantalewon, text pp. If so, the Coptic version from which the Arabic was made, as stated in the colophon, would have been a translation from the Ge’ez. It supplies no detail whatsoever, and moreover is couched in obscurantist apocalyptic phraseology attributed to Gregory the Illuminator, whose Vita, or life-story, together with those of other Armenian saints, was only translated into Ge’ez, interestingly enough, in late mediaeval times, at about the same period as the redaction of the Kebra Nagast This line of reasoning might rather lead one to suggest that the legend was not committed to writing earlier because it was not known until the fourteenth century, as least in the ‘imperial’ form it took then, for there is no trace of this legend in Aksumite times, when it was neither envisaged nor needed.


All that the Kebra Nagast has in common with such accounts is that in one single chapter it cites, with utmost brevity and lack of clarity, certain incidents and the royal name Kaleb. The Gadla Pantalewon is a later Ethiopie work written by an ecclesiastic whom Conti Rossini identifies as Yeshaq, consecrated metropolitan of Aksum aroundbut it is evident that the book is rather earlier in date.

By the time that the Kebra Nagast, with its claim to Ethiopian possession of the Tablets of the Law later the Ark of the Covenant was included as well23was written, the very loss of the talisman was a weapon against the Jews, who would not have lost such treasures of their religion had they not been unworthy.

The chapter concerned is mystical, apocalyptic, in content. Yusuf, a complex and still opaque personality, most probably endowed with those Messianic ideas which chimed ill with those of the equally Messianic and strongly religious Ethiopian Negus, Caleb On the journey home, she gives birth to Menelik chapter The Kebra Nagast var.

Kebra Nagast – Wikipedia

It was not until the close of the eighteenth century when James Bruce of Kinnaird, the famous Scottish explorer, published an account of his travels in search of the sources of the Nilethat some information as to the contents of the Kebra Nagast came to be generally known amongst European scholars and theologians. After chapter 94, the author takes a step back and describes a more global view of what he had been neest in previous chapters.

Neget succeeded Emperor Anastasius in ‘after his rise to military and. All the kings of the Aksumite period, including Kaleb, referred to themselves on their coinage and in their inscriptions, exclusively as ‘king of Aksum’ or as ‘king of the Aksumites’, never as ‘king of Ethiopia’.

Such a work may well have been consulted by the compiler of the Kebra Nagast many centuries afterwards, when he was seeking useful material to insert in his great work on the Ethiopian monarchy.

We may ask, who did it serve? They seem to have abandoned without much concern whatever ‘divinity’ the epithet ‘son of Mahrem’ might have bestowed upon them without troubling engest replace it with anything more than the confirmation of their royal descent, and their recognition of Christ as their master. Yeshaq, though under the immediate control of Ya’ibika Egzi’, would surely have known about and disapproved of these renegades, who thus supplied an extremely topical focal point for the anti- Jewish slant of his book.


Negesh Haile remarks on a copy produced well before the coming of Yeshaq to Ethiopia, and Conti Rossini later noted a Gadla Abba Pantalewon among the books listed in the possession of the Ethiopian convent in Jerusalem ina list which incidentally does not include any other gadlat of the Nine Saints, nor the Synaxarium, nor the Kebra Nagast.

Andrews,p. The writer s of the Kebra Nagast bestow a certain importance on Aksum’s 1 44 great hero king and saint, the sixth century ruler Kaleb. The relation of Caleb’s building activity to the legend of Solomonic descent may receive support also from postbiblical literature, in which Solomon emerged as the great builder in many parts of the Near East to whom numerous structures were ascribed, including many in South Arabia itself in the pre-Islamic period.

A Sixth Century Kebra Nagast ? – Persée

Still according to Shahid’s interpretation of events, it seems that with the accession of a Jewish king in Himyar. Certainly, there is plenty of anti-Semitism in the Kebra Nagast. For him, the king of Aksum’s appearance, covered in golden jewellery, borne aloft on this extraordinary conveyance, was something quite remarkable, and worth recording.

Kaleb ‘s coins, pace Shahid, do not show the king holding a cross-crowned sceptre; they only show crosses above his head. The kings of Aksum derived their monarchical justification from their supposed filial relationship with the god Mahrem provided the presentation offered by Ezana’s inscriptions were universally applied.

After praising the king of Ethiopia, kibde king of Egypt, and the book Domitius has found, which has established not only Ethiopia’s possession of the true Ark of the Covenant, but that the Solomonic dynasty is descended from the first-born son of Solomon chapter In all these cases there is no hint in the documentation meagre though it is at rights descending through the queen of Sheba. Ezana made a subtle adjustment of this claim in his titulary after the acceptance of Christianity, replacing the expression ‘son of the invincible Negrst with the phrase.

Based on the testimony of this colophon, “Conti Rossini, Littmann, and Cerulliinter alioshave marked off the period to for the composition of the book.

One can certainly accept the polemic and the hostile dialogue; it was part and parcel of the vital issue of Christianity versus Judaism, now raised to a rare, even unique, position on the political and international stage kire King Yusuf of Himyar’s blatant acts against Christians in Zafar and Najran.

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