Christian and Islamic Manuscripts for Medieval History of Ethiopia (Debre Berhan U.)


 Zara Yaeqob Center for Medieval Studies (Debre Berhan University) / French Center for Ethiopian Studies

Christian and Islamic Manuscripts for Medieval History of Ethiopia
par / by Deresse  Ayenachew  & Amélie Chekroun

Vendredi 16 juin 2017, 10h-12h / Friday 16th June 2017, 10-12 AM
Lieu/Venue: Debre Berhan University, Seminar Room

1. The Early Fifteenth Century Land Grants of Aṣe Waša Māryām in Wagdā (North Shoa, Ethiopia), par / by DERESSE AYENACHEW

The area of Wagdā is located 30 kms West of Dabra Bǝrhān. In the Middle Age the district of Wagdā was situated on the frontiers of the ancient Šawan Muslim sultanate. It is supposed as one of the core Christian settlement areas in Šawa during the power struggle between King Yekuno Amlak (1270-1285) and king Yetbark, the last King of Zagwe kingdom. It is narrated that King Yekuno Amlak would have recruited soldiers from Wagdā Christian community to establish the ‘Solomonic’ dynasty in 1270. The hitherto documents on Wagdā were based on the lately gathered oral information dated to 18th century. However, the land grant documents we have got from the actual church of Aṣe Waša Māryām in Wagdā demonstrate the early presence of the medieval kings. Oral informants describe Aṣe Waša Maryam was established by King Sayfa Ar’ed (1344-1380), where he would have installed his royal camp for long time. Three geez land grants mention the land chartered to two churches of Maryam and Micha’el during the reigns of King Sayfa Ar’ed, King Dawit (1380-1412) and rarely referred King Hǝzba Nāñ (1430-1432). They are probably documented during the reigns of afore mentioned kings. These land donations witness the expansion of the Christian kings in Wagdā that was dominated for centuries by Šawan Muslim Sultanate. The actual places names after sultan Abdellah shows the strong legacies of the Šawan Muslim Sultanate nearby Wagdā. This paper tries to highlight the gradual expansion of the Christian Kingdom in Wagdā and eventually in Šawa.

2. Conquest(s) and Religious conversions in the 16th century Ethiopia, par / by Amélie Chekroun

In the 1530’s, the Barr Sa’d ad-Dīn army did the conquest of the Christian kingdom of Ethiopia. According to the Futūḥ al-Ḥabaša, when the Muslim armies arrived, the populations of the South of the kingdom converted to Islam. The populations of the central and northern regions preferred to keep their religion and to pay the capitation tax. This dichotomy is the expression of a rupture within the Christian kingdom between the historical heart of the Christian dynasty in the North, and the Southern peripheral territories where the Christian power had little influence on the populations. The choice of conversion by the southern populations could be linked to political submission to the new power, not to religious issues. Moreover, during the Christian reconquest in the 1540’s, those populations renounce their recent conversion. They became Christians again, to affirm their new allegiance to the Christian king and their rejection of Islamic authority. This presentation will analyze both Islamic and Christian texts in order to uncover the multiple processes of conversion from one religion to another at the end of the Medieval Times in Ethiopia.

Les intervenants / The speakers

Amélie Chekroun est historienne et est l’actuelle secrétaire scientifique du CFEE. Deresse Ayenachew est historien, professeur assistant à l’Université de Debre Berhan, Département d’Histoire et du Patrimoine (Zara Yaeqob Center for Medieval Studies). Il est chercheur associé au CFEE.

Amélie Chekroun is a historian and she is the current Project Manager of the CFEE. Deresse Ayenachew is assistant professor at Debre Berhan University, Department of History and Heritage management (Zara Yaeqob Center for Medieval Studies). He is associate researcher at CFEE.

Citer ce billet
Secrétaire Scientifique (2017, 12 juin). Christian and Islamic Manuscripts for Medieval History of Ethiopia (Debre Berhan U.). UN ŒIL SUR LA CORNE / AN EYE ON THE HORN. Consulté le 21 juin 2024, à l’adresse

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