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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:On the Question of Royal Succession during Zaque Period
Author:Chernetsov, Sevir B.
Year:1995
Periodical:St. Petersburg Journal of African Studies
Issue:4
Pages:103-117
Language:English
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Subjects:monarchy
Zagwe polity
succession
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Abstract:After the downfall of the Aksum kingdom, a new State emerged in the southern highland regions of Ethiopia, in the present-day provinces of Wag and Lasta. In the annals of Ethiopian historiography the dynasty which replaced the Aksumite kings in the 10th century retained the name Zagwe, i.e. 'of the Agau'. This name was certainly not their own, but rather a somewhat disparaging nickname created for these Southerners, who were really the Agau, as well as the majority population of Lasta. The Zagwe kings justified their coup by making up a fairy tale, about how the kingdom had passed to a stranger by God's judgement, by creating an origin derived from the ancient Aksum kings, and by inventing a Biblical genealogy. When in 1270 the Zagwe dynasty was in turn overthrown by an even more southern Amharic dynasty, the new rulers justified their dynastic coup along similar lines. On the basis of the three known lists of Zagwe kings and the work of scholars such as Taddese Tamrat and Viacheslav Misiugin, the present author unravels the principles of Zagwe royal succession, both within and between generations, and examines the succession of the first kings of the new dynasty of Semitic-speaking 'Solomonide' kings, whose relation to their Agau-speaking predecessors was closer than they were ready to admit. Bibliogr.
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